Franklin Thomas, Maine, Washington, California
Here is a working bio for Franklin Thomas, Jr. I welcome any additional details about the deaths of his parents Franklin Thomas and Ella Coombs of Maine and Washington or death notices for Frank Jr. and his wife Dorothy Feldhaus Thomas...
Franklin Thomas was a printer who operated the New Age Publishing Company in Los Angeles from about 1948 until his death in 1959. This publishing house is noted for issuing a number of books by authors within the UFO contactee movement.
Franklin, or Frank as his name often appears, was born in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington on 20 June 1892 (or 22 June according to some records). His parents were Franklin Thomas (born circa 1836) and Ella L. Coombs (born circa 1854), both from Maine, where his father was a sea captain. By 1889 Franklin and Ella had moved near South Bay, Washington where the senior Franklin Thomas continued his work as a sea captain.
Frank Jr. returned with his parents to Maine, where they lived in Brunswick at the time of the 1900 census, and back to Washington state where they appear in two census entries for 1910, South Bay (near Olympia) and Seattle.
At the time of the World War I draft, Franklin Thomas Jr. was working as a catalogue compiler for a hardware company from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and in 1917, in his draft entry, lists himself as a conscientious objector "opposed to taking life" and further reports that he is "physically below standard." This application was filed in San Diego, suggesting he had already lived in southern California by that time.
The 1920 census finds him as a single lodger in Anaheim, California and he is listed as a linotype operator in the 1924 and 1925 Alhambra, California city directory.
In the 1930 census he is a linotype operator in Los Angeles, California, married though not living with his wife. He lists his age at first marriage as 30, thus circa 1922. It is believed that his first wife was Florence Olive Colvin (1892-1948) who appears in the 1920s Alhambra city directory at the same address. He apparently had no children by Florence, but was the step-father of her daughter June Koontz (born 1919) from a previous marriage.
He has not been located in the 1940 census, but his second wife Dorothy Ada Marie Feldhaus (1903-1968) is still single, living in Los Angeles at that time. As Dorothy Thomas, she authored the book The Key to Spiritual Magic, published in 1943, likely by her husband, making this the first known independently printed title by the couple. The narrative of the book suggests a considerable period of marriage before publication, so they were likely married in Los Angeles circa 1940 or 1941.
Franklin Thomas appears in the 1948 Los Angeles telephone directory at 1542 Glendale Blvd., the address well-associated with the New Age Publishing Company for the next ten years.
The 1950 Los Angeles voter registration list shows Mrs. Dorothy Thomas at 1542 Glendale Blvd and Franklin Thomas at 1530 Glendale Blvd. In a 1951 volume of the Huna Bulletin, by Max Freedom Long, Dorothy Thomas is identified as a member of that organization in a review of The Key to Spiritual Magic and her address is given as 1530 Glendale Blvd. so it appears the couple may have kept their shop at 1542 and a residence at 1530.
Another interesting note about Franklin Thomas appears in the 1950 edition of vol. 5 of the collected works of Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy: Recognition should be made also of the extreme care exercised by Franklin Thomas in the linotype composition of the manuscript, which, on account of many Sanskrit diacritical marks, called for much patience and intelligent handling.
The 1950s saw much publishing activity from Franklin and Dorothy Thomas, though according to one of the authors published and a friend of the Thomases, Trevor J. Constable, it was self-sacrificing work and brought financial hardship rather than wealth.
In any case, Franklin and Dorothy Thomas did as much to preserve and circulate the literature of the UFO contactee movement of the 1950s as any similar enterprise and it is with this in mind that I feel they deserve some small recognition.
Franklin Thomas was often referred to as Dr. Franklin Thomas and I can not say for certain that he held any official degree, though it is suggested that he was familiar with chiropractic work and his first wife may have operated a practice at the time of their marriage. He was also well-versed in psychology, though perhaps mostly self-taught.
Franklin Thomas died 11 May 1959 in Los Angeles, California and his death was reported in few places, notably in the Daniel Fry bulletin Understanding. The location of his grave or ashes has not been determined.
Dorothy Thomas moved to Yarnell, Yavapai County, Arizona where she was associated with the Rainbow Hill Metaphysical Center, under the directorship of Hal Lewtas. It seems that Dana Howard was also acquainted with Rainbow Hill and it was mentioned a number of times in the Understanding newsletter by Dan Fry.
Dorothy Thomas died in Yarnell, Arizona in February 1968. No death notice or information about her burial is currently available.