Beck, Emily M(orison) 1915-2004

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BECK, Emily M(orison) 1915-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born October 25, 1915, in Boston, MA; died of kidney failure March 28, 2004, in Canton, MA. Editor and author. Beck is most often remembered as the editor of several editions of Bartlett's Quotations. After attending Radcliffe College, where she earned a B.A. in 1937, she studied for a year at Newnham College, Cambridge, returning to New York City to work as an editor for Harper & Brothers. During the 1940s, she was an editor for the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, and this was followed by two years as a reviewer for the Book-of-the-Month Club. From 1956 to 1975, Beck was an editor at Atlantic Monthly Press, serving as associate editor of "Atlantic Brief Lives" from 1967 to 1971. Her association with Bartlett's Quotations began in 1952, when her employers at Atlantic Monthly granted her a leave to help edit the 1955 centennial edition of the famous quotations reference. Her excellent work on the edition was duly noted, and she was rewarded by being made editor of the fourteenth edition, published in 1968. Beck would go on to edit the 1980 edition, as well. As editor of Bartlett's she was noted for adding more popular quotations, such as from films and movies, as well as for including, for the first time, quotes from such figures as Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Sigmund Freud, and modern poets like Robert Lowell. Sometimes she was criticized for editorial choices by those who felt her guidelines were too inclusive, but others praised her boldness in including a wide spectrum of sources. In addition to her work on Bartlett's, Beck edited Sailor Historian: The Best of Samuel Eliot Morison (1977) and wrote an introduction to the new edition of her father's The Story of Mount Desert Island (2001).



Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2004, Section 3, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2004, p. B16.

New York Times, March 31, 2004, p. C13.

Times (London, England), April 14, 2004, p. 26.

Washington Post, April 3, 2004, p. B6.