Clifton Fadiman


Biography of Clifton Fadiman

Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Fadiman was a grandson of the famed 1887-emigree Russian psychologist Boris Sidis and a nephew of the child prodigy William James Sidis.

Fadiman grew up in Brooklyn. His mother's maiden name was Grace Mendelbaum. She worked as a nurse; his father, Isadore, immigrated from Russia in 1892 and worked as a druggist.

He attended Columbia College at Columbia University. One of his teachers was lifelong friend Mark Van Doren; his undergraduate contemporaries included Jacques Barzun, Mortimer Adler, and Whittaker Chambers. Though he entered with the Class of 1924, his graduation was delayed until 1925 because of financial constraints. Chambers clearly includes Fadiman in a group of ernste Menshen ["serious men"], whose ability to attend Columbia he attributes to "a struggle with a warping poverty impossible for those who have not glimpsed it to imagine it." He graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

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