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Barbara Klaw, 1920-2002

November 2018

Just we went to press, we learned that Barbara Klaw, a valued friend and colleague, had died at her home in West Cornwall, Connecticut, on December 14. Born in New York City in 1920, the daughter of the historian Carl Van Doren, she married the writer Spencer Klaw and in 1944 published her first book, Camp Follower , about the travails of being a young wife in wartime. Bobbie came to this company in the early 1960s and stayed for more than a quarter-century, working first at Horizon magazine and then at American Heritage . She was good at every editorial duty, especially, perhaps, at winnowing the mustard seed of a fine article out of a 500-page book manuscript and conducting interviews for the magazine —among them memorable ones with Marian Anderson and Lady Bird Johnson. She was unflaggingly good-humored, possessed of a keen and sometimes mischievous wit, and was the object of affectionate respect for everyone who had the privilege of working with her.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, it was Bobbie who came up with a way for the next issue, then at the printer’s, to mark the event. Cards were inserted in every copy; they bore a poem by Emily Dickinson:


The bustle in a house The morning after death Is solemnest of industries Enacted upon earth,— The sweeping up the heart, And putting love away We shall not want to use again Until eternity.