John Hathaway appeared in The Sandman #1.
In 1916, he was the senior curator of the Royal Museum. He had been approached by Roderick Burgess before about 'loaning' museum pieces, and refused. After the death of his son, Edmund, in battle, however, he agreed to remove the Magdalene Grimoire from the Royal Museum and release it to Burgess, in exchange he expected Burgess to use it's instructions to return his dead son to him. Burgess claimed he lacked only the Grimoire to complete a spell he said would imprison Death. Once imprisoned, he assumed Death could be forced to submit to his will.
Burgess completed the spell, but did not, in fact, capture Death. Hathaway had not only received nothing for his ethical lapse, but he had also opened himself up to blackmail, and Burgess used him to loot the museum of any artifact he cared to have.
In 1920, the Royal Museum reviewed their collections, and revealing missing books and manuscripts. Hathaway came under suspicion almost immediately. Broken, and disgusted with himself, Hathaway confessed all in a suicide note, implicating Burgess as the receiver of stolen goods.
Burgess, however, watched his lapdog try to bite him through magical means. Hathaway stabbed himself and lay dying even as Burgess caused the note to burn. Burgess was questioned about Hathaway's suspicious death, but no action was taken against him due to a lack of evidence. John Hathaway's death was ruled a suicide.