Posted: Sep 3, 2010 9:14 PM by Alison Haynes
NEW YORK (AP) - Larry Ashmead, a former book editor who worked
with Isaac Asimov, Tony Hillerman and other authors, has died at
78, his former employer, former employer, HarperCollins, said
Ashmead died at a hospital in Hudson, N.Y., after a brief
Ashmead was a native of Rochester in western New York who as a
child was inspired by a talk given by a local my ry writer and
dreamed that as an adult he could "sit in a skyscraper and read
all day." He received a doctorate in geology from Yale University,
but decided he preferred geology to geologists and chose to work in
publishing, his 43-year career beginning at Doubleday and ending
with his retirement from HarperCollins in 2003.
Ashmead edited more than 40 books by Asimov, the celebrated
science fiction writer, and also worked on crime stories and books
by Sister Wendy Beckett about art and spirituality.
He was known for his fascination with words and wordplay. He
took on Simon Winchester's account of the creation of the Oxford
English Dictionary, "The Professor and the Madman," a surprise
best-seller that Winchester credited Ashmead with rescuing from the
"garbage bin" after other publishers had turned it down. Ashmead
himself compiled "Bertha Venation And Hundreds of Other Funny
Names of Real People," published in 2 Un and including such
entries as Roger Gotobed and Ida Slaptor.