In our 125th anniversary issue in 1997, among the 75 industry figures noted for their important contributions were four from PW itself—founder Frederick Leypoldt, early partner Richard Rodgers Bowker, and longtime coeditors Frederic Melcher and Mildred Smith (see box, p. 46). To correct the record here—or, rather, expand it—we want to acknowledge four PW people from the earliest years to the mid–20th century whose contributions were also essential.

PW’s founding father was Frederick Leypoldt, who began publishing the magazine—known then as The Publishers’ and Stationers’ Weekly Trade Circular—in 1872. Ill health and a nervous disposition are said to have contributed to his early death, in 1884. His wife, Augusta Garrigue Leypoldt, had stepped in as a full-time editor the year before, and she remained at the magazine for the next 30 years. Partnering with Richards Rodgers Bowker, who had taken ownership when the magazine struggled financially, she carried on her husband’s vision for the publication. Of mixed Danish and French descent, Augusta Garrigue met her German-born husband at the home of his first employer in New York City, the book importer F.W. Christern, who happened to be Augusta’s uncle. Indeed, the early decades of PW were like a family, made up of a very small staff of long-tenured bibliophiles. Adolf Growoll was one of them. The son of German immigrants who had come to New York after the 1848 revolution, he began in the book trade at age eight, running errands for a bookstore on Avenue A. He then became a printer, married a compositor, and found himself running off the press pages of the Publishers’ Weekly, which brought him to the attention of Frederick Leypoldt. Growoll spent 33 years at the publication on the editorial side, including a long stint as managing editor. In the 75th anniversary issue, Growoll was lovingly remembered for his jovial spirit and good humor. “Like all New Yorkers,” the recollection concluded sweetly, “he loved a parade.”

As we researched the history of bestsellers for this issue, the name of Alice Payne Hackett came up—everywhere. She oversaw the section for a half-century, until 1974. So authoritative were her lists that R.R. Bowker published a running compilation of them, in hardcover, in four different volumes, through 1975, and extending back, thanks to Hackett’s research, to 1895. From these early lists you might learn that an American novelist named Winston Churchill wrote blockbuster after blockbuster in the early part of the 20th century. Hackett was just as essential in the development of the magazine’s reviews, working at a time (in the 1940s) when book notices slowly morphed into the punchier evaluations we know of today.

Which leads us to Barbara A. Bannon, called elsewhere in this issue “formidable,” but remembered here for being an innovating force. Bannon joined the magazine in 1946 in the “booklisting department,” under the aforementioned Alice Hack­ett. By 1953 Bannon was assigning reviews for the Forecasts department and also reporting on industry events. Beginning in Forecasts as editor of the fiction reviews, by the mid-1960s she was in charge of the entire section. So powerful was her reputation that publishers would ask for permission to credit Bannon in their blurbs for reviews otherwise unsigned, which she would grant. Bannon was a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle and for many years a member of the steering committee for the National Book Awards. She retired in 1983 after 37 years.

In the last 25 years, PW has been served by many loyal book-loving staffers as the magazine, along with the rest of the industry, faced down their challenges. The following half-dozen stand out for the lasting impact they made (and in some cases continue to make) on PW and the business.

John F. Baker

John F. Baker, an Englishman, came to PW as managing editor in 1973. A graduate of Oxford University, John had held several jobs in the U.S., including at Reuters, Venture magazine, and Reader’s Digest Books. Such varied experience must have appealed to editor-in-chief Arnold Ehrlich, for the managing editor position was reinstated for Baker. Baker’s versatility in writing and deft reporting skills were soon in quick evidence, with two long pieces of solid trade magazine coverage—on the Viking Portables series at 30 years and the doings at the new Newsweek Books—along with a dead-cool sit-down interview with Black Panther Huey Newton, who revealed his deep reading in talking to John about his book, Revolutionary Suicide. John’s tenure at PW spanned 31 years altogether (for a brief interval he left to edit Bookviews, a short-lived consumer publication from R.R. Bowker); he became editor-in-chief in 1980 and was appointed editorial director in 1990. Ehrlich’s instincts were certainly right, for John managed his staff and PW through growth and change and some heavy seas, stepping into the spotlight when the times demanded it, writing a controversial editorial criticizing the oust­ing of André Schiffrin at Pantheon, and speaking for the industry in the early hot days of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. And there was the plum—and extremely rare—invitation to interview Jacqueline Onassis at her Doubleday office. A welcome presence at any party, and known at PW for his devilish toasts to departing staffers, John was also a deeply read and politically savvy observer of more than the publishing industry, though it seemed the world came to him through books. John was forever walking to or from the office, to or from a lunch, with his nose in a galley. Remarkably, he was a one-finger typist, but at his side were eloquently handwritten verbatim notes to be transformed into crisp copy. Several longtime staffers learned a great deal from John about how to remain cool under pressure and get things done with care and a little color.

Daisy Maryles

Few have made as big an impact on PW as did Daisy Maryles, who died last spring. Daisy spent 44 years at the magazine, starting as an editorial assistant in 1965 at age 18 while attending night school. During her tenure at the magazine, she did nearly everything editorially imaginable. As Gayle Feldman wrote in her obituary of Daisy, “she could report, interview, write, edit, innovate.” She was, at one time or another, news editor, bookselling and marketing editor, and executive editor. She compiled the weekly bestsellers by herself for years. She single-handedly developed PW’s religion coverage at a time when religion books were only in specialty stores, with their publishers desperately hoping to get into the general trade. With the help of Phyllis Tickle, Henry Carrigan, and later Lynn Garrett, Daisy and her religion team vastly expanded PW’s coverage, as well as the category’s reach. In addition, Daisy was the inner engine behind PW’s ABA and then BEA convention coverage, assigning and editing Show Daily for a quarter-century. In 44 years, in an intimate industry, a good person can be a friend to countless colleagues. Daisy was all that, and is still missed.

Sybil Steinberg

Serendipity and a marriage proposal brought Sybil Steinberg to PW, which Sybil, now in retirement, says “saved my life.” After graduation from Smith College in 1954, Doubleday offered Sybil a coveted entry-level job. But she turned it down in favor of marriage—and for two decades she served as the wife of a physician and mother to three in Westport, Conn.; PTA meetings and articles for the local paper followed, as well as a stint at the Famous Writers School, where she met Jean F. Mercier, who was children’s reviews editor at PW. Serendipity. Mercier asked Sybil to write a review, then offered a fill-in copyediting gig. Barbara Bannon, head of the Forecasts department, asked her to review regularly, which turned into a full-time position in 1979. In 1983 she took on the PW Author Interview, where she had one-on-one conversations with elite literary figures—Updike, Proulx, Ishiguru, and Weldon. It helped her hone her instinct for spotting promising talent with broad appeal and giving it a boost by establishing boxed reviews for special emphasis (Amy Tan’s debut novel, The Joy Luck Club, was the first). Sybil succeeded Bannon as fiction editor and eventually ran the Forecasts department. Sybil and PW had a date with history—and Salman Rushdie—in 1994, when she was invited by Pantheon to fly to London to interview the author, who was, six years after the fatwa, still in hiding. Such an extraordinary assignment in such extraordinary circumstances is fitting testament to the trust and respect that Sybil was accorded from the highest levels of American publishing.

Jim Milliot

Jim was the editor of the trade publishing newsletter BP Report in 1993 when PW publisher Fred Ciporen invited him to lunch. The result: Jim became PW’s business editor; soon he was appointed news editor. Jim was involved with several newsletters, which eventually, under editor-in-chief Sara Nelson, became PW Daily, today boasting more than 40,000 daily subscribers. Jim launched or helped launch many innovative regular features, from “fast-growing indie publishers” to the annual Salary Surveys and Person of the Year feature. In 2010, when George Slowik Jr. took ownership of PW, Jim was named, along with Michael Coffey, v-p and co-editorial director, and has been sole editorial director since Coffey stepped down in 2014. Most importantly, Jim’s steady and reliable coverage of the financial reports of publishers, retailers, and wholesalers as well as analyses of industry trends has provided readers over the years with an invaluable and unmatched view of an industry’s well-being.

Diane Roback

Diane began at PW as a freelancer for Jean F. Mercier, then PW’s children’s editor. At the time PW had no children’s department per se, just the annual spring and fall children’s announcements issues, and two pages of reviews each week, all written by Mercier. When Mercier retired in 1986, John F. Baker hired Diane as children’s book editor, and she started a department in the magazine called Children’s Book Scene, with articles about children’s publishers and authors. In 1988, she inaugurated the first national children’s bestseller list. She also set up a reviews department that relied on a group of freelance reviewers in the way that adult Forecasts had long used them. When PW expanded its digital offerings, Diane began a newsletter in 2005 called Children’s Bookshelf, providing more in-depth and frequent coverage of children’s book news and trends. It quickly became the main source for news in the children’s industry, currently with 33,000 subscribers and 81,000 Twitter followers. The children’s department, now with a staff of five, serves the very strong children’s publishing sector and continues to generate important revenue for PW. Diane also initiated and for many years oversaw, the magazine’s general Twitter feed, which now has more than 800,000 followers.

Calvin Reid

Calvin was hired in 1987 as assistant news editor at PW after working for nearly five years as a typist/production editor at PW’s former sister publication, Library Journal. He worked as the assistant to longtime PW news editor Madalynne Reuter, and was promoted to associate editor in 1988; he continued to grow the magazine’s comics coverage with the help of freelance pop culture journalist Douglas Wolk, who was instrumental in the early expansion of PW’s coverage of graphic novel publishing. By 2005 he was senior news editor. In that same year, he was named coeditor (along with Heidi MacDonald) of PW Comics Week, a weekly newsletter on graphic novel publishing, which later became PW Comics World, a twice-a-month newsletter. In 2011 Reid became cohost (along with cohost Heidi Mac­Donald and producer Kate Fitzsimons) on More to Come, PW’s weekly podcast on comics and graphic novel publishing. It is no wonder that Paul Levitz, former president of DC Comics, elsewhere in this issue credits the coverage Reid initiated in PW for playing a huge role in the phenomenal growth of the comics and graphic novel categories.

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