Irita Van Doren

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Irita Bradford Van Doren (born March 16, 1891 in Birmingham; died December 18, 1966 in New York, New York) was the book editor for the New York Herald Tribune for 37 years.

Irita was the daughter of John Taylor and Ida Brooks Bradford. The family moved to Tallahassee, Florida when she was four years old. Irita's father owned a sawmill there, but was killed by a former employee in 1900, leaving her mother to support four children by giving music lessons and selling preserves.

Bradford graduated from the Florida State College for Women in 1908 and completed a doctorate in English at Columbia University. While there she met Carl Van Doren, and married him in 1912. They had three daughters together before divorcing in 1935. After that she was romantically linked to the married corporate attorney-turned Republican politician Wendell Willkie. She helped write speeches for his unsuccessful 1940 presidential campaign and contributed to his book, One World.

Van Doren joined her husband on the staff of The Nation in 1919, and succeeded him as literary editor for the magazine in 1923. A year later she left to assist Stuart Sherman at the Herald Tribune, succeeding him when he died in 1926. While editing the Books section, she became an influential literary figure in New York, hosting salons which attracted the likes of John Gunther, Carl Sandburg, Aldous Huxley, Andre Gide and Edna Ferber. She retired from the paper in 1963 and became a consultant to William Morrow & Co., publishers. The paper created an "Irita Van Doren Book Award" in her honor in 1960.

Van Doren died at New York Hospital in 1966.

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