US ed­i­tor, who res­cued Anne Frank’s di­ary, dies at 93

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

NEW YORK — Ju­dith Jones, the leg­endary ed­i­tor who res­cued Anne Frank’s di­ary from a US pub­lisher’s re­jec­tion pile, died on Wed­nes­day. She was 93.

Jones, a lu­mi­nary of the pub­lish­ing world, who also in­tro­duced the world to Amer­i­can culi­nary writer Ju­lia Child, was close to lit­er­ary gi­ants such as John Updike, Anne Tyler, William Maxwell, John Hersey, Peter Tay­lor and Sharon Olds.

She passed away at her home in Ver­mont, the Knopf Dou­ble­day Pub­lish­ing Group said in a state­ment. She worked for Knopf for more than 50 years, join­ing the com­pany in 1957 and of­fi­cially re­tir­ing only in 2011.

“Ju­dith was a leg­end in book pub­lish­ing,” says Sonny Mehta, chair­man and ed­i­tor-in-chief, pay­ing trib­ute to the once young as­sis­tant who res­cued Frank’s Di­ary of a Young Girl from a re­jec­tion pile in Paris.

The di­ary, which the young Jewish girl had writ­ten while hid­ing from the Nazis be­tween June 1942 and Au­gust 1944, is one of the most fa­mous tes­ti­monies of life dur­ing World War II and one of the most fa­mous diaries of all time.

Frank, who was born in Ger­many and lived with her fam­ily in the Nether­lands, died in the Ber­genBelsen con­cen­tra­tion camp aged 15, just months be­fore the war ended.

Her di­ary was first pub­lished in the Nether­lands in 1947, fol­lowed by French and Ger­man edi­tions in 1950 be­fore ap­pear­ing in Bri­tain and the United States in 1952.

The first US edi­tion of Anne Frank: The Di­ary of a Young Girl ran a mod­est 5,000 copies and con­tained a preface from for­mer first lady Eleanor Roo­sevelt.

Dou­ble­day re­put­edly spent lit­tle on pub­lic­ity, but sales quickly took off.

A sub­se­quent US play Di­ary of Anne Frank was a Broad­way hit and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1956. A 1959 Hol­ly­wood movie won three Os­cars. The di­ary has been a fix­ure on school cur­ric­ula since the 1960s.

World­wide, the di­ary has sold more than 30 mil­lion copies in 67 lan­guages.

Jones was also in­stru­men­tal in per­suad­ing Al­fred Knopf to pub­lish in 1961 Mas­ter­ing the Art of French Cook­ing — a tome that in­tro­duced gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­can home cooks to French food and to now leg­endary chef Ju­lia Child.

“It is no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that she pro­foundly in­flu­enced not only the way Amer­ica reads and but also the way we cook,” Mehta says.

Jones won five Pulitzer Prizes, five Na­tional Book Awards and three Na­tional Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Awards, and her cook­book au­thors won dozens and dozens of prizes, says Knopf Dou­ble­day.


Ju­dith Jones re­ceived the life­time achieve­ment award in 2006 at the James Beard Foun­da­tion Awards cer­e­mony in New York.

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