Amy Loveman was one of the founding editors of the Saturday Review of Literature and an associate editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club for many years from its inception.
She was born on May 16, 1881, in New York City to Adassa and Adolph P. Loveman. Her interest and love for literature came from her parents. Her mother was a descendant of a long line of Jewish writers and scholars. Her father was well educated and a linguist. In 1842, her grandfather, Michael, left Piotrkow, a part of Russian-held Poland, to join Louis Kossuth's short lived Hungarian revolution. His family migrated to the United States in 1856.
Her grandfather was a regular contributor to the nation, a noted encyclopedist and an outspoken foe of slavery. Her mother contributed many unsigned political columns to many weekly magazines during the seventies. Amy's father came to the United States in 1850 and he was a successful cotton broker who spoke six languages and loved to read books.
Amy was one of six children, graduated Horace Mann School in New York, and received a degree from Barnard College in 1897. Her first job was with her uncle, Louis Heilprin, helping him revise the New International Encyclopedia and Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer of the World. She did the editing, checking proof and writing some articles.
She became a book reviewer with the New York Evening Post, where she joined Henry Seidel Canby, Christopher Morley and William Rose Benet to establish the newspaper's literary section. This literary section was dropped by the Post even though it had gained wide popularity. On August 2, 1924, The Saturday Review of Literature appeared with Canby as editor, Benet and Loveman as associate editors, and Morley as a contributing editor. The magazine's success is a matter of history and Loveman was an editor for thirty-five years.
Loveman wrote a column called "Clearing House" where she answered questions from the readers. He column led her to write her book, "I'm Looking for a Book," in 1936. When Benet died in 1950, she took over his position of poetry editor.
She began to work for the Book-of-the-Month Club when it started in 1926. She was chairperson of the reading department and in 1951, she replaced Dorothy Canfield Fisher as editor.
Amy Loveman received recognition for her contributions to the literary world. In 1942, a group of friends gave her a surprise party and presented her with a gold medal. She received the Columbia University Medal of Excellence in 1945 and the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award in 1946.
Amy Loveman lived a solitary life in New York City. Her life was literature and her close relationship with her brothers. She worked until she died on December 11, 1955. She was unassuming, optimistic, rationalistic and unfailingly modest. She will always be remembered for helping and bringing out the best in people.
Sources: This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America : 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.