Farrar, Straus, and Company was founded in 1945 by Roger W. Straus Jr. and John C. Farrar. The first book was Yank: The G.I. Story of the War, a compilation of articles that appeared in Yank, the Army Weekly, then There Were Two Pirates, a novel by James Branch Cabell
The first years of existence were rough until they published the diet book Look Younger, Live Longer by Gayelord Hauser in 1950. The book went on to sell 500,000 copies and Straus said that the book carried them along for awhile. In the early years, Straus and his wife Dorothea, went prospecting for books in Italy. It was there that they found the memoir Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi and other rising Italian authors Alberto Moravia, Giovanni Guareschi and Cesare Pavese. Farrar, Straus also poached or lured away authors from other publishers—one was Edmund Wilson, who was unhappy with Random House at the time but remained with Farrar, Straus for the remainder of his career.
In 1950, the name changed to Farrar, Straus & Young (for Stanley Young, a playwright, author (at Farrar & Rinehart,) a literary critic for the New York Times, and an original stockholder and board member)
In 1953, Pellegrini & Cudahy merged with Farrar, Straus & Young.
Straus continued to run the company for twenty years after his partner Farrar died, until 1993 when he sold a majority interest of the company to the privately owned German publishing conglomerate Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Straus offered FSG to the Holtzbrinck family because of their reputation for publishing serious works of literature.
Jonathan Galassi is president and publisher. Andrew Mandel joined in 2004 as deputy publisher. Eric Chinski is editor-in-chief. In 2008, Mitzi Angel came from Fourth Estate in the UK to be publisher of the Faber and Faber Inc. imprint. Other notable editors include Sean McDonald, Ileene Smith, Alex Star, Amanda Moon, and Sarah Crichton (eponymous publisher of her own imprint).
In February 2015 FSG and Faber and Faber announced the end of their partnership. All books scheduled for release and previously released under the imprint will be moved to the FSG colophon by August 2016.
MCD/FSG, which is viewed as a kind of a lab to experiment with new styles and genres. The imprint is headed by Sean McDonald, who is joined by Daphne Durham, formerly editor-in-chief and publisher of Amazon Publishing, as executive director.