The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Thomas Power O'Connor, 1848-1929

Nationality: Irish
Date of Birth: 1848.10.05
Place of Birth: Athlone
Date of Death: 1929.12.18
Place of Death: London


Thomas Power O'Connor was a politician and journalist. He was the eldest son of a shopkeeper, Thomas O'Connor, and his wife, Theresa Power, the daughter of an officer of the Connaught Rangers. In 1885 he married the writer Elizabeth Paschal (c. 1850-1931), the daughter of a Texas supreme court judge, George Washington Paschal, and his second wife, Marcia Duval. Thomas and Elizabeth O'Connor had no children.


O'Connor was educated at Queen's College, Galway. In 1867 he began writing for the conservative Dublin daily Saunders' Newsletter, and in 1870 he was appointed sub-editor of the Daily Telegraph. Following a free-lance career, he settled in the London, where he worked for the New York Herald. His first book, Life of Lord Beaconsfield, was serialised in 1876. In 1880 he became M.P. for Galway, and in the 1880s wrote accounts of parliamentary proceedings for the Pall Mall Gazette.

In 1887 O'Connor and his wife founded the radical journal The Star on Stonecutter Street, London. In 1891 O'Connor brought out the Sunday Sun, later to be called the Weekly Sun, and in 1893 he founded The Sun. Other weekly papers founded by him included T.P.'s Weekly, M.A.P. (Mainly About People) and P.T.O.. In 1917 he became the first President of the Board of Film Censors and in 1924 he was made a member of the Privy Council by the first Labour government.

O'Connor and his wife socialised in important political and literary circles. Their friends included JW, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Ellen Terry, George Bernard Shaw and Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1889 was among those invited to the dinner organised by William Christian Symonds at the Criterion in Picadilly to celebrate JW being made an honorary member of the Royal Academy in Munich (#04337). O'Connor's portrait was painted by John Lavery (National Gallery, Dublin) and J. F. Bacon (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).

O'Connor's publications include The Parnell Movement (1886) and Memoirs of an Old Parliamentarian (1929).


O'Connor, Elizabeth, I Myself, London, 1910; O'Connor, T. P., Memoirs of an Old Parliamentarian, London, 1929; Macdonagh, M., 'Thomas Power O'Connor', 1937, Dictionary of National Biography Online, Oxford, 2004 (accessed 2004); Ratchford, Fannie E., 'Elizabeth Paschal O'Connor', The Handbook of Texas Online (accessed 10 May 2004).