Knopf’s Hidden Half


For most of Alfred A. Knopf’s 100-plus-year history, Mrs. Knopf’s role in the success of her husband’s company has gone unrecognized. Now, though, she is getting her due:

Blanche Knopf probably had better taste than her husband. … It was Blanche who brought Gide, Camus, Sartre, and de Beauvoir into the fold, as well as Mann, whose relocation to America she helped arrange. He called her “the soul of the firm.” And it was Blanche, and not her husband, as is often supposed, who signed up Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James M. Cain, establishing a tradition of publishing high-end thrillers that remains a Knopf hallmark.

Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at More from this author →