Patrick, Edwin Hill 1901-1964 (Ted Patrick)

views updated

PATRICK, Edwin Hill 1901-1964
(Ted Patrick)

PERSONAL: Born September 3, 1901, in Rutherford, NJ; died of infectious hepatitis March 11, 1964; son of John and Rita (Alyea) Hill; married Vera Yereance, February 11, 1929 (died October 1963).

CAREER: Semi-professional baseball player; Rutherford Republican, sportswriter; Young & Rubicam, copy writer, 1928-30s; Compton Advertising, vice president and director, 1944-46; Holiday, editor, 1946-64. Military service: Office of War Information, 1942-44.

MEMBER: American Society of Magazine Editors (first chairman, 1963), Ad Council (former president).

AWARDS, HONORS: Commandatore Ufficiali dell' Ordine al Merito, Government of Italy, 1955, for "outstanding contributions" to America's knowledge of Italy; Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, 1957.


(With Silas Spitzer) Great Restaurants of America, Bramhall House (New York, NY), 1960.

The Thinking Dog's Man, Random House (New York, NY), 1964.


(Author of introduction) Holiday Book of the World'sFine Foods, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1956.

(Author of introduction) World's Fine Food, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1960.

(Author of introductions) Holiday Guides, Random House (New York, NY), 1960-64.

(Author of foreword) Ludwig Bemelmans, ItalianHoliday, Houghton Mifflin (New York, NY), 1961.

(Author of introduction) The World of Mankind, Golden Press (New York, NY), 1962.

Contributor to periodicals, including Holiday.

SIDELIGHTS: Ted Patrick is best known for his long and successful editorship of Holiday, a leisure magazine. Patrick shaped for his readership what Holiday called "the good life, the good times."

Patrick was born into a middle-class family of Irish descent; his family could afford to send him to public school, but not to college. Instead, Patrick began to play semi-professional baseball. After a brief playing career, Patrick began covering sports for the RutherfordRepublican, a paper in his native Rutherford, New Jersey. In 1928 he unexpectedly landed a job as a copywriter in a prominent advertising firm, Young & Rubicam. According to Kathryn News in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, copy department manager Lou Green was reportedly in a hurry to go on vacation and instructed an assistant to hire "that young man from New Jersey who played ball." Green, however, supposedly meant another applicant. "Patrick was called in and when asked how much pay he would need, timidly said 'sixty-five,' meaning dollars per week," News wrote. "Hired at sixty-five hundred dollars a year, he could not believe his first paycheck. It took him three months to figure out what happened."

While at Young & Rubicam, Patrick became president of the Ad Council, which contributed public-service advertisements for nonprofit organizations. He married Vera Yereance in 1929. Patrick became an expert ad man; with equal aplomb, he could sell peace (in the 1930s for World Peaceways) and war (Office of War Information from 1942 to 1944). When he returned to civilian life, he became vice president of Compton Advertising.

From there, Patrick moved to become editor of Holiday, a magazine of the Curtis group, which also owned the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal, and Country Gentlemen. Initially, Patrick was to develop a weekly journal on a par with Life, but when that journal was scrapped, he was given Holiday. He developed a top-notch staff: Frank Zachary, later editor of Town and Country, was Patrick's art director. James Cerruti, en route to National Geographic, was senior editor. Patrick added picture editor Louis Mercier and assistant Al Farnsworth.

Patrick and his editors gathered some superlative writers: John Steinbeck, Cleveland Amory, Roger Angell, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, A. B. Guthrie, and William Faulkner all wrote for Holiday. The magazine developed a warm, literate tone that made elegance comfortable. Patrick transcended traditional boundaries of travel glossies. The magazine did not sell its advertisers' trips, but rather great prose and pictures, as well as a cultured viewpoint. As Patrick wrote: "[Holiday] evolved tremendously . . . getting farther and farther away from the image of just a travel magazine. In this complex world today, everybody is traveling, and we try to tell them about this world from an international, intellectual point of view—whether it's in a story about Iran, the Ford family, or the United Nations."

Patrick was adamant about writing for his readers rather than acting as a salesman for advertisers. An editor, he insisted, "doesn't have a client. . . . Your only client is your reader, and for that reason you can go directly to him." However, during the 1960s Curtis management began to restrict Holiday's budget and threaten Patrick's editorial sovereignty. Thirteen advertising agencies signed a public "ad-tribute" to Patrick, attempting to tell the top men at Curtis "if you fire Patrick, we are not going to advertise with you." The advertisers wrote in "An Open Letter to Ted Patrick from Twelve of Holiday's 3,263,000 readers" "Dear Ted: Holiday is your baby. In eighteen years as editor, you have produced 210 glorious issues. They get more glorious every year. We applaud your belief that 'an editor's only boss is the reader.' We applaud your indifference to the pressures of advertisers and the heckling of publishers. Month after month, year after year, you entertain and you enthrall us. You have pursued excellence, and you have achieved it. You are a great editor."

Just months after this tribute, Patrick contracted infectious hepatitis, which proved fatal. Through his spectacular pages of Holiday, Patrick won the respect of all. As his staff eulogized him: "Ted Patrick had charm, a brilliant and gallant spirit, a great heart and a gentle nature. We of his staff can only say again what others have said of him: he was a great editor."



Ackerman, Martin, The Curtis Affair, Nash (Los Angeles, CA), 1970.

Culligan, Matthew J., The Curtis-Culligan Story: FromCyrus to Horace to Joe, Crown (New York, NY), 1970.

Fadiman, Clifton, Party of Twenty, Simon & Schuster (New York), 1963.


Newsweek, July 1, 1963, pp. 40-41.

New Yorker, February 26, 1961, pp. 25-26.

Time, July 8, 1946, p.58*

About this article

Patrick, Edwin Hill 1901-1964 (Ted Patrick)

Updated About content Print Article