Barbara Van Doren Klaw (1920 -2002)
Where: Cream Hill
Klaw was born in New York, the youngest daughter of Carl and Irita Van Doren, and studied at Vassar. While growing up, Klaw lived in New York City and summered in Cornwall. It was her summers in Cornwall that served as the inspiration for Klaw’s first book One Summer, published when Klaw was fourteen. Klaw went on to write four novels during her teenage years, published under a pseudonym.
After graduating from Vassar she married Spencer Klaw, and briefly lived in San Francisco. During World War II, Klaw lived in Washington, D.C., and worked at various government editorial jobs. In 1943, Klaw joined her husband at his military training camp in Missouri where she worked as a Morse Code operator and later at the USO servicemen’s club. While in Missouri, Klaw wrote a book about her experiences, which was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly.
When her husband was shipped off after training, Klaw moved to New York, where she took a job with the New York Post. After the war was over, Klaw quit her job to focus on raising her family. She also kept busy writing book reviews, magazine articles, co-editing a collection of folktales with her sister, and writing a book on etiquette for ordinary people.
After her children had grown up, Klaw took a position with American Heritage as senior editor. Klaw remained in that position for twenty-five years. After her retirement in 1998 she continued her editorial role on the Cornwall Chronicle. Klaw died in Cornwall in 2002.
Image from the Collection of the Cornwall Historical Society