Milton Waldman

From Tolkien Gateway

Milton Waldman (1895-1976) was born in the United States and was an adviser and senior editor at the London publisher Collins.

Waldman was introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien by Father Gervase Mathew in autumn 1949. Due to the success of The Hobbit, Waldman expressed interest in both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Tolkien showed parts of The Silmarillion to Waldman who offered to publish it if Tolkien would complete it. He would also publish The Lord of the Rings if Tolkien felt no commitment to George Allen & Unwin.[1][2]

In April of 1950, Tolkien urged Stanley Unwin to agree to publish both books, and when Unwin refused,[3] Tolkien took them to Waldman, hoping to begin typesetting the following autumn. But there were delays, largely caused by Waldman's frequent absences in Italy and his bad health; his colleagues back in England were much less enthusiastic about Tolkien's works. To Tolkien's disappointment, Waldman had told him that The Lord of the Rings was too long, and although Tolkien said he would try to make cuts, there is no evidence he entered such a process.[4] By the latter part of 1951 no definite arrangements for publication had yet been made, and Collins were becoming anxious about the combined length of both books. At Waldman's request to know better his Secondary World, Tolkien wrote a 10,000 words-long Letter to Milton Waldman with the intention of demonstrating that The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion were interdependent and indivisible.[5] Waldman was interested so much that he had a typed copy made[6] but eventually still refused.

In 1956, after The Lord of the Rings has been published, Waldman unsuccessfully attempted to publish The Hobbit in Collin's Fontana paperback series.