Louis Zara (born Rosenfeld), whose main claim to fame in the mineral world was serving as Editor-in-Chief of Mineral Digest from 1969-1977, was born in Buffalo, New York, on August 2, 1910, the son of Cecilia Glick and Benjamin Rosenfeld, a laborer (and Jewish immigrant from Russian Poland). He legally changed his name early in his writing career, and lived in Illinois from the early/mid 1920s through 1951. He attended Hebrew Theological College in 1927, Crane Junior College (Chicago) in 1930 and the University of Chicago in 1930-1931. He married Bertha Robbins (Rabinovich) in 1930, and together they had three sons (Paul, Philip and Daniel); he later married Margaret "Marlene" Fawcett (in 1958) and Helen Dillman (1987).
Zara was best known among the general public as an author of poetry, plays, radio plays, television screen plays, and nearly a dozen novels, many of them involving Jewish immigrants in America and historical figures, from Stephen Crane to Herman Melville to Philip II of Spain. He received the Essay Medal from the International Benjamin Franklin Society in 1930, the Prose Award from the Chicago Literature Foundation in 1940, and the Daroff Memorial Fiction Award in 1955.
Zara served as Chairman of the Walt Whitman Fellowship (1940), as Vice President of the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company (1946-1951), as Editor-in-chief of Masterpieces (1950-1951), and as Director of the Ziff-Davis general book division (1959-1961).
He was President of Public's Consultant, Inc. in New York City (1955-1956), International Communications Corporation, New York City (1955-1956), and Editor-in-Chief of the general trade division at the Follett Company (1962-1965). He served as Creative Director for George Jensen, Inc. (1974-1977) and was a consultant for Julio Tanjeloff (1916-1980) at Astro Minerals Limited (1968-1983).
He was also "an impassioned collector of gems and minerals" as well as coins, and had a magnificent jade collection. He was a fellow of both the American Numismatic Society and the Royal Numismatic Society. In addition to his novels, he wrote a book about his favorite gem, ''Jade'' (1969). He also served as Editor-in-Chief of Cameo, a magazine for collectors of art medals.
He died in his apartment in Manhattan on October 5, 2001.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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