John William Thomason, Jr. (1893-1944), author, artist, and United States Marine Corps captain, was born in Huntsville, Texas, on February 28, 1893. During his life, he attended several universities, institutes, and colleges, including Southwestern University, Sam Houston Normal Institute, the University of Texas, the Art Students League in New York, and the Army and Navy War colleges. Before joining the U.S. Marine Corps in 1917, he taught school, worked as a school principal, wrote for the Houston Chronicle, and trained as a member of the Citizens Military Training Corps in San Antonio.
As a marine in World War I, Thomason fought in numerous engagements and battles in France, such as the battles of Belleau Wood, Château-Thierry, Saint-Mihiel, Soissons, and Mont Blanc Ridge. Following the war, Thomason was stationed in Cuba, Nicaragua, and China, as well as served aboard the USS Rochester. Additionally, he worked as an aide for Assistant Secretary of the Navy Henry Roosevelt and for the Office of Naval Intelligence. In 1944, Thomason died in San Diego, California, while performing military duties related to World War II. Following his death, a portion of the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia, a navy destroyer, and the Graphic Arts Building at Sam Houston State University were named for him.
Between WWI and WWII, Thomason wrote eleven books and over 60 articles. His books include Fix Bayonets (1926), Jeb Stuart (1930), Gone to Texas (1937), and Lone Star Preacher (1941). Additionally, he published articles, concerning WWI, military service, and Texas, in American Mercury, Scribner's, and the Saturday Evening Post . His writing style is often labeled as “realistic romanticism.” As an artist, he limited himself to illustrating his own work, mainly in pen and ink, occasionally using watercolors.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Thomas, John William, Jr.,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/fth13.html (accessed July 30, 2010).
From the guide to the Thomason, John William, Jr. Papers 1950; 71-127., 1918-1950, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)