John E. Harkins

Steve Moppert, Portrait Artist
Dr. John Harkins will always be associated with the history of Memphis University School, not only because he taught history here for 26 years and served as department chair for 19 years, but also because he produced the MUS Century Book (August House, 1993, 2002), telling the story of the school from its founding in 1893 through current times. Harkins, who serves as MUS archivist, held the endowed Ross M. Lynn Chair of History from 1992 until his retirement in 2009 and earned the school's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996.
The Daughters of the American Revolution named him Tennessee's Outstanding American History Teacher in 1997. The MUS archives are named in his honor. Harkins has authored many articles and four additional books, including Metropolis of the American Nile: An Illustrated History of Memphis (Windsor, 1982, Guild Bindery, 1991) Historic Shelby County: An Illustrated History (HPN, 2008), and The New Orleans Cabildo: Colonial Louisiana's First City Government, 1769-1803 (with Gilbert C. Din, LSU Press, 1996). His greatest legacy, however, is encompassed in his students, who remember a teacher who made history come to life through his passion and humor, a teacher who served as trusted mentor.