Biographical Information:

Dates: 1889-1952
Dates in Ridgefield:

editor, newspaper reporter, book reviewer

When he was a child, Henry Herschel Brickell was an omnivorous reader, consuming one or two volumes a day on summer vacations. He was, he said later, "unwittingly preparing myself for the book reviewer’s life in New York." The Mississippi native fought in the Mexican war in 1916, was a newspaper reporter and editor in the South and came to New York in 1919 to work for The New York Post as a news editor, then book review editor. He later became general manager of Henry Holt & Company (whose namesake was a Ridgefielder), and in the 1930s, wrote book reviews for The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, and The Saturday Review of Literature. In 1941, he became editor of the annual O’Henry Memorial Short Story Anthology. A 1939 assignment in Spain– for which he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to study in Spain-- left him with a love of things Spanish. He became a senior cultural relations assistant to U.S. Ambassador Spruile Braden, and, during World War II, was chief of the State Department’s Division of Cultural Cooperation for Latin America. He continued to write and edit here and traveled in South America until one day in 1952, at the age of 63, he took his own life at his Branchville home. Police and medical officials attributed the suicide to "hard work and a tendency to despondency," The Press said.

Lives of Mississippi Authors 1817-1967, 2009

--Sources: Notable Ridgefielders-Jack Sanders