People in a Magazine

The Selected Letters of S. N. Behrman and His Editors at "The New Yorker"


Playwright, biographer, screenwriter, and critic S. N. Behrman (1893–1973) characterized the years he spent writing for The New Yorker as a time defined by “feverish contact with great theatre stars, rich people and social people at posh hotels, at parties, in mansions and great estates.” While he hobnobbed with the likes of Mary McCarthy, Elia Kazan, and Greta Garbo and was one of Broadway’s leading luminaries, Behrman would later admit that the friendships he built with the magazine’s legendary editors Harold Ross, William Shawn, and Katharine S. White were the “one unalloyed felicity” of his life.

People in a Magazine collects Behrman’s correspondence with his editors along with telegrams, interoffice memos, and editorial notes drawn from the magazine’s archives—offering an unparalleled view of mid-twentieth-century literary life and the formative years of The New Yorker, from the time of Behrman’s first contributions to the magazine in 1929 until his death.

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