Thomas B. Costain (Thomas B. Costain)

Thomas B. Costain

Author. Born Thomas Bertram Costain, the son of John Herbert and Mary Schultz Costain in Brantford, Ontario. He left school at the age of seventeen, taking a position with the ‘Brantford Courier.’ Between 1908 and 1910 he served as the editor of the ‘Guelph Daily Mercury,’ followed by a stint as the editor of ‘Maclean’s Magazine.’ In 1920, Costain moved to the United States taking a post as chief associate editor for the ‘Saturday Evening Post,’ a position he held until 1934. For the nest two years, he worked for Twentieth Century-Fox as a story editor before leaving to co-found his own short lived magazine, ‘American Cavalcade.’ After moving to a position as an advisory editor at Doubleday and Company in 1939, he began authoring his own novels. His first, ‘For My Great Folly,’ published in 1942, became a bestseller. This success was quickly followed with ‘Ride with Me’ in 1944, and ‘The Black Rose,’ another bestseller, in 1945. The latter was translated into a film starring Tyrone Power. Following the success of ‘The Black Rose,’ he retired from Doubleday in order to devote himself to his writing. Other bestsellers followed, ‘The Moneyman,’ in 1947 and ‘The Silver Chalice’ in 1952, which became a feature film starring Paul Newman. In 1949 and again in 1951, Costain utilized his outstanding research techniques for the publication of the non-fiction histories, ‘The Conquering Family’ and ‘The Magnificent Century,’ a continuing study of the Plantagenet dynasty. He received an honorary degree of doctor of letters from the University of Western Ontario in 1953. More novels followed, such as ‘The Tontine’ in 1955 and ‘Below the Salt’ in 1957. He concluded his history of the Plantagenets with ‘The Three Edwards’ published the following year and in ‘The Last Plantagenets’ in 1962. His final publication was the novel, ‘The Last Love,’ in 1963. A Brantford, Ontario public school was named the Thomas B. Costain School in his honor in July 1964. Costain died in Manhattan of a heart attack at the age of eighty less than a year later. Critics credit Costain’s successful career in history and historical fiction to his ability to make history enjoyable to read by showing historical figures to be people of interest with lives of romance and adventure. (bio by: Iola)


  • May, 08, 1885
  • Canada


  • October, 10, 1965
  • USA


  • Farringdon Burial Ground
  • Ontario
  • Canada

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