Harry Scherman

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Harry Scherman (February 1, 1887 – November 12, 1969) was an American publisher and economist, most notable as the co-founder of the Book of the Month Club. He also wrote four books on economics.



Early life and education

Isaac Harry Scherman was born February 1, 1887 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. [1] He was the youngest of five children born to Katherine Harris and Jacob Scherman. After his parents separated, Harry and his brothers Louis and William were placed in an orphanage in Atlanta, Georgia, where they lived from 1893 to 1899. He attended Central High School in Philadelphia, where his classmates included Alexander Woollcott, the future Algonquin Round Table member and radio personality, and Ed Wynn, the famous actor. Scherman graduated high school in 1905, and later completed university studies at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.


His first jobs included working for Louis Lipsky at "The American Hebrew" newspaper, with the Ruthrauff and Ryan advertising firm, and the J. Walter Thompson Company. In 1916, he established the Little Leather Library and, in 1926, he co-founded the Book of the Month Club.

Following the establishment of the Book of The Month Club, Scherman published several works in his own right. In one such work, The Promises Men Live By, published in 1938 he developed an analysis of economic problems in terms of people's beliefs. He was critical of accepted policies relating to the then fashionable Keynesianism.

Marriage and children

Scherman married Bernardine Kielty on June 3, 1914. Kielty was of Irish and Welsh descent and had moved to New York City from a small town in New England where she met Scherman. [2] Kielty was also a writer of non-fiction, juvenile fiction and a book columnist for The Ladies Home Journal . [3] The couple had two children, Katharine Scherman Rosin (1915-2009), a writer of non-fiction, and Thomas Scherman (1917-1979), a recorded conductor of classical music, who also founded the Little Orchestra Society of New York City. [4]

Death and afterward

Scherman died November 12, 1969 in Manhattan, New York.

His collected papers were purchased by the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1993. [5]

Published works

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  1. Janice A. Radway (1999). A Feeling for Books. UNC Press. p. 154. ISBN   9780807848302.
  2. "It's Good to Remember". The New York Times . September 20, 1964. Bernardine Kielty. of half‐Irish, half-Welsh descent and very much the individualist plunged into social work for underprivileged Jewish children although in her small town environment she had hardly known a Jew. Gradually, she became a part of a young New York intellectual group and married one of its members an earnest writer named Harry Scherman. They had two children and lived happily ever after.
  3. Dust jacket profile of Bernardine Kielty, in relation to Kielty's book, Masters of Painting: Their Works/Their Lives/Their Times. Doubleday and Company, Garden City, New York, 1964.
  4. New York Public Library, Biographical/Historical Note on Thomas Scherman, in relation to The Thomas Scherman Papers, 1945-1979. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  5. Particulars of Harry Scherman family papers. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries. Retrieved 2012-01-06.