NEW YORK >> Alice Mayhew, the celebrated and influential editor of political and historical works whose authors ranged from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to Taylor Branch and Doris Kearns Goodwin, died today at age 87.
Simon & Schuster, which she joined in 1971, announced that she died “peacefully” at her home in Manhattan. Her death came days after the loss of another Simon & Schuster institution, novelist Mary Higgins Clark, who died last week.
A New York City native, Mayhew edited some of the most notable nonfiction releases of the past half century, including Woodward and Bernstein’s landmark Watergate best-seller “All the President’s Men,” among the first books to broadly investigate a sitting presidential administration; the feminist classic “Our Bodies, Ourselves”; Branch’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Parting the Waters” and Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize winning “No Ordinary Time.” She also worked with former President Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the historians Stephen Ambrose, Michael Beschloss and David Herbert Donald among others.
In 2018, she oversaw one of the top-selling books about the Trump administration, “Fear,” by Woodward, whom she edited for more than 40 years.
“Alice’s loyalty to her authors was so absolute that despite her extraordinary record in publishing and the many offers she received over the years, she repeatedly refused to participate in any form of publicity or recognition for her achievements, never wavering in her conviction that the spotlight should always remain entirely focused on her authors,” Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy wrote Tuesday.
Along with her many successes, Mayhew was involved with publications that were challenged and even withdrawn. In the early 2000s, books by Goodwin and Ambrose were found to contain extensive lifting of material without proper credit, leading to the cancellation of Goodwin’s “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.” Last year, Mayhew edited “Merchants of Truth,” by former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, a media critique that also included passages not fully credited.