Donald Congdon

2010 Inductee

Donald Congdon was born and raised in Union City. He was the valedictorian of the class of 1935. Upon graduation Donald moved to New York City with $8 in his pocket where he found work with the Lurton Blassingame Literary Agency delivering manuscripts to publishers while picking up rejected manuscripts on his return trips.

By 1940, Donald had become secretary to Mr. Blassingame and he began to build his own list of clients. In 1944, an editor at Collier's was so impressed by the efforts of Donald's editing that he was offered a position as an associate fiction editor. A year and a half later, Donald was hired by Simon and Schuster as an editor for its venture press, which was established to introduce new and published writers whose work had been neglected. It was during his time with Simon and Schuster that Donald discovered the early stories of a young and blossoming author who would become one of his first clients, Ray Bradbury. Donald and Mr. Bradbury would go on to become close friends over the next several years. As a result, Mr. Bradbury dedicated his novel "Fahrenheit 451" to Donald Congdon.

In 1966, Donald caused a stir in the publishing world after he sold the serial rights of "The Death of a President", William Manchester's study of John F. Kennedy's assassination, for more the $600,000. This resulted in a celebrated lawsuit by Jacqueline Kennedy. Donald continued in the editing and publishing field and eventually established his own agency, Don Congdon Associates, in 1983. The agency is now run by his son, Michael. Donald Congdon passed away on November 30, 2009. His reputation as a skilled editor, tough negotiator, and shrewd judge of talent left a lasting impression in the publishing world.