ATG Book of the Week: Condé Nast
“The first biography in over thirty years of Condé Nast, the pioneering publisher of Vogue and Vanity Fair and main rival to media magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Condé Nast’s life and career was as high profile and glamourous as his magazines. Moving to New York in the early twentieth century with just the shirt on his back, he soon became the highest paid executive in the United States, acquiring Vogue in 1909 and Vanity Fair in 1913. Alongside his editors, Edna Woolman Chase at Vogue and Frank Crowninshield at Vanity Fair, he built the first-ever international magazine empire, introducing European modern art, style, and fashions to an American audience.
Credited with creating the “café society,” Nast became a permanent fixture on the international fashion scene and a major figure in New York society. His superbly appointed apartment at 1040 Park Avenue, decorated by the legendary Elsie de Wolfe, became a gathering place for the major artistic figures of the time. Nast launched the careers of icons like Cecil Beaton, Clare Boothe Luce, Lee Miller, Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. He left behind a legacy that endures today in media powerhouses such as Anna Wintour, Tina Brown, and Graydon Carter.
Written with the cooperation of his family on both sides of the Atlantic and a dedicated team at Condé Nast Publications, critically acclaimed biographer Susan Ronald reveals the life of an extraordinary American success story.”
“In her new biography, Susan Ronald describes [Nast’s] ambitions and excesses, and the simultaneously fashionable and intellectual world he inhabited.” —The New Republic
“Groundbreaking…This big, glittering book provides a full and human portrait of Condé Nast. Lively, detailed descriptions of the early decades of the 20th century complete the setting of Nast’s life story.” —Christian Science Monitor
“Ronald’s account succeeds as a social history of this fizzy time as she documents the interconnected worlds covered by Vogue and Vanity Fair — fashion, high society, literature, the arts and entertainment — from writers Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley of the Algonquin Round Table to New York socialites won over by Nast’s charm offensive.” —Newsday
“With her breezy, gossipy style, Ronald brings to life the story of the influential American publisher and his magazines.” —Library Journal
“[Ronald] does an exceptional job of integrating the story of Nast’s personal fortunes and misfortunes and the lives of those he sought to refine and educate.” —Booklist
“The thoroughly researched story of Condé Nast…a highly flattering biography of an important figure in American publishing.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Ronald writes in a vivid, sparkling, amused style…and revels in the era’s repartee, clothes and gossip. …her evocation of the vibrant scene around [Nast] will keep readers entertained.” —Publishers Weekly
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.