Tomas (Thomas) Foust


I know that this man’s name is Tomas Foust.  Or, more likely, Thomas Foust.  He had his photo (known as a “cabinet card”) taken in Bloomington, Illinois, by W. E. Bush, Photographer.  For the moment, that’s ALL I know.

You can read more about this collection of photos and its provenance here.  You will also find links to all the posts in this series in that post. 

One of the first places I checked in trying to find more information about Mr. Foust was Find a Grave.  Who knew that Thomas Foust was such a common name?!  I had the same problem with a search on FamilySearch.  Until I get more clues, I won’t be able to pin down which Thomas Foust he is.

He appears to be wearing a sack suit, also known as a walking suit.  The coat usually had four buttons, the top one of which was generally buttoned, with the rest left undone.   The sack suit first came into fashion in the 1850s and evolved into the modern three-piece suit.

I found a photo with a very similar suit, from the 1880s:  extremely narrow lapel, high button front, and curved front to the jacket.  The coat was only buttoned at the top so that the vest and watch chain would be visible.  The trousers were a slim style with no crease, since the press hadn’t been invented at that time.

The photographer, W. E. Bush, was located at 116 W. Washington St., Bloomington, Ill.  Langdon’s List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers has three listings for Mr. Bush, all in Bloomington:  W. E. Bush, William E. Bush, and Wm. E. Bush.  Langdon’s List provides information about photographers “active in the United States from 1844 to 1950.” 

Please leave a comment below if you’re related to any of the people mentioned in this series.  I’d love to hear from you!


Earlier comments on this post: 

Virginia Allain

I searched for the image using Tineye, but it didn’t find a match.


I’ll have to remember to check with Tineye. I did check on Dead Fred.

Kathy Glascott

I enjoyed your comments on men’s fashions! It makes the photo more interesting. And now I understand why i see this fashion in old photos.


I’m learning a lot about 19th century fashion as I work with these photos. It’s fascinating to me!

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