Image of John Kendrick Bangs


Lifetime: 1862 - 1922 Passed: ≈ 101 years ago


Author, Humorist, Editors, Atirist


United States

John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs was an American author, humorist, editor and satirist. 

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


He went to Columbia College from 1880 to 1883 where he became editor of Columbia's literary magazine, Acta Columbia, and contributed short anonymous pieces to humor magazines. After graduation in 1883 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Political Science, 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, though he continued to contribute to Life. 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. 


In 1894, Bangs ran for the office of mayor of Yonkers, New York, but was defeated. He also was a member of the Board of Education in Yonkers. 


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 and 1906 Bangs was known to have spent at least parts of his summers at the Profile House 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. 


In 1918, he lectured for YMCA and allied troops on the battle front in France during World War I. 


In 1886, he married Agnes L. Hyde, with whom he had three sons. Agnes died in 1903. Bangs then married Mary Blakeney Gray of New York in 1904. 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. 

Books by John Kendrick Bangs

Mr. Munchausen Cover image

Mr. Munchausen

Fiction Novel
Truth Travels

Mr. Munchausen is a novel by John Kendrick Bangs, written in the style that has become known as Bangsian fantasy. It is the fourth book of Bangs' Associated Shades series.

A House-Boat on the Styx Cover image

A House-Boat on the Styx

Fantasy Fiction Novel
Short Stories Myths

A House-Boat on the Styx is a fantasy novel written by John Kendrick Bangs in 1895. The original full title was A House-Boat on the Styx: Being Some Account of the Divers Doings of the Associated Shades. The novel was first published by Harper B...

The Autobiography of Methuselah Cover image

The Autobiography of Methuselah

Satire Fiction Memoir
Bible Fictional Biography

A satirical look at early biblical events from the point of view of someone who was there to witness most of them: the oldest man in recorded history.

Alice in Blunderland  Cover image

Alice in Blunderland

Satire Humour
Children Fantastique Parody Economic Humorous Fiction America United States

Alice travels to Blunderland where nothing is supposed to be, children live in the Municipal House of the Children and the Duchess and the City are their parents. Familiar characters made famous by Alice in Wonderland make appearances in the book, in...

The Genial Idiot  Cover image

The Genial Idiot

Fiction Humour
hunt Love Journey Humorous Fiction

John Kendrick Bangs once again takes us on a journey with the loveable, but somewhat self-opinionated and irritating Mr Idiot.

Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others Cover image

Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others

Fiction Humour
Short Story Ghost Story Classics Horror General Fiction

New York-born John Kendrick Bangs was associate editor and then editor of Life and Harper magazines, eventually finding his way into the Humour department. Here he began to write his own satire and humour. Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others is a delig...