Class of 1934
Morton Yarmon was chief spokesman for the American Jewish Committee for 28 years; an author of books on subjects ranging from antiques to investments; an editor at The International Herald Tribune in Paris and The New York Times in New York; the publisher of a hugely successful public relations newsletter; and a philanthropist who donated millions to Beth Israel Medical Center. He often worked two jobs at the same time.
Yarmon was born in New York on March 8, 1916 and was 14 years old when he graduated from George Washington High School, where he wrote for the school newspaper. At City College, he edited Mercury, the humor magazine, graduated at 18 and earned his master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His first job was as a gag writer, creating jokes for Fred Allen and Eddie Cantor’s radio programs.
|Betty and Morton Yarmon|
Yarmon’s first newspaper job was at an Upper East Side paper called the Yorkville Advance before moving to Leader Enterprises, publisher of The Civil Service Leader and other journals. In the early days of World War II, while still at Leader, he began writing books, co-authoring such titles as “How to Get a Defense Job” and “Opportunities in the Armed Forces.” He enlisted in the Army and was assigned to a military intelligence unit, eventually becoming a captain. While serving in Paris after its liberation, he was asked to produce the official Army history of the battle of Cherbourg, which was fought just after the Allied landings in Normandy in 1944. While working on that project, Yarmon volunteered his services to The Herald Tribune, then strapped for cash. Although he did not drink, he was paid in brandy, which he distributed to friends.
Returning to New York after the war, he rejoined Leader Enterprises, becoming a vice president and general manager of The Civil Service Leader and investing his own money in the business, a move that paid off handsomely. At night, he worked as a copy editor at The Times, remaining for nine years on the foreign desk and in what was known as the women’s pages. He also wrote “Writing Made Simple” and “Every Woman’s Guide to Spare-Time Income.”
In 1956, after a stint at the public relations firm Ruder & Finn, Yarmon became an assistant managing editor of Parade magazine. At the same time, he was writing columns for the Women’s News Service. In 1963, Yarmon was named director of public education and information for the American Jewish Committee, where he remained until 1991. From then on, his time was given to a public relations newsletter called Partyline, which he and his wife, Betty, had been publishing out of their home since 1960. He suffered a stroke in 1994 and was treated at Beth Israel Medical Center. He and his wife, Betty, became major benefactors of the hospital, eventually contributing more than $5 million. A number of facilities at the hospital carry their names.
Yarmon died on Aug. 3, 2005. He was 89.