Nebraska Authors

Dorothy Thomas

AKA: Dorothy Swain Thomas, Mrs. J.W. Buickerood, Dorothy Thomas Buickerood

Born 1898-08-13 Barnes, KS (USA)

Died 1990-09-22
San Angelo, TX (USA)

Bronte, TX (USA)
Fairview Cemetery

Dorothy was the sixth of ten children to Willard and Augusta Dodge Thomas. When Dorothy was seven, the family moved to Alberta, Canada, where they homesteaded near a logging company, often providing food and shelter to the loggers. The family moved back to Kansas when Dorothy was 12, and she attended school for the first time. A bright child, Dorothy showed immediate aptitude in writing stories and creating artwork, but always struggled with her other schoolwork. Other members of the Thomas family, especially Dorothy’s sister Kennetha, share Dorothy’s artistic strengths. Dorothy's mother Augusta moved her family to Bethany, Nebraska in 1914. Dorothy received her teaching certificate in 1918 and taught school throughout Nebraska for the next nine years. Her literary start came in Nebraska with the publication of one of her first stories in Prairie Schooner. Dorothy’s first publication was a poem entitled “The Beast Room,” which appeared in a 1927 issue. Selling her story “The Blue Doves” to Scribners in 1928 gave Dorothy the confidence to return her 1929 teaching contract unsigned: “sink or swim, I would risk everything, work at whatever jobs I could get, and write for my life and my living.”

The Heritage Room is the repository for Dorothy Thomas's literary estate.

Places Lived

Barnes, KS
Alberta, CANADA
Lincoln, NE (1914-1935)
Santa Fe, NM
New York, NY
Virgin Islands
Bronte, TX

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Poetry


Fiction; Novels; Novellas, Short Stories; Poetry


Bethany High School, Bethany, NE
Cotner College, Bethany, NE
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE



Places Worked

Taught at schools throughout Nebraska, including Elliot Elementary School, Lincoln, NE


Nebraska 150 Books honor for Ma Jeeter's Girls, 2017
Her first story won the Omaha Press Club prize in 1926
'Joybell', published in American Mercury was in O'Brien's Best Short Stories, 1933
'The Consecrated Coal Scuttle' from Harper's won O. Henry's Prize Stories, 1933


Acquainted with Loren and Mabel Eiseley, Mari Sandoz, Mabel Dodge Luhan, John and Flavia Champe


Ma Jeeter's Girls. 1931.
The Hippo.
Hobble, The Adventurous Penguin.
The Home Place. 1936.
Elephants' Dilemma.
The Getaway and Other Stories. with introduction by Christine Pappas, 2002.

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Dorothy Thomas

Do you have corrections for the above information or other information to add?:

(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)