Friday, September 30, 2011

Remembering Roger Kennedy

1926 – 2011

Our friend and colleague, Roger G. Kennedy, died earlier today at the age of 85. Roger is best known for his work as director of the National Park Service, serving under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997. But we knew him before that, while he was director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Jon was Roger's publisher at Houghton MIfflin and we worked as editors on Roger's books Rediscovering America, which accompanied his television series, Roger Kennedy's Rediscovering America, and Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson, about the character of the founding fathers.

Roger was an amazing person to work with. During his career he was an editor, historian, journalist, banker, attorney, advocate and public servant who wrote books on a range of subjects, including American history, architectural history, prehistoric North America, public affairs, churches, missions, and hidden cities. Nothing seemed to escape his interest and he was one of the best storytellers we have ever known. Jon last saw Roger early one morning on the streets of downtown Boston, where Roger explained to him the history of School Street. They went their separate ways, but Jon knows his day was enriched by that chance encounter—just as both our lives were enriched by knowing and working with Roger.

— Karen Stray Nolting and Jonathan P. Latimer