Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. Since his sister Marion was nicknamed "Dot," he was nicknamed "Dash." He boarded at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and the J.M.Hawkins School in Staten Island, New York. He married stage actress Marie Louise Toohey in a secret ceremony in 1899, but the marriage ended within a year. His next marriage, to Beatrice Heyzer, endured.
After selling the use of his name to advertise "quack" medicines and dubious inventions, his father asked Tom Junior to change his name. This he did, briefly going by the name of Thomas Willard. His efforts at inventing and, later, starting a mushroom farm failed. His father told a friend about his oldest son, "I never could get him to go to school or work in the Laboratory. He is therefore absolutely illiterate scientifically and otherwise." He died on August 25, 1935
Last updated: February 26, 2015