Author, editor and cofounder of Algonquin Books, Louis D. Rubin, Jr. died Saturday at a retirement home in North Carolina, just three days shy of his 90th birthday.

Rubin, who, in 2002, PW called "a Jewish scion of Southern lit," ushered in the careers of writers such as John Barth, Lee Smith and Annie Dillard, among others. He was the author of several of his own books, including Southern Renascence: The Literature of the American South, and My Father's People: A Family of Southern Jews.

Born in South Carolina in 1923, Rubin pursued a career in journalism after graduating from the University of Richmond. He worked for the Associated Press and local newspapers, before enrolling in graduate school, earning his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins and eventually landing a teaching job at Hollins, a Virginia women's college.

Rubin launched Algonquin in 1983 with Shannon Ravenel—a student of his at Hollins and editor of Houghton Mifflin's Best American Short Stories series. The National Book Critics Circle presented Rubin with a lifetime achievement award in 2005.