Jan 6, 2011
W. Gordon Graham was born ninety some years ago in Scotland. He attended university in Glasgow and after graduation enlisted in the army; he was awarded the Military Cross and Bar for active service in Burma. He started his postwar career as a freelance newspaper correspondent in Bombay writing for, among other publications: Business Week, Chemical Engineering Record, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Glasgow Herald. In 1950 he started augmenting his journalist’s income with part-time work as a College and Trade Traveller for the McGraw-Hill Book Company. Six years later he was appointed their International Sales Manager, based in New York. He subsequently moved to London to run McGraw-Hill’s European and the Middle Eastern book business. In 1974 he left the company to become Chairman and Chief Executive of Butterworths, where he oversaw a tenfold increase in turn over.
He ‘retired’ in 1990, at which time he became the founder-editor of LOGOS, The Professional Journal of the Book World. I had the privilege of interviewing Gordon Graham at his home in England. Among other things we spoke about his legendary career, and those qualities he thinks best characterize great publishers.