Frank Zachary, Editor, Art Director, 101

Feb. 13, 1914 - June 12, 2015
Frank Zachary, Feb. 13, 1914 - June 12, 2015
Duane Michals

Frank Zachary, a writer, editor, and art director who left a lasting imprint on Modern Photography, Holiday, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, and other publications, died on Friday at his home in Springs. He was 101.

When Mr. Zachary was awarded the coveted AIDA Medal in 1990 by the design field’s oldest and largest members’ organization, Steven Heller, for 30 years the art director of The New York Times, wrote, “If Frank Zachary was never born (or at least was in another profession) many esteemed photographers, illustrators, writers, graphic designers, and art directors would probably be less esteemed.”

After World War II, when he served as coordinator of information for the Office for War Information, he became East Coast editor of Modern Photography magazine. What had been a magazine dedicated to the technical needs of amateurs became, under Mr. Zachary’s leadership, a forum for stories on such eminent photographers as Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Aaron Siskind, and Helen Levitt, among others.

In 1951 he became art director of Holiday magazine, where he hired not only the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and Arnold Newman but also such artists as Ronald Searle, Andre Francois, Tomi Ungerer, and Edward Gorey, who were given the freedom to develop their own portfolios and stories. When the magazine’s editor died, and he was passed over for the job, Mr. Zachary resigned.

After a stint at Travel & Leisure, to which he brought the kind of photography and illustration he was known for, he was offered the job as editor in chief of Town & Country, where he remained until 1991. According to Jay Fieldin, the magazine’s current editor in chief, “Under his bowtied command the magazine became a handbook for the way to live it up in America that was chronicled with documentary-like detail by the snapshot virtuoso Slim Aarons.” Its circulation quadrupled under Mr. Zachary’s watch.

Frank Zachary was born in Pittsburgh on Feb. 13, 1914, to Josip Zaharija and the former Roza Protelizac. After high school, his passion for writing led to a job with the Pittsburgh Bulletin Index, a small magazine that was a precursor of contemporary city magazines. While he was there, the publication hired John O’Hara as its editor. “It was a break for me,” Mr. Zachary said, “for O’Hara vicariously introduced me to the world of New York writing.”

In 1939 he married Catherine Mehler, who had been the Bulletin Index’s society editor. That same year, Mr. Zachary handled public relations for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mrs. Zachary died in 2002.

The Zachary family purchased a house on the dunes in Amagansett in the 1940s, according to his daughter Amy Zachary of East Hampton, who survives him. Another daughter, Jennifer Marcianesi of Montreal, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren also survive.

The family has suggested memorial contributions for St. Joseph’s Indian School, P.O. Box 300, Chamberlain, S.D. 57325.