Condé Nast’s S.I. Newhouse Jr. Dead at 89

Si Newhouse. Photo courtesy Condé Nast.

S.I. Newhouse Jr., known as Si, died at home today in Manhattan. The powerhouse publisher was 89. Newhouse was the owner of The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and other magazines built his empire in part by hiring “some of the most charismatic magazine editors of the late 20th century,” said the New York Times in their obituary, “among them Tina Brown and Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair and Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour at Vogue, and encouraged them to behave like the celebrities they extolled in his publications.”


“I am not an editor,” Mr. Newhouse told The New York Times in 1989. “I flounder when people ask me, ‘What would you do?’” His philosophy, he said, was to let his editors run free. “We feel almost that whichever way it goes, as long as it doesn’t do something absolutely screwy, you can build a magazine around the direction an editor takes.”


As Graydon Carter noted in a remembrance online on Vanity Fair today, Newhouse “inherited a carriage-trade house encompassing Vogue, Glamour, House & Garden, and Mademoiselle, and built from there, launching or adding not only Vanity Fair and The New Yorker but Self, GQ, Wired, Details, W, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, and Bon Appétit, among other titles. In 1980, he built out the book side of the family business by purchasing Random House, including Alfred A. Knopf.” ◊


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