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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Saxe Commins died, Albert Erskine and Bob Linscott stepped into the breach. Then Linscott retired. He was not young when he came to us from Houghton-Mifflin. He had been at Houghton-Mifflin for about thirty years. Harry Maule, who had come to us from Doubleday, was also getting along in years. Hiram Haydn had been at Crown and then went to Bobbs-Merrill in Indianapolis. He wasn't happy there. I began hearing about his skill as a senior editor. Besides, he was the publisher of The American Scholar, the Phi Beta Kappa magazine. He also had been teaching down at the New School, and he had under his wing such notables as Jerry Weidman and William Styron. He had edited several books himself, and I heard that he was hoping to get back to New York, so we contacted him and signed him as editor in about 1956 or '57.

I admired him. Hiram is a wonderful fellow although very exasperating in some ways. He has a great passion for first novels that other people think are terrible. There's no way to convince him that he's wrong because he loves to help young authors along--especially if they are girls. The time that he wasted with young women whose books were obviously destined to sell 918 copies! There was nothing that we could do about this. He truly had us buffaloed!

Well, we had just signed a new contract with him when...


Do you usually sign contracts with your editors?


No, but we did with Hiram. He wanted one. He now had

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