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.