Monday, June 21, 2021

Dan Frank, Adventurous Book Editor, Has Died at 67

Mr. Frank graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1976 with a degree in Philosophy. He holds a master’s degree from the interdisciplinary program Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

He soon began his career in publishing. As an editorial assistant at Harcourt Bres Jovanovich, she brought a copy of The Times to work every morning, and a young woman in the book design department would often sit down at her desk to look at it.

She was Ms. Lowy. They married in 1982. Besides him, he has three sons, Jasper, Lucas and Cole, and a grandson. Mr. Frank lived in Manhattan.

Despite his responsibilities to run the Pantheon, Mr. Frank was attentive to individual books and authors. For one, James Gleick worked with Mr. Frank on all of his books, beginning in the 1980s, when Mr. Frank saw an article that Mr. Gleick wrote in The New York Times Magazine and was commissioned to expand it into a book, his first, best-selling book. “Chaos: Making a New Science.”

When Mr. Gleek proposed to Mr. Frank latest project, which deals with time travel, Mr. Frank thought for a moment. “Oh, I see,” recalled Mr. Gleek, answering him. “It’s not really going to be a book about science fiction. It’s going to be a book about timing.”

That recommendation “helped me shift my thinking about the book from something that might be a little trivial, to something that’s been done before—a survey of a bunch of science fiction literature—something that’s more intended to be ambitious,” Mr. Gleick said.

A different editor, he continued, might have thought, “There are a lot of time travel fans out there, and they all want to buy it.” Not Mr. Frank.

“Dan never thought about how he could sell a book,” said Mr. Gleick. “He thought about what a particular author could have to make the best book out there.”

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