Obituary of Christopher Lee Carduff

August 14, 2023

Christopher Carduff Books Editor of The Wall Street Journal Dies at 66

Christopher Lee Carduff died August 14th at New York University Hospital with his beloved family by his side. The cause was complications related to a sudden brain bleed and blood clot. An extremely talented editor, he left a large literary legacy and made an enormous contribution to the canon of American letters.

He was born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1956, and graduated from Macalester College in 1979. After many years in bookselling, he attended The Radcliffe (now Columbia) Publishing Course, and then started his long and illustrious career in book publishing that included Addison-Wesley Publishers, The New Criterion magazine, Houghton Mifflin, Counterpoint Press, and David R. Godine Publishers. A renowned expert on the work of John Updike, he was a trustee for the John H. Updike Literary Trust. As the publishing consultant to the Trust, he edited Updike's Higher Gossip, Always Looking, Collected Stories, and Selected Poems, as well as multiple collections of Updike’s novels. He also recently oversaw a forthcoming collection of his letters.

In addition to Updike, Chris was the estate-appointed editor of posthumous works by Maeve Brennan, Penelope Fitzgerald, Daniel Fuchs, and William Maxwell.

From 2006 to 2017, he was an editor and publishing consultant at The Library of America, overseeing the publication of American classics. He conceived and supervised multivolume editions of the collected works of many writers, including Carson McCullers, Katherine Anne Porter, Virgil Thomson, Kurt Vonnegut, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. In 2017, he became the Books Editor at The Wall Street Journal.

He lived in Manhattan with his wife, the cookbook editor Elizabeth Skinner Carduff, and was the father of Emily Van Brunt Carduff who lives in Chicago and Eliot Skinner Carduff who lives in Boston. He is also survived by two sisters, Sibyl Dana Reynolds (and Don Reynolds), Stacey Heisler (and Bill Heisler), a brother, Alexander Carduff, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Donations in Chris’s name can be made towards a Christopher Carduff Scholarship at The Columbia University Publishing Course. Contact Elizabeth Carduff for details (

Funeral Mass
The Church of St. Agnes
143 E. 43rd Street
New York, NY 10017
Friday, August 18, 2023
10:00 AM
(212) 682-5722

For those who are unable to attend, a live webcast link of the funeral mass is provided below:

Christopher Lee Carduff Funeral Mass

Reception to follow:
The Smith
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
956 Second Ave
New York, NY

The family kindly requests no flowers to be sent to the church or home.

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Dear Elizabeth, Eliot and Emily, so sorry for your loss of your beloved husband and father. Eliot and our son Brian are best of friends and remember meeting Christopher a few times in Melrose either picking up or dropping off Brian at your home. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Posted by: Cindy, Dan and Kayla Caulfield - Waltham , Ma - Friend August 16, 2023