Van Doren, Irita (1891–1966)

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Van Doren, Irita (1891–1966)

American editor. Born Irita Bradford in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 16, 1891; died on December 18, 1966; daughter of John Taylor Bradford (a merchant and owner of a sawmill) and Ida Henley (Brooks) Bradford (an accomplished musician); graduated from Florida State College for Women at Tallahassee, 1908; Columbia University, Ph.D.; married Carl Van Doren (literary critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer), in August 1912 (divorced 1935); children: Anne Van Doren (b. 1915); Margaret Van Doren (b. 1917); Barbara Van Doren (b. 1920).

Irita Van Doren held the powerful position of editor of the weekly book review section of the New York Herald Tribune, starting in 1926. Graduating from Florida State College for Women at age 17, she went north to study at Columbia University where she met fellow graduate student Carl Van Doren. After their marriage in 1912, they bought an old farm in West Cornwall, Connecticut. During the early years, Van Doren helped Carl research his books. She then joined the editorial staff of The Nation (1919–22), becoming advertising manager (1922–23) and literary editor (1923–24). In 1924, she moved to the Herald Tribune as assistant to book editor Stuart P. Sherman; on his death, she succeeded him.