Friday, April 28, 2017

Jill Krementz Remembers Robert B. Silvers

Robert Silvers photographed by Jill Krementz on February 5, 1973 at a party celebrating Norman Mailer's 50th Birthday.
Memorial for Robert B. Silvers (1929 – 2017)
April 26, 2017
The New York Public Library

Robert Silvers was loved and revered by all who met him.

Barbara Epstein, Whitney Ellsworth (Publisher), and Bob Silvers photographed by Jill Krementz on November 28, 1967 in their offices at The New York Review of Books.
In 1963, a printers’ strike shut down seven New York City newspapers, leaving book publishers without any newspapers or magazines to review their books. The idea of creating a new type of magazine — in which the most interesting minds of our time would discuss current issues and books in depth — was conceived by Barbara Epstein, Jason Epstein, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Mr. Silvers.

After Ms. Epstein’s death in 2006, Bob Silvers was the sole editor. The Review celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2013, and a Martin Scorsese film called The 50 Year Argument documents its history and influence.

Mr. Silvers died on March 20, 2017.  This past Wednesday he was remembered by his friends and admirers at The New York Public Library where he had been a trustee for many years.  “He never missed a meeting,” said Tony Marx, the President of the Library, in his remarks.

In addition to Mr. Marx, the speakers included Rea Hederman, Mary Beard, Ian Buruma, Mark Danner, Helen Epstein, Jennifer Homans, Daniel Mendelsohn, Martin Scorsese, Anka Muhlstein (who submitted her pieces in French), Samantha Power, Nathaniel Rich, and Zadie SmithPatti Smith concluded the memorial by singing “Wing.”
This lovely photograph by Brigitte Lacombe of Bob Silvers at his desk piled high with books was projected on screens near the podium.
Thomas Powers and Robert Kaiser. Mr. Powers was my amiable seat mate. In addition to being a frequent contributor to the Review, he is the author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. Eve Bowen, a senior editor at the NYRB.
Poet Charles Simic.
Janny Scott and her husband Joe Lelyveld.
Sarah Plimpton and her husband. Robert Paxton, the historian and longtime contributor to the Review.
Wally Shawn. Peter Duchin and his wife, Virginia Coleman.
Charles Kaiser chatting with Deborah Eisenberg and Wally Shawn.
Virginia Coleman and Paul Höldengraber.
Judy Auchincloss, who was hired by Whitney Ellsworth as his assistant shortly after the launch of the NYRB and worked there for two years, with Pattie Sullivan.
Frank Rich and Jeff Madrick.
Judith Ginsberg and Louise Grunwald. Louis Cullman.
Frances Fitzgerald whose book, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, has recently been published. Barbara Fleishman and David Remnick.
Charles Kaiser and his brother, Robert Kaiser. Leon Wieseltier, former editor of The New Republic who is launching a new magazine, Idea, to be published six times a year.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor of "The Nation" with Peter Pringle who writes a lot about nuclear weapons.
Francine Prose and Charles Simic. Renata Adler.
Liz and George Stevens.
Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president and CEO of the American Academy in Rome from 1988 to 2013. Bob Silvers was a board member. Phillip Lopate.
Renata Adler with John Guare. Mr. Guare's revival of Six Degrees of Separation has just re-opened to rapturous reviews.
Adele Chatfield-Taylor with David Cole, Legal Director of ACLU.
Ivana Lowell. Peter Duchin and literary agent Lynn Nesbit.
Jason Epstein, a founder of the NYRB, and his son Jacob Epstein.
There were roughly 350 attendees in the Celeste Bartos Forum.
Documentarians at work. The program with list of speakers and film clips.
English scholar and classicist, Mary Beard.
Jennifer Homans, dance historian and widow of Tony Judt. Mr. Judt died of Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2010. His widow, also a writer for the NYRB, remembered Bob as "giving us our better selves." Martin Scorsese. When the Review celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, a Martin Scorsese film called "The 50 Year Argument" documented the history and influence of the paper.

Daniel Mendelsohn, one of the speakers. His essay, "A Father's Final Essay" appears in the April 24, 2017 issue of The New Yorker and is not to be missed.

Mendelsohn in his talk: "When I visited Bob, in his final days, the doormen and the elevator men told me that Bob was their favorite tenant by far. We all loved his sense of wonder ... Bob was entertained by the world ... and his world was a place where one's passions can flourish and grow."
Patti Smith who concluded the program by singing "Wings." David Remnick, Tony Marx, head of The New York Public Library, and Bill McKibben.
Frank Rich and his son Nathaniel, one of the speakers who reminisced about his days working for Bob.
Darryl Pinckney having his tie admired by Patti Smith. Samantha Power.
Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New YorkTimes with Cass Sunstein a liberal American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and law and behavioral economics Mr. Sunstein is married to Samantha Power.
Darryl Pinckney and Tamsin Shaw.
Jenny Schuessler, Daryl Pinckney, and Adam Schatz. Ms. Schuessler worked for the Review for ten years and is now with the New York Times. Schatz has written extensively for the NYRB about music greats including Charlie Parker, Nina Simone, and Jimi Hendrix.
Nathaniel Rich and Mark Danner. Brigitte Lacombe.
Madeleine Schwartz, an assistant editor at the Review, and photographer Dominique Nabokov.
My most recent photograph of Bob on November 17, 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum. We were leaving the museum after seeing the press preview of the Jacqueline de Ribes Exhibition.

It was always a pleasure to encounter him over the years. A joyous man.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.