Marc Jaffe, the former editorial director of Bantam and Ballantine and founder of Villard Books at Random House and an eponymous imprint at Houghton Mifflin, died on December 31. He was 102.

Jaffe served in the Marines during WWII, earning a Bronze Star for his service in Okinawa. After the war, he worked as a scallop fisherman and wrote while living in Provincetown, Mass., before moving to New York to pursue a career in publishing.

After a stint at the men's magazine Argosy in the late 1940s, Jaffe began his career in book publishing at New American Library, where he worked with such authors as Mickey Spillane and Gore Vidal as western and mystery editor before expanding into philosophy (Five Great Dialogues of Plato), literature (a translation of Dante's Inferno by John Ciardi), and history (A Documentary History of the United States by Richard Heffner). He then spent short stints as editor at Dell First Editions, where he worked with psychiatrist Viktor Frankl on Man's Search for Meaning, and Racine Books.

Jaffe moved to Bantam Books, where he became editorial director in July 1961, a position he would hold for nearly two decades and in which he played an instrumental role in the history of the mass market paperback. (In a profile of Jaffe in the August 24, 1990, issue of Publishers Weekly, Robert A. Carter said of the team at Bantam during Jaffe's tenure that it “probably constituted the strongest staff of any paperback house of the period.”) At Bantam, Jaffe worked with such authors as William Peter Blatty, editing his bestseller The Exorcist, and oversaw the Bantam Modern Classics series, which published Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore's The Medium is the Massage during his tenure.

Following his time at Bantam, Jaffe became a v-p at Random House and editorial director of Ballantine Books, and founded the imprint Villard Books. He later founded an eponymous imprint, Marc Jaffe Books, at Houghton Mifflin Company, then, after going freelance, founded Editorial Direction, an editing and publishing consultancy, with his wife, Vivienne. He continued working on books in a freelance capacity up until his death.

Speaking with PW in 1990 of his “editorial predilections,” Jaffe said, “I can't escape my eclecticism. I've always gone from The Five Great Dialogues of Plato to John Ciardi. Throughout my career that's been my interest and my practice. I've never been narrowly focused.” He added: “Sometimes I look back and think—It's been a long time—but it doesn't seem that way. I look forward to a long time here.”

Jaffe is survived by his wife, Vivienne; their daughter Eva, and son, Ben, and their spouses; two children from his marriage to Grace Cohen, Nina and David, and their spouses, Bob and Rachel; and seven grandchildren, among others.