Judge Thomas H. Doyle

Artist: C. J. Fox

(Irving Resnikoff) b. October 16, 1896, Russia d. August 3, 1988, New York City

Thomas Henchion Doyle was a first-generation American, born to Irish immigrants near Uxbridge, Massachusetts. After the death of his mother, the Doyle family moved to Kansas where Thomas attended the University of Kansas. He worked briefly for the railroad before studying law with Judge Benson in Ottawa, Kansas. He was admitted to the bar in 1893.

Later that year, he moved to Perry, Oklahoma and opened a law practice, Stone and Doyle. A savvy businessman and eloquent speaker, Doyle was elected as a representative to the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1897, a seat he held for two terms.

Doyle became an ardent supporter of single-statehood and addressed the House Committee on Territories regarding the matter when they considered the Robinson Bill on January 26, 1904. He spoke at length about how the two territories complemented each other and in fact depended upon one another.

“Mr. Chairman, united, our Territories possess all the attributes of an ideal commonwealth. We will have all that goes to make up a powerful and prosperous State. We will be a State that in population, area, form, and natural resources can compare favorably with all other States. Then we will have those honorable feelings of State pride that are prompted by patriotism, public virtue, and intelligence in the minds of all residents of a great and powerful State. Every consideration of sound public policy, both as to the welfare of the nation as well as for the best interests of both Territories, demands that they should be united as a single State.”

After Oklahoma was admitted to the United States on November 16, 1907, Governor Charles Haskell appointed Doyle as a member of the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals, a post he served in for more than forty years.

In 1917, Doyle was elected to the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society and later became its president. He served on the building committee for the structure that would later become the Oklahoma Judicial Center. The portrait was commissioned by the Historical Society Board of Directors in 1949 for their Hall of Fame Gallery.

This painting is signed by C.J. Fox, a pseudonym used by New York businessman Leo Fox. From the 1940s until the late 1970s, Fox solicited portrait commissions of government and industry leaders. Fox then hired Russian immigrant Irving Resnikoff to paint the portraits from photographs. Fox’s business model was exposed when the Internal Revenue Service sued Fox for back taxes. In his defense, Fox explained he had not personally done the paintings, but rather employed Resnikoff to do the work. Resnikoff’s work (signed as C.J. Fox) hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and Congressional office buildings in Washington, D.C., as well as capitols and historical societies across the country. This piece is on permanent loan from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Source: Time: The Sly Fox, the Painter was an Illusion, vol. 111.11, 1978; Utica Daily Press, March 1, 1978; Center of Military History website; Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 27, no. 1, p. 131, no. 2, pp. 138-144; Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, Office of Art and Archives website artandhistory.house.gov, accessed August 9, 2012.