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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:3, Fall 2022

Celebrating BAR Publisher Susan Laden

Susan (Sue) Laden has stepped back from her role as Publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). She will continue to direct special projects as a senior advisor and serve as President of the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS).

Sue was the society’s first employee, hired in 1976 by BAR’s late founding editor, Hershel Shanks, to take a part-time job opening envelopes on her kitchen table. She jokes that her biggest contribution to BAS in the early years followed that fateful moment when BAR’s entire mailing list (then about 4,000 subscribers) fell off a truck and was lost. Sue not only had retained outdated papers that everyone else would have long since discarded, but she had the presence of mind to make sense of them and so was able to reconstruct most of the list.

As the society’s needs grew, Sue grew alongside. When the organization needed more than kitchen-table flexibility, Sue researched how to grow a small publishing company and connected with executives at National Geographic, Smithsonian, Christianity Today, and elsewhere. Synthesizing those varied sources and more, she built a professional organization that handles operations, marketing, sales, and service on a level that has always exceeded its size.

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