James C. Finkenstaedt, former vice-president of William Morrow, died March 19. He was 90.
Finkenstaedt served in the USMC during World War II, participated in the battle for Okinawa, and was discharged with the rank of captain. After clerking for Doubleday's New York bookstores he joined Morrow in 1952 as a sales rep. He eventually became director of marketing and distribution, and was one of four partners who in 1959 purchased Morrow from Thayer Hobson, its longtime president and owner.
Finkenstaedt, who had been active in the civil rights movement since the ‘50s, was influential in bringing well-known African-American writers to Morrow, such as Nikki Giovanni and Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones). In 1969, Finkenstaedt and his family moved to Paris; he established and managed a Morrow office there to acquire U.S. rights to books by European authors. Among the books he bought for the house were Papillon by Henri Charrière and a number of cookbooks by famous French chefs including Michel Guérard, Roger Verges, and Jean and Pierre Troisgros.