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E. L. Doctorow

novelist, editor, professor

Edgar Lawrence "E. L." Doctorow (January 6, 1931 – July 21, 2015) was an American author. He was best known for his works of historical fiction. He was mostly known for his books The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, and Billy Bathgate.

E. L. Doctorow
BornEdgar Lawrence Doctorow
(1931-01-06)January 6, 1931
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 21, 2015(2015-07-21) (aged 84)
New York, New York, U.S.
OccupationWriter, editor, professor
Alma materKenyon College, Columbia University
Notable work(s)The Book of Daniel
World's Fair
Billy Bathgate
The March
Homer & Langley
Spouse(s)Helen Esther Setzer (m. 1953–2015; his death)


Early lifeEdit

Doctorow was born in The Bronx, New York City. His mother was Rose Doctorow and his father was David Doctorow, both of Jewish descent.[1] He studied at Kenyon College and at Columbia University. In 1953, he married Helen Esther Setzer. They had three children.

Academic careerEdit

Doctorow taught at several universities. He was professor of English and American letters at New York University.


Doctorow won many writing awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Ragtime, National Book Critics Circle Award for Billy Bathgate, National Book Critics Circle Award for The March, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.

President Barack Obama called him "one of America's greatest novelists".[2]


Doctorow died of lung cancer on July 21, 2015, aged 84, in Manhattan.[3] His wife Helen and their three children were still alive.


  2. "US novelist EL Doctorow dies at 84", BBC, July 22, 2015
  3. "E.L. Doctorow, Author of Historical Fiction, Dies at 84". July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.

Other websitesEdit