Arthur Kudner Jr., 67, press owner

May 30, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Arthur H. Kudner Jr., an Eastern Shore press owner whose Tidewater Publishers documented the lifestyles and ecology of the Eastern Shore as well as the architecture of old Baltimore, died May 23 from complications of diabetes and heart disease at Washington Hospital Center. The Grasonville resident was 67.

Born in New York City, Mr. Kudner was raised on his father's Grasonville estate, Talisman Farm, where he settled permanently in the 1950s.

A graduate of Westminster School in Simsbury, Conn., Mr. Kudner attended Cornell and Columbia universities.

In 1959, he founded Tidewater Publishing, a Centreville printing company specializing in direct-mail advertising for magazines, American Express and record clubs. He later opened a second plant in West Branch, Iowa.

In 1978, he purchased Cornell Maritime Press, founded by Manhattan publisher Felix M. Cornell, which put out books for recreational boaters and the merchant marine including American Merchant Seaman's Manual, Marine Engine Room Blue Book, and several on maritime knots and nets.

"At this point my father wanted to produce something more lasting than direct-mail ad materials that often get thrown out 30 seconds after they reached the home," said his son, Arthur H. Kudner III of Grasonville.

An imprint of Cornell Press is Tidewater Publishers, a book division that focuses on the Delmarva peninsula, Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore. It has put out such titles as Rivers of the Eastern Shore, Tidewater Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Log Canoes and Bugeyes, The Outlaw Gunner, Chesapeake Bay Schooners, A Guide to Baltimore Architecture, Baltimore's Cast-Iron Buildings, and Annapolis author Priscilla Cumming's series of children's books on Chadwick the Crab.

"He did wonderful work for those people who care about Maryland's past and cultural history," said Robert Brugger, regional editor for the Johns Hopkins Press. "We considered him a worthy competitor."

He was a trustee of the Kent School in Chestertown and the Wildfowl Trust in Grasonville and served on the board of Washington College in Chestertown.

"He left a legacy to the state of Maryland by publishing works that might not otherwise have been printed," said Alexander G. "Sandy" Jones, a retired Eastern Shore lawyer and fellow college trustee.

Mr. Kudner lost two wives to cancer, the former Prudence Wise and Maryse Kern, and a teen-age daughter, Ariana M. Kudner, who was killed in a car crash in 1994.

"Here was this man who seemed to have everything, and lost so much," said Ms. Cummings.

Services were held yesterday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Centreville, where Mr. Kudner was a senior warden and choir member.

Mr. Kudner is survived by his wife of more than two years, the former Deborah Newnam; another daughter, Barry Kudner O'Brien of Annapolis; a sister, Karyl McKay of Alanson, Mich.; a stepson, Herschell "Bo" Claggett Jr., and stepdaughter, Courtney V. Claggett, both of Easton; and three grandsons.

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