Margaret K. McElderry (1912-2011)

Children’s editor and publisher Margaret K. McElderry, 98, died February 14, 2011. She is best known as founder of her eponymous children’s imprint, Margaret K. McElderry Books.

McElderry was born in 1912 in Pittsburgh PA, and went to college at Mt. Holyoke, graduating in 1933. She attended the Carnegie Library School in Pittsburgh and worked at the New York Public Library under children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore from 1934-43, and from 1943-45 she served in Europe for the US intelligence service. In 1945 she left the library to take over the juvenile department at Harcourt, Brace and Company, and in 1952 she made history as the first editor to publish both the Newbery and Caldecott Award-winning books in the same year (Ginger Pye by Will Lipkind and Finder’s Keepers by Eleanor Estes, respectively).

She moved to Atheneum in 1971, where she founded Margaret K. McElderry Books, becoming the first juvenile books editor to have her own imprint. The imprint continues, now at Simon & Schuster. Her authors included Susan Cooper, Andre Norton, and Patricia Wrightson. McElderry retired in the late ’90s, though she remained active as an editor-at-large.

See the complete obituary in the March issue of Locus.