Washington D.C. Publisher Austin H. Kiplinger Dies At 97

Austin H. Kiplinger, a Washington D.C. publisher, civic leader and philanthropist, died Nov. 20 at a hospice in Rockville, Md. He was 97.

The cause of death was cancer that had metastasized to his brain, said his son, Knight Kiplinger.

Kiplinger Washington Editors was founded in 1920 in Washington, D.C. by Austin H. Kiplinger’s father, Willard M. Kiplinger. The company primarily publishes business and economics forecasting publications and personal finance advice periodicals and magazines.

Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford attended the 65th anniversary party of Kiplinger Washington Letter in 1988. 



For more than 30 years, Austin Kiplinger was president or chairman of his family’s eponymous company. He was valued at more than $100 million when he passed control to his sons, Todd and Knight Kiplinger, around 2000.

Kiplinger then served as board chairman for several years.

In addition to being a publisher, Kiplinger was civic leader and dedicated philanthropist. He chaired the Tudor Place Foundation, which operates a historic property in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, and served on boards of various institutions, including the private Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington International Horse Show.

He was a founder and board member of the Kiplinger Foundation, known for its support for local arts and culture. Kiplinger maintained a large collection of valuable artifacts and donated much of it to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. He was also a benefactor of Cornell University, where he graduated in 1939 and served on the board.

Kiplinger was born in Washington on Sept. 19, 1918. He said he knew from an early age that he would follow his father into journalism.

“I never had any question about it,” he told the Working Press magazine. “It was second nature for me to become a newspaper man and a journalist.”

Kiplinger began his journalism career in 1940 as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. After serving in World War II as a Navy aviator, Kiplinger helped his father start the company’s personal finance magazine, now known as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Kiplinger was then a news commentator in Chicago for ABC and NBC before he returned to the family business in the mid-1950s as executive vice president.

Like his father, he was known as “Kip” throughout his life.

In 1944, he married the former Mary Louise “Gogo” Cobb. The couple settled on Montevideo, a 382-acre farm near Seneca in northwestern Montgomery County, Maryland. Kiplinger’s wife died in 2007. Their son Todd Kiplinger died the next year.

Kiplinger is survived by his other son, Knight Kiplinger, who is chairman and editor in chief of all Kiplinger publications, as well as six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and his partner of seven years, Bonnie Barker Nicholson, of Bethesda.
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