John Kendrick Bangs
(American writer, 1862-1922)
Also known as: Roger Camerden, Gaston V. Drake, Horace Dodd Gastit, Blakeney Gray, Wilberforce Jenkins, John Kendrick, A. Sufferan Mann, Arthur Spencer Morley, Periwinkle Podmore, Smith Carlyle Smith
John Kendrick Bangs
Birth: May 27, 1862 in New York, United States
Death: January 21, 1922
Occupation: Editor, Humorist, Lecturer
Source: Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936.
Bangs, John Kendrick (May 27, 1862 - Jan. 21, 1922), humorist, editor, and lecturer, was born in Yonkers, N. Y., the grandson of Nathan Bangs, and the son of Francis Nehemiah Bangs and Frances (Bull) Bangs. In 1883 he graduated from Columbia College. Here he was editor of Acta Columbiana, succeeding Nicholas Murray Butler. He married Agnes Lawson Hyde, Mar. 3, 1886, by whom he had four sons. His second wife, Mary Blakeney Gray, he married Apr. 27, 1904. It was in 1884 that as associate editor of Life he held his first professional editorial position. He remained in this capacity until 1888, when he was invited by Henry Mills Alden to join the staff of Harper's Magazine, and for eleven years he had charge of its humorous department and that of the Bazaar. He also wrote the literary notes and many articles, besides contributing to other periodicals. In 1899 he assumed editorship of Harper's Weekly, and the same year became the first editor of Munsey's Weekly, resigning, however, before the year was up. His earliest book, The Lorgnette (with S. W. Van Schaick), was published in 1886. Thereafter, up to 1910, he published over thirty volumes of humor and verse. Perhaps the best known of these are Tiddledywink Tales (1891), Coffee and Repartee (1893), The Idiot (1895), and A Houseboat on the Styx (1895). From the middle eighties until 1904 he lived in Yonkers, and during part of that period was vice-president of the board of education. In 1894 he ran for mayor, his defeat enabling him to write one of his most amusing travesties, Three Weeks in Politics (1894). In 1901 he went to Cuba and wrote an influential book on Cuban affairs, Uncle Sam, Trustee (1902). The financial difficulties of Harper & Brothers led him, in 1903, to become editor of the New Metropolitan Magazine, although he continued to write for Harper's Weekly. In June 1904, he took editorial charge of Puck, and it was during this year that he produced Lady Teazle, with Lillian Russell as Lady Teazle. Later he produced a musical fantasy. These two plays were the extent of his dramatic ventures.
Not until 1907 did he really find himself. Early in the nineties he had lectured on The Evolution of a Humorist, to which he later added the subtitle, from Adam to Ade. Now, breaking away from his editorial moorings, he left Yonkers for Ogunquit, Me., and became a free lance and lecturer. During the next fifteen years, aided by those he called "Salubrities," and his experience as an editor and writer, coupled with a genial personality, he won wide-spread popularity, and was unquestionably one of the best popular humorous lecturers of his generation. His most famous lecture was entitled Salubrities I Have Met. He was tall, spare, unaffected, a thorough gentleman in mind and bearing, with a carrying voice, fund of anecdotes and charm of manner, which made him a humorous speaker of rare distinction and taste. He was a man of warm sympathies. During the activities of the American Committee for Devastated France, he lectured and labored without stint in its behalf, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
He was an enormous worker, and at one time wrote under as many as ten assumed names. Early in his career he was in the habit of writing twenty-five jokes a day, just for relaxation. The whimsicalities created by him during his lifetime were of astonishing variety. Although he lacked the severely critical attitude of a higher type of creative artist, he largely made up for this by his singleness of purpose, and his influence on the formative period to which he belongs was considerable.
-- Thomas L. Masson
John Kendricks Bangs was a popular author of satire and humorous fiction during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Bangs began writing comical sketches as a student at Columbia College (now Columbia University) in New York City. Following his graduation, he became an editor of and contributor to such magazines as Life, Harper's Weekly, Munsey's Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, and Puck.
Bangs's first national best-seller, Coffee and Repartee, was published in 1893. Other widely read books by Bangs include The Houseboat on the Styx (1896) and its sequel, In Pursuit of the House-Boat (1897).
Bangs was also a playwright who became known for his satirical works for the Broadway stage. His plays include Mephistopheles, A Profanation (1889), A Rebellious Heroine (1896), and "Lady Weazle" (1904), a musical comedy based on Richard Sheridan's School for Scandal. Bangs also produced a series of children's books as well as several volumes of light verse. During his later years, the author enjoyed a busy schedule as a lecturer and after-dinner speaker.
Family: Born May 27, 1862 in Yonkers, NY; died January 21, 1922, in Ogunquit, ME; son of Francis Nehemiah Bangs and Frances (Bull) Bangs; married Agnes Lawson, March 3, 1886; married Mary Blakeney Gray, April 27, 1904; children: four sons from first marriage. Education: Graduated from Columbia College, 1883.
Humorist, editor, playwright, poet, and author. Associate editor of Life, 1884-1888; joined Harper Magazine in 1888, remained until 1899; assumed editorship of Harper's Weekly and Munsey's Weekly, 1899.
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
FANTASTY NOVELS (House-boat on the Styx series)
* (Published anonymously) Roger Camerden: A Strange Story, Coombes (New York, NY), 1887.
* Mephistopheles: A Profanation, Gilliss (New York, NY), 1889.
* Toppleton's Client, or A Spirit in Exile, Webster (New York, NY), 1893.
* (Published anonymously) Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica, Harper (New York, NY, and London, England), 1895.
* A House-boat on the Styx, Harper (New York, NY), 1895.
* A Rebellious Heroine, Harper (New York, NY), 1896.
* The Pursuit of the House-boat, Harper (New York, NY), 1897.
* The Enchanted Type-writer (House-boat), Harper (New York, NY), 1899.
* Olympian Nights, Harper (New York, NY), 1902.
* Alice in Blunderland, Doubleday Page (New York, NY), 1907.
* The Autobiography of Methuselah, Dodge (New York, NY), 1909.
* Worlds of Never: Three Fantastic Novels, edited by Douglas Menville and R. Reginald, Arno Press (New York, NY), 1978.
FANTASY SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
* (With Frank Dempster Sherman as Two Wags) New Waggins of Old Tales, Ticknor (Boston, MA), 1888.
* The Water Ghost, and Others, Harper (New York, NY), 1894.
* Ghosts I Have Met, and Some Others, Harper (New York, NY), 1898.
* Over the Plum-pudding, Harper (New York, NY), 1901.
* Mr. Munchausen, Noyes Platt (Boston, MA), 1903.
* Bikey the Skicycle, and Other Tales of Jimmie-Boy, Riggs (New York, NY), 1902.
* Jack and the Check-book, Harper (New York, NY), 1911.
* Shylock Homes: His Posthumous Memoirs, Dispatch-Box Press (Arlington, VA), 1973.
* (With S. W. Van Schaik) Lorgnette, Coombes (New York, NY), 1886.
* Katharine: A Travesty, privately published (New York, NY), 1888.
* Emblemland(juvenile), Harper (New York, NY), 1902.
* Mollie and the Unwiseman, Coates (Philadelphia, PA), 1902.
* (With others) The Whole Family, Harper (New York, NY), 1908.
* Mollie and the Unwiseman Abroad, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1910.
OTHER SHORT STORIES
* Tiddkedywink Tales, DeWitt (New York, NY), 1892.
* In Camp with a Tin Soldier, Russell (New York, NY), 1892.
* Coffee and Repartee, Harper (New York, NY), 1893.
* Half-Hours with Jimmieboy, Russell (New York, NY), 1893.
* Mantel-Piece Minstrels, and Other Stories, Russell (New York, NY), 1896.
* Past Jewels: Being Seven Tales of Domestic Woe, Harper (New York, NY), 1897.
* The Dreamers, a Club, Harper (New York, NY), 1899.
* The Booming of Acre Hill, and Other Reminiscences of Urban and Sub-urban Life, Harper (New York, NY), 1900.
* The Inventions of the Idiot, Harper (New York, NY), 1904.
* Mrs. Raffles, Harper (New York, NY), 1905.
* R. Holes & Co., Harper (New York, NY), 1906.
* Andiron Tales, Winston (New York, NY), 1906.
* Jimmieboy's Tool Chest, Harper (New York, NY), 1907.
* Potted Fiction, Doubleday Page (New York, NY), 1908.
* A Little Book of Christmas, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1912.
* Santa Claus and little Billie, Browne and Howell (New York, NY), 1914.
* Carmen: The Song of the Toreador, adapted from the libretto by Bizet to accompany artwork by Frank M. Gregory, Dean (London, England), 1891.
* The Flower Song and the Spinning Song,, adapted to accompany artwork by Frank M. Gregory, Dean (London, England), 1891.
* Lohengrin, adapted to accompany artwork by Frank M. Gregory, Dean (London, England), 1891.
* Tiddledywink's Poetry Book, Russell (New York, NY), 1892.
* A Prophecy and a Plea, privately published (New York, NY), 1897.
* To the Rough Riders, privately published (New York, NY), 1899.
* Songs of Cheer, Sherman French (Boston, MA), 1910.
* Eight Brand New Bits of Christmas Cheer, Leighton and Valentine (New York, NY), 1911.
* Echoes of Cheer, Sherman French (Boston, MA), 1912.
* Line o'Cheer for Each Day of the Year, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1913.
* The Foothills of Parnassus, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1914.
* Quest for Song, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1915.
* The Cheery Way, Harper (New York, NY), 1919.
* The Bicyclers and Three other Farces, Harper (New York, NY), 1896.
* Proposal under Difficulties, Harper (New York, NY), 1905.
* The Worsted Man (musical), Harper (New York, NY), 1905.
* The Real Thing and Three other Farces, Harper (New York, NY), 1909.
* Young Folk's Minstrels, Harper (New York, NY), 1913.
* The Chafing-Dish Party, Harper (New York, NY), 1913.
* A Dramatic Evening, Harper (New York, NY), 1913.
* The Fatal Message, Harper (New York, NY), 1913.
* Three Weeks in Politics, Harper (New York, NY), 1894.
* The Idiot, Harper (New York, NY), 1895.
* Peeps at People, Harper (New York, NY), 1899.
* Cobwebs from a Library Corner, Harper (New York, NY), 1899.
* A House Party: An Account of Stories Told at a Gathering of Famous American Authors, storytellers introduced by Paul Leicester Ford, Small, Maynard, & Company (Boston, MA), 1901.
* Uncle Sam Trustee: Cuba of Today, Harper (New York, NY), 1902.
* The Genial Idiot: His View and Reviews, Harper (New York, NY), 1908.
* The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors: William Dean Howells, Harper (New York, NY), 1908.
* From Pillar to Post, Century (New York, NY), 1916.
* Short Stories from Life: The Eight-One Prize Stories in "Life's" Shortest Story Contest, Doubleday, Page, & Company (Garden City, NY), 1916.
* Half Hours with the Idiot, Harper (New York, NY), 1917.
* (With Laurence Hutton) Harper's Lost Reviews, Kraus-Thomson Organization (Millwood, NY), 1976.
ohn Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 - January 21, 1922) was an American author and satirist, and the creator of modern Bangsian fantasy, the school of fantasy writing that sets the plot wholly or partially in the afterlife.
He was born in Yonkers, New York. His father was a lawyer in New York City.
He went to Columbia University from 1880 to 1883 where he became editor of Columbia's literary magazine and contributed short anonymous pieces to humor magazines. After graduation in 1883, Bangs entered Columbia Law School but left in 1884 to become Associate Editor of Life under Edward S. Martin. Bangs contributed many articles and poems to the magazine between 1884 and 1888. During this period, Bangs published his first books.
In 1888 Bangs left Life to work at Harper's Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and Harper's Young People. From 1889 to 1900 he held the title of Editor of the Departments of Humor for all three Harper's magazines and from 1899 to 1901 served as active editor of Harper's Weekly. Bangs also served for a short time (January-June, 1889) as the first editor of Munsey's Magazine and became editor of the American edition of the Harper-owned Literature from January to November, 1899.
He left Harper & Brothers in 1901 and became editor of the New Metropolitan magazine in 1903. In 1904 he was appointed editor of Puck, perhaps the foremost American humor magazine of its day. In this period, he revived his earlier interest in drama. In 1906 he switched his focus to the lecture circuit.
Agnes Hyde Bangs, his wife with whom he had three sons, died in 1903. Bangs then married Mary Gray. In 1907 they moved from Yonkers to Ogunquit, Maine where John Kendrick Bangs died on 1922 at age fifty-nine.