Morris Philipson, former director of the University of Chicago Press (from 1967 to 2000), passed away on November 3, 2011, at the age of 85. We asked some of Philipson’s friends and colleagues how they would remember Morris, and their thoughts follow below:
I worked at Chicago for ten years, from 1973 to 1983, half that time directly for Morris. He was brilliant, exacting, mercurial, funny, and loyal to the authors and people at the Press who held up his high standards. Like many others who went on to run other publishing companies, he taught me through example (mostly good) how to be a publisher. More than that, he shaped the Press’s publishing program in ways that few directors attempt or manage. Those were glory years: The Lisle Letters, which more timid publishers would have abandoned; Derrida, whom he apparently understood; Mythologies; the Verdi Edition, which he supported even if his taste didn’t run to high opera. The Chicago Manual of Style, Kate Turabian, the list goes on. He was willing to support his editors even when he was skeptical, a philosophy that led to the grand and enduring success of A River Runs Through It. The letter that Norman . . .
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Kudos to Robert J. Richards, the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago, for a recent accolade: the Sarton Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the History of Science Society (HSS).
Named after George Sarton, a founder of the HSS, the Sarton Medal is “the highest honor conferred by the History of Science Society, in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar, selected from the international community.”
Richards’s credentials? Besides authoring Laing Prize-winners The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought (2008) and The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (2002), Richards has also penned The Meaning of Evolution (1992) and Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (1987, and winner of the Pfizer Prize from the HSS for the best book in the history of science). In addition, he’s coedited two collections: Darwinian Heretics (with Abigail Lustig and Michael Ruse) and the Cambridge Companion to Darwin’s Origin of Species (also with Michael Ruse).
From the Sarton Medal release:
Professor Richards holds an MA in biological psychology (University of . . .
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The publishing world has lost a lion in the death, at the age of eighty-five, of Morris Philipson, who served as Director of the Press from 1967 to 2000. During his tenure—the longest of any director in the Press’s 119-year history—he raised the bar in academic publishing to unprecedented heights, promoting the intellectual revolutions in culture, scholarship, and the arts that characterized this dramatic period.
His remarkable judgment and taste earned him a reputation for making bold choices that resulted in pioneering works that defined their fields. This vision was exemplified by such monumental projects as The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, The Lisle Letters, and Yves Bonnefoy’s Mythologies. Other outstanding publications included John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, a 1980 American Book Award winner that broke new ground in gender studies; the pioneering Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; several editions of the Chicago Manual of Style, the definitive reference for any writer; and Norman Maclean’s best-selling A River Runs Through It. Philipson was also an innovator in paperback publishing, expanding the Press’s commitment to reissuing classic works by provocative writers including André Malraux, Isak Dinesen, Anthony Powell, and Paul Scott.
Philipson took great pride in establishing . . .
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