William DuBois (writer)

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This article is about the playwright and editor. For other people with a similar name, see William DuBois.

William DuBois (November 29, 1903 – March 16, 1997) was an American playwright, novelist and longtime editor of the New York Times Book Review.[1][2]

DuBois was born in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1903, to parents Virginia Markel DuBois and William Henry Thompson DuBois.[1][2] He graduated from Columbia University in 1925 with a degree in journalism and upon graduation went to work at The New York Times in 1926.[1][2] He went on to become an editor for the New York Times Book Review where he wrote reviews and articles. DuBois retired from The Times in 1973.[1]

DuBois wrote a number of Broadway plays including Pagan Lady (1930) and I Loved You Wednesday (1932).[1] DuBois wrote the play Haiti (1938) for the Federal Theatre Project. The play was produced by the Negro Theatre Unit and presented at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem[3] and toured to Boston.[4]:319 The play's authorship has often been misattributed to the black scholar W. E. B. Du Bois because of the similarity of names.[5]

His novels include The Island in the Square (1947), set in New York City in the 1920s; A Season to Beware (1956), about the worlds of journalism and publishing, and The Falcon's Shadow (1958), about the travails of the theater.[1] He also worked as a silent writer with Frank G. Slaughter on 27 of his historical novels.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "William DuBois, 93, Playwright and Editor", New York Times, March 19, 1997
  2. ^ a b c d "Paid Notice: Deaths; DuBois, William", New York Times, March 19, 1997
  3. ^ "Haiti". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ Flanagan, Hallie (1965). Arena: The History of the Federal Theatre. New York: Benjamin Blom, reprint edition [1940]. OCLC 855945294. 
  5. ^ "Racing the Archive: Will the Real William DuBois Please Stand Up?", Shannon Rose Riley, English Language Notes, 45.1, Spring/Summer 2007[dead link]