Ju­dith Jones in­tro­duced many to Anne Frank, Ju­lia Child

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Hillel Italie As­so­ci­ated Press file

NEW YORK» Ju­dith Jones, a con­sum­mate lit­er­ary edi­tor who helped rev­o­lu­tion­ize Amer­i­can cui­sine by pub­lish­ing Ju­lia Child and other ground­break­ing cookbook au­thors, worked for decades with John Updike and Anne Tyler and helped in­tro­duce English-lan­guage readers to “The Di­ary of Anne Frank,” has died at age 93.

Jones, who spent more than 50 years at Al­fred A. Knopf be­fore retiring in 2011, died early Wed­nes­day at her sum­mer home in Walden, Vt. Her step­daugh­ter, Bron­wyn Dunne, said she died of com­pli­ca­tions from Alzheimer’s.

Few bet­ter em­bod­ied and lived out the ideal of a life in New York pub­lish­ing than the slen­der, re­fined Jones, whom Tyler once praised, as a per­son and as an edi­tor, as “very del­i­cate and grace­ful, al­most weight­less.” Jones worked at one of the lead­ing pub­lish­ing houses with some of the world’s most beloved au­thors. She thrived even as Knopf evolved from a fam­ily-run business to part of the in­ter­na­tional con­glom­er­ate Ber­tels­mann AG.

Movie­go­ers would learn about her in “Julie & Ju­lia,” the 2009 film star­ring MerAchieve­ment yl Streep as Child and fea­tur­ing Erin Dilly as Jones. In the early ’60s, she signed up the then-un­known Child and “Mas­ter­ing the Art of French Cook­ing,” a land­mark re­lease that caught on again decades later thanks to “Julie & Ju­lia.”

Tyler, how­ever, thought the movie “stupid” be­cause of a scene in which Jones backs out of a din­ner at an au­thor’s home be­cause it’s rain­ing, some­thing the real edi­tor would never have done.

In an email Wed­nes­day, Tyler wrote that Jones “was both an as­tute and gifted edi­tor and a re­mark­able hu­man be­ing.”

Jones was her­self an au­thor and gourmet cook who col­lab­o­rated on sev­eral cook­books with her hus­band, Evan, con­trib­uted to nu­mer­ous food mag­a­zines and wrote the mem­oir “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food,” pub­lished in 2007. The year be­fore, she re­ceived the James Beard Foun­da­tion Life­time Award, a fit­ting prize for Jones, who pub­lished Beard and was a close friend.

Jones’ hus­band died in 1996. They had two chil­dren and two stepchil­dren.

She kept a blog at ju­dithjonescooks.com, and wrote the book “The Plea­sures of Cook­ing for One.”

The daugh­ter of an at­tor­ney, Jones was born Ju­dith Bai­ley in 1924 and grew up in Man­hat­tan. She ma­jored in English at Ben­ning­ton Col­lege, worked as an editorial as­sis­tant at Dou­ble­day and by her early 20s was a reader for Dou­ble­day in Paris. Among her early achieve­ments was find­ing a mas­ter­piece amid the re­jects: “The Di­ary of Anne Frank,” which had been pub­lished in Europe.

“One day my boss said, ‘Oh, will you get rid of th­ese books and write some let­ters,’” she ex­plained in a 2001 in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“I curled up with one or two books. I was just cu­ri­ous. I think it was the face on the cover. I looked at that face and I started read­ing that book and I didn’t stop all after­noon. I was in tears when my boss came back. I said, ‘This book is go­ing to New York and has got to be pub­lished.’ And he said, ‘What? That book by that kid?!’ ”

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