Thomas, John Parnell

Thomas, John Parnell (b. Feeney, Jr.)

(1895–1970) U.S. representative; born in Jersey City, N.J. A counterespionage officer during World War I, he sold bonds at Paine Webber (1924–41). A Republican mayor and New Jersey assemblyman before going to the U.S. House of Representatives (1937–49), he joined the conservative Dies Committee in 1939 and chaired the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee (1947–50), punishing "unfriendly" witnesses from Hollywood with prison terms. Indicted for padding his congressional payroll in 1949, he served time in federal prison, then retired to Florida.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.