Ronald Mansbridge

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Ronald Mansbridge (11 November 1905 – 1 September 2006) was a publisher, author and wit. He served for forty years as US representative for Cambridge University Press. He had also served briefly as Acting Director of MIT University Press and, for two years, as a Managing Director of the UK office of Yale University Press.

Frederick Ronald Mansbridge was born in Sanderstead, Surrey, England, the fourth child of George Frederick Mansbridge, inventor of the Mansbridge electrical condenser, and Florence Quye Mansbridge. He traced his ancestry back to the Mansbridges whose land is shown on medieval maps of Hampshire as the Mansbridge Hundred.

He was educated at Malvern College (1919-1925) and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1925-1928). He came to the United States in 1928 and for two years taught in the English Department at Barnard College, working also at Oxford University Press. In 1930 he joined Cambridge University Press as its representative with the Macmillan Company in New York City.

On 10 April 1931, he married Georgia St Clair Mullan, daughter of George V. Mullan, Justice of the New York state supreme court, and Helen St Clair Mullan. He and Georgia had two children: Jane Mansbridge, born 19 November 1939, now Adams Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Bruce Mansbridge, PhD, born 20 April 1945, now Director of the Austin Center for the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Austin, Texas. He had two grandchildren: Nathaniel Mansbridge Jencks, of New York City, and Travis Marshall Mansbridge, of Austin. The Mansbridges moved from New York City to Weston, Connecticut, in 1947. In 1990, two years after the death of his first wife, Mansbridge married Janet Dunning Van Duyn, author of books on the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, who died in 2003.

In 1949 Mansbridge left Macmillan to establish the Cambridge University Press American Branch, beginning with a workforce of nine. The Branch was to grow under his direction to a multi-million dollar enterprise. On retirement, after more than forty years with Cambridge University Press, he served briefly as Acting Director of the MIT University Press, and then for two years as Managing Director of the Yale University Press, London Office. It pleased him that the initials of the university presses for which he worked – Cambridge, Oxford, MIT and Yale – spelled the word COMITY.

Mansbridge made frequent contributions to media ranging from scholarly journals to the weekly press. His first printed contribution was a pacifist piece; throughout his life he was a committed pacifist. He later wrote on books and Bibles, publishing and English usage for the Book Collector, Scholarly Publishing, Publishers Weekly, The Saturday Review of Literature, Verbatim and English Today. His extensive collection of Cambridge University Press books printed between 1584 and 1800 is now housed in the collection of fine books at the Waseda University Library, Tokyo. He was a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (of which he was elected Vice-President in 1940), the Century Association, the Grolier Club of New York City and the Baker Street Irregulars. He was also a member of the Tyndale Society, working hard to revive the memory of the man whose translation of the Bible was the first printed in English directly from the Greek and the Hebrew. Tyndale supplied more than eighty percent of the words in the King James version, including those that Mansbridge regarded as the most beautiful. Always a keen bridge player, Mansbridge wrote bridge columns for several publications, the first in 1928 and the latest a weekly column entitled "Minuteman's Bridge", for the Westport Minuteman until 2002.

Mansbridge also had a lifelong interest in daffodils, culminating in the planting of a daffodil field adjoining his house in Weston. The field, composed primarily of Narcissus pseudonarcissus, a species that reproduces itself from seed, includes varieties of the species from Spain and from Wordsworth's garden in the Lake District of Northern England.

He lived until his death on the banks of the Saugatuck River in western Connecticut, his home of 59 years, with his stepdaughter Barbara Van Duyn. He had recently written a book of annotated limericks, and a book on bridge: How to Win at Bridge Without Being an Expert. He celebrated his 100th birthday on 11 November 2005. He had hoped to live to be 106, so that he could see again the date his father showed him on his sixth birthday, 11/11/11, but it wasn't to be. He died in Weston at 100 years on 1 September 2006.

Publications[edit]

Reprinted as 3-page end material in 300 Years of Printing the Authorised Version of the Holy Bible at Cambridge, 1629–1929 (Pensacola, FL: Vance Publ., 2006; Classic Reprints no. 115) OCLC 320454025 – a short book comprising primarily a booklet with the same title published "to commemorate the tercentenary of a. v. Bible printing at Cambridge" (Cambridge U. Press, 1929)
Reprinted as an 11-page book with the same title (Palm Springs, Brick Row, 2004) OCLC 270971505

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