PAW’s article on the recently retired and new directors of Princeton University Press (feature, Dec. 6) was a welcome overview of where the Press has come in recent years under Peter Dougherty and where it is going under Christie Henry.
But as one who was employed by the Press for 22 years (1967–89), rising from copy editor to editor-in-chief under Herbert Bailey Jr. ’42, I feel obliged to give some extra credit where it is due.
The Press’ endowment, on which its financial success in the past few decades has rested, was multiplied manyfold when the Press took over the Bollingen Series from Pantheon in 1967 along with the funds that Paul Mellon had donated to bring that series to completion. Those funds, originally $10 million, grew to more than $300 million before the economic downturn of 2008.
Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit was not the first Press book to reach the New York Times best-seller list. It was preceded by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, originally published in 1949 but reissued in 1988 when Bill Moyers interviewed Campbell on PBS, selling more than 300,000 additional copies.
Bailey himself, as the Press’ first science editor, built the foundations for the Press’ success as a science publisher, and he was responsible for bringing the Einstein Papers project to the Press. But much credit is also due my classmate Ed Tenner ’65, who worked with such prestigious authors as Nobelist Richard Feynman *42, and to Jack Repcheck, who helped the Press’ science list grow further in both critical and financial success.
Earlier Repcheck, who was hired when I was editor-in-chief as economics editor, created the program in that field that was hugely successful financially and provided the momentum on which Dougherty later built further.
Dougherty has been a fine director, and I am confident Henry will be as well.But others, too, brought the Press to the heights where it exists today.