See his autobiography, An Open Book (1980).
His father was Walter Huston, 1884-1950, American actor, b. Toronto, Ont. A character actor, he starred in Kurt Weill's Knickerbocker Holiday (1938). His films include Dodsworth (1936), All That Money Can Buy (1941), and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He won an Academy Award for the last. John Huston's daughter, Anjelica Huston, 1952-, American actress, b. Ireland, worked with her father in Walk with Love and Death (1969), Prizzi's Honor (1985), for which she won an Academy Award, and The Dead (1987).
John Huston Finley (October 19, 1863 – 1940) was born in Grand Ridge, Il., the eldest son of James Gibson and Lydia Margaret McCombs Finley. His father and mother went out as early settlers on the prairies from the East. His father was the great-grandson of the Rev. James Finley, the first minister, it is believed, to settle permanently beyond the Allegheny Mountains in Western Pennsylvania, and brother of Dr. Samuel Finley, President of Princeton College in the middle of the eighteenth century. Mr. Finley’s brother, Robert, who died in his early thirties, was associate editor of the Review of Reviews; his sister, Bertha, died as a missionary in Korea.
Finley was educated in the public schools of Grand Ridge, the Ottawa (Il.) High School, and Knox College, Galesburg, Il., receiving the degree of A.B. and A.M., and afterward took up post-graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University. He was valedictorian of his class at Knox and won the interstate prize in oratory in 1887. He was made an honorary member of the Northwestern Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He was Secretary of the Illinois State Charities Aid Association, 1889-1892, and President of Knox College, 1892-1899. In the latter year, he came to New York, but after a year in the editorial departments of the publishing houses of Harpers and McClure, returned to educational work, upon an invitation to take a newly established chair at Princeton University. He was Professor of Polities at Princeton from 1900-1903, and President of the College of the City of New York from 1903 until 1913, when he was appointed President of the University of the State of New York and State of New York Commissioner of Education. He was also Harvard University exchange lecturer on the Hyde Foundation at the Sorbonne, Paris, 1910-1911.