James Parton was born December 10, 1912, in Newburyport, Massachusetts; he attended Harvard University. From 1935 to 1942, Parton held various editorial and management positions with
magazine, including aviation editor. During World War II, Parton served in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as Aide-de-Camp to General Ira C. Eaker of the VIII Bomber Command, Eighth Air Force, and as Chief Air Historian of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF). After the war, Parton resumed his journalism career as as promotional and editorial director of Time-Life International (1945-1947), editor and publisher of the
Los Angeles Independent
(1948-1949) and promotional director of the
New York Herald Tribune
(1950-1953). Parton was also a founder and president of the American Heritage Publishing Company (1954-1970), and president of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation (1970-1972). Parton authored a number of publications on the history of the U.S. Air Force, particularly during World War II, and in 1986 wrote a well-received biography of General Eaker,
Air Force Spoken Here
. Parton died April 20, 2001, in White River Junction, Vermont, at the age of 88.