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Ian Keith Ballantine (February 15, 1916 – March 9, 1995) was a pioneering American publisher who founded and published the innovative paperback line of Ballantine Books from 1952 to 1974 with his wife, Betty Ballantine.

Born in New York City, the son of Stella Commins Ballantine (niece of anarchist Emma Goldman), Ian Ballantine received his undergraduate degree from Columbia College and his graduate degree from the London School of Economics. In 1939, the year of his marriage, he initiated the distribution of Penguin Books in the United States. As a team, the Ballantines were involved in the formation of Bantam Books in 1945, and he was the first president of Bantam from 1945 to 1952.

Ballantine Books was one of the earliest publishers of original science fiction paperbacks by such authors as Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl. During the 1960s, they published the first authorized paperback edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's books. Lin Carter edited their Ballantine Adult Fantasy series of classics by H.P. Lovecraft and others in the 1970s.

From 1968 through 1975 Ballantine Books published a series of 156 paperbook books under the series title "Ballantine's Illustrated History of World War II", later retitled "Ballantine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century". These were printed in both the United States and United Kingdom.

After Ballantine Books was acquired by Random House in 1973, the Ballantines became freelance consulting editors and publishers during the 1970s. Ian and Betty Ballantine won two World Fantasy Awards (1975 and 1984). Their son Richard Ballantine is an author and journalist specializing in cycling topics.

Ballantine Books has a backlist of more than 3,000 titles, and its imprints include Ballantine Books, Ballantine Reader's Circle, Del Rey, Del Rey/LucasBooks, Fawcett, Ivy, One World and Wellspring.

Ian Ballantine was 79 when he died of a heart attack in 1995, and the speakers at his May 12, 1995, memorial service included Bantam Books publisher Irwyn Applebaum, Ballantine Books vice president George Davidson and Peter Mayer, chief executive of the Penguin Group.


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