Alan Bonnell Hathway

Alan B. Hathway was born in May 22, 1906 in Chicago, Illinois (Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922). 

The 1920 United States Census, dated January 9, 1920, shows Alan Hathway living at 713 Spruce Street in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan

The 1921 City Directory for Sault Sainte Marie shows Alan B. Hathway at 601 South Street.  This is also the residence of his parents. His occupation is listed as Student.

An immigration document from the SS President Harding, dated September 17, 1926, departing Bremerhaven, Germany listed Hathway as part of the crew with rank of Ordinary Seaman.

Alan Hathway and Evelyn Eddy were married on July 31, 1929 in Manhattan.

The 1930 US Census, dated April 14, 1930 lists Hathway’s residence as 112 Westfield Avenue, Elizabeth,New Jersey.  His occupation is Newspaper Reporter.  His spouse is Evelyn E. Hathway.

Articles by Hathway begin appearing in the New York Daily News in 1931.  There is a steady flow of articles up until 1939.

The April 24, 1932 issue of the New York Daily News carried a fictional piece by Alan Hathway titled Legerdemain.  Included with the article is a biographical article that appears to be tongue-in-cheek.  Hathway describes himself in an amusing fashion.


Another fictional piece by Hathway appears in the May 23, 1932 issue of the New York Daily News titled The Unseen Barrier.  Another humorous biographical piece is highlighted at the top of the story.  Here Hathway alludes to having worked as an able seaman on the Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean.

The May 13, 1933 issue of the New York Daily News showcased Hathway’s story Alibi.

In 1935, Alan Hathway was living at 3993 48th Street, Long Island City, New York as reported in the 1940 United States Census

The December 2, 1936 issue of the New York Daily News displayed a photograph of the signing of a labor agreement between the News Syndicate Company, Inc. and the Newspaper Guild of New York.  Alan Hathway was chairman of the Guild and is prominently features in the photograph.


Hathway’s name appeared in the May 1, 1937 edition of the New York Daily News.  This time he was part of the article.  There was trouble at a picket line at the Long Island Daily Press plant.  Hathway was a staunch unionist and could not stay away.  He showed up at the picket line and created such a ruckus that the police arrested him. Hathway spent the night in jail. The paper lists his address as 3901 44th Avenue which is different from that reported on the 1940 US Census.

On October 12, 1937, Alan and Evelyn Hathway were on board the RMS Lady Drake departing Trinidad and headed for Boston, Massachusetts, arriving on October 25, 1937. (New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957)

Image courtesy of the Collection of Björn Larsson

No articles appeared on a search of 1939.  It appears Hathway was busy with his writing career. 

The 1940 United States Census, dated May 2, 1940, lists Alan Hathway’s residence as 3993 48th Street, Long Island City, New York.  His occupation is Newspaper Editor.  Another Kenneth Robeson, Harold A. Davis, was living nearby at 3937 on the same street. 

The May 4, 1940 edition of The Evening News of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, has a short piece on Alan Hathway.  The item explains that Hathway is taking a one-year leave of absence from his employer to spend on story writing and his family.  The article also notes that Hathway has previously worked for the paper.

Hathway is credited with writing four Doc Savage novels.

  • The Devil’s Playground (January 1941)
  • The Headless Men (June 1941)
  • The Mindless Monsters (September 1941)
  • The Rustling Death (January 1942)

Below is Alan Hathway’s Selective Service Registration card dated October 16, 1940 on the back.  Prior to seeing this document, I was always under the impression his middle name was Brown.  The card lists his middle name and Bonnell.   His mother’s full name was Jennie Bonnell Grafft (1871-1972).    The document carries the following statement: I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.  

Will Murray also remarks that Hathway wrote under the pen name Jack Bonnell.  All things considered, it appears Hathway used the name Brown whenever he could but put his actual name, Bonnell, on his draft registration card.  Hathway’s paternal grandmother was named Brown which may be the source of the name.

Hathway’s leave of absence from the New York Daily News did not help his career.  His fellow pulp writer, Harold Davis was working at Newsday and hired Hathway as City Editor in 1942.

By many accounts, Hathway possessed a combative personality but he was a good manager, a trait lacking Davis.  This coupled with Davis’considerable drinking problem resulted in Davis leaving Newsday and Hathway replacing him as Managing Editor in 1944.  It turns out that Hathway was himself a heavy drinker and not very shy about it.

Hathway had a reputation as a quick thinker and at times a little too quick.  In 1943 he ran a headline based on some questionable information.  His goal was to beat the competition with an explosive headline: BABOON TERRORIZES S. SHORE – 7 DAYS – COP SAFARI KILLS IT.  The animal in question turned out to be a rhesus monkey.  The New York Daily News ran an article on July 11, 1943 with the lead COPS ON HUNT FOR MONSTER GORILLA BAG 60-LB MONKEY complete with pictures of a very sympathetic dead monkey and sarcastic comments.*

Hathway stayed on at Newsday for 24 years, rising to position of executive editor, before retiring in 1966.  He died in Palm Beach, Florida on April 15, 1977.  He was 70 years old.

*See Newsday, A Candid History of the Respectable Tabloid by Robert F. Keeler for additional details.