Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Field: Media
Inducted: 1998
Country: United States
Born: October 18, 1904 in New York, New York
Died: December 28, 1963

A. J. Liebling was “a chronicler of the prize ring,” a media critic of extraordinary wit, and biographer of diverse individuals for New Yorker magazine from 1935 until his death. A collection of many of his New Yorker boxing stories, published in 1956 as a book, The Sweet Science, is considered the most critically admired and widely read book on prize fighting ever written. Liebling was elected to
the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

In 1935, following nearly a decade of intermittent employment
at the New York Times, New York World Telegram, and Providence Journal, Liebling went to work at the New Yorker. He first came into
prominence on the eve of World War II as the magazine’s Paris correspondent, eventually following the Allied Army’s First Infantry Division across North Africa and into northern France. After the war, he took over the New Yorker ’s “Wayward Press” department, first directed by the storied Robert Benchley.

An amateur boxer in his youth, Liebling’s interest in the sport was reflected in his accounts of boxing’s mayhem and beauty and his sketches of ring personalities that appeared from time to time in the magazine. In addition to The Sweet Science, another acclaimed
compilation of his New Yorker boxing stories was published under the title A Neutral Corner.

Liebling wrote on a number of subjects in addition to the prize ring, including politics, food, war, the media, and horse racing. Among his other published works are The Wayward Press (his first collection of articles in book form, 1948), Between Meals, The Most of A. J. Liebling, The Honest Rainmaker, Chicago—The Second City, The Telephone Booth Indian, The Earl of Louisiana, and The Jollity Building.

Liebling was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor by the French government for his work as a World War II correspondent.


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