Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor (1817-1880) was a prolific - he wrote over 100 plays - and popular playwright, best known today for Our American Cousin, the play Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated.

Born into a wealthy family (his father owned a brewery) at Bishop Wearmouth, near Sunderland in north-east England, Taylor attended the University of Glasgow briefly before entering Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1837. Law studies at the Inner Temple followed, with admittance to the bar in 1846, and eventually appointment as Secretary of the Board of Trade with an income of £1000 per annum. He was also on the staff of Punch magazine until 1874, when he succeeded Shirley Brooks as editor.

In his early years Tom Taylor had shown a predilection for the stage, and in 1844 four of his burlesques were produced at the Lyceum. His first hit, To Parents and Guardians, was produced there in 1845. Many successive plays were extremely popular, including Masks and Faces, but today his work is almost forgotten. His most famous play is now Our American Cousin, remembered not for its content but for its association with Lincoln’s assassination.

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 126715
© Paul Frecker 2023