Life Is Not Fair

Terry Vaughn, a distinguished and widely-admired economics editor, died unexpectedly earlier this month in Princeton, N.J., of a stroke.  He was 68.

Peter Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press, prepared a summary of his friend’s publishing career:

Terry began… in 1971 as a sales representative for the then-college department at Oxford University Press.  He served as Eastern Regional Sales Manager and as Acting National Sales Manager at OUP until 1984, when he left for Boston, and had a one-year stint as an international treasury consultant at Digital Equipment in Acton, Massachusetts.

Terry returned to publishing in the grand manner in 1985 when he joined the MIT Press, first as Economics Editor and later as Executive Editor for Economics, Finance, and Business.  During his fifteen years at MIT, he built an economics and finance list that was considered the gold standard for its time and remains one of the truly outstanding lists in all of scholarly publishing.  Terry’s list of authors at MIT Press included numerous Nobel Prize-winners as well as many other distinguished economists.  And Terry was the epitome of the trans-Atlantic editor.  Intellectually, his MIT list was marked by an extraordinary combination of eminent European as well as North American authors, reflecting the exciting interplay of international ideas that marked the field during those years. The MIT Press economics list under Terry’s direction achieved worldwide distinction.

Following his MIT years, in 2000 Terry moved to Princeton, where he joined Princeton University Press and served as PUP’s Editor-in-Chief until July of 2003.  While at Princeton he helped oversee the integration of the Press’s US and European editorial operations.  Then, later that year, Terry returned to Oxford University Press, his original publishing home, and concluded his career there as Oxford’s economics editor.  He retired from OUP in 2013.

Authors and fellow publishers will recognize Vaughn much as Dougherty describes him: “intensely interested in the content and direction of the field, possessed of the highest standards and superb taste, and fiercely competitive.” I recall him fondly as a regular companion at the sparsely-attended business meetings of the American Economic Association. He was an uncomplaining pilgrim, a faithful parishioner, a perpetual student – a model human being.

Vaughn is survived by his children, Alex and Elizabeth, and a sister, Gen. His wife, Anne Patenaude, an executive with the money-management Pioneer Group, died in 2000, at 53.

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Heat and humidity last week forced a pause in EP’s long-running serial about the history of macroeconomics since 2008.

The Tardy Product continues next week, with five installments remaining.

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