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 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]

Selected works[edit]

Front cover of The Idiot (1895)
  • The Lorgnette (1886)
  • Roger Camerden: A Strange Story (1887)
  • Mephistopheles: A Profanation (1889)
  • Tiddledywink Tales (1891)
  • Coffee and Repartee (1893); perhaps revised 1899, see The Idiot series
  • Toppleton's Client: or A Spirit in Exile (1893)
  • Three Weeks in Politics (1894)
  • The Water Ghost, and Others (1894)
  • "Thurlow's Christmas Story" (1894) – included in Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others (1898) and in American Fantastic Tales, ed. Peter Straub (The Library of America, 2009)
  • A Summers Sojourn (1895)
  • Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica (1895), illus. H. W. McVickar
  • A Rebellious Heroine (1896), illus. W. T. Smedley
  • The Bicyclers, and Three Other Farces (1896)
  • Paste Jewells (1897)
  • Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others (1898)
  • Peeps at Peoples: Passages from the Writings of Anne Warrington Witherup, Journalist (1899), illus. Edward Penfield
  • The Dreamers: A Club (1899), illus. Edward Penfield
  • The Booming of Acre Hill (1900)
  • Over the Plum Pudding (1901)
  • Bikey the Skicycle and Other Tales of Jimmieboy (1902)
  • Emblemland, by Bangs and editorial cartoonist Charles Raymond Macauley (1902); also issued as Rollo in Emblemland
  • Mollie and the Unwiseman (1902)
  • Olympian Nights (1902)
  • Worsted Man: A Musical Play for Amateurs (1905)
  • Alice in Blunderland: An Iridescent Dream (1907), illus. Albert Levering
  • The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors (1908) – one chapter by Bangs
  • 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)
Raffles series

These two short story collections are sequels 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 series

There were 1899 editions of both Coffee and Repartee, copyright 1893, and Coffee and Repartee and the Idiot, copyright 1893, 1895, 1899 (both available online at HathiTrust Digital Library, HDL). Perhaps one or both works were revised.

  • Coffee and Repartee (1893), illustrated
  • The Idiot (1895), illus. F. T. Richards
  • The Idiot at Home (1900), illus. Richards
  • The Inventions of the Idiot (1904)
  • The Genial Idiot: His Views and Reviews (1908)
  • Half-Hours with the Idiot (1917)

Illustrations in Coffee and Repartee, unsigned, and The Idiot, clearly signed "F. T. Richards", were not credited (both available online at HDL). The Library of Congress reports "F.T. Richards" credited on the title page of The Idiot at Home, 1900 (first edition).[4]

Associated Shades series

Originally the Associated Shades is an exclusive men's club in Hades, whose members are the shades of famous people, including Adam and Baron Munchausen but primarily historical writers: Homer, Confucius, Shakespeare, president Walter Raleigh, Johnson and Boswell, and many others. All four books were illustrated by Peter Newell


  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. 
  4. ^ "Richards, F. T. (Frederick Thompson), 1864–1921". Library of Congress Authorities. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. pp. 39–40. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]