AN AFFABLE PRESENCE
Norman Tomlinson, longtime New Jersey Monthly publisher, dies at 90.
although long retired, Norman
B. Tomlinson Jr. is still fondly re-
membered by veteran New Jersey
Monthly staffers as an affable and
erudite presence who enjoyed min-
gling with his team and sharing his
wisdom and good humor with all.
Tomlinson, the former owner,
president, publisher and editor-
in-chief of New Jersey Monthly,
died December 7. He was 90.
A Morristown resident for
most of his life, Tomlinson was
born into a publishing family. His
grandparents, Ernest and Mary
Balderston Tomlinson, founded
a daily newspaper, the
Morristown Daily Record, in 1900. Upon
the death of his grandfather in
1919, Tomlinson’s father, Ernest
B. Tomlinson, became editor and
publisher. Norman Tomlinson
joined the family business in the
mid-1950s, after receiving an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1948 and a law
degree from Harvard in 1951. He
served two years in the U.S. Army
Transportation Corps during the
Korean War and was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1954.
Despite his legal training, Tomlinson was destined for a
career in publishing. In 1970, when his father retired, Tomlinson took over the Daily Record as editor and publisher.
He quickly expanded the publication’s reach beyond Morris
County, added a Sunday edition, and updated its printing facility in Parsippany to allow for use of color—an important
innovation at the time.
In 1976, the Tomlinson family became one of several investors in a new Princeton-based magazine, New Jersey
Monthly. Six years later, with the nascent publication on the
brink of bankruptcy, Tomlinson stepped in to save it, buying
out the other investors one by one. “We were the only ones
that were really interested in taking it over,” he later recalled.
Tomlinson took the reins as publisher, effective with the
September 1982 issue. He immediately moved the publica-
tion to Morristown, where it shared space and resources
with the Daily Record. By 1986, New Jersey Monthly, under
Tomlinson’s leadership, had enjoyed two consecutive years
in the black, and circulation had rebounded above 100,000,
the previous high-water mark. The following year, Tomlin-
son took the company out of the newspaper business, selling
the Daily Record to the Goodson
Newspaper Group. (In 1998, Good-
son flipped it to its current owner
In 1988, Tomlinson brought
his daughter, Kate S. Tomlinson, onboard as publisher of the
magazine. She soon added the
title of editor in chief. Tomlinson
retained the title of president and
ran the publication in tandem
with his daughter until his retirement in early 2004.
Over the years, Tomlinson was
active in and supportive of many
New Jersey organizations and often took a stand on important civic
issues. He was instrumental in the
founding of the County College of
Morris, using the Daily Record to
help rally community support. He
served as president of the Morris
County Chamber of Commerce and
the 200 Club of Morristown and
was chairman of the Morristown
He also served as chairman of
the Morristown-Morris Town-
ship Free Public Library, where he
was an enthusiastic devotee of the history collection.
Tomlinson had a lifelong fascination with history, especially military history. He supported the Society for Military
History and the Abraham Lincoln Association; was one of
the organizers and served as secretary of the New Jersey Civil War Round Table; and was a member of and served on the
advisory board of the Civil War Preservation Trust, which
raises money for battlefield preservation. He was a member
and director of the Western Front Association and endowed
the Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. Book Prize, which is awarded
annually for the best English-language work of history on the
World War I era.
Tomlinson served for many years as a trustee of the Peck
School, from which he graduated in 1940, and also of the
Pingry School. He supported local hospitals, the Morris-
town Medical Center in particular.
At New Jersey Monthly, longtime employees also recall
Tomlinson’s support of individuals. “He stepped up and
helped people without question,” says one veteran staffer.
Others speak of his enthusiasm and love of the publishing
business. “He appreciated new ideas,” says one. “He was always very positive.”—Ken Schlager
In 1982, with the nascent
publication on the brink of
stepped in to save it.