Henry C. Haskell


A "Renaissance man" is defined as one who has had a broad education, acquired profound knowledge, has a proficiency in a wide range of fields, and benefits his community. Henry C. Haskell, playwright, author, editor and columnist for the Kansas City Star, musician, civic leader and philanthropist, certainly qualified for that description.

His father, Henry J. Haskell, began working for the Star in 1898, and by the time his son was born, had become editor of the newspaper. Young Henry’s interest in the paper began at the age of two. As his father arrived home from work, his son would greet him with, "What’s the news?"

Haskell graduated from Harvard in 1924. He traveled to France to study at University of Toulouse and later worked at the London Times, Manchester Guardian, Irish Times, and Glasgow Herald. Returning to Kansas City in 1929, he became an editorial writer for the Star. In 1938, Haskell was appointed art editor and assembled the newspaper’s first special section to cover music, dance, visual arts, book reviews, criticism, and features. To celebrate the city’s Centennial in 1950, Haskell and his friend and colleague on the editorial page, Richard B. Fowler, wrote City of the Future, a hundred-year history of Kansas City.

Haskell’s plays were produced at the Hollywood Little Theater, UMKC’s experimental theater and the Missouri Repertory Theater. One year before he died, the University of Kansas presented his play, "The Sage of Emporia," about legendary newspaper editor, William Allen White.

Henry Haskell and Michael Berbiglia were instrumental in the founding of the Lyric Theater. Haskell also served on the boards of the UMKC Conservatory of Music, the Kansas City Art Institute, the Philharmonic, and the United Fund. In 1969 he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the board of the National Council of the Humanities.

Henry C. Haskell’s life was a life well lived.

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A version of this article previously appeared at http://www.kchistory.org/content/biography-henry-c-haskell-1902-1981-edi...