An “Renaissance Man” can be defined as someone with a diverse education, wide knowledge and proficiency across multiple fields. Henry Haskell – author of Maiden Flight, Boss-Busters and Sin Hounds: A History of the Kansas City Star as well as The Early Music Revival- is an ideal example.
His adept, articulate leadership helped shape NRPA into the national organization it is today, while establishing non-profit organizations to further his social and educational beliefs.
Early Life and Education
Henry Haskell was born in Gallia County, Ohio. As a toddler his family relocated to Bulgaria for three years. On his return, Haskell attended Oberlin College in Ohio while also writing short stories and working at Oberlin Star newspaper.
In 1900, Haskell took over editorial page duties at The Star from Alexander Butts and quickly established an excellent reputation among readers of that publication.
His book Maiden Flight tells the tale of Katharine Wright, sister to Orville Wright of aviation fame, earning praise from readers and critics alike. Haskell has also written multiple nonfiction works including Early Music Revival: A History, which received full-page reviews in both New York Times Literary Supplement and London Times Literary Supplement.
Haskell served as Delaware’s sole congressional representative and chaired the National Park Trust Board during his time. Additionally, he established Joseph E. Lee Memorial Library as an interest-bearing fund within the Trust.
He established and expanded the Union 76 truck stop chain across the United States, pioneering an innovative marketing approach and setting an unprecedented standard in national truck stop marketing strategy. Furthermore, Hill Girt Farm was developed – producing up to 25% of all milk consumed in Delaware!
Katharine Wright Haskell (1874 – 1929) was the sister of aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright and worked alongside them in their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. Later on she pursued an independent career.
Achievement and Honors
Haskell is the author of two nonfiction books on musical subjects: The Early Music Revival (received full page reviews in both The New York Times and London Times Literary Supplement), and Attentive Listening: Three Centuries of Music Criticism. In addition, he has contributed newspaper articles and served on boards like those for UMKC Conservatory of Music, Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra and United Fund.
Dynamy was a non-profit experiential educational organization which provided young people with leadership training and internship opportunities designed to reveal their ambitions and life missions. Dynamy continues its operations today as an Outward Bound affiliate.
Haskell was also active in civic and cultural matters, serving on the executive committees of both UMKC Museum of Art and Kansas City Art Institute. Additionally, he served for many years on the National Rifle Protective Association Board where he served as chairman from 1980-1985; an especially formative and challenging period.
Haskell was active in civic affairs throughout his life. He served on the boards of directors of several organizations such as UMKC Conservatory of Music, Kansas City Philharmonic and United Fund as well as writing plays that were performed at Hollywood Little Theater and UMKC Experimental Theatre.
Haskell served as an annotator for Carnegie Hall in New York and Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin. Additionally, Haskell wrote nonfiction books on musical subjects which earned full-page reviews in both publications: New York Times Book Review and London Times Literary Supplement.
Haskell’s accomplished and engaging leadership played an instrumental role in creating the 18,000-member National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), an umbrella group serving citizen volunteers, professional parks and recreation administrators and educators across America.
His work became widely recognized for its depictions of women. It appeared on many magazine covers such as The Saturday Evening Post, American Magazine, Redbook, McCall’s and Leslie’s Illustrated; additionally they were used on posters commissioned by the US government.
Haskell’s most recent book, Maiden Flight, tells a heartwarming tale about Katharine Wright – sister to world-famous Wright Brothers – which balances between historical fiction and creative nonfiction. Drawing upon Katharine Wright’s articulate love letters to her brother as well as tension between their highly protective fathers. Haskell also contributed articles for The Kansas City Star’s editorial page as he is Henry Haskell’s grandson (Pulitzer Prize-winner editor himself!). Harvard grad and currently working on writing his next book about Kansas City history!