Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Life and Death of Sue Kaufman: An Update

Sue Kaufman's life story has been slow in emerging, but there are more developments to relate, thanks to helpful comments by readers of this blog. I appreciate these comments very much, and invite anyone with additional relevant information to add to this discussion, with the hopes of inspiring a fuller biographical study of this important American writer.

Erik's Choice seems to be the only gathering point on the entire internet -- at least from what I can tell, and as of this posting -- stating that Sue Kaufman (Barondess, 1926-1977), author of Diary of a Mad Housewife (1967) and several other books, committed suicide. I stand by this statement. Here are the new comments:

Sue Kaufman ha[d] a bitter marriage. She wanted to leave her husband for a lover, but she couldn't. She became very sick during 1965-66. She was having irregular menstral [menstrual] periods with heav[y] bleeding. I didn't know that she killed her self, but it makes sense.
November 25, 2008

Judith Krantz wrote in her autobiog "Sex and Shopping"* that Sue Kaufman jumped from the eig[h]teenth floor balcony of her (Kaufman[']s) apartment after a long struggle with depression. She was due to be re admitted to a psychiatric hospital the next day, according to Krantz, who had known her in college; Wellesley or Vassar I think [i.e., Vassar]

December 08, 2008

*[Judith Krantz, Sex And Shopping: the Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl: An Autobiography (2001, 2008)].

For more, please check the "Sue Kaufman" subject link.

The original 2006 post is here:

An update from earlier this year:


Today's Rune: Protection.


Anonymous said...

No comment on Kaufman.
Just want the blog world to know it is your birthday and you were born on your paternal grandmothers birtdate from whom you get your Swedish genes. i won't reveal your age.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dude! You're still a youngster compared with some of us...


Care for some Jello with your birthday cake?

Anonymous said...

Erik! Some strange glitch prevented me from keeping up with you. Everytime I checked, the "water" blog showed as your last. Now I have LOTS of catching up to do! Did you change something? Good to "find" you again. Jodi

the walking man said...

I've only heard of Diary of a Mad Housewife...why is Kaufman so enamoring?

Oh and by the by be well and good birthday to ya'.

JR's Thumbprints said...

It seems that I'm dealing with quite a few people with mental illnesses. I guess we all have are personal demons.

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Anonymous said...

I lived next door to Sue on E. 86th St. Theirs was apt. 12 - E. Ours (MacNeil) was 12 W. We moved to England just after publication of DIARY and I recently reread it. They were great neighbors and Jamie, their son, played in our apartment with my two stepchildren, Ian and Cathy. I remember well many great chats with Sue as we waited in our communal hallway for the elevator. The super was Irish but all the rest of the description for him was right. In spring, 1967, a mother pushed her two children off the balcony and jumped after them in an apartment directly across from the Barondess and MacNeil apartments. She was the wife of a foreign attache at the U.N. and her death became the impetus to establishing some sort of Newcomers group to help future foreign UN assigned families.

diana@dianacambridge.co.uk said...


I'm compiling research into the life of the great writer Sue Kaufman. I'd love your personal e-mail if you can part with it!

I am a professional journalist and writer.

Diana Cambridge: Bath, England.
01225 312221

diana@dianacambridge.co.uk said...


I'm researching a biography into the life of the great writer Sue Kaufman - I'd love your personal email if you can part with it!

The email best for me is : diana@dianacambridge.co.uk Thankyou so much!

Diana Cambridge
Bath, England.

Member: Society of Authors