Priscilla Buckley died on Sunday. As National Review’s managing editor from 1959 to 1985, she trained many conservative journalists, including Paul Gigot, Bill McGurn, and Mona Charen. Previously a reporter for United Press International, Buckley was hired at National Review after Whitaker Chambers recommended her to her brother and magazine founder William F. Buckley Jr.
The New York Times (March 26) describes her role at National Review this way:
[S]he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the magazine, riding herd — by all accounts without raising her voice so much as a decibel — on a staff of occasionally bibulous, sometimes fractious and constitutionally dilatory writers. […] As a result of her sustained velvet-gloved sway there, the magazine was long known among its denizens as Miss Buckley’s Finishing School for Young Ladies and Gentlemen of Conservative Persuasion.
National Review publisher Jack Fowler (National Review, March 26) says Buckley was “the impish mirth-maker within the fortress/asylum at
Mona Charen (National Review, March 27) writes:
Her rule was benevolent and irenic, thank God, because magazines of opinion are known for eccentric and prickly characters and NR was no exception. But while writers would be late with their copy, or fail to show up for meetings, or squabble with their editors, everyone seemed mentally to tuck his shirt in when Priscilla was around. She was so gracious and professional and discerning that people wanted to be better in her presence.
Buckley retired as a senior editor at National Review in 1999. In 2006, she talked about her memoir Living It Up with National Review at a meeting of the Conservative Women’s Network, a video of which is available at C-SPAN.