Betty Ballantine (b. Elizabeth Jones, 1919) died on February 12. Ballantine introduced paperbacks to the United States and co-founded Bantam Books in 1945 with her husband Ian. Later on, the publishing company launched the Ballantine Adult Fantasy line and then started the imprint, Del Rey for science fiction and fantasy in 1977. In 1953, Ballantine Books published Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In the 1960s, she bought the rights to an authorized edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in the US. She also published Judith Merril’s 1950 anthology Shot in the Dark.
As an author, Ballantine wrote the young adult novel The Secret Oceans, published in 1994, with illustrations by eleven different artists. Over the years, she has been a guest of honor at World Fantasy Con and at Noreascon 3 and has been awarded the World Fantasy Award three times, the Balrog Award, the Milford Award, a special President’s Award by SFWA, a Special Committee Award from Worldcon, and in 2008 was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
SFWA President Cat Rambo had this to say about Ballantine:
We are reminded over and over that women have been a significant part of the science fiction and fantasy community since the beginning, and with Betty’s passing, another one of those long-standing figures are gone. We are very sorry to hear this news.