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August 2: Amy Loveman and the Saturday Review

August 2, 2012

The first edition of the Saturday Review was published on this date in 1924. It would peak with 660,000 readers in 1971. Among the founders of Saturday Review was Amy Loveman, who "shaped the literary choices of generations of readers," notes the Jewish Women's Archive, through her work as associate editor, poetry editor, and frequent writer, and through the Book-of-the-Month Club, where Loveman became head of the editorial department. Loveman (1881-1955) came from a long line of Jewish writers and scholars: Her mother wrote unsigned political columns for weekly magazines, her maternal grandfather was an abolitionist who contributed regularly to the Nation, and her father, a cotton broker, was a linguist fluent in six languages. The Saturday Review was solidly liberal in its editorial policy and especially forthright in advocating world peace and nuclear disarmament. Editor Norman Cousins' instruction to his staff regarding literature was "not just to appraise [it], but to try to serve it, nurture it, safeguard it.” The magazine stopped publishing in 1982.

"During the first fifteen years, Amy Loveman assigned most of the books for review, wrote reviews of her own, handled a regular department in the magazine . . . edited copy, pinned up the dummy, read page proofs, and put the magazine to bed at the printer’s.”—Norman Cousins