Bookends: Apr. 13, 1987

JOHNSON V. JOHNSON

by Barbara Goldsmith Knopf; 285 pages; $18.95

In drugstores, the familiar white boxes say Johnson & Johnson. But in court the ampersand was changed to versus, and the aim was not to relieve pain but to exacerbate it. One Johnson was Barbara ("Basia"), nee Piasecka, the Polish-born cook-chambermaid who became the third wife of J. Seward Johnson, heir to the pharmaceutical fortune. At the time of their marriage in 1971, he was 76, she was 34. The other Johnson signified J. Seward's six litigious children from his two previous marriages, excised from the old man's will shortly before...

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