William J. Garry, editor of Bon Appetit magazine, died at age 56 on this day (June 29) in 2000. According to Garry's obituaries, he and another editor, reportedly Rochelle Udell of Self magazine, were so underwhelmed by the food at one late-1990s National Magazine Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria that they ordered room service (pizza and shrimp) for themselves and their tablemates.
Forty years ago today (June 28, 1971) syndicated columnist Bob Considine facetiously proposed the launch of Newsleak, a magazine devoted to all the leaked information then emanating from Congress and the Nixon White House.
"If you can sit placidly, perhaps gratefully, while another slashes your copy with an editing pencil, removing words, changing sentences, and feel no deep urge to plunge the despoiler's pencil into his thorax, there is a good chance you will never be an author." — Ralph Daigh, who spent much of his career as an editor at Fawcett Publications, in his 1977 book, "Maybe You Should Write a Book."
"The successful editor of the future must differ much from the type that popular conception has hitherto raised upon a pedestal. The hero of literature and affairs who considers it his mission to instruct the public in taste and morals and polity has gone forever. The schoolmaster's grave is deep. The dictator's grave is deeper." — Robert Sterling Yard, writing in 1915. Yard was an editor-in-chief of The Century Magazine and later a founder of The Wilderness Society, which calls him "protector of our national parks."
Today is the birthday of the wonderfully named Sumner Blossom, born June 25, 1892. Blossom served as editor of Popular Science Monthly and then American Magazine. At the latter he introduced a system in which fiction manuscripts were read with the author's name obscured so that famous writers and unknowns would both be judged solely on merit. Blossom died in 1977.
"I now go on the principle that a journalist isn't entitled to friends, or an editor, either." — New Yorker founding editor Harold Ross, in a 1941 letter to Brendan Gill, future author of the memoir "Here at the New Yorker," reprinted in "Letters From the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross," edited by Thomas Kunkel (The Modern Library, 2000).
On this day (June 20) in 1929, newspapers reported that Boston police had barred Scribner's Magazine from that city's newsstands because of a supposedly salacious excerpt from Ernest Hemingway's new novel "A Farewell to Arms."
"I used to picture the editor in some such way as a children are supposed to picture God—a dreadfully austere personage, heavily bearded, fiery-eyed, robed like a judge. He sat at a huge desk in awful stillness, with a checkbook at his left elbow, a mail chute at his right, and a pile of shopworn manuscripts before him; and, if he pulled the checkbook toward him, he frowned and muttered; but if he used the mail chute, it was with a gay flourish and a nasty laugh...." — Kenneth Payson Kempton, a college teacher and magazine contributor, in the book "How to Write for a Living" (1937)