Safire, William, 1929-2009

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Author, journalist, speechwriter, and public relations consultant. Also known as William L. Safire.

From the description of William Safire papers, 1953-1980 (bulk 1960-1973). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70983130

Biographical Note

  • 1929, Dec. 17: Born, New York, N.Y.
  • 1947 - 1949 : Student, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • 1949: Assistant to Tex McCrary, "Tex and Jinx" radio show
  • 1949 - 1951 : Reporter, New York Herald-Tribune syndicate
  • 1951: Correspondent, WNBC-WNBT, Europe and Middle East
  • 1952 - 1954 : Served in the U.S. army
  • 1954 - 1955 : Radio-television producer, WNBC, New York, N.Y.
  • 1955 - 1960 : Vice president, Tex McCrary, Inc., a public relations firm
  • 1961 - 1968 : Established Safire Public Relations, Inc.
  • 1961: Communications manager, Louis Lefkowitz mayoral election campaign, New York, N.Y.
  • 1962: Deputy campaign manager, Jacob Javits senatorial election campaign, New York Married Helene Belmar Julius
  • 1963: Published The Relations Explosion, A Diagram of the Coming Boom and Shakeout in Corporate Relations (New York: Macmillan. 249 pp.)
  • 1964: Staff member, Nelson Rockefeller for president campaign Published Plunging into Politics: How to Become or Support a Candidate on the National, State, or Local Level (New York: D. McKay Co. 209 pp.)
  • 1965: Volunteer, John Lindsay mayoral election campaign, New York, N.Y.
  • 1966: Director of public relations, Nelson Rockefeller gubernatorial election campaign, New York
  • 1967 - 1968 : Advisor and speechwriter, Richard M. Nixon presidential election campaign
  • 1968 - 1973 : Appointed special assistant by President Richard M. Nixon working primarily as speechwriter and media consultant
  • 1968: Published New Language of Politics (New York: Random House. 782 pp.); revised and enlarged edition, 1972; 1978 ( Safire's Political Dictionary); 1993 ( Safire's New Political Dictionary)
  • 1973 - : Columnist, New York Times
  • 1975: Published Before the Fall: An Inside View of the Pre-Watergate White House (New York: Doubleday & Co. 704 pp.)
  • 1977: Published Full Disclosure: A Novel (Franklin Center, Penn., privately printed limited edition by Franklin Library. 535 pp.; and Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. 525 pp.) Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary
  • 1980: Published On Language (New York: Times Books. 331 pp.) Published Safire's Washington (New York: Times Books. 534 pp.)
  • 1982: Published What's the Good Word? (New York: Times Books. 400 pp.) Published Good Advice: More than 2,000 Apt Quotations to Help You Live Your Life, compiled and edited with Leonard Safir (New York: Times Books. 400 pp.)
  • 1986: Published Take My Word For It: More On Language (New York: Times Books. 357 pp.)
  • 1987: Published Freedom, a novel (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. 1125 pp.)
  • 1988: Published You Could Look It Up: More On Language (New York: Times Books. 357 pp.)
  • 1989: Published Words of Wisdom: More Good Advice, compiled and edited with Leonard Safir (New York: Simon & Schuster. 432 pp.)
  • 1990: Published Language Maven Strikes Again (New York: Doubleday. 447 pp.) Published Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage (New York: Doubleday. 153 pp.)
  • 1991: Published Coming to Terms (New York: Doubleday. 402 pp.)
  • 1992: Published The First Dissident: The Book of Job in Today's Politics (New York: Times Books. 304 pp.) Published Good Advice on Writing, compiled and edited with Leonard Safir (New York: Simon & Schuster. 288 pp.) Published Leadership, compiled and edited with Leonard Safir (New York: Simon & Schuster. 258 pp.) Published Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, selected and introduced by Safire (New York: W. W. Norton. 957 pp.; revised and enlarged, 1997)
  • 1993: Published Quoth the Maven (New York: Random House. 350 pp.)
  • 1994: Published In Love with Norma Loquendi (New York: Random House. 349 pp.)
  • 1995: Published Sleeper Spy, a novel (New York: Random House. 451 pp.)
  • 2009, Sept. 27: Died, Rockville, Md.

From the guide to the William Safire Papers, 1953-1980, (bulk 1960-1973), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

William Lewis Safire (1929-2009) was an American author, columnist, lexicographer, novelist, public relations executive, reporter, and White House speechwriter. Safire was born on December 17, 1929, in New York, NY, to thread merchant Oliver C. and his wife Ida Panish Safir. (He later added the "e" to his name to help with pronunciation). He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, a specialized high school known for its focus on mathematics and science, and enrolled at Syracuse University in 1947. Safire dropped out in 1949 after his sophomore year and his older brother Leonard, a copy boy for columnist and public relations man Tex McCrary, encouraged his younger brother to apply for a job at the New York Herald Tribune . He was hired as a researcher and writer for the paper's "Close-Up" column which gave him the opportunity to interview celebrities such as Mae West.

He continued working in public relations as a correspondence in Europe and the Middle East for radio station WNBC and WNBT-TV as well as for the Army in 1952-1954. He returned to work with McCrary on the Tex and Jinx radio and television shows and later as vice-president of Tex McCrary, Inc., a public relations firm where he arranged the "kitchen debate" in Moscow between Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev in 1959.

In 1961, he established his own firm, Safire Public Relations, where his clients included an ice cream manufacturer, a laxative company, and various political campaigns. He sold his company in 1968 for $335,000 and joined the White House staff where he served as an advisor, special assistant, speechwriter, and media consultant to Richard Nixon.

He left his post at the White House in 1973 to join the staff at the New York Times . He was hired on the spot by publisher Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger, Sr. as the paper's new political columnist. Safire's twice-weekly "Essay" column appeared on the Op-Ed page for thirty-two years and presented a libertarian conservative point of view. He earned the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1978 for his column on the alleged budgetary infractions of Bert Lance. He later served on the Pulitzer Prize board from 1995-2004.

His Sunday column, "On Language" (1979-2009) appeared in the New York Times Magazine and featured commentary on grammar, usage and etymology. The column attracted many fans and devoted correspondents, dubbed the Lexicographic Irregulars.

In 2000, he was hired as chairman and chief executive officer of the Charles A. Dana Foundation, a philanthropic organization supporting brain science, immunology, and arts education. He also served on the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. In 2006, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

He authored many books including Safire's New Political Dictionary, a study of the words that have inspired and inflamed the electorate; Freedom, about the Civil War; and Scandalmonger, about the origins of America's press freedom. His anthology of the world's greatest speeches, Lend Me Your Ears, has become a classic. He frequently contributed to periodicals and newspapers including Cosmopolitan, New York Times Book Review, and Playboy .

Safire married Helene Belmar Julius in 1962. The couple had two children, Mark Lindsey and Annabel Victoria.

William Safire died on September 27, 2009 in Rockville, Maryland.

From the guide to the William Safire Papers, 1949-2009, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Harmon, William, 1938-. William Harmon papers, 1939-2000 (correspondents S). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925-. Ogden Rogers Reid papers, 1925-1982 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-. Zbigniew Brzezinski papers : Part II, 1798-2009 (bulk 1960-2007). Library of Congress
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 314
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 285
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 317
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 457
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 487
referencedIn White House Staff Member and Office Files (Nixon Administration). 1/20/1969 - 8/9/1974. Bryce N. Harlow's Files
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 467
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 927
referencedIn Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-. Zbigniew Brzezinski papers (primary record), 1798-2009 (bulk 1952-2007). Library of Congress
referencedIn Burkat, Leonard, 1919-1992. The Leonard Burkat papers, 1943-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Burkat, Leonard, 1919-. The Leonard Burkat papers, 1943-1981 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. A.M. Rosenthal papers, 1955-1994, 1967-1986 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Tom McCall Forum Collection, 1982-2007 Pacific University Archives
creatorOf Hawkins, John R. John R. Hawkins '56 literary manuscript collection, 1972-80. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Evans, Rowland, 1921-2001. Rowland Evans Jr. and Robert D. Novak papers, 1948-2008. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Marguerite Harris Papers, 1901-1978 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 273
referencedIn Farago, Ladislas. Ladislas Farago collection, 1919-1980. Boston University, School of Medical
referencedIn Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925-. Ogden Rogers Reid papers, 1925-1982 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 584
referencedIn James Ivey Collection., 1892-1971, 1966-1969 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Andreĭ Sakharov papers, 1852-2002 (inclusive), 1960-1990 (bulk). Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard
referencedIn William Harmon Papers (#4568), 1939-2000 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 283
referencedIn Herbert G. Klein papers, 15th-17th centuries, 1932-2009 (Bulk 1960-1973) USC Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf Safire, William, 1929-2009. William Safire papers, 1953-1980 (bulk 1960-1973). Library of Congress
creatorOf William Safire Papers, 1949-2009 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Camp David hard wire tape number 228
creatorOf National Security Files (Nixon Administration). 1968 - 1975. Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts (Telcons)
referencedIn The Leonard Burkat Papers, 1943-1981 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf William Safire Papers, 1953-1980, (bulk 1960-1973) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 284
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 465
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. White House telephone tape number 10
referencedIn Klein, Herbert G. (Herbert George), 1918-2009. Herbert G. Klein papers, 15th-17th centuries, 1932-2009 (bulk 1960-1973). University of Southern California, USC Libraries
referencedIn Ogden Rogers Reid papers, 1925-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Zbigniew Brzezinski Papers, 1798-2009, (bulk 1952-2007) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 573
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Agnew, Spiro T., 1918-1996. person
associatedWith Alexander, Lamar, 1940- person
correspondedWith Allen, William C. person
correspondedWith Atkins, Oliver F., 1916-1977 person
correspondedWith Bachrach, Fabian, 1917-2010 person
associatedWith Barzun, Jacques, 1907-2012 person
associatedWith Bleier, Edward. person
correspondedWith Bonnay, Charles person
correspondedWith Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928- person
associatedWith Buchanan, Patrick J. (Patrick Joseph), 1938- person
associatedWith Burkat, Leonard, 1919-1992. person
associatedWith Burns, Arthur F. (Arthur Frank), 1904-1987. person
associatedWith Bush, George, 1924- person
associatedWith Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946- person
associatedWith Carlin, George . person
associatedWith Charles A. Dana Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Cheney, Richard B. person
associatedWith Clinton, Bill, 1946- person
associatedWith Clinton, Hillary Rodham. person
associatedWith Colson, Charles W. person
associatedWith Cuomo, Mario Matthew. person
associatedWith Deaver, Michael K. person
associatedWith Eggers, Melvin A. person
associatedWith Ehrlichman, John. person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 person
associatedWith Evans, Rowland, 1921-2001. person
correspondedWith Farago, Ladislas. person
correspondedWith Fisk, Walter W. person
associatedWith Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006 person
correspondedWith Haberman, Irving, 1916- person
associatedWith Haldeman, H. R. (Harry R.), 1926-1993. person
associatedWith Harmon, William, 1938- person
correspondedWith Harris & Ewing. corporateBody
associatedWith Harris, Marguerite, Archives person
correspondedWith Hawkins, J. Allen, 1915- person
associatedWith Hawkins, John R. person
associatedWith Huston, Thomas. person
associatedWith Huston, Thomas. person
associatedWith Ivey, Jim. person
correspondedWith Jarvis, Roy person
associatedWith Javits, Jacob K. (Jacob Koppel), 1904-1986. person
associatedWith Kemp, Jack. person
associatedWith Kissinger, Henry, 1923- person
associatedWith Kissinger, Henry, 1923- person
associatedWith Klein, Herbert G. (Herbert George), 1918-2009. person
associatedWith Koppel, Ted, 1940 Feb. 8- person
associatedWith Lang, George. person
associatedWith Lefkowitz, Louis J. person
associatedWith Leonard Burkat person
correspondedWith Lew, Mervyn person
associatedWith Mahoney, David (David J.), 1928- person
correspondedWith Mattox, Warren person
associatedWith McCrary, John Reagan, 1910-2003 person
associatedWith Mitchell, John N. (John Newton), 1913-1988 person
associatedWith Moynihan, Daniel P. (Daniel Patrick), 1927-2003. person
associatedWith Nathan, Richard, 1935- person
associatedWith New York Times Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994. person
associatedWith O'Connor, Sandra Day, 1930- person
correspondedWith O'Neill, Dev person
correspondedWith Parker, Buffy person
associatedWith Price, Raymond K. (Raymond Kissam), 1930- person
associatedWith Quayle, Dan, 1947- person
associatedWith Raines, Howell. person
associatedWith Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925- person
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Robinson, Gilbert A. (Gilbert Asa), 1928- person
associatedWith Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979. person
associatedWith Rogers, William P. (William Pierce), 1913-2001. person
associatedWith Rosenthal, A. M. (Abraham Michael), 1922-2006 person
correspondedWith Rothschild Photo. corporateBody
associatedWith Safire, William, 1929-2009. an anecdotal dictionary of catchwords, slogans, and political usage. person
associatedWith Safir, Leonard person
associatedWith Sakharov, Andreĭ, 1921-1989 person
associatedWith Shultz, George Pratt, 1920- person
correspondedWith Smith, Merrett T. person
correspondedWith Sullivan, Ed person
associatedWith Sulzberger, Arthur Ochs, 1926-2012 person
associatedWith Tom McCall Forum corporateBody
associatedWith United States. White House Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, Mike, 1918-2012 person
correspondedWith Zeni Photography. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Israel.
United States
United States
Singapore.
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)
China.
United States--Politics and government
Subject
English language--Grammar
Presidents--Staff--1969-1974
English language--Foreign elements
English language--Style
Mayors--Election
Journalism
Privacy
English language--Usage
Presidents--United States--Election--1964
English language--Etymology
Presidents--Elections--1968
Presidents--United States--Election--1968
Gambling
Lexicography
English language--Errors of usage
Syracuse University
Speechwriting
Freedom of information
Linguistics
Presidents--United States--Election--1960
Elections--1962
Mayors--New York (State)--New York--Election
Presidents--Election--1964
Governors--New York (State)--Election--1966
Journalists--United States
Presidents--United States--Staff--1969-1974
Presidents--Election--1960
Elections--New York (State)--1962
United Nations
Governors--Election--1966
Colloquial language
Occupation
Public relations consultants
Speechwriters
Novelists
Authors
Journalists
Function

Person

Birth 1929-12-17

Death 2009-09-27

Americans

English

Information

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