Jane Jordan Browne established her literary agency, Multimedia Product Development, Inc., in Beverly Hills, California in 1971. A native of California, she moved her agency to Chicago in 1978, when she married lawyer William O. Petersen.
A graduate of Smith College (Class of ’52), Jane was a Sophia Smith Scholar in history and the recipient of the Alpha Award for Creative Writing. She received her master’s degree Magna cum laude in English Language and Literature from UCLA. She enjoyed an active, successful career in publishing before becoming an author’s representative. She worked as Production Manager for Arts and Architecture Magazine and was Editor-in-Chief of Playgoer, Inc. At Hawthorn Books, she was Managing Editor and then head of the juvenile department before she went to Thomas Y. Crowell as Senior Editor in the adult trade department. She was General Editorial and Production Manager of Macmillan Educational Services, Inc., until she established her own business. She was the author of over 100 articles for national magazines, and of two books. She researched and wrote the text for When Towns Had Walls, published by Thomas Y. Crowell in 1970, and was writer for The Architectural Digest Book of Celebrity Homes.
Jane sold more than 4000 books throughout her 30+ year agenting career including celebrity autobiographies of Dorothy Lamour, Robert Stack and Vincente Minnelli, as well as serious biographies of John Jacob Astor, Gloria Swanson/Joseph Kennedy, Barbara Stanwyck, William Wyler, Sonia Delaunay, Andre Malraux and Jacques Cousteau, as well as groundbreaking books on social issues, current affairs, science and psychology. Her greatest successes were the novel The Memory of Eva Ryker by Donald A. Stanwood, which was made into a television movie starring Natalie Wood; the controversial On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors: John Z. DeLorean’s Look Inside the Automobile Giant by J. Patrick Wright; Little Saigon and Laguna Heat (also a 1987 HBO film starring Harry Hamlin and Jason Robards) by T. Jefferson Parker; the novelizations of Poltergeist I and II, The Goonies, The Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; the joke books of Larry Wilde (10,000,000 joke books in print–a world’s record); all the works of Helen Hooven Santmyer (she represented Ms. Santmyer’s estate, as well as the Ohio State University Press, which controls the rights to two of her books, Ohio Town and “…And Ladies of the Club ”); the international success Chanel: A Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen; Buster Midnight’s Cafe and The Persian Pickle Club, novels by Sandra Dallas; the internationally best-selling Hug Therapy Book, Hug Therapy II and countless spin-offs and merchandise; the widely known cult works of “the Rev. Ivan Stang,” featuring J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, including The Book of the Sub-Genius; and international best-selling Christian novelist Francine Rivers, an RWA Hall of Famer and author of the classic Redeeming Love, among other highly successful titles.
Jane was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Center for the Book, on the board of the Modern Poetry Association, and a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
She died in February 2003.
More Reading: The Jane Jordan Browne Tribute Book