Image: Courtesy of The Family of Judith Jones/Knopf
Judith Jones may not have been a household name, but without her, some of the world’s most famous books may never have been published.
In 1950, Jones was working as an editorial assistant at Doubleday Publishing when she stumbled upon a book in the discard pile that she couldn’t put down. She was struck by the face on the cover: Anne Frank.
“I read all afternoon with the tears coming down my face,” Jones told NPR in 1998. “When my boss got back, it was evening by then. He said, ‘What are you doing still here?’ And I said, 'We have to have this book!’ And he said, 'What? That book by that kid?’”
The book by that kid became The Diary of Anne Frank. It had already been released in German and Dutch, but Jones convinced her bosses to publish it in the United States, vastly expanding its readership. It went on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide in more than 60 languages.
Jones died Wednesday at her home in Vermont. She was 93.