John Kendrick Bangs

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John Kendrick Bangs
John Kendrick Bangs 1922.jpg
Bangs, in 1922
Born (1862-05-27)May 27, 1862
Yonkers, New York
Died January 21, 1922(1922-01-21) (aged 59)
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Occupation Author, editor, satirist
Genre Bangsian fantasy

John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author, editor and satirist.


He was born in Yonkers, New York. His father Francis Nehemiah Bangs was a lawyer in New York City, as was his brother, Francis S. Bangs.[1]

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.

During the period between 1901 & 1906, Mr. Bangs was known to have spent at least parts of his summers at the Profile House[2] in Franconia, New Hampshire. He owned one of the 20 connected cottages adjacent to the large hotel, which he sold to Cornelius Newton Bliss in August of 1906. As a satirical writer, he was also known in the "Profile Cottage" circles as a jokester and prankster and was frequently the jovial topic of hotel guests and cottage owners alike.

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. John Kendrick Bangs died from stomach cancer in 1922 at age fifty-nine, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[3]

Cover of The Idiot by Bangs

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • The Lorgnette (1886)
  • Roger Camerden, A Strange Story (1887)
  • Toppleton's Client: or A Spirit in Exile (1893)
  • Mephistopheles: A Profanation (1889)
  • Tiddledywink Tales (1891)
  • Three Weeks in Politics (1894)
  • The Water Ghost, and others (1894)
  • Thurlow's Christmas Story (1894)
    In 2009, The Library of America selected this story for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub. It can be found in Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others.
  • A Summers Sojourn (1895)
  • Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica (1895)
  • A Rebellious Heroine (1896)
  • The Bicyclers and Three Other Farces (1896)
  • Paste Jewells (1897)
  • Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others (1898)
  • Peeps at Peoples (1899)
  • The Dreamers: A Club (1899)
  • The Enchanted Typewriter (1899)
  • The Booming of Acre Hill (1900)
  • Over the Plum Pudding (1901)
  • Bikey the Skicycle and Other Tales of Jimmieboy (1902)
  • Rollo in Emblemland (1902)
  • Mollie and the Unwiseman (1902)
  • Olympian Nights (1902)
  • Worsted Man: A Musical Play for Amateurs (1905)
  • Alice in Blunderland, An Iridescent Dream (1907)
  • The Whole Family: a Novel by Twelve Authors (1908) – one chapter
  • The Real Thing and Three Other Farces (1909)
  • Echoes of Cheer (1912)
  • A Little Book of Christmas (1912)
  • A Quest for Song (1915)
  • From Pillar to Post (1915)
  • Songs of Cheer (1923)

Bangs wrote two short story collections, a sequel to the "Raffles" books by E.W. Hornung:

  • Mrs.Raffles (1905)
  • Raffles Holmes & Co.: Being the Remarkable Adventures of Raffles Holmes, Esq., Detective and Amateur Cracksman by Birth (1906)
  • The Idiot (1895)
  • Coffee and Repartee (1899)
  • The Idiot at Home (1900)
  • The Inventions of the Idiot (1904)
  • The Genial Idiot: His views and reviews (1908)
  • Half-Hours with the Idiot (1917)



  1. ^ Howard van Sinderen (1920). "Memorial of Francis Sedgwick Bangs". New York County Lawyers' Association Year Book. pp. 232–234. 
  2. ^ Profile House in Franconia Notch,
  3. ^ Will Rogers; Arthur Frank Wertheim; Barbara Bair (1996). The Papers of Will Rogers: The Early Years : November 1879 – April 1904. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 351. OCLC 31331717. 
  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. pp. 39–40. 

External links[edit]