Joseph F. McCrindle (1923-2008), American Academy in Rome Trustee Emeritus

Joseph F. McCrindle, art collector, philanthropist and publisher, died at his home in New York on July 11 at the age of 85, following an extended illness.

He had served as a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome from 1980 to 1994.

McCrindle was founder and editor of the Transatlantic Review, a literary journal based in London which ran for 60 issues between from 1959 to 1977. His goal in the TR was to strike a balance between American and British writers, and between prominent and less known (sometimes unknown) ones. Here he published work by such writers and artists as W. H. Auden, Paul Bowles, Anthony Burgess, Jean Cocteau, William Goldman, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Grace Paley, Harold Pinter, Larry Rivers, William Trevor and John Updike.

Greatgrandson of the American painter Henry Mosler, he grew up in a New York mansion designed by Stanford White. McCrindle developed an early appreciation of the arts—for instance, he began collecting 16th-century books at the age of eight.

McCrindle graduated from St. Paul’s School in Manhattan, and (in 1944) Harvard College. His Harvard senior thesis treated “Flaubert’s opinions of Shakespeare as contained in his letters”; later McCrindle was to translate several French non-fiction books.

During World War II, he served in the Office of Strategic Services in London as a translator, reaching the rank of first lieutenant. Later he attended Yale Law School, receiving his JD degree in 1948. After a brief period with a Wall Street law firm and stints at one London and two New York publishing companies McCrindle became a literary agent, with clients including Philip Roth and John McPhee.

In 1959, following a summer at Oxford, McCrindle founded the Transatlantic Review in London. After a decade, McCrindle selected the magazine’s best for his Stories from the Transatlantic Review (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970; Penguin, 1974), and also Behind the Scenes: Theater and Film Interviews from the Transatlantic Review (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971). He remained editor and publisher of the Transatlantic Review until it ceased publication in 1977.

He also established the Henfield Foundation, now known as the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, which makes grants to arts, music and social justice organizations; and the Henfield Prize, an annual award to students in leading creative writing programs.

A prominent collector of old master paintings and old master and 19th century drawings as well as historical manuscripts, letters and Pre-Columbian Art, McCrindle was a donor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Center at Yale, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Morgan Library and Museum, and was a major benefactor of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, among many others.

An exhibition of some of the 2500 old master drawings he was to accumulate in his lifetime showed at Princeton in 1991, and was published as Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Joseph F. McCrindle, for The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1991, with catalogue by Frederick den Broeder.

The New York Times reported that his entire remaining collection would be given to about 30 institutions in the United States.

In addition to the AAR, McCrindle served on the boards of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and (since 1986) the New York Youth Symphony.

He is survived by his half-brother, Antoine duBourg of Newport, Rhode Island. A memorial service is being planned for September.

Adapted from New York Times obituaries of 15 and 18 July 2008; (subscription); Wikipedia entry on the Transatlantic Review.


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