RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/57
TitleFr Alfred Thomas SJ (1925-1985)
Date1796-late 20th Century
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionThis Subfonds collection consists of Fr Alfred Thomas' personal and research papers, which mainly relate to his interest in Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, but also to other subjects. There are also papers relating to the Hopkins Society, which Thomas founded and ran, and papers of other Hopkins Scholars which were acquired by Thomas.

Access to this collection is at the Archivist's discretion.
Admin_HistoryAlfred Thomas was born on the 7th January 1925 to a family of well-established greengrocers. He attended SFX parish school, then went to St Elizabeth's, run by the De La Salle Brothers. He left school at 16, worked at a stockbrokers for a year, then went to Campion House, Osterley for 2 years, 1941-1943.

Thomas applied to join the Society in 1943 but was turned down on account of poor eyesight, which was felt to be a hindrance for long years of study needed. He was turned down by the army for the same reason. Instead, Thomas studied at the Evening Institute in Mount Street, Liverpool, then Strawberry Hill, gaining his teaching qualification in 1955. Between 1955 and 1960 Thomas taught at Stamford Hill and studied English at Birkbeck College, gaining a BA and an MA. In 1960 he applied again to the Society and was accepted, entering on the 7 September 1960.

Since Thomas was older than most novices when they joined the Society, he proceeded straight through noviceship, philosophy and theology at Roehampton and Heythrop between 1960 and 1968, and was ordained on 15 July 1967. He combined this with studying for a PhD at London University, which he gained in 1967. This was published as a book in 1969 by Oxford University Press, Hopkins the Jesuit: the years of training.

In 1968 Thomas went to teach at St Ignatius College, Stamford Hill, moved with the College to Enfield in 1970, and remained there apart from his tertianship in 1971-1972. He taught for the College, for Maria Assumpta and for the Open University. He wrote and had published many academic papers on Hopkins, and wrote several more books, which were not published.

Thomas founded the Hopkins Society in 1969 and ran it throughout its existence. He edited the journal, The Hopkins Research Bulletin, organised the Annual Lecture and the Annual Sermon, and was instrumental in expanding its activities and membership worldwide, especially in North America and Japan.
In 1975 Thomas organised, through the Hopkins Society, a memorial plaque in commemoration of Gerard Manley Hopkins to be placed in Westminster Abbey.

On 2 February 1976 Thomas took his Final Vows for the Jesuits.

In 1981 Thomas became reviews editor of The Month, a Jesuit publication.

In October 1985 Thomas was admitted to North Middlesex Hospital for tests. He died there of cancer on 3 December 1985. His Requiem Mass was held at St Ignatius', Enfield on 12 December 1985, and he was buried at Enfield.

A full obituary can be found in Letters and Notices, volume 87, pp 134-139.
Related Material - For photographs see SJ/PH/1192

- Hopkins Research Bulletin, Hopkins Society of Japan, Tokyo Area No 3, 7-9, 11 & 13 (1974-1984) had been collected by Thomas and are now part of the library journals section

- See Library Catalogue
Printed document
Audio tape
AccessConditions40 year closure rule.
Hopkins the Jesuit, The Years of Training. Oxford University Press, 1969. PR 4804 T

'F. W. Rolfe and Father Beauclerk SJ', The Aylesford Review, A Literary Quarterly Sponsored by the Carmelites, Spring 1964, pp 71-77.
'Hopkins, the Jesuits, and Barmouth', The Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society, 1964, pp 360-364.
'Hopkins, Welsh and Wales', The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmordorion, 1965 part II, 272-285.
'G. M. Hopkins and the Silver Jubilee Album', The Library, 5th Series, Vol XX, No 2, June 1965.
'An uncollected letter of Gerard Manley Hopkins', The Dublin Review CCXXXIX, No 505, Autumn 1965, pp 289-92.
'A note on Gerard Manley Hopkins and his Superiors 1868-1877', The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 5th series CIV, October-November 1965.
'G. M. Hopkins and "Tones"', Notes and Queries, November 1965, pp 429-430.
'Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'Doomed to Succeed by Failure', The Dublin Review, 1966, pp 1-15.
'G. M. Hopkins: An unpublished Triolet', The Modern Language Review, April 1966, Volume LXI, Number 2, pp 183-187.
'‘Father Gerard Manley Hopkins. 1844-1889. The centenary of his entrance into the Society of Jesus’, Annuarium, 1967.
'Was Hopkins a Scotist before he read Scotus?', De Doctrina Duns Scoti Vol IV, Scotismus decursu saeculorum', Rome 1968, pp. 617-629.
'Hopkins and the rejection of 'The Wreck of the Deutschland'', English Studies 49, 1968, pp 1-4.
'Jesuit Poet and Liverpool Streets', The Catholic Pictorial, 16 June 1968.
'The poet as Novice', The Periodical XXXVIII number 305, Summer 1969 pp 67-71.
'Gerard Manley Hopkins', Dictionnaire de Spiritualité.
'G. M. Hopkins, Two Bibliographical Discoveries', The Review of English Studies, Volume XXII, Issue 85, 1 February 1971, pp 58-61.
'Hopkins's "Felix Randal": The Man and the Poem', The Times Literary Supplement, 19 March 1971.
'G. M. Hopkins:two more bibliographical discoveries', The Book Collector, 1971, pp 103-104.
'G. M. Hopkins and St Beuno's College', The Flintshire Historical Society, Vol 25, 1971-1972, pp 98-102.
'G. M. Hopkins "Spring and Fall": An Unrecorded Printing', Notes and Queries, February 1972, p 48.
'Hopkinsharvest: The meeting of the "Wrecks", Victorian Poetry Vol 12, No 1, Spring 1974, pp 71-73.
'G. M. Hopkins: 'The Windhover'; sources 'underthought' and significance', Modern Language Review, Vol 70 No 3, July 1975.
'G. M. Hopkins: an unrecorded printing of ‘The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we breathe’', The Library XXX Number 3, September 1975, pp 247-248.
'G. M. Hopkins alias Arthur Flash de Weyunhoe', Notes and Queries, October 1975.
'Hopkins' The Windhover', The Explicator Vol. 33, No. 4, December 1974, p 31.
'G. M. Hopkins and "Remembrance and Expectation": A mistaken attribution', Notes and Queries, Augusut 1979, p 326.
'Gerard Manley Hopkins', Diccionario Histórico de la Compañía de Jesús, 2001, Volume II, pp 1952-1954.
'Gerard Manley Hopkins: a new poem, 'The Fossil Tree', The Month.

Unpublished MA thesis for the University of London, catalogued in the library collection;
The Literary Criticism of Coventry patmore: an exposition and commentary with special reference to his reviews of contemporary poets. PR5 144T
DS/UK/1017Thomas; Alfred (1925-1985); Jesuit Priest1925-1985

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