Thomas Hood was born on 19 January 1835 in Wanstead, Essex, the son of Thomas Hood senior, a well-known author and poet. His father died in 1845, his mother in 1846, after which he was supported by a Civil List pension.
He was educated at University College School and Louth Grammar School, then studied for the church at Pembroke College, Oxford, but although he passed his exams he did not receive his degree. He wrote his first book of poems, Farewell to the Swallows, in 1853 while still at Oxford, and many further collections followed. He wrote for, and later edited, the Liskeard Gazette in Cornwall in the late 1850s, and published a collection of humorous writing, Pen and Pencil Pictures in 1857. He illustrated children's books by his sister, Frances Broderip, and contributed to magazines like Cornhill Magazine, Comic News and Temple Bar. In 1960 he was found a job at the War Office, and there worked for the next five years, while still writing and publishing. He wrote a series of novels, and published collections of his father's work, some of which he illustrated.
He wrote and illustrated for the comic journal Fun from 1961, and in 1965 he left his job to take up the position of editor, taking over from H. J. Byron, and made it Punch's most prominent competitor. Fun was bought by the Dalziel Brothers in 1870, who retained Hood as editor. He died at Peckham Rye on 20 November 1874 of a liver condition, but Tom Hood's Comic Annual continued publishing until 1898.
- Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, p. 81
- Craig Howes, ‘Hood, Thomas (1835–1874)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 21 May 2013