Margaret Kaplan, former senior v-p and executive editor of Abrams Artbooks, died on February 20, of cancer. She was 91.
Kaplan joined Abrams as editor in 1964, when she was hired by Harry N. Abrams. She rose to executive positions throughout her career and was named senior v-p and executive editor at Abrams in 1984. In 2002, she became editor-at-large, and continued to develop book projects for Abrams until 2015.
During her time at Abrams, she initiated the publisher's transition from solely artbooks to illustrated books, introducing books on flower arranging, beadwork, the entertainment industry, and dozens of books about golf.
Kaplan also ran Abrams's art history textbook division, a co-venture with Prentice Hall that grew around the success of Janson's History of Art, Abrams's first million-copy seller. She worked with major museums across the country to publish their exhibition catalogs and was a mentor, champion and editor for many contemporary artists, photographers, scholars, and authors, including Wolf Kahn, Dale Chihuly, Paul Jenkins, and Lucas Samaras. She also served as an active board member of Art Table.
Elaine Stainton, former Abrams arts editor and current Doyle Gallery executive, called Kaplan "a legend among publishing art historians." Abrams executive editor Eric Klopfer remembers her as "a pioneer, both at Abrams and within the publishing industry."
She is survived by her daughter, Maryan K. Jaross; two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren with another on the way. She was predeceased by her husband, Morris L. Kaplan, a reporter for the New York Times.
Mourners may contribute to the Margaret L. Kaplan ’49 Scholarship Fund at Barnard College, which supports art history students.