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Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor (October 19, 1817 - July 12, 1880) was a dramatist and editor of Punch magazine.

He was born at Bishop Wearmouth, near Sunderland, in north-east England. After attending school there, and studying for two sessions at Glasgow University, he in 1837 entered Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow. Subsequently he held for two years the professorship of English literature at University College, London. He was called to the bar (Middle Temple) in November 1846, and went on the northern circuit until, in 1850, he became assistant secretary of the Board of Health. On the reconstruction of the Board in 1854 he was made secretary, and on its abolition his services were transferred to a department of the Home Office, retiring on a pension in 1876.

In his very early years Tom Taylor had shown a predilection for the drama, and had been in the habit of performing dramatic pieces with a number of children in a loft over a brewers stable. Four burlesques of his were produced at the Lyceum in 1844.

His first hit was To Parents and Guardians, produced at the Lyceum in 1845. He wrote over 100 plays, amongst the best known of which are:

Taylor began his career as a journalist. Soon after moving to London, Taylor wrote for the Morning Chronicle and the Daily News. He was on the staff of Punch until 1874, when he succeeded Shirley Brooks as editor.

Although his plays were extremely popular, his writing did not suffer in pursuit of popularity. The characters in his dramas are clearly and consistently drawn, and the dialogue is natural and pointed. In his blank verse historical dramas, Anne Boleyn and Joan of Arc, most critics find that he was not as successful.

He died at Wandsworth, London, England.