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Obituary: Iain Stevenson

13 March 2017

The Faculty has been very saddened to hear of the sudden death of Iain Stevenson, Professor Emeritus in Publishing.

Iain was a member of the Department of Information Studies (DIS) for nearly ten years and made an enormous contribution to UCL, leading the successful development of both the Centre for Publishing and the MA in Publishing. Although Iain formally retired in 2015, he continued to work with, support and inspire colleagues and students in his Emeritus role, and is sorely missed.

The world of publishing

Professor Iain Stevenson

He was the author of many articles and books, and published Book Makers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century in 2010. He was also a frequent contributor to discussions on SHARP-L, an international listserv for members of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing. Before entering academic life, he had had extensive experience of the publishing industry having worked for, among others, Longman, Macmillan, Wiley, and the Stationery Office. He was trained as geographer and had a lasting interest in maps and their publication. He had also made a close study of postal systems, and these interests combined allowed him to bring a new perspective to UK and international book history.

His wide knowledge and intellectual flexibility meant that he was able to make a significant contribution to the development of the history of communication in the UK, and he was a member of many societies and networks, including the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, where he was a familiar presence.


He had a deep love of Scotland and of travel, and was a generous and supportive mentor to many: he will above all be missed for his capacity to spot and foster potential in people. His legacy lives on in those who he has taught and worked with, which we hope brings some comfort to his family.