Pantheon’s founder, Kurt Wolff, was born in Germany in 1887 to a Catholic father and a Jewish mother. He studied German literature and in 1913, founded Kurt WolffVerlag. Among the authors he published were Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, and in German translation, Emile Zola, Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov, and Sinclair Lewis.
Admiring the way young up-and coming American publishers such Alfred A. Knopf and Random House’s Bennett Cerf employed contemporary, cutting-edge artists for text design, book jackets, and newspaper advertising, he did likewise, for which he was criticized by other German publishers.
Pantheon is part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and continues to publish world-class literature. Pantheon’s authors include Julia Glass, James Gleick, Ha Jin, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Alexander McCall Smith, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman, and Studs Terkel.