Mary Law Harris, 88, a former reporter, feature writer and publicist and a longtime Washington resident, died Saturday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home. She had a heart ailment.
Born in Wilsonia, W. Va., Mrs. Harris was reared there, in Westport, Conn., and in Washington, where she moved with her family in 1905. She graduated from the old Business High School.
Before World War I, she worked in temporary jobs at the Agriculture, Justice and old War departments and as a reporter for the old Washington Herald newspaper.
During World War I, she went to work for the House Military Affairs Committee, handling correspondence from servicemen and their relatives.
Mrs. Harris returned to the Herald after the war, where she met and married the newspaper's managing editor, Edwin V. (Ted) Harris, whom she later divorced. An earlier marriage to Edward Merton Law, a real estate broker, also ended in divorce.
She then worked as a Washington publicist, representing clients such as society orchestra leader Meyer Davis, who appeared at the old Willard Hotel in those days.
During Prohibition, Mrs. Harris' clients included private clubs such as Le Paradis and the Club Chantecler, and later, the Shoreham Hotel, now the Shoreham Americana.
In 1954, when The Washington Post purchased the Washington Times-Herald, Mrs. Harris was hired as the newspaper's restaurant and night club editor, a position she held for 10 years before resuming her career as a publicist.
Besides her regular newspaper jobs, she wrote feature stories on the Washington scene for a number of New York publications, including the New York World and the New York Telegram and Hearst newspapers.
Survivors include a son, John Law Harris of Clearwater, Fla.; a daughter, Vivian Feldt of Arlington, eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. A son, Donald L. Harris, died in 1978.