Miriam Butwin, a publicist for the University of Minnesota Press during an exciting time in press history, died Jan. 12 at St. Louis Park Methodist Hospital, according to her friend and former UMP colleague Lindsay. Waters.
Butwin, 85, lived in northeast Minneapolis until she walked into the Sholom home in St. Louis Park. Waters describes her as “an important person in the development of the modern University of Minnesota press”.
Waters says he helped bring national attention to the press in the 1970s and early 80s with the Theory and History of Literature series, which he started. “No one works alone and Miriam was a key player as head of publicity,” he recalled.
“Sometimes you do things that people can’t tell you’re doing,” Waters said in a phone interview from his home in Belmont, Mass.
“No one expected the University of Minnesota Press to become the leading publisher of literary theory in the United States, just when that theory was gaining prominence. It was exciting that our books came from a place others couldn’t even find on the map. Coastal people called us “flyover land,” but we became Lake Itasca for the explosion of literary theory in the United States that was noted by the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education and others. publications that have covered these books.
Butwin was the daughter of Frances and Julius Butwin, who operated the Bookhunters bookstore in Dinkytown, Minneapolis in the 1940s. Together they translated the works of Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem, including the stories that inspired “A Violin on the roof “. ”
After Butwin left the University of Minnesota Press, she worked for B. Dalton Booksellers for years.
Butwin’s siblings are Joseph of Seattle and David of Oleona, NJ David was a gofer at the Pioneer Press and wrote for the Minneapolis Tribune. His memoir of growing up in St. Paul’s Highland Park is titled “A Minnesota Kid: In Search of Heroes and Ghosts”.