Hatcher Hughes
Born(1881-02-12)12 February 1881
Died19 October 1945(1945-10-19) (aged 64)
Years active1918–1934
SpouseJanet Ranney

Hatcher Hughes (12 February 1881, Polkville, North Carolina – 19 October 1945, New York City) was an American playwright. He was on the teaching staff of Columbia University from 1912 onward. He was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for his 1923 play Hell-Bent Fer Heaven.

Early life and education

He was the tenth of eleven children of Andrew Jackson Hughes and Martha Jane Gold Hughes. He received both his undergraduate degree (1907) and master's degree (1909) in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]


Hell-bent fer Heaven (1923) was performed 128 times at the Klaw Theater (which later became the Avon and then CBS Theater #2).[2] The play starred multiple Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner George Abbott (author of The Pajama Game, Fiorello, and Damn Yankees) and Clara Blandick (who played Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz). It won a Pulitzer Prize was made into a movie in 1926.[2]

Hughes was a professor at Columbia University.[3] His detailed correspondence is kept in the University of North Carolina archives.[4]


In 1930 he married Janet Ranney Cool. The marriage produced a daughter, Ann Ranney Hughes. During the First World War, he served as an Army captain. He and his family divided their time between their home in New York City and their farm in West Cornwall, Connecticut.[1]



  1. ^ a b Walser, Richard (1988). "Hughes, (Harvey) Hatcher". NCpedia.
  2. ^ a b Fisher, James; Londré, Felicia Hardison (2018). Historical dictionary of American theater: modernism. Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts (2nd ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-5381-0786-7.
  3. ^ "Writers Will Hear Dramatists Speak. Elmer Rice and Hatcher Hughes to Address Club Meeting Tonight". New York Columbia Spectator. March 13, 1929. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Hatcher Hughes Papers (#4210) 1914-1982". Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.