The most important skill an editor can have is the ability to misunderstand.


Phil Ressner, author and editor


Cover of the museum catalog <em>Photography in California: 1945-1980</em>


While working at Arts Magazine, I was given the opportunity to freelance for Harry N. Abrams, Inc., a company known for its elegant art books. My background in art and ability to check translations resulted in a number of jobs.


Nevelson’s World, Jean Lipman, a survey of the life and work of sculptor Louise Nevelson. Edited. Hudson Hills Press for the Whitney Museum of American Art

Photography in California: 1945-1980, Louise Katzman, an exhibition catalog and trade book covering the work of fifty of the state’s most creative photographers. Edited the manuscript. Hudson Hills Press for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Prints of Louis Lozowick, Janet Flynn. Catalogue raisonné of the twentieth-century American painter and graphic artist. Edited the manuscript and checked the picture program. Hudson Hills Press for the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.

Willem De Kooning, Gabriela Drudi. Survey of the life and work of the Dutch-born American artist. Edited and checked the translation against the Italian original for Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

The Villas and Country Houses of Mies van der Rohe, Wolf Tegethoff. An examination of the Barcelona House and other works by the German-born architect. Edited the manuscript and checked the translation against the German original for The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Cover of the textbook <em>Art in Context</em>

Photorealist painter Chuck Close in his studio.


Between 1974 and 1982, I developed more than twenty textbooks for the College Department of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. I was the only member of the department who had editorial, design, and production experience—one reason why my books always came in under budget.

On all books:

  • analyzed manuscripts and suggested changes and illustrations
  • did the line editing
  • oversaw the layout
  • oversaw the picture program

On most books:

  • did rewriting and additional writing
  • took some of the photographs


C’est la vie, Paul and Beverly Pimsleur. Nonfiction reader for second-year students of French.

The Living Tradition, Henry Vyverberg. Introduction to the humanities.

Medical Spanish, Maria De Lorenzo and Thomas Kearon. Practical Spanish for doctors and nurses.

The Modern Researcher, Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, third edition. The classic introduction to the scholarly research.

Mosaico de la vida, Francisco Jiménez. Second-year Spanish reader with stories by Spanish-speaking writers in the United States.

Psychology and Language, Herbert and Eve Clark. The first complete textbook on psycholinguistics.

Cover of the Spanish textbook <em>Bravo</em>


This segment represents both my writing and editing because, in the world of school publishing, the editors are usually also the writers. I have been the principal writer/editor of quite a few textbooks and teachers’guides, and I have edited or been a contributing writer on more than a dozen other projects.

On all books:

  • analyzed manuscripts and suggested changes and illustrations
  • did line editing
  • worked within the limitations of the layout

On most books:

  • did much of the writing


English and American Literature, grades 7-12, for Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Edited parts of the Teacher Edition. Wrote notes on the illustrations in the Pupil Edition.

Reading (English),  grades 7-12, for Prentice Hall. Wrote multicultural essays for the Pupil Edition.

Reading  (Spanish),  grades 3-5, for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. For the bilingual Teacher Editions: line and copy edited, conformed English and Spanish texts, proofed both versions, translated Spanish stories.

Science,  grade 5, for Harcourt Brace. Edited part of the Pupil Edition. Extensive rewriting.

Social Studies,  grade 4, for Steck-Vaughn. Wrote and edited the Pupil Edition for special-education students. Created the sample pages.

Spanish, high school, for Scott, Foresman. Writer and editor for the Pupil Editions of this three-book series. Wrote cultural notes for the Teacher Edition and took photographs used in Pupil Editions. The series captured more than fifty percent of the U.S. high-school market.

Spanish audio tapes  for third-year high-school Spanish, for Glencoe. Fifty scripts designed to review specific vocabulary and grammar—but written to sound like authentic (and amusing) radio programs.