James A. Thomas, 1931, Oil on canvas, 27" x 37," by Douglas Chandor
James A. Thomas (1862-1940), a friend and business associate of James and Benjamin Duke spent over thirty years in China managing operations for the British-American Tobacco Company. Thomas was instrumental in the creation of a Far Eastern collection in the Duke University Library. This painting was commissioned by Duke University and was previously hung in the West Campus Library along with 26 other portraits of contributors and administrators of Duke. After his death in 1940, a proposal to continue the book collection and establish a James A. Thomas Memorial Room in what was then the Woman's College Library was approved. The room was officially dedicated on December 1, 1942.
Artist Douglas Chandor (1897-1953) was a portraitist who was commissioned to paint famous figures: Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill among others.
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