Whitney Ellsworth, 1926-2011

My US-based colleagues are attending the funeral today of the Chair of our Board this morning; he dies two weeks ago, aged 75, after a life of doing good both on the literary scene and in the humanitarian world. He created the New York Review of Books, helped found the London Review of Books, and also revolutionised Amnesty International USA’s fundraising as well as helpign to set up Human Rights First and my own employer.

He also was a near-namesake of a major figure in comics history. The last time I saw him, I asked if in fact he was related to the other Whitney Ellsworth, who was twenty years older and died thirty years ago. The younger Whitney (who was A. Whitney Ellsworth, the Batman and Superman guy being F. Whitney Ellsworth) told me that as far as they had been able to work out, it was pure coincidence – he had met with his namesake many years ago in order to establish precisely that.

I did not realise at the time that I would not see him again, and part of my mind is in Connecticut today.