May 28, 2004 by

Roger Straus

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Categories: Business

Roger Williams Straus Jr., co-founder of the Farrar, Straus & Giroux publishing company, died on May 25 of pneumonia. He was 87.
An heir to the Guggenheim fortune, Roger’s mother was Gladys Guggenheim, and his father, Roger W. Straus, was president of the American Mining and Smelting Co. Despite being raised in wealthy social circles, Straus attended Hamilton College for one year before transferring to the journalism school at the University of Missouri. After graduation, he worked as a reporter for a White Plains, N.Y., newspaper and toiled as an editorial assistant at Current History magazine. During World War II, Straus helped run the New York office of the magazine and book section of the Navy Office of Public Relations.
Straus was only 29 years old when he and John Farrar launched their publishing company in 1946. Over the next six decades, its name changed several times and its focus narrowed to the literary market. The company also developed a reputation for establishing contemporary writers like T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Pablo Neruda, Shirley Jackson, Maurice Sendak, Susan Sontag, Tom Wolfe and Scott Turow.
Straus often read manuscripts from the company’s slush piles and handled most editorial and financial decisions. Although he sold the prestigious publishing house 10 years ago to the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, Straus remained largely in charge. In 2001, the Association of American Publishers gave him the Curtis Benjamin Award for Creative Publishing.
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One Response to Roger Straus

  1. Sara Eisner

    Roger Straus and his beautiful and highly intellectual Wife Dorothea were guest at many Shabbat dinners at my and my late husband Jack Eisner’s home in Manhattan.It is with great sorrow that I learn of his passing.My heart goes out to Dorothea.Sara Eisner

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