Neil D. Macdonald

Born March 21, 1909, New York City; died March 7, 1988, Newton, Mass.; longtime contributor to Computers and People, and alter ego of Edmund Berkeley.

Lifelong literary collaborator, close associate, and alter ego of the late Edmund C. Berkeley, died March 7, 1988, at the same instant as Ed. Berkeley, although known to many through his writings and editing, was personally known to almost no one.

In addition to being the permanent second editorial banana on Berkeley's magazine, Computers and People, he was as prolific a writer as was the proprietor himself. Every issue had contributions from them both, although Macdonald's were usually less serious or abstract than Ed's, running more to puzzles, problems for the reader, and lists of subjects to aid in clear and comprehensive thinking.

Not until Berkeley's death, when Eric Weiss asked his colleague for obituary material, was it discovered that Neil D. Macdonald was an alias Ed used to avoid the appearance that he produced his magazine almost single-handedly. In many ways this trick was characteristic of Ed. It was a gentle, sly, and entertaining joke that harmed no one.

This use of a pseudonymous associate editor and the inward chuckle that surely it gave Ed may be what will be remembered best and longest about the late, great Edmund C. Berkeley.



Weiss, Eric, "Obituary: Neil Macdonald," Ann. Hist. Comp., Vol. 10, No. 3, 1988, p. 217.

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