Long standing member and current president of the WTHS, Dr. John E. Harkins is honored for his dedicated work of the Memphis University School Archives.
The Memphis University School archives are now the Harkins Archives, named in honor of school Archivist and Historian Dr. John E. Harkins. At a dedication ceremony in the Joseph R. Hyde, Jr. Library Learning Center May 7, family and friends gathered to celebrate Harkins’ contributions during 30 years at MUS, including his role as a history instructor, chairman of the History Department, Ross M. Lynn Chair of History, and author of the MUS Century Book.
During the dedication Harkins expressed his appreciation for the honor and for the school’s “truly marvelous institutional archives. … I had the privilege of going through everything in the archives when I was working on the Century Book,” he said. “I am really appreciative of what a splendid job this school has done in holding on to its documentary past.” MUS is a college preparatory school for boys founded in the fall of 1893.
“The very same characteristics that made John an excellent teacher and faculty member – his intellectual honesty, his insatiable desire to learn, his willingness to put the school above his personal interests, his great knowledge of history, and his collegiality – make him an excellent archivist, as well,” Headmaster Ellis Haguewood said.
Headmaster Ellis Haguewood , Dr. John E. Harkins, and Mrs. Georgia Harkins
A generous donation by David O. Sacks, MUS class of 1990, former COO of Paypal and CEO of Yammer, made this dedication a reality. Mr. Sacks sent a letter expressing his sentiments, which Haguewood read to the gathering:“Dr. Harkins once told me that MUS, history, and his devoted wife, Georgia, are the three great passions of his life, and so the Harkins Archives represents two of those. I expect Georgia is present today to make it a hat trick.I was very fortunate during my time at MUS to have Dr. Harkins as a teacher and adviser. We got to know each other well during my senior year when I was editor of the yearbook and he was the faculty adviser. … His unwavering support, encouragement, and guidance helped give me the confidence to lead not just that endeavor but large creative enterprises in the future. Looking back, these experiences were remarkably similar. I guess there’s a reason they call it a “preparatory school” – it actually prepares you for life, often in ways that are not apparent at the time. That’s why teachers like Dr. Harkins are so important.
Whether through his diligent pursuit of Memphis history or his long hours spent in the archives organizing MUS history, Dr. Harkins has always gone above and beyond. I can count on one hand the number of people who have made as significant a contribution to my own life as he has. I want to thank Dr. Harkins for all that he has done for me, and I’m grateful to MUS for providing this opportunity to honor him today.”
We of the West Tennessee Historical Society are proud to count Dr. Harkins as a true and valued member and offer our sincere congratulations.