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Thomas Boss Congdon Jr. (March 17, 1931 – December 23, 2008) was an Americanmarker book editor who worked on Russell Baker's memoir Growing Up, Peter Benchley's bestselling novel Jaws and David Halberstam's 1986 work The Reckoning, ultimately establishing his own publishing house.

Congdon was born on March 17, 1931 in New London, Connecticutmarker and later earned a degree from Yale Universitymarker. He dropped out of Yale during his sophomore year to work on a gold mine in Fairbanks, Alaskamarker. He served in the United States Navy on the battleships and . He attended Columbia University, where he studied journalism.

Congdon became an editor at The Saturday Evening Post, where he worked for 12 years. In 1968, he took his first position in book publishing at Harper & Row, and was hired by Doubleday in 1971.

At Doubleday, Congdon had read a number of articles written by Peter Benchley and invited Benchley to lunch to discuss some ideas for books. Benchley wanted to write a non-fiction book about pirates, but Congdon wasn't interested. Congdon asked if he had any ideas for fiction, and Benchley respond with his idea of a novel about a great white shark terrorizing a beach resort. Congdon offered Benchley an advance of $1,000, leading to the novelist submitting the first 100 pages. After extensive rewriting based on Congdon's guidance, Jaws was published in 1974 and stayed on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks.

In April 1974, Congdon was named as editor in chief of adult trade books at E. P. Dutton.

He worked with author A. Scott Berg, who was writing a book about Maxwell Perkins. Congden reviewed Berg's original manuscripts, which had been written in the varying styles of several notable authors, and finally circled a paragraph that he felt captured what he was looking for, saying "You know who this sounds like? Nobody. Write the whole book like this. That's your voice." The published book, Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius, won the 1980 National Book Award.

Russell Baker, who had been a columnist for The New York Times worked with Congdon on his best-selling memoir Growing Up, which Baker said would never have been written without Congdon's assistance. Baker said that "After a lot of wine, I’d start talking about my uncles; I had a lot of uncles. And Tom said, 'This really ought to be a book.'" Baker wrote a draft, which Congdon rejected as "a piece of reporting", insisting that Baker rewrite the stories and the characters as they were when they were young. Baker recounted that "I threw the whole thing away and started over. A lot of the success of that book is due to him."

Congdon & Lattes (later known as Congdon & Weed) was established in 1979, but went bankrupt in the mid-1980s. Congdon edited books for other publishers, editing David Halberstam's 'The Reckoning published in 1986 by William Morrow and Company.

He died at age 77 on December 23, 2008 at his home in Nantucket, Massachusettsmarker due to congestive heart failure and Parkinson's disease.


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