Suzanne Glazer, a longtime library marketing director at Atheneum and Random House, died of esophageal cancer on April 22 in New York City. She was 81.
Glazer was born in the Bronx on August 18, 1935, and was a New Yorker through and through. She attended Hunter High School and Hunter College in Manhattan, before receiving her master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. Glazer began her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, where she worked as assistant coordinator of children’s services under Harriet Quimby. She would bring her first-hand experience placing books in the hands of young patrons to her career in children’s book publishing.
It was through Quimby’s friend Mimi Kayden, then associate publisher and head of marketing at Dutton, that Glazer was introduced to the publishing field. When Kayden learned of an opening at Atheneum’s library promotions department, she recommended that Glazer apply. Glazer served as Atheneum’s library promotion director from the late 1960s until 1980, working closely with such authors as E.L. Konigsburg and Susan Cooper.
The job kept her on the road for 18 weeks a year, traveling for conventions and meetings with institutional book-purchasers. “She had a lot of class. She was a great entertainer,” said Kayden. Glazer reflected on this time in the industry and in her career during a 2001 interview with PW. As a former librarian, Glazer said, “I was able to talk [librarians’] language.”
Weathering a number of mergers and upheavals, Glazer went on to head the school and library department at Random House in the early 1980s. Suzanne Murphy, now president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, got her start working for Glazer as a marketing manager, from the late 1980s to mid-90s. “She was beloved and very well-known in the library world and in the industry. For those who worked with her, it was a great training ground for all of our careers,” Murphy said. Glazer’s mentorship often took a colorful form: “I remember the first time I wrote copy for a marketing brochure. [Suzanne] was famous for taking out her purple pencil and marking up whatever you sent her. I never saw so much purple in my life. It was like Harold’s purple crayon—or Suzanne’s purple pencil!” she said.
In the mid-1990s, after Random House integrated its children’s school and library department into one marketing and publicity department, Glazer left the company and began a consulting business, helping small and independent publishers promote their children’s books to the school and library market. One of Glazer’s clients, former v-p and publisher of Soundprints Elisabeth Prial, called her “a pillar of a bygone generation in children’s book publishing. But what I cherish most about my relationship with Suzanne was how it transitioned from mentor to colleague to friend to family. She was truly a force of nature and will be deeply missed.” Glazer retired from publishing in 2003.
Kayden remembers her longtime friend and colleague as a passionate New Yorker. “What she was most loyal to was New York City and the New York Yankees,” said Kayden. She also noted Glazer’s dedication to her work. “She made a great name for herself by her willpower and her intellect and her style,” Kayden said.
“[Suzanne] was completely and fully dedicated to the Random House authors and illustrators and to the children’s book world,” Murphy said. “It’s sad to think that so many people she worked with are also gone. I think she had a major impact on the industry—certainly on my career and on the careers of those who worked with her.”