An Editor with a Cause

Jeannette Hopkins ’44

Editor of one of Vassar’s premier literary magazines, the Vassar Brew, Jeannette Hopkins, class of ’44, began to forge her career in publishing as a junior English major at Vassar College. Equipped with a BA in English from Vassar and an MS from the Columbia University School of Journalism, Jeannette spent her first few years out of academia working as a reporter for the New Haven Register, the Providence Journal-Bulletin and the Oklahoma City Times. At a time when women in the publishing industry were few and far between, she helped pave the way for female editors across the nation when she began working as a senior editor for the Beacon Press in Boston and eventually became a senior editor at Harcourt Brace. She left this post to become a senior editor at Harper & Row, where she spent close to ten years before leaving to set up her own editorial consulting business in New York City. During her time at Harper & Row, she also became executive editor of the Harper-Carnegie-sponsored urban publications program.

Returning to academia, Jeannette became director and editor-in-chief for the Wesleyan University Press and an Adjunct Professor of English at Wesleyan University. She also allowed her interest in public affairs, specifically civil liberties and race relations, to become a priority in her life. In addition to co-authoring A Relevant War Against Poverty with Kenneth B. Clark, she has been an active member of the Unitarian church and was involved with the American Civil Liberties Union for many years as an elected member of the National Board; she still remains a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council.

Even in her “full-time” retirement, Jeannette continues to mentor young authors and young assistant professors on the tenure track. Her devotion to the craft of writing and the aspiring authors that she has helped shape is perhaps most evident in the subject of her unpublished manuscript: her experience working with writers from Lewis Mumford, C.S. Lewis, James MacGregor and others. On her experience with editing the work of young authors, she writes: “If I can, I expect to continue this work as long as possible.”