Nissenson, Marilyn 1939–
Nissenson, Marilyn 1939–
(Marilyn C. Nissenson)
Born January 19, 1939, in Bellefonte, PA; daughter of M.I. (in business) and Beatrice (a homemaker) Claster; married Hugh Nissenson (a writer), November 10, 1962; children: Katherine, Kore Johanna. Education: Wellesley College, B.A., 1960; Columbia University, M.A., 1961.
Home and office—New York, NY.
Television writer, 1964-90. Non fiction writer, 1990—. Researcher and associate producer, CBS News, 1962-68, and NBC News, 1969-70.
Writers Guild East.
The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post (biography), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
NONFICTION; WITH SUSAN JONAS
Cuff Links, H.N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1991.
The Ubiquitous Pig, H.N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1992.
Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1994.
Snake Charm, H.N. Abrams, 1995.
Friends for Life: Enriching the Bond Between Mothers and Their Adult Daughters, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1998.
Jeweled Bugs and Butterflies, H.N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2000.
Marilyn Nissenson has cowritten several books with Susan Jonas on a variety of subjects ranging from cuff links to pigs. Cuff Links, published in 1991, is an art book focusing on the history and design of the accessory. In Jeweled Bugs and Butterflies, the collaborators focus on insects and butterflies as rendered by artists, beginning with scarabs from ancient Egypt and continuing up to the present day. The text serves well to "explain and allure," remarked Barbara Jacobs in Booklist, while high-quality photographs illustrate the "glitz and glamour" of the subject. Nissenson and Jacobs took a similar approach in The Ubiquitous Pig. Photographs and text examine the relationship between man and hogs, including mythological references, practical uses, and popular references. The book "celebrates a fascinating animal," commented People reviewer J.D. Reed.
In Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, the collaborators list some sixty-three items and customs, from pay phones to fine penmanship, that are disappearing from daily life. Each entry explains the rise and fall of its subject, and it does so "without judgment or sentimentality," stated David M. Schwartz in Smithsonian. "What elevates it above the level of an antiquarian catalog is inclusion of the social phenomena and political institutions that have changed or disappeared." Schwartz concluded that the book provides "a ticket for both time travel and self-discovery."
Nissenson and Jonas take on a different kind of project with their book Friends for Life: Enriching the Bond Between Mothers and Their Adult Daughters. Inspired by their relationships with their own daughters, they interviewed a broad cross-section of women to seek a better understanding of how the adult mother-daughter bond works. It is "a coherent and engrossing work," reported Pamela A. Matthews in Library Journal.
Nissenson worked alone on her 2007 publication, a biography titled The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post. Dorothy Schiff was known as a colorful, eccentric, powerful woman who purchased the New York Post newspaper in 1939 and managed it until 1976. The daughter of a wealthy Jewish banker whose mother desperately sought to assimilate into non-Jewish society, Schiff ended up by rejecting the life of a socialite to run her newspaper and support various liberal causes. Her personal life was tumultuous, including a string of failed marriages and extramarital affairs, and Schiff was not at all adverse to using her relation- ships to further the success of her newspaper. Her personal prejudices were allowed to color the content of the paper; for example, because she was a heavy smoker, she would not allow stories to be printed that established a link between smoking and cancer, even after the U.S. surgeon general issued a general warning to that effect in 1964. "Nissenson reveals a fascinating woman," wrote Vanessa Bush in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that while the narrative at times seems to skip through the twentieth century in "perfunctory" style, the author conveys Schiff's character in a way that "brims with spunk and surprise along the way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American History, October, 1994, review of Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, p. 26.
Booklist, November 1, 1992, Ray Olson, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 476; July, 2000, Barbara Jacobs, review of Jeweled Bugs and Butterflies, p. 1990; March 1, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post, p. 40.
Columbia Journalism Review, March-April, 2007, "Dolly's True Love: Schiff's Post and the Uneven Terrain of Private Ownership," p. 61.
Connoisseur, November, 1991, Susanna Moore, review of Cuff Links, p. 52.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of The Lady Upstairs, p. 115.
Library Journal, December, 1992, Debra Schneider, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 172; December, 1995, Constance Ashmore Fairchild, review of Snake Charm, p. 104; May 15, 1997, Pamela A. Matthews, review of Friends for Life: Enriching the Bond Between Mothers and Their Adult Daughters, p. 89; April 1, 2007, Joel W. Tscherne, review of The Lady Upstairs, p. 99.
New York Times, October 30, 1991, "Which Came First, Cuffs or Cuff Links? Cuffs Evolved First, then Starch, then Cuff Links," p. 4; November 30, 1992, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 13; March 24, 1994, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Going, Going, Gone, p. 18.
New York Times Book Review, April 22, 2007, Jennifer Senior, review of The Lady Upstairs.
People, January 11, 1993, J.D. Reed, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 29; April 4, 1994, Alex Tresniowski, review of Going, Going, Gone.
Publishers Weekly, October 5, 1992, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 64; February 28, 1994, review of Going, Going, Gone, p. 81; March 24, 1997, review of Friends for Life, p. 66; February 26, 2007, review of The Lady Upstairs, p. 73.
Reference & Research Book News, June, 1993, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 16.
Self, May, 1997, Liza Hamm, review of Friends for Life, p. 150.
Smithsonian, June, 1995, David M. Schwartz, review of Going, Going, Gone, p. 144.
Time, December 14, 1992, Stefan Kanfer, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 68.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 6, 1992, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 6.
Wall Street Journal Western Edition, December 1, 1992, Manuela Hoelterhoff, review of The Ubiquitous Pig, p. 14.