Home
Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker
Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery
Transcript

Session:         Page of 1029

One time, for example, a manuscript by Honor Tracy came in called The Straight and Narrow Path, which is a story of the Irish Catholic Church. Honor Tracy is an Irish woman.

Q:

You told about that.

Cerf:

I said, “We're right across the street from the Cathedral and there's going to be trouble.” Don said, “All right, don't do it; but don't you ever tell me again that you're a liberal publisher.” That's all that he had to say to me. Of course, the book was a great success, and the Church never lifted a finger.

Q:

Now I wonder if you'd like to tell me about the book Witness by Whittaker Chambers. I'm sure there are some interesting stories about that. How did you get that?

Cerf:

We had hired an editor named David McDowell. The man who sent him up to us was Sterling North, who used to be a leading book editor and then became an author on his own. Sterling was an old friend of mine. He called me up and said, “Davy McDowell”--who had been with some other publisher--"is now out of a job.” He thought that he'd be a great editor. He came up. He's a very polished Southern boy, a very intellectual fellow; and we liked him and we gave him a job.

Dave is rather on the conservative side. One day he told me, “Whittaker Chambers is downstairs to talk about his book.”



© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help