Charles Scribner IV

Charles Scribner IV (July 13, 1921 – November 11, 1995), also known as Charles Scribner Jr.,[1] was the head of the Charles Scribner's Sons publishing company.[2] He was a resident of Manhattan for most of his adult life, establishing a residence in the upper east side area after 1945, when he was twenty-four.

Charles Scribner IV
Born(1921-07-13)July 13, 1921
DiedNovember 11, 1995(1995-11-11) (aged 74)
Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home
EducationSt. Paul's School
Princeton University (1943)
EmployerCharles Scribner's Sons
Spouse(s)Joan Sunderland
ChildrenCharles Scribner V (b. 1951)
Blair Sunderland Scribner
John Scribner
Parent(s)Vera Gordon Bloodgood
Charles Scribner III
RelativesCharles Scribner II, grandfather
Charles Scribner I, great-grandfather


He was born in Quogue, New York on July 13, 1921 to Vera Gordon Bloodgood and Charles Scribner III and was raised in Far Hills, New Jersey. He attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire for secondary school. He graduated as salutatorian from Princeton University in 1943, receiving his A.B. degree, summa cum laude.[3] Nine members of his family, over six generations, have been graduates of Princeton.

He was a Navy cryptanalyst during World War II and the Korean War.

He succeeded his father, Charles Scribner III, in 1952 as chief of Charles Scribner's Sons, which had been founded by his great-grandfather, Charles Scribner I, in 1846. He oversaw the operations until 1984, when the company was bought out by Macmillan Publishing.

He was a charter trustee of Princeton University from 1969 to 1979. He was a trustee of the Princeton University Press from 1949 to 1981, also serving as its president from 1957 to 1968. He was president of the American Book Publishers Council from 1966 to 1968.[2][4]

He died on November 11, 1995 at the Mary Manning Walsh nursing home on York Avenue in Manhattan.[2]

Titles at Charles Scribner's SonsEdit

  • President from 1952 to 1977[5]
  • Chairman in 1977 and again, in 1978
  • Chairman of the Scribner Book Companies, the holding company, from 1978 to 1986


In his book In the Company of Writers, Charles Scribner discusses the publication of The Secret River by Marjorie Rawlings, noting that Rawlings never mentions the race of the character, Calpurnia.[6] Since the book went into production after her death, Rawlings could not be consulted about her final intentions. At this time the depiction of black children in American children's literature had decreased, until it was almost non-existent.[7]

While a few books were still appearing, "White (children's) publishers were still not open to books with Black themes",[8] according to Joyce Braden Harris on "African and African-American Traditions in Language Arts". Scribner pointed out that "Whatever our decision, we could land on the wrong side of the school boards",[6] and claims it was his idea to use dark paper in the book as a way to suggest Calpurnia's race, calling it "one of my silent contributions to dissolving the color barrier in the 1950s."[6] The book received a Newbery Honor Award in 1956 for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children",[9] and was honored by the American Society of Graphic Arts.


  1. ^ His father also called himself "Charles Scribner, Jr.", and registered for the World War I draft under that name.
  2. ^ a b c Eric Pace (November 13, 1995). "Charles Scribner Jr., Who Headed Publishing Company, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-24. Charles Scribner Jr., the longtime head of the Charles Scribner's Sons book publishing company, died on Saturday at the Mary Manning Walsh nursing home on York Avenue in Manhattan. He was 74 and lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for half a century. The cause was pneumonia, and he had suffered for a decade from a degenerative neurological disorder, said his son Charles Scribner 3d.
  3. ^ "Archives of Charles Scribner's Sons". Princeton University. Retrieved 2008-07-25. Charles Scribner, 1821–1871 (Princeton Class of 1840), Charles Scribner, 1854–1930 (Princeton Class of 1875), Arthur Hawley Scribner, 1859–1932 (Princeton Class of 1881), Charles Scribner, 1890–1952 (Princeton Class of 1913), Charles Scribner, 1921–1995 (Princeton Class of 1943), Charles Scribner, 1951– (Princeton Class of 1973)
  4. ^ Bailey Jr., Herbert S. (1997). "Charles Scribner, Jr. (13 July 1921-11 November 1995)". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 141 (2): 233–237. JSTOR 987306.
  5. ^ "Succeeds His Father As Head of Scribner's". The New York Times. April 22, 1952. Retrieved 2008-07-24. Charles Scribners Sons announced yesterday the election of Charles Scribner Jr. as president to succeed his father, ...
  6. ^ a b c Scribner, Charles Jr. (1990). In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing. New York: Scribner and Sons. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-684-19250-5.
  7. ^ Pescasolido, Bernice A.; Elizabeth Grauerholz; Melissa Milkie (June 1997). "Culture and Conflict: The Portrayal of Blacks in U. S. Children's Picture Books through the Mid- and Late-Twentieth Century". American Sociological Review. 62 (3): 443. doi:10.2307/2657315. JSTOR 2657315.
  8. ^ Harris, Joyce Braden. "African and African=American Traditions in Language Arts" (PDF). Multicultural/Multiethnic Education Baseline Essay Project: 73. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Newbery Awards". Retrieved May 5, 2012.