William Warder Norton (September 17, 1891 – November 7, 1945) was a publisher and co-founder of W. W. Norton & Company. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio, moved to New York City and started an import-export business, met and married Margaret Dows Herter, known as Polly or Mary. In 1923, they began publishing lectures delivered at the People's Institute, the adult education division of New York City's Cooper Union. William and Margaret had a daughter, Anne Aston Warder Norton (1928-1977). The Nortons soon expanded their program beyond the Institute, acquiring manuscripts by celebrated academics from America and abroad. This is the beginning of W. W. Norton & Company. Starting in 1942 he was very active with the Council on Books in Wartime. It was that council, which was a consortium of publishers, that agreed to an equitable distribution of paper and binding materials, all these scarce materials that went into the manufacture of books. He died at 54, just four months after V-E Day.
- "About W. W. Norton". W.W. Norton. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
The roots of the company date back to 1923, when William Warder Norton and his wife, Mary D. Herter Norton, began publishing lectures delivered at the People's Institute, the adult education division of New York City's Cooper Union. The Nortons soon expanded their program beyond the Institute, acquiring manuscripts by celebrated academics from America and abroad.
- "Anne Aston Warder Warder Norton Jones Dead at 48. Was a Volunteer in Social Work and a Civil Rights Activist". New York Times. March 9, 1977.
Anne Aston Warder Norton Jones, daughter of the late William Warder Norton, founder and head of W.W. Norton Company, book publishers, went missing for four days and was found dead in her car in a park near her mother's home on March 5th, 1977, in Wilton, Connecticut. She was 48 years old and lived in Riverdale, the Bronx. She was survived by four children.
- "W. W. Norton Dead. Book Publisher, 54. Head of Firm Here Since 1924 Led Council for Service Men. Favored Science Topics". New York Times. November 9, 1945.
William Warder Norton, president of W.W. Norton Co., Inc., and editor of its publications as well as chairman of the Council on Books in Wartime for the benefit of the men in service, died on Wednesday night in the Doctors Hospital, after a brief illness, at the age of 54. His home was at 1 Lexington Avenue.