Robert B. Silvers, the co-founder of the New York Review of Books and its editor since 1963, died on the morning of March 20. He was 87. The NYRB announced the news via its Twitter account on Monday afternoon.
With great sadness we must announce that Robert B. Silvers, founding editor of The New York Review, died this morning after a short illness.— NY Review of Books (@nybooks) March 20, 2017
Silvers founded the NYRB with fellow editor Barbara Epstein, who died in 2006, together with publisher A. Whitney Ellsworth and writer Elizabeth Hardwick. He has since been a mainstay in New York literary and intellectual circles.
After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1947, the Long Island–born Silvers attended Yale Law School before dropping out to work as press secretary for then-Governor of Connecticut Chester Bowles in 1950. In 1952, he moved to Paris, where he served with the U.S. Army at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
While in Paris, Silvers attended the Sorbonne and École des Sciences Politiques, joined the editorial board of The Paris Review in 1954 under George Plimpton, and became Paris editor at the Review in 1956. He served a stint as associate editor of Harper's from 1959 to 1963 before joining the NYRB, where he would remain for the rest of his career.
Silvers was also the editor of the book Writing in America and the translator of La Gangrène, which describes the torture of seven Algerian men by the Paris Security Police in 1958 under Charles de Gaulle.
"Bob Silvers liked to describe his position as being someone in the middle distance, standing between his writers and the readers," NYRB publisher Rae Hederman said. "He always wanted to give complete support to his contributors but never to put himself forward to the public; he wanted the public to know his writers, not him. His always exhausting work schedule was known to many as was his determination to make each article the best it could be. He was unrelenting in his support of what he believed was right and fair and those efforts made him and The New York Review forces for the good."
This article has been updated with comment from the New York Review of Books.