Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Johns Harrington (1918-1992)

Author, Journalist, Editor, Educator
Born September 15, 1918, New York
Died October 10, 1992, California

Johns Heye Harrington was born on September 15, 1918, in New York. His father, Mark R. Harrington (1882-1971), was an anthropologist, archaeologist, author, and museum curator who worked at the American Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Harvard, and the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (where he would have crossed paths with Alanson Skinner, subject of a previous posting). In 1928, Dr. Harrington relocated to California to assume duties as Director of Research at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles (now part of the Autry National Center). Over the course of his long career, Dr. Harrington excavated a number of important sites in the American Southwest, including one called The Lost City, located in Nevada. He also lived among and studied 43 Indian tribes. In 1930, Dr. and Mrs. Harrington acquired an old, abandoned adobe house. They renovated the house and lived there until 1945. Their son, Johns Harrington, must have lived an exciting childhood.

Johns Harrington attended the University of Southern California (USC) for four years, serving on the staff of The Wampus (the college humor magazine), The Daily Trojan (the college newspaper), and The Alumni Review. In his senior year, he served as president of his chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the National Professional Journalism Fraternity. He was also member of Phi Kappa Phi and graduated in 1940. World war interrupted his budding career. He enlisted in September 1942 as a private.

After the war, Harrington carried on in his chosen field. He wrote travel articles that appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Desert Magazine. He spent many years--perhaps a career--with the Los Angeles City Schools as editor of publications. He also contributed to educational journals and books. His work for Weird Tales consisted of a single story, "The Teakwood Box," from March 1938. At the time the story was published, its author was a student at USC and all of nineteen years old.

Harrington lived in Tujunga, California, for many years. His last residence was Glendale. Johns H. Harrington died on October 10, 1992, probably in California.

Johns Harrington's Story and Letter in Weird Tales
Letter to "The Eyrie" (Sept. 1937)
"The Teakwood Box" (Mar. 1938)

Further Reading
You can read more about Mark Harrington at the website of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, here, and at the website of the Las Vegas Review-Journal's "First 100," here.

Mark R. Harrington was a prominent anthropologist and archaeologist.
His son, Johns H. Harrington (shown here, top right), followed in his footsteps, at least as far as academic achievement went. Journalist, editor, author, and educator, he also earned a Ph.D.
Harrington's story appeared in the March 1938 issue of Weird Tales. His name was crowded from the cover (drawn by Margaret Brundage) by luminaries such as Seabury Quinn, H.P. Lovecraft, Henry Kuttner, and Jack Williamson.

Note: Thanks to Weird Tales researcher Randal Everts for confirmation that Johns Heye Harrington was the writer for Weird Tales and for Harrington's middle name.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

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