A brief biography of the proud antisemite (who once planned to sell a newspaper called The Anti-Semite:)
Thomas Telemachus Timayenis rates high in the rogue’s gallery of Greek criminals, scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells who made the United States their home. Few Greeks arrived in North America with better prospects than Timayenis. Fewer still have disgraced the Greek people so profoundly as this one man. No comprehensive history of the Greeks in the United States can be presented without the inclusion of this problematic individual. Teasing a part of a balanced presentation of Timayenis’ life story is difficult primarily because he so vigorously involved himself with so many prominent individuals and with an amazingly diverse series of causes. What follows is a much abbreviated account of Timayenis’ career and enduring influences.The books themselves are filled with the most vicious anti-Jewish lies you can imagine, and were apparently best-sellers. Here's a typical paragraph in the 219 pages of The American Jew:
In short, Timayenis was a professor, novelist, playwright and one of the first to publish a discourse on what was then known as the Jewish Question along racial lines in the United States, rather than considerations of religious doctrine. Compounding what we would call today a hate crime, as we shall see, Timayenis did not even bother to fully compose the text of the argument himself but plagiarized from another author.
In 1888, Timayenis left his academic work and established Minerva Publishing Company in New York, the first company in American to publish books critical of Jews. Timayenis anonymously authored three tracts on the Jews: The Original Mr. Jacobs: A Startling Exposé, The American Jew: An Expose of His Career, and Judas Iscariot: An Old Type in a New Form. In The American Jew, Timayenis provided several illustrations showing physical characteristics on how one might identify a Jew. None of these books have ever been out of print and can be found free on the Internet.
Initially, Timayenis based his accounts largely on the publications of Edouard Drumont, founder of the Anti-Semitic league in France. But Timayenis’ writings progressed he clearly had his own ideas. Jonathan D. Sarna writes in The ‘Mythical Jew and in the Jew Next Door a chapter of “Anti-Semitism in American History” edited by David A. Gerber (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986), that in The Original Mr. Jacobs, Timayenis “calls non-Jews who conform to his Jewish stereotype Jews,” evidence to the contrary notwithstanding: “Has ever a man of observation asked himself the question: ‘Is there any Jewish blood in the veins of John D. Rockefeller?’ We do not hesitate to affirm from an intimate knowledge of the man, that if Rockefeller is not actually a Jew, he has many Jewish traits … The spirit of the Standard Oil Company is simply the spirit of the monopoly, of cruelty, of annihilation of all competitors, a spirit in fact such as manifests itself in the scandalous enterprises of the Jews…” While these three tracts sold in great numbers Timayenis proved so unstable a character that sustained legal battles left him penniless and his anti-Semitic both best-selling volumes and reviled accounts. Various authors adamantly contend that Timayenis’ work spread a permeating ideological fog over the 1880s such that Anti-Semitism gained new ground across the United States.
This is before Henry Ford and Charles Coughlin. It was before the publication of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." While his first book about Jews was plagiarized from a French volume, this second book seems to have come from Timayenis;' own twisted mind, and much of modern antisemitism comes from this book which was apparently one of the first in English to attack Jews on racial rather than religious lines.
The New York Times wrote about him in 1888, but the bulk of the article was not about how bigoted he was, but about death threats that he claimed to be receiving several times a day from New York's Jews. Yes, the New York Times was more sympathetic with a proud antisemite than with Jews in 1888.