BALTIMORE -- R.P. Harriss, author, critic and newspaperman for more than 60 years, has died after a long battle against bone cancer. He was 87.
Harriss was one of the last survivors of a group of Evening Sun columnists of the '20s and '30s that included H.L. Mencken and Gerald Johnson.
Harriss, whose full name was Robert Preston Harriss, was credited with writing the first article to appear in an American newspaper describing the scientific principles of the atomic bomb in September 1939.
Harriss grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University in 1926.
Known to his close friends as 'Robin' for his love of the tales of Robin Hood, Harriss moved to Baltimore in 1927 and got a job with The Evening Sun's news department. He soon began writing book reviews and drama criticisms as well as news stories.
He left two years later to work for the Paris edition of the New York Herald-Tribune, where he stayed for four years.
Harriss, who died Tuesday at Union Memorial Hospital, returned to The Evening Sun in 1934 and left in 1946 after serving as senior associate editor of the editorial page.
For 10 years he published a Baltimore monthly called Gardens, Houses and People, a publication read in Roland Park, Guilford and other well-to-do city neighborhoods.
In 1957, Harriss joined the staff of the News American as a columnist. When the News American closed in 1986, he began a Sunday column for The Sun.
Harriss is survived by his wife, the former Margery Willis, and one daughter, Clarinda Harriss Lott, an associate professor of creative writing at Towson State University.
A memorial service for Harriss is scheduled for Oct. 28 at St. Michael and All Angels church. The family said burial will be private.