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Join us in person on Thursday, November 9 at 7 PM to celebrate 100 years of W.W. Norton & Company. Drake McFeely, author of Books that Live, will be joined in conversation by Julia Reidhead, current Norton chairman and president.
A headline this summer in the New York Times proclaimed: “Norton, a Defiant Indie Publisher, Celebrates 100 Years.” Reporter Alex Vadukul wrote, “100 years of Norton meant something, because there’s no other publishing house quite like it.”
Now, to mark the 100th anniversary of W. W. Norton & Company, the largest and oldest independent, employee-owned book publishing house, and to cheer Odyssey’s 60th!, Norton’s former chairman and president W. Drake McFeely will discuss his new book, Books That Live: Norton’s First One Hundred Years, in conversation with current chairman and president Julia Reidhead.
Of the many major publishers born during the 1920s, all independent at birth, only one remains so today, owned wholly by those who work there, and only one remains committed to publishing for both general readers and students. That publisher is W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., founded in 1923 by newlyweds William Warder Norton, a businessman, and Mary Dows Herter Norton, a polymath—a professional violinist and violist, translator of German, and student of science. Their combined experiences suited them uniquely for their passion project: “to bring to the public the knowledge of our time.” In conversation with Julia Reidhead, author Drake McFeely will introduce us to the Nortons, the people they brought into their orbit, and, of course, the authors—scientists, poets, biographers, scholars, statesmen, novelists, anthologists, critics, and historians—who have changed the conversation and created new conversations. What do the books have in common? In the Norton tradition, they are books not for a single season, but for the years. They are Books That Live.
W. Drake McFeely made his entire publishing career at W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., joining its college department in 1976 after graduating from Amherst College. He served as Norton’s
president from 1994 to 2016 and as chairman from 2000 to 2020, unprecedented periods at the firm for growth and for recognition by major literary awards. While leading the firm, he was also
editor to many Nobel Prize winners and best-selling authors, including Paul Krugman, Fareed Zakaria, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Ben S Bernanke, Kip Thorne, Richard H. Thaler, and others.
Additionally, he served as chairman of the board of Princeton University Press and as treasurer of both the Association of American Publishers and the National Book Foundation boards. Mr.
McFeely was a South Hadley resident and Odyssey Bookshop customer during his high school and college years, a time when his father taught at Mount Holyoke College and his mother was a
librarian at Smith. He now splits his time between Boston and Truro, Massachusetts.
Julia A. Reidhead is chairman and president of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., and is the first woman to lead the firm. She began her Norton career as a traveling college sales representative
whose territory included South Hadley, Massachusetts. She served most recently as vice president and publishing director of Norton’s College Department, where, for more than thirty
years, she was the principal in-house editor of the lauded Norton Anthologies, among them The Norton Anthology of English Literature and first editions of The Norton Shakespeare, The
Norton Anthology of African American Literature, and The Norton Anthology of World Religions. Ms. Reidhead has also edited works by Adrienne Rich, Pauli Murray, Anne Enright,
Russell Shorto, Elizabeth D. Samet, and others. She is currently chair of the Association of American Publishers board, serves on the board of the National Book Foundation, and formerly
chaired the Board of Governors of Yale University Press. She lives in New York City and
This event is free and open to the public. Please click here to RSVP