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Mae Harrington

Gerontology Research Group
Validated By: Gerontology Research Group On Date: Mar. 31st 2003

Mary Agnes "Mae" Harrington (née Maxwell) was an American supercentenarian who was posthumously recognised as the oldest living person in the world. She was not recognised during her lifetime as Kamato Hongo (1887? - 2003) was believed to have been older. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ).


Harrington was born as Mary Agnes Maxwell in Rochester, New York, on 20 January 1889 – some records suggest a birth year of 1887 – as one of five children born to Joseph and Katherine (née McCormick) Maxwell. She grew up on a dairy farm in Clinton, New York.

Harrington married her husband, George, as a young woman. The couple had one son, Donn, in 1912, who was a World War II veteran and died in a plane crash in 1944. Her husband, who worked for a local highway department, died in 1959. Throughout her life, she loved animals, dancing, and entertainer Dean Martin.

Harrington lived independently until the age of 100, when she moved into a retirement home in Utica, New York. She had two nieces, Elizabeth Burns and Dorothy Maxwell, who described her as a private person who suffered from vision and hearing diffculties.

Harrington died on 29 December 2002 at the age of 113 years, 343 days.

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Harrington was a private woman who was not recognised for her longevity during her lifetime. Her age was verified by Robert Young and validated by the GRG posthumously, on 31 March 2003.

In mid-2002, Harrington became the oldest resident of New York ever after breaking the 74-year record of Delina Filkins (1815 – 1928). Harrington’s record would be broken by Fred Hale two years later.

In 2012, support for the validation of Kamato Hongo, allegedly 116 years old in 2003, was withdrawn. Harrington was recognised as the world’s oldest person from the death of Adelina Domingues on 19 August 2002. Upon her own death, the titles of world’s oldest person and woman passed to Yukichi Chuganji and Mitoyo Kawate respectively; Mary Christian became the United States’ oldest resident.

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  • “Clinton woman’s ‘everyday’ life ends at age 113 in nursing home”. Observer-Dispatch. 1 January 2003. Section A, Page 01.