Knopf, whose parents ran the eponymous publishing house, left that company in 1959 to start Atheneum Publishers. He died yesterday at the age of 90, due to complications from a fall.
One of the last remnants of the family-run publishing industry of old, when Knopf, who went by Pat, left the army after WWII and was asked by his father what he was going to do now, he said, "I guess I'm going to work for you." He did just that until 1959 when he pushed for Simon Michael Bessie to succeed his parents as the editor of the family imprint.
His parents, especially his mother Blanche, didn't like the idea, so he set off with Bessie and another partner, Hiram Haydn, to found Atheneum. The independent house had early successes with the novel The House of the Just and The Making of the President, 1960, about the Nixon/Kennedy campaign. In the 1970's, due to a bad economy, Atheneum merged with Scribner. Then in 1984 Macmillan purchased Scribner, with Knopf staying on to supervise all adult works released by Scribner until he retired four years later.
Knopf was educated at Exeter and Union College, and was a decorated bomber pilot in the war. He leaves behind his wife and three grown children.
Image via New York Times