Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

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Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (14 June 1934 – November 7, 2018) was a Scottish born American journalist, editor, critic and novelist.[1]


Lehmann-Haupt began as an editor for various New York City publishing houses, among them Holt, Rinehart and Winston and The Dial Press. In 1965, he moved to The New York Times Book Review, where he became an editor. In 1969, he was appointed senior Daily Book Reviewer for The New York Times, a position he held until 1995, when he became a regular daily book reviewer. From 1965 until 2000, he wrote more than 4,000 book reviews and articles, on subjects from trout fishing to Persian archaeology.

While editor of The New York Times Book Review, Lehmann-Haupt was known for being opposed to genre fiction. In 1980, when given a copy of Harlan Ellison's Shatterday for possible review, Lehmann-Haupt reportedly threw the book across the room and said, "Oh, it's that sci-fi crap."[2]

In April 2000, he assumed the job of chief obituary writer for The Times and wrote advance obituaries and occasional daily obituaries until his retirement on June 30, 2006. Obituaries bearing his byline continued to run in The New York Times as of April 2014.

From that time on he continued to write advance obituaries as a freelancer for The New York Times, and also taught writing at the Marymount College Writing Center and College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, the Bronx, New York. He also taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He was appointed the Editorial Director of Delphinium Books, a literary small press that publishes works of fiction.


Lehmann-Haupt was born on June 14, 1934 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Leticia Jane Hargrave Grierson, a teacher and editor, and Hellmut Otto Emil Lehmann-Haupt, a graphic arts historian and bibliographer.[3] His father was German Jewish and his mother was Scottish.[1][4] Lehmann-Haupt was educated at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, The Putney School, and Swarthmore College.[5] He did postgraduate work at the Yale School of Drama, from which he graduated in 1959 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater history and dramatic criticism.

Along with several dozen then-prominent writers and political activists (including James Baldwin, Jules Feiffer, Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag and Gloria Steinem) he signed the Violence in Oakland essay, condemning police violence against Black Panther Party members in Oakland, California on April 6, 1968 (violence that included the killing of 17-year-old Bobby Hutton and the wounding of Eldridge Cleaver).

Lehmann-Haupt taught and lectured widely and penned articles on a variety of subjects, including fly fishing and bluegrass banjo-picking, two of his occasional avocations. His first book, Me and Joe DiMaggio: A Baseball Fan Goes in Search of His Gods, was published in 1986 by Simon & Schuster. His first novel, A Crooked Man, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. His second novel, The Mad Cook of Pymatuning was published by Simon & Schuster in the fall of 2005. At the time of his death Lehmann-Haupt was at work on a memoir of a year he spent living in Berlin from 1947 until 1948.

Lehmann-Haupt lived with his wife, the writer Natalie Robins, in the Riverdale section of The Bronx.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Long-Serving Times Book Critic, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  2. ^ A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff, NESFA Press, 2017, page 132.
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ Novelist Christopher Lehmann-Haupt to Read at Mount Saint Vincent Archived August 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., College of Mount Saint Vincent press release dated September 2, 2005. Accessed May 4, 2008. "A former senior daily book reviewer for The New York Times, Lehmann-Haupt resides in Riverdale with his wife, writer Natalie Robins."

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