Edward Whittemore as a young man
(late 60s early 1970s?)
photo by Carol Martin

Edward Whittemore was born 26 May 1933 in Manchester. New Hampshire USA, the youngest of five children. Little is known about his early life, but he graduated from Deering High School, Portland, Maine in 1951. Shortly after graduating he went to Yale. There he became involved in the Yale News, a prestigious publication that had spawned writer -journalists who went on to work for the likes of the New York Times, Time - Life Magazine. He became the managing editor of the Yale News Board in 1955 and graduated that same year with a History degree.

After graduating from Yale he joined the Marines and served as an officer on a tour of duty in Japan. There, he was approached by the CIA and recruited into the service. He worked as an agent for the CIA from 1958 to 1967 in the Far East, Europe and the Middle East.

On leaving the CIA, he worked in a number of odd jobs, one of which was a brief stint with the administration of the New York Mayor, John Lindsay. He was married twice while serving in the Marines and with the Agency, but was subsequently divorced from both partners. His only progeny were two daughters from his first marriage.

The years from 1967 to the publication of his first novel Quin's Shanghai Circus in 1974 are sketchy, but he lived in Crete for several years and grew to love the Middle East. He lived in Jerusalem from 1982 to 1987.

Undeterred by the relatively poor sales of his first novel, he began his masterpiece and Sinai Tapestry, the first book of the Quartet, was published in 1977. Jerusalem Poker followed in 1978, Nile Shadows in 1983 and the final novel, Jericho Mosaic, was published in 1987.

He returned to the USA shortly after Jericho Mosaic was published and lived some time on a family property in Dorset Vermont. He began writing a new novel called "Sister Sally and Billy the Kid" which remains unpublished to this day, though there is some hope it will be published in the future.

In 1995 it was discovered that he had prostate cancer and he died on 3rd August of that year.

The above information was gleaned from the following sources:

Locus Obituary
New York Times Obituary

Further details about Edward Whittemore's life and works are contained in the following reminiscenses by Tom Wallace (a college friend and his editor at Holt, Rinehart & Winston), and Judy Karasik (his editor for Nile Shadows)

Our Best Unknown Novelist: A Tale of Jerusalem and Small Town New England by Thomas C Wallace

An Editorial Relationship by Judy Karasik

The above two articles appear as the Introduction and Epilogue in all the reissued novels, published by Old Earth Books.

See also: Whittemore in Jerusalem - poetry and sketches by Helen Bar-Lev.

Contact: dreaming@jerusalemdreaming.info

©Anne Sydenham 2001-2016