Kate Simon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Kate Simon (December 5, 1912 – February 4, 1990) was a Polish-born American author.

Life and career[edit]

She was born Kaila Grobsmith in Warsaw, Poland, the daughter of David Grobsmith, a shoe designer, and Lonia Grobsmith née Babicz, a corsetiere.[1][2] Her Jewish family brought her to the United States when she was four, where they rejoined her father. Kate was raised in the Bronx, New York, and attended Hunter College where she earned a B.A.[3] Her writing career began as a book reviewer for The New Republic and The Nation magazines.[4] She worked for Book-of-the-Month Club, Publishers Weekly, and as a free-lance editor for Alfred A. Knopf.[3]

Simon became one of Americas best known travel writer and several of her guides became best sellers. Her autobiography was written in three parts. The first, Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood (1982) was one of the New York Times twelve best books of 1982 and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. This was followed by Wider World: Portraits in an Adolescence (1986) that told of her teen age period and college experiences. The third volume, Etchings in an Hourglass (1990) is about her adulthood. Her work, Fifth Avenue: A Very Social Story (1978), is a social history of Manhattan. A Renaissance Tapestry: The Gonzaga of Mantua (1988) tells the story of the Renaissance through the history of the Gonzaga family.[4]

She was married twice.[4] Her first common-law husband, Stanley Goldman, died, as did her only child Alexandra and her sister, all of brain tumors.[5] She was divorced from Robert Simon in 1947.[6]


  • Etchings in an Hourglass (1990)
  • A Renaissance tapestry: the Gonzaga of Mantua (1989)
  • Mexico, places and pleasures (1988)
  • A wider world: portraits in an adolescence (1986)
  • Italy: the places in between (1984)
  • Bronx primitive: portraits in a childhood (1982)
  • Fifth Avenue: a very social history (1979)
  • England's green and pleasant land (1974)
  • Rome: places and pleasures (1972)
  • Paris places and pleasures: an uncommon guidebook (1971)
  • New York places & pleasures: an uncommon guidebook (1971)
  • London places & pleasures: an uncommon guidebook (1968)
  • Mexico: places & pleasures (1963)


  1. ^ Chametzky, Jules (2010). Jewish American literature: a Norton anthology. Norton Anthology. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 681. ISBN 0-393-04809-8. 
  2. ^ Flint, Peter B. (February 5, 1990). "Kate Simon, Acclaimed Memoirist And Travel Writer, Is Dead at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  3. ^ a b Dillard, Annie (1996). Cort Conley, ed. Modern American Memoirs. HarperCollins. p. 40. ISBN 0-06-092763-1. 
  4. ^ a b c Rubin, Steven Joel (1991). Writing our lives: autobiographies of American Jews, 1890-1990. Jewish Publication Society. p. 179. ISBN 0-8276-0393-2. 
  5. ^ Klapper, Melissa R. (2005). Jewish girls coming of age in America, 1860-1920. NYU Press. p. 244. ISBN 0-8147-4780-9. 
  6. ^ Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn (2000). American women writers: a critical reference guide: from colonial times to the present 4 (2nd ed.). St. James Press. p. 54. ISBN 1-55862-433-3.