Obituaries

Robert Lescher, 83; agent represented Robert Frost, Isaac Bashevis Singer

NEW YORK — Robert ­Lescher, a literary agent and steward to the works of a variety of distinguished authors, including Robert Frost, Isaac ­Bashevis Singer, and Alice B. Toklas, died Nov. 28 in New Milford, Conn. He was 83.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Susan.

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Mr. Lescher epitomized a kind of Old World ideal of author’s agent — courtly, literary, and invisible — reflecting both his nature and his wealth of contacts in the book world, where he began his career as an editor and something of a wunderkind. He was named editor in chief at Henry Holt & Co. before he was 25.

At Holt he worked with Frost, Toklas, and Wolcott Gibbs. His relationship with Toklas, the life companion of Gertrude Stein, was close. He exchanged ideas with her for five years as he helped her shape ‘‘What Is Remembered,’’ her 1963 autobiography.

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When Mr. Lescher began his literary agency in 1965, his reputation for aesthetic insight and painstaking attentiveness to writers made him highly sought after.

‘‘He was meticulous with writers’ work,’’ Calvin Trillin, one of Mr. Lescher’s first clients, said Dec. 4.

Other clients included Benjamin Spock, Andrew Wyeth, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

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Robert Paul Lescher was born in Bellingham, Wash. He grew up in Seattle. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut after spending his senior year studying literature at the Sorbonne in Paris.

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