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Subject: Judy Wilson, Innovator in Children's Book Publishing


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Dies at 63
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Date Posted: March 24, 2003 1:51:13 EDT

Judy V. Wilson, long a successful publisher of children's books, most recently at Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., died in Manhattan on Friday. She was 63 and lived in Brooklyn.

The cause was cancer, said Deborah Hochman Turvey, a family friend.

Mrs. Wilson was the president and general manager of the Macmillan Publishing Co. Children's Book Group from 1988 to 1994. Under her leadership, the book group's distinguished children's hardcover imprints Macmillan, the Bradbury Press, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Atheneum, Four Winds Press and Scribner's and two paperback lines, Aladdin and Collier were integrated into one profitable organization with shared service departments, an innovation for the time. Revenues tripled, and the group was cited by The Wall Street Journal as "the jewel of Macmillan's assets." It was sold in 1993 as a unit to Paramount Inc., then the parent of Simon & Schuster, and most of the imprints were eliminated.

In 1996 after Orchard's editorial and marketing staff left to start another company, Mrs. Wilson re-established the Orchard Books imprint, diversified it and led it through its acquisition by Scholastic Inc. She retired in 2001.

Mrs. Wilson was born in Old Hickory, Tenn., raised in Iowa and Virginia and graduated from Smith College in 1961 with a degree in philosophy and English. She began her career as a project manager for the Encyclopedia Britannica. From 1965 to 1985 she was a publisher within the professional group of John Wiley & Sons Inc. first developing the Self-Teaching Guide series, then computer books for Atari and Radio Shack, selling books to computer manufacturers for packing with personal computers. She established the Wiley Press, a trade paperback line, and Wiley Professional Software.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Wilson; her son, Rob; and her daughter, Hilary.

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