Do Editors Dream of Books? The Story Behind New York Jackie
Although I work all day editing art and photography books, and also read a lot of books in my spare time, I very rarely dream about books. But one night, I did. It was a very short dream, hardly more than a single image: I dreamed that I was holding in my hands an advance copy of a book I had worked on. It had an unusually tall and thin trim-size and an extra chunky page count. It was a hardcover bound in black cloth, with the title running sideways filling the whole front cover in big white silkscreened letters: NEW YORK JACKIE. Here’s a drawing of the dream-book:
In the instant of holding and looking at the book my dream-self knew exactly what was inside (of course I did, I’d edited it): photos of Jackie Kennedy Onassis from the decades she’d lived in New York City, full of amazing 60s, 70s, and 80s clothes, and bursting with Jackie’s inimitable insouciant style and buoyant personal charm. Then I woke up. And I knew, just knew, that I had to make this book. Not only did I go on to edit it, but I ended up being it’s author as well! Of course the final package wound up looking nothing like the book in my dream, as you can see from the final below:
As much as I loved my dream book, the awake-editor-me knew it wasn’t the right package for any number of reasons. But I love the real, published New York Jackie every bit as much in real life as I did in my dream. Which is to say: a whole heck of a lot.
Here is a closer look at the book that came to be:
The hot pink and yellow endsheets designer Kristen Hewitt gave us are perfection.
What woman in New York today—or any city or town for that matter—wouldn’t want this look? And this is a photo from 1969. Just goes to show Jackie’s style was truly timeless. What a classic.
Jackie aboard the Staten Island Ferry on the left, and on the right chatting with Carl Katz, Tom King, and Diana Vreeland at an opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here she is on the job, working in publishing herself!
It’s not often you get to make your dreams quite literally come true. I’m lucky to have a job where I get to.
Bridget Watson Payne
Senior Editor, Art Publishing
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