Judith Jones, the editor responsible for bringing Anne Frank’s diary to English readers, died Wednesday at the age of 93 due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Jones had a profound presence in the publishing world, introducing the names of famous authors such as Julia Child and Anne Frank into millions of households. Without Jones’ influence, English readers may not have been introduced to the groundbreaking literary works written by these iconic figures.
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In 1950, at the age of 27, Jones discovered Anne Frank’s diary in a reject pile while working as an editorial assistant at Doubleday Publishing in Paris. With the chance decision to pick it up and read it, Jones offered English-speaking readers a glimpse of the atrocities of the Holocaust in the eyes of girl who melted our hearts.
“I read all afternoon with the tears coming down my face,” Jones told NPR in a 1998 interview. “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?'”
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Though Frank’s diary was already published in German and Dutch, Jones insisted that her boss to publish it in the United States.
67 years later, Anne Frank’s diary is not only a sacred historical artifact detailing the harrowing experience of the Holocaust, but has seen at least 30 million copies sold worldwide.
With her unfortunate passing, we not only mourn Jones’ life, but her tenacity to support literature, authors, and literacy.
Featured image courtesy of Free Malaysia Today