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Simon Michael Bessie


Simon Michael Bessie, American publisher. Recipient Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1946, Curtis Benjamin award Association American Publications, 1986.


BESSIE, Simon was born on January 23, 1916 in New York, United States. Son of Abraham Bessie and Ella (nee Brainin) Bessie.


Bachelor magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1936.


Reporter Newark Star Eagle, 1936. With research department Radio-Keith-Orpheum-Radio Pictures, 1936-1938. Editor Market Research Monthly, 1938.

Free-lance writer Europe, Africa, 1938-1939. Associate editor, war editor, war correspondent Look magazine, 1940-1942. Editor Harper & Brothers, 1946-1952, general editor, 1952-1959.

Co-founder Atheneum Publications, 1959, president, 1963-1975. Senior vice president Harper & Row, New York City, 1975-1981, vice president, 1988-1991. President Joshuatown Public Associates, Lyme, Connecticut, 1981—2008.

Co-public Cornelia and Michael Bessie Books, 1981—2008. Consultant editor Counterpoint Press, 1995-2002, Perseus Books Group, 1999-2002. Lecturer English, Columbia University, 1953-1959.

Director novel workshop New School, 1959-1963, director Franklin book programs, 1963-1972. Chairman visiting committee Harvard University Press, 1972-1978, board directors, 1980-1991. Board directors American Book Publications Council, 1964-1969, Center for Communications, 1981-2008.

Chairman trade book division Association American Publications, 1970-1972, board directors, 1972-1976, chairman, 1974-1975, chairman freedom to read committee, 1975-1978, international freedom to public committee, 1975. Board directors Harper & Row, 1975-1987. Member executive committee Center for Book, Library. of Congress, chairman.


Board overseers visiting committee department history Harvard University, 1964-1977. Chairman literature panel National Arts Council, 1971-1974, chairman special projects panel, 1974-1981. Chairman board advisors Station W National Educational Television, 1979-1983, trustee, 1983-1996, life trustee, 1997—2008.

Chairman book committee Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 1986-1991, member technical book committee, 1992-2001. Served as chief news bureau psychological warfare branch, 1943-1944, Algiers, Sicily, Italy. Chief psychological warfare combat team 1944, Southern France.

Deputy director United States Information Service, 1944-1946, France. Member Council Foreign Relations, Association Harvard Alumni (director 1974-1977), Phi Beta Kappa. Clubs: Century Association (New York City), Harvard (New York City).

Federal City (Washington).


Married Constance Ernst, September 12, 1945. Children: Nicholas, Katherine. Married Cornelia Schaeffer, December 21, 1968.

Abraham Bessie

Ella (Brainin) Bessie

Constance Ernst

Cornelia Schaeffer

Nicholas Bessie

Katherine Bessie