Barbara Epstein

Barbara Epstein (August 30, 1928 – June 16, 2006) was a literary editor and founding co-editor of The New York Review of Books.

Barbara Epstein
Barbara Zimmerman

(1928-08-30)August 30, 1928
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedJune 16, 2006(2006-06-16) (aged 77)
Spouse(s)Jason Epstein (1953-1990)
Partner(s)Murray Kempton (until his death)

Life and work

Epstein, née Zimmerman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a Jewish family, and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1949. In 1953, she and editor Jason Epstein began a marriage that lasted 37 years.[1]

Epstein rose to prominence as the editor at Doubleday of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, among other books.[2] She next worked at Dutton, McGraw-Hill and the Partisan Review.[1]

During the New York newspaper strike of 1963, Barbara and Jason Epstein, together with friends Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick, founded the biweekly magazine The New York Review of Books, which Barbara called "the paper".[3] She and Robert B. Silvers became the editors. Barbara Epstein remained at the New York Review of Books as an editor for 43 years.[4][1]

The Epsteins divorced in 1990; Barbara Epstein lived with journalist Murray Kempton until his death in 1997.[1] She continued in her editing until shortly before her death.

Epstein died on June 16, 2006 of lung cancer[4] in New York City at age 77.[5]


  1. Mcgrath, Charles (17 June 2006). "Barbara Epstein, Editor and Literary Arbiter, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  2. Sawyer, Kem Knapp (September 21, 2006). "Barbara Epstein and 'The Diary of Anne Frank'". New York Review of Books. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  3. Atlas, James. "The Ma and Pa of the Intelligentsia", New York Magazine, September 18, 2006, accessed February 6, 2013
  4. The Economist obituary
  5. Epstein, 1928–2006' The New York Review of Books 16 June 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
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