Justin Kaplan

Biography of Justin Kaplan

Justin Kaplan (September 5, 1925, New York) is an American writer and editor. He is best known for biography including Samuel Clemens, Lincoln Steffens, and Walt Whitman.

Kaplan received his bachelor of science degree from Harvard University in 1945. After pursuing a post-graduate degree for two years, he left graduate school to work for the publishing house Simon & Schuster, where he eventually became a senior editor.

Kaplan left publishing for writing in 1959 and began work on his first biography, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, a study of the famous author that was published in 1966. The book was a tremendous critical success, winning both the National Book Award in category Arts and Letters and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He followed this up with two more well-received biographies, Lincoln Steffens: A Biography (1974), and Walt Whitman: A Life (1980), which won a National Book Award in category Autobiography/Biography.

He also edited several anthologies and the 16th and 17th editions of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1992, 2002). Kaplan's most recent book is When the Astors Owned New York: Blue Bloods and Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age (2006).

Kaplan married author Anne Bernays in 1954. The two have written a double memoir entitled Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York, as well as The Language of Names (1997). Kaplan and Bernays live in Cambridge and Truro, Massachusetts.

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