Alice Mayhew, v-p and editorial director of Simon & Schuster, died on February 4 at her home in New York. She was 87. News of Mayhew’s death was released in a note from S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy to the company’s staff.
After jobs with Commonweal, Harper & Row, and Random House, Mayhew joined S&S in 1971, and is perhaps best known for editing All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. She would become the editor for all of Woodward’s books S&S has released since Men. Reidy called Mayhew “a true mainstay of our publishing efforts,” noting that four authors published by her were awarded the Pulitzer Prize—Taylor Branch, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Diane McWhorter, and Garry Wills.
Mayhew was the editor of numerous bestselling nonfiction works by such authors as Jill Abramson, Jonathan Alter, Stephen Ambrose, Michael Beschloss, Sidney Blumenthal, Steven Brill, David Brooks, Connie Bruck, President Jimmy Carter, C.J. Chivers, John Dean, E.J. Dionne, Richard Engel, Frances FitzGerald, Betty Friedan, Diane von Furstenberg, Robert Gates, David Gergen, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, J. Anthony Lukas, David Maraniss, Sylvia Nasar, Richard Reeves, William Shawcross, Sally Bedell Smith, James B. Stewart, Evan Thomas, Paco Underhill, and Amy Wilentz.
Reidy noted that while Mayhew could be tough, “her passion, enthusiasm and wisdom were always expressed in the service of bringing out the best work possible from her authors, and then assuring that they received the best possible publication they could expect to receive.”
S&S publisher Jonathan Karp observed of Mayhew that “she had the grit of TR and the wit of FDR." Needless to say, Reidy continued, she was highly opinionated, and we were the beneficiaries of her unique insights, which served to make all of us better at what we do. Not least, her office was a training ground for innumerable assistants who went on to great accomplishments and careers in book publishing and related fields.
In closing, Reidy said: “It is difficult to imagine Simon & Schuster without Alice and her unrelenting energy: her contribution to our company and our culture has been immense, and she will be deeply missed both here and in the larger literary community.”
Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.