"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Revision as of 02:29, 28 August 2019 by Randylyon (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search
Thomas Gifford

GIFFORD, Thomas. (Dubuque, IA, May 16, 1937--Dubuque, IA, Oct. 31, 2000) Gifford's first published novel, The Wind Chill Factor (1975) received the Putnam Award, given in recognition of an outstanding manuscript by an author not previously published by Putnam. The novel reached The New York Times, best-seller list. (1) His novel The Glendower Legacy was the basis of the 1981 film "Dirty Tricks." (2) Other popular books by Gifford included the Edgar-nominated The Cavanaugh Quest, and The Man from Lisbon. (3) Gifford also wrote under the pen names Dana Clarins and Thomas Maxwell. (4)

Gifford attended LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, IRVING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, and WASHINGTON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. In his junior year at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, received a scholarship to the Minneapolis Journalism Clinic. Among other school activities, he was the editor-in-chief of "The News," his high school bi-weekly publication. (5) A graduate of DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, Gifford attended Harvard University with a journalism award made by the TELEGRAPH HERALD and an English scholarship he received to the university. He graduated in 1959 and then lived and worked in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York City for forty years before returning to Dubuque. (6)

Gifford sold textbooks for Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company before becoming editor-in-chief of the Twin Citian magazine. (7) He was the director of public relations for the Tyrone Guthrie Theater and by the 1970s served as an editor and syndicated columnist for the Sun newspaper. His first book Benchwarmer Bob, a biography of Minnesota Vikings defensive end Bob Lurtsema, was published in 1974 while he was also working on The Wind Chill Factor. (8)

Gifford returned to Dubuque in 1996 and became involved in local politics and civic activities. His weekly column in the Telegraph Herald entitled "Jazzbo of Old Dubuque" dealt with every subject from baseball to small-town America. (9) He taught a 1940s film noir class at LORAS COLLEGE, wrote a history of the DUBUQUE PACKING COMPANY, and began a biography of Francesco LICCIARDI. Upon his death, eighteen boxes of his papers including handwritten manuscripts were donated to Loras College. (10)

As Thomas Gifford

   1975 – The Wind Chill Factor
   1976 – The Cavanaugh Quest (nominated for the Edgar Award 1977)
   1977 – The Man from Lisbon
   1978 – The Glendower Legacy
   1979 – Hollywood Gothic
   1990 – The Assassini
   1993 – Praetorian
   1994 – The First Sacrifice
   1996 – Saint's Rest

As Thomas Maxwell

   1986 – Kiss Me Once
   1987 – The Saberdene Variations
   1988 – Kiss Me Twice
   1990 – The Suspense Is Killing Me

As Dana Clarins

   1984 – Woman in the Window
   1985 – Guilty Parties
   1986 – The Woman Who Knew Too Much



1. Kluseman, Katie. "Thomas Gifford," from the book They Came From Dubuque by John Tigges, Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1983, p. 110

2. Gloss, Megan. "A Colorful Character of Many Words, Opinions," Telegraph Herald, November 10, 2008, p. 25

3. Thomas Gifford. Mysterious Press. Online: http://mysteriouspress.com/authors/thomas-gifford/default.asp

4. Thomas Gifford. goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/37001.Thomas_Gifford

5. Kluseman

6. Cooper, Brian and John Kruse, "Thomas Gofford," The Arts in the Tri-States, Telegraph Herald, May 23, 2019, p. 20

7. Her, Lucy Y. "Thomas Gifford, 62, Fiction Writer" (obituary), Star Tribune, Nov. 1, 2000, Online: http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/11598941.html

8. "Thomas Gifford." Amazon.com. Online: http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Gifford/e/B000APCXC8

9. Her, Lucy Y.

10. Cooper and Kruse