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Hugh Higbee Huhn
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Birth: 1872
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Nov. 24, 1918
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA

On November 24, Hugh H. Huhn, associate editor and dramatic critic, died from a stroke of paralysis. Mr. Huhn did all of his newspaper work in Memphis. He was regarded by legitimate theatrical managers as the best and the last of the old school doing dramatic work in the South.

One of the most colorful chapters in the history of American journalism began in the late 19th century. In New York, fierce battles for circulation raged between newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who ran screaming headlines over the most sensational stories they could find. Eventually, newspapers nationwide followed suit. Although some periodicals were more respectful than others, all strove to entertain readers, not just inform them. -- This era gave birth to the career of Hugh Higbee Huhn, one of the South's most respected drama critics. Huhn wrote for several Memphis newspapers in the early 1890s prior to working for The Commercial Appeal from 1897 to 1918. -- In those days, performers could not rely on movies or television to advance their careers, so they depended on national tours. Through his work as critic for the newspaper, Huhn was able to meet and befriend actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Ethel Barrymore, magician Harry Houdini, the minstrel Al G. Field and many other entertainers as they traveled around the country performing. The walls of Huhn's office at The Commercial Appeal were lined with autographed photos of celebrities and his desk drawers were stuffed with letters from them. -- Huhn was born in Memphis in 1872, the son of accountant John Huhn and Mary Cowden. He worked briefly for Cole Manufacturing Co., and at Nick Williams' bookstore. Huhn's aunt, Jennie Higbee, got him his first newspaper job in the early 1890s at the Appeal-Avalanche. In 1894, The Commercial bought the paper, and Huhn left to work for the then-new Lyceum Theatre, where he worked in the box office, and then as press agent for the second Lyceum after the original theater burned down. Three years later he returned to journalism as a reporter for The Commercial Appeal. -- For years, Huhn filled an enormous amusements section in each Sunday paper. He is best remembered as a drama critic, but his assignments also included covering the police beat and writing editorials and political pieces. He also wrote about nature, and the annual arrival of the circus. From 1903 to1905 he served a term in the Tennessee General Assembly. He was also a nature lover, an inveterate walker in Overton Park and an owner and enthusiast of pure-bred dogs. -- In 1918, Huhn was 46 and living at 1882 Jefferson in Midtown Memphis when he was stricken with paralysis. He died four months later, and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Huhn was survived by his wife of two years, May Dunn Buchanan Huhn. -- After Huhn's death, his widow became something of an institution at The Commercial Appeal. In 1918 May Huhn was hired as the newspaper's switchboard operator. Her home became a temporary rooming house for new reporters, as well as a gathering place for morning chats over coffee. She stayed at the newspaper for 42 years, retiring in 1960.(Memphis Public Library-Hugh Higbee Huhn Theater Collection) 
Family links: 
  John Daniel Huhn (1837 - 1902)
  Mary Belle Cowdon Huhn (____ - 1918)
  May Buchanan Dunn Huhn (1882 - 1968)
Elmwood Cemetery
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA
Plot: Turley 818 (family plot)
Created by: Jen
Record added: Oct 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 78412320
Hugh Higbee Huhn
Added by: Dale Schaefer
Hugh Higbee Huhn
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Anonymous
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- Jen
 Added: Mar. 9, 2013

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