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The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Rona Jaffe

June 12, 1931–December 30, 2005

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Rona Jaffe until we are able to commission a full entry.

In her wildly popular 1958 debut novel, The Best of Everything, Rona Jaffe captured the struggle of women working in New York before the women’s liberation movement. Jaffe graduated from Radcliffe College in 1953 and began working as an associate editor at Fawcett Publications. The Best of Everything was turned into a movie starring Joan Crawford in 1959, the year after it was published, and was adapted again as a soap opera in 1970 and as a play in 2012. On the strength of her edgy writing, Jaffe began writing for Cosmopolitan in the 1960s. Over the course of her career, she wrote sixteen novels and one short story collection, Mr. Right is Dead (1965). Her fame peaked again in 1981 when she published Mazes and Monsters, which played into fears that Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games (still a novelty at the time) encouraged mental illness and devil-worship. In 1995 she created the Rona Jaffe Foundation to offer grants to enable women writers to break into the field.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rona Jaffe." (Viewed on December 11, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/jaffe-rona>.


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