English patent-medicine vendor and philanthropist
Born 1800 Died 1883
Thomas Holloway was born at Devonport, on the 22nd of September 1800, of humble parents. Until his twenty-eighth year he lived at Penzance, where he assisted his mother and brother in the bakers shop which his father, once a warrant officer in a militia regiment, had left them at his death.
On coming to London he made the acquaintance of Felix Albinolo, an Italian, from whom he obtained the idea for the ointment which was to carry his name all over the world. The secret of his enormous success in business was due almost entirely to advertisement, in the efficacy of which he had great faith. He soon added the sale of pills to that of the ointment, and began to devote the larger part of his profits to advertising. Holloway's first newspaper announcement appeared on the 25th of October 1837, and in 1842 his yearly expenses for publicity had reached the sum of £5,000; this expenditure went on steadily increasing as his sales increased, until it had reached the figure of £50,000 per annum at the time of his death.
It is, however, chiefly by the two princely foundations the Sanatorium and the College for Women at Egham, endowed by Holloway towards the close of his life that his name will be perpetuated, more than a million sterling having been set apart by him for the erection and permanent endowment of these institutions. In the deed of gift of the college the founder credited his wife, who died in 1875, with the advice and counsel that led him to provide what he hoped might ultimately become the nucleus of a university for women. The philanthropic and somewhat eccentric donor (he had an unconcealed prejudice against doctors, lawyers and parsons) died of congestion of the lungs at Sunninghill on the 26th of December 1883.
Being the entry for HOLLOWAY, THOMAS in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.