Harnett Kane

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Harnett Thomas Kane
Harnett T. Kane, circa 1954.jpg
Harnett Kane in a Louisiana bookstore, ca. 1954
Born(1910-11-08)November 8, 1910
Died (aged 73)
New Orleans, Louisiana
ResidenceNew Orleans, Louisiana
Alma materTulane University
OccupationAuthor of the American South
Years active1931 – c. 1967

Harnett Thomas Kane (November 8, 1910 – September 4, 1984) was an author of some thirty books of Louisiana and southern history, geography, culture, and fiction. Stricken with Alzheimer's disease in his middle fifties, he was unable to write for the last seventeen years of his life.


A native of New Orleans, Kane is best known for Huey Long's Louisiana Hayride: The American Rehearsal for Dictatorship, 1928–1940, a 1941 study of the corruption of the Long political dynasty in his home state. His 1943 work Bayous of Louisiana examines the major bayous of Louisiana. In the chapter "The Opulent Teche", he refers to Bayou Teche, which flows in South Louisiana through Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes, as "the most handsomely endowed of the bayous"[1]

Other Kane works are Plantation Parade (a look at early plantation houses in Louisiana), Deep Delta Country, Spies for the Blue and the Gray, Natchez on the Mississippi, Young Mark Twain and the Mississippi, Queen New Orleans, The Southern Christmas Cookbook, The Ursulines: Nuns of Adventure, Gone Are the Days, and The Romantic South.[2][3]

The Lady of Arlington is Kane's 1953 novel based on the life of Mary Anna Custis Lee, the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who was a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. The Gallant Mrs. Stonewall is a 1957 novel based on Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and his second wife, Mary Anna Jackson, known as the "widow of the Confederacy." Bride of Fortune is Kane's 1948 novel of Varina Howell Davis, the second wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The Smiling Rebel is his 1955 novel based on the Confederate spy Belle Boyd of Front Royal, Virginia.[3]

Kane wrote book reviews and travel articles for Reader's Digest, The New York Times, Saturday Review, and National Geographic. He began writing while attending Tulane University, from which he graduated in 1931. He became a reporter for several years for the defunct New Orleans Item newspaper.[2]

Upon his death in New Orleans at the age of seventy-three, Kane was survived by two sisters from New Orleans, Florence K. Reynolds and Anne Kane.[2]

A Kane admirer terms him one of the "undersung" authors of Louisiana topics, who "knew his state well and chronicled the landscape, the people, and the culture better than any [other] ... he is unsurpassed for description, concrete detail, and for conveying the voices of [the] people ..."[4]


  • Louisiana Hayride: the American rehearsal for dictatorship, 1928-1940. New York: William Morrow, 1941.
  • The Bayous Of Louisiana. New York: W. Morrow, 1943.
  • Deep Delta Country with Erskine Caldwell. New York: Duell, Sloane & Pearce, 1944.
  • Plantation Parade: the Grand Manner In Louisiana. New York: William Morrow, 1945.
  • Natchez On the Mississippi. New York: W. Morrow, 1947.
  • Bride of fortune: a novel based on the life of Mrs. Jefferson Davis. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1948.
  • New Orleans Woman: a Biographical Novel Of Myra Clark Gaines. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1948.
  • Queen New Orleans: City By the River. New York: Morrow, 1949.
  • Gentlemen, Swords and Pistols. New York: Morrow, 1951.
  • Dear Dorothy Dix. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952.
  • The Lady Of Arlington: a Novel Based On the Life Of Mrs. Robert E Lee. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1953.
  • Spies For the Blue and Gray. Garden City, N.Y.: Hanover House, 1954.
  • The Smiling Rebel. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955.
  • Miracle In the Mountains. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1956.
  • The gallant Mrs. Stonewall: a novel based on the lives of General and Mrs. Stonewall Jackson. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1957.
  • The Southern Christmas Book the Full Story From Earliest Times To Present; people, customs, conviviality, carols, cooking. New York: D. McKay, 1958.
  • The Ursulines. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1959.
  • The Golden Coast. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959.
  • Have Pen Will Autograph. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959.
  • Gone Are the Days: an Illustrated History Of the Old South. New York: Dutton, 1960.
  • The Romantic South. New York: Coward, McCann, 1961.
  • Place du Tivoli: A History of Lee Circle. Boston: The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, 1961.
  • The Amazing Mrs Bonaparte. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963.
  • A picture story of the Confederacy. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1965.
  • Young Mark Twain and The Mississippi. New York: Random House, 1966.


  1. ^ Horace Reynolds (October 31, 1943). "Southern Backwaters; The Bayous of Louisiana. By Harnett T. Kane. Illustrated with drawings by Tilden Landry and photographs. 340 pp. New York: William Morrow & Co. $3.50". The New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Harnett T. Kane, 73, Author of Books About the South". The New York Times. September 14, 1984. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Hartnett T. Kane (1910–1984)". librarything.com. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  4. ^ "A Word's Worth: Louisiana Chronicler – Harnett T. Kane". revmoore.blogspot.com. June 5, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2014.