William Thoms  

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William John Thoms (November 16, 1803 – August 15, 1885) was a British writer credited with coining the term "folklore" in the 1840s. Thoms's investigation of folklore and myth led to a later career of debunking longevity myths. Hence, he is the "father of age validation research" to demographers.

Works

Thoms is associated with many publications, as editor, compiler or author. He used the pseudonym Ambrose Merton for several works. He began a column titled Folk-Lore in Charles Wentworth Dilke's Athenaeum in 1846, the same publisher encouraged him to begin Notes and Queries and was editor of this until 1872. His early attempt to produce a collection of folk tales, advertised as "Folk-Lore of England", did not appear, but his later antiquarian publications sometimes reprinted his articles and material from subscribers.

The following is an incomplete list of works:

  • The Book of the Court, 1838
  • Anecdotes and Traditions illustrative of Early English History and Literature from Manuscript Sources, Camden Society 1839.
  • Stow's Survey of London (London, 8vo), 1842 ed.
  • In he prepared for the Early English Poetry series (Percy Society) The History of Reynard the Fox, 1844, (Caxton in 1481)
  • Gammer Gurton's Famous Histories of Sir Guy of Warwick, Sir Bevis of Hampton, Tom Hickathrift, Friar Bacon, Robin Hood, and the King and the Cobbler (Westminster, 16mo)
  • Gammer Gurton's Pleasant Stories of Patient Grissel, the Princess Rosetta, and Robin Goodfellow, and ballads of the Beggar's Daughter, the Babes in the Wood, and Fair Rosamond (Westminster, 16mo).
  • Primeval Antiquities of Denmark London, 1849. translating Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae
  • The Longevity of Man. Its Facts and Its Fictions. With a prefatory letter to Prof. Owen, C.B., F.R.S. on the limits and frequency of exceptional cases. London: F. Norgate, 1879.




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