Editor’s Page

Summer 2012

Dear Readers:

When Marcia Freedman told me Nan Gefen was ready to move on to new projects and asked if I would like to become the editor of Persimmon Tree she caught me just when I was ready for a project of my own. I had retired after 45 years of teaching at independent schools for girls and I had recently lost my sweet husband, but at last I had new energy. More than a year later, here I am and I am here with a new team.

Although we intend to continue all the rich and wonderful work Nan and her Berkeley team have done with Persimmon Tree, our team is based in New York City, which might bring an east coast flavor to the magazine. We are changing the look a bit to signal the new regime. We are also trying to find ways to be more interactive, to provoke more responses and suggestions from our readers. That is one reason we have decided to include Short Takes in every issue. The next topic is “Sports.” I have always been hopeless at games, but I can think of at least a dozen stories, some triumphant, most embarrassing, to tell. Let us hear yours.

For our first issue we have drawn from the large pool of reader submissions for fiction and nonfiction narratives, pulled a piece by Alice Shalvi from the files, chosen a sharp and edgy poet, Marilyn Hacker, and featured a conversation with one of my heroes, Toshi Seeger, wife of the folksinger, Pete Seeger. For a later issue, we have an interview with cellist Evangeline Benedetti who was one of the first women to play with the New York Philharmonic, already in hand. We welcome suggestions of other women you would be interested in hearing about.

And let us know how you like the new, somewhat changed Summer issue. Please do.

Sue Leonard



For 45 years, Sue Leonard taught every variety of history except American mostly at independent high schools for girls — with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband John Leonard were co-editors of the Books and Arts section of the Nation Magazine. Once retired, Sue filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, friends and long walks.