William Morris, 74; Marketed Children’s Books to Schools
William C. Morris, 74, an innovative marketer of children’s books, died Sunday at his New York City home of cancer.
Morris, who spent his entire career with what evolved into HarperCollins Children’s Books, revolutionized the way schools and libraries -- the major purchasers of the books -- relate to publishers. He became a familiar figure at conventions of educators and librarians. He also scheduled school visits for authors and illustrators to enhance their sales.
Hired by Harper & Bros. in 1955, Morris became head of children’s book advertising a decade later, at the same time schools and libraries obtained large infusions of cash through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. His efforts were acknowledged in 1992 by the American Library Assn., administrator of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals for children’s literature, when he received the first Distinguished Service Award from its Assn. of Library Service to Children Division.
A native of Eagle Pass, Texas, Morris earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and a master’s in American literature at Duke University.