Neale Wheeler Watson of Sagamore Beach, a publisher who was recognized for his support of the history of science, died June 9 after a brief illness. Mr. Watson, 84, maintained international relationships throughout his career publishing literature with a focus on science, medicine and technology and also providing a philanthropic series of lectures and seminars in Europe.
He was born on Long Island, the son of Albert and Dorothy Watson, and was educated at Lawrenceville School, Yale University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and the University of Durham (St. Cuthberts).
Mr. Watson went to Saigon in 1959, assuming an intern position with the import division of Curt R. Schaeffer Company.
He left Saigon and began a position representing the International Division of McGraw-Hill Book Company; stationed in Beirut, his territory extended from Istanbul to Dhaka, including visits to Libya, Egypt, the Sudan, and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia he made a presentation to Emperor Haile Selassie. He was appointed assistant to the president of the Canadian subsidiary of McGraw-Hill (Toronto), and eventually established a marketing and editorial liaison office in Montreal.
Upon leaving McGraw-Hill, he returned to New York City, was hired as marketing director of American Elsevier, and was thereafter briefly employed as export sales manager for Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich.
In 1972, he established Neale Watson Academic Publications, Inc. in New York City, with a focus on publishing books and journals about the history and philosophy of science, medicine and technology. During his time living in the city, Mr. Watson participated in the social scene of the day, frequenting establishments such as Studio 54.
In the early 1980s he moved to Nantucket with Watson Publishing International and leveraged his international relationships to publish books pertaining to some of the most noted scientists, physicians and technologies in European and American history. He developed a longstanding relationship with the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, which led to the publication of several volumes in the history of Swedish science, as well as books about Alfred Nobel and other works about the Nobel laureates and the Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Foundation showed its appreciation of Mr. Watson’s efforts by inviting him to the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony and the Nobel Banquet in 2001, during the Centennial celebration of the Nobel Prize.
Mr. Watson demonstrated his support of the history of science by sponsoring the annual Neale Wheeler Watson Lecture Series in Stockholm, and the annual series of six Seminars on the Material and Visual History of Science, held in cities throughout Europe. In 2015, the History of Science Society presented him with the Outstanding Service Award.
He moved to Sagamore Beach in 2003, continuing to operate his publishing operation for the remainder of his life.
In addition to being a voracious reader of classic and esoteric literature, Mr. Watson appreciated art and design and had a passion for gardening.
Services will be private.