During his 37 years as a senior editor at The New Yorker, Gardner Botsford blue-penciled nonfiction articles by some of the best writers in the country: Roger Angell, Janet Flanner, Wolcott Gibbs, A.J. Liebling, Joseph Mitchell, Mollie Panter-Downes and Janet Malcolm, who later became his wife.
The son of heiress Ruth Gardner and journalist Alfred Miller Botsford, Gardner was raised in Manhattan’s high society. When his parents divorced and his mother remarried, she wed yeast heir Raoul Fleishmann, whose family financed The New Yorker.
Botsford attended Yale University then landed a job at the magazine as a reporter. He was soon fired by editor Harold Ross and encouraged to obtain more journalism experience elsewhere. Botsford took this advice and acquired a reporting position with The Jacksonville Journal in Florida. He returned to The New Yorker in 1942 as a Talk of the Town reporter.
Later that same year, Botsford was drafted into the U.S. Army. He landed with the First Infantry Division at Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. During his service in the military, Botsford received two war wounds and the Croix de Guerre medal. He returned to The New Yorker after World War II ended and retired in 1982.
Botsford was married twice, first to Katharine Chittendon, who died in 1974, and then to author Janet Malcolm. During his later years, he collected books with unusual titles and penned his memoirs, “A Life of Privilege, Mostly.”
Botsford died on Sept. 27 of bone marrow disease. He was 87.