Alfred A. Knof, Jr.'s father, Alfred A. Knof, was the founder of the Alfred A. Knof, Inc. publishing house. Eventually, Knof, Jr. left his father’s company and became a successful publisher in his own right, as one of the founders of Atheneum Publishers. During World War II, Knof, Jr. served in the Air Force, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he went to work for his father. But after a staffing dispute in 1959, Knof, Jr. left his father's company to found Atheneum with two other editors and four investors. Working out of a brownstone in New York City, the group quickly found success with three number one best sellers in the span of three years. Later, the group published Edward Albee's "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Antheneum is now a children's imprint in the larger Simon & Schuster publishing empire; Knof, Jr. passed away on February 15, 2009.