Adoption literary agent and memorialist Lynn C. Franklin dies at 74


Lynn C. Franklin, a Girl Scout and Literary Agent whose clients included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and who made a mark with her own book, in which she shared her personal story of abandoning her son for adoption in the years 1960, died July 19 at her home in Manhattan. She was 74 years old.

The cause was metastatic breast cancer, said her sister, Laurie Franklin Callahan.

Beginning in the 1970s, Ms. Franklin, who had grown up around the world as an army kid, embarked on a career as a Girl Scout for international publishers, finding and securing the rights to upcoming titles in North America so that they can be translated and published. In other countries.

She ran her own literary agency in New York, Lynn C. Franklin Associates, specializing in non-fiction works, and has represented many notable authors in their fields. The most prominent of these was Archbishop Tutu, the South African Nobel Laureate who helped lead the fight against apartheid and with whom she developed a close friendship. She has sold the rights to several of his books, including “No Future Without Forgiveness” (1999), his memoirs of the post-Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, of which he was the chairman.

But her own book was also close to her heart, “May the Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Adoption” (1998, with Elizabeth Ferber), an account of her experience as a biological mother who abandoned her son for adoption. in 1966 and found it 27 years later. More than a brief, the book serves as a guide because it considers the multiple aspects of adoption from the point of view not only of the biological mother but also of the adopted child and the adoptive family.

Ms Franklin was a 19-year-old sophomore at the American University in Washington when she found out she was pregnant, but she did not tell anyone, including the child’s father. She intended to marry him, but two days before the wedding she bailed out. “He was a guy without a lot of ambition,” she said in an online interview in April. “It was obvious that this would not work.

After her parents learned of her pregnancy, they sent her to a home for single mothers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Being single and pregnant was still considered outrageous at the time, and Ms Franklin was ordered to put her baby up for adoption. By the time he was born, she wanted to keep him, but she also realized, she said, that adoption could give him opportunities that she couldn’t.

“I was not prepared to be a parent, but no one tried to think about what was right for me, and no one said you had a choice,” she said on the program. line.

For years, she believed that the secrecy surrounding the closed adoption process, in which the birth mother has little or no contact with the child or the adoptive family, contributed to her feelings of shame, guilt and disgrace. poor self-esteem.

She had given her son through Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children. Years later, she and her son, independently of each other, registered with the agency saying they wanted to meet. They were reunited in 1993, when her father was dying.

“I found myself feeling a mind-numbing intermittent sadness with total joy and excitement,” she wrote in her book. It was only after being a part of her son’s life that she began to recover from what she called “the primal wound” of losing him. But she also admitted that her adoptive parents were unequivocally her parents.

While her career as a literary agent was flourishing, she continued to work on the adoption reform account. She believed that biological mothers who decide to abandon their children should not be allowed to change their mind after the adoption is finalized, that “there must be accountability and a determined point of ‘no return’. and respected by law, ”as she wrote in an essay in Newsday in 1995.

She has also served on the boards of directors of Spence-Chapin and the Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Kirkus Reviews called his memoir “absorbing” and “in-depth and provocative speech on just about every aspect of the joys and sorrows of everyone involved in the adoption process.”

Lynn Celia Franklin was born in Chicago on August 18, 1946. Her father, Colonel Joseph B. Franklin, was a career army officer. His mother, Theresa (Levy) Franklin, born in Great Britain, was an antique dealer.

Lynn attended eight different elementary schools while living on military bases, starting grade one in Sapporo, Japan, and finishing grade eight in Orleans, France. She graduated from high school in Fairfax, Virginia, and attended the American University in Washington, where in 1968 she graduated in French.

She quickly turned to literary life, working at Kramer Books in Washington and later at Hachette, the French publisher, in New York.

Ms. Franklin went out on her own in 1976 and leveraged her global connections to become a literary scout for international publishers. She participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany for 41 consecutive years.

One of his first successes as an agent was the publication of “The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II” by Edvard Radzinsky (1992), which was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and became a New York Times bestseller.

She was among the first to promote the work of Deepak Chopra, the wellness and meditation megastar. His team also included Rafer Johnson, the Olympian once acclaimed as the world’s greatest all-around athlete; Jody Williams, who shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, in which Ms. Williams was the driving force; Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland; and Lee Cockerell, service industry veteran and retired executive vice president of Walt Disney World.

In 1983, Ms. Franklin purchased a house in Shelter Island, New York, and while continuing her itinerant life, she came to regard Shelter Island, in the East End of Long Island, as her home. -self.

She joined Todd R. Siegal in 1992 to form Franklin & Siegal Associates, which now, under Mr. Siegal’s ownership, represents over 20 publishers around the world and researches books for Hollywood.

Ms Franklin was reunited with her son, Hardie Stevens, who was given a pseudonym in his book, just as he and his wife were expecting their first baby. She was welcomed into their family and enjoyed getting to know her two grandchildren and taking them on a trip. In addition to his sister, they and his son survive him.

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