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Augustus Cass Canfield (April 26, 1897 – March 27, 1986) was an American publishing executive who was the longtime president and chairman of Harper & Brothers, later Harper & Row.[1]

Cass Canfield
Augustus Cass Canfield

(1897-04-26)April 26, 1897
DiedMarch 27, 1986(1986-03-27) (aged 88)
EducationGroton School
New College, Oxford
Alma materHarvard University, 1919
OccupationPublishing executive
Known forPresident and chairman of Harper & Brothers
Katherine Temple Emmet
(m. 1922; div. 1937)

Jane Sage White
(m. 1938; her death 1984)

Joan H. King
(m. 1984; his death 1986)
Parent(s)Augustus Cass Canfield and Josephine Houghteling
FamilyLewis Cass (great grandfather)

Early lifeEdit

Canfield was the son of Augustus Cass Canfield (1854—1904), a wealthy engineer and yachtsman, and his wife, the former Josephine Houghteling. His stepfather was Frank Gray Griswold, a relative of American bishop Frank Griswold. He also was a great-grandson of Presidential candidate Lewis Cass. He had two sisters: Mary Cass Canfield and Laura Cass Canfield (Mrs William Lawrence Wood).

He attended the Groton School and Harvard University, graduating from Harvard in 1919 after serving as a lieutenant in the United States Army during World War I. Canfield also studied at New College, Oxford and trekked through Asia, retracing the route of Marco Polo.[1]


After returning to New York, he worked as a reporter and advertising salesman for the New York Post. In 1924, he invested in Harper & Brothers and became manager of its London office. He held various executive positions with Harper's in London and New York between then and 1931; among the writers whom he signed to Harper's contracts were James Thurber, E. B. White, J. B. Priestley, Harold Laski, John Gunther, and Julian Huxley. EM Delafield dedicated The Provincial Lady Goes Further to him.[2] It was thanks to Canfield that in 1958 John Updike's first book was published with Harper and Brothers.[3]

Canfield was president of Harper & Brothers from 1931–45, board chairman from 1945–55, and chairman of the executive committee from 1955-67. From 1967 until his death in 1986, he was House Senior Editor at Harper's. He also wrote seven nonfiction books.

Government and political activitiesEdit

During World War II, Canfield took a leave of absence from Harper's to serve as a member of the Board of Economic Warfare, the Foreign Economic Administration, and the United States Office of War Information. He was a founder of the journal Foreign Affairs.

Canfield campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1956. He was a strong supporter of birth control, served as chair of the executive committee of Planned Parenthood, and traveled extensively giving speeches and raising money to support the organization.

Personal lifeEdit

Canfield was thrice married. In 1922, he married his first wife, Katherine Temple Emmet, a descendant of New York State Attorney General Thomas Addis Emmet. Before their divorce in June 1937, they were the parents of two sons:[4]

After their divorce, she married, in October 1937, John D. W. Churchill.[8] According to the memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom believed that Michael Canfield was actually the biological son of his brother Prince George, Duke of Kent and socialite Kiki Preston.

In 1938, Canfield married his second wife, Jane Sage White, a sculptor. She was the former wife of Charles Fairchild Fuller and a daughter of Ernest Ingersoll White. By this marriage Canfield had three stepchildren: Jane Sage Fuller, Blair Fairchild Fuller, and Isabelle Whitney "Jill" Fuller. They remained married until Jane's death in 1984.

In 1984, Canfield married Joan H. King. They remained married until his death in 1986.[1]



  • The Publishing Experience (1969)
  • Up and Down and Around (1971)
  • The Incredible Pierpont Morgan (1974)
  • Samuel Adams' Revolution (1976)
  • The Iron Will of Jefferson Davis (1978)
  • Outrageous Fortunes: The Story of the Medici, the Rothschilds and J. Pierpont Morgan (1981)
  • The Six (1983)


  1. ^ a b c d "Cass Canfield, a Titan of Publishing, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times. 28 March 1986. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ The Provincial Lady Goes Further, dedication page
  3. ^ Adam Begley, Updike (New York: HarperCollins, 2014), pp. 72-73.
  4. ^ "DIVORCES CASS CANFIELD; Former Katharine T. Emmet in Reno Charged 'Cruelty'" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 June 1937. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  5. ^ "CANFIELD--Cass Jr". The New York Times. December 1, 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  6. ^ "MICHAEL T. CANFIELD OF HARPER & ROW, 43" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 December 1969. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Marlborough Marries Mrs. Canfield" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 January 1972. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Mrs. Katharine Canfield Wed" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 October 1937. Retrieved 26 August 2019.

External linksEdit