He died on June 18, his devoted wife of six decades, Eleanor, at his side.

Soft-spoken, humble, ever polite and generous, Henry was also a man of indomitable courage. In an era of accelerating centralization in the book trade, he launched the Henry Regnery Company in 1947 as an independent publishing house. From the beginning, it featured titles that challenged accepted opinion, be it the foreign policy elite’s plan to dismember and destroy postwar Germany, or that same elite’s passion for “Uncle Joe” Stalin.

Henry’s father, born on a Wisconsin farm of German Catholic forebears, was a successful textile manufacturer, who became a leader of the America First movement. Young Henry’s first job, after graduate training in economics at Harvard, was as an administrator for the American Friends Service Committee’s “Penn Craft” agricultural resettlement community, in Pennsylvania. In these ways, Henry symbolized the oft-forgotten continuity of the Agrarian cause and the anti-interventionist Old Right of the 1930’s with the conservatism that would take form (largely through his publishing efforts) in the 1950’s.

Central to Henry’s life was his deep attachment to northeast Illinois. Born and raised in the village of Hinsdale, his natal place served throughout his life as the idealized American small town. “There were woods, open fields, and farms just outside the town,” he would write in his memoirs. “The stores were small and locally owned. . . . Most people had vegetable gardens, many kept chickens, and a few still had horses.” Resident for most of his adult life in Chicago, Henry labored to make the “Hog Butcher of the World” also known for its literary and artistic distinctions. He published American editions of Wyndham Lewis, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound, together with the work of Midwestern poets and novelists.

Henry knew tragedy in his life, including the death of his son, Henry, Jr., in an air crash. He also knew disappointment, as the postwar Chicago cultural establishment squandered a promising interwar artistic revival, choosing to be little more than an echo of Manhattan. Late in his life, Henry watched as his beloved Cliffdwellers Club—once the hub of Chicago’s literary and musical worlds— fell victim to the greed of the Symphony Board. He knew other forms of betrayal as well. Several of the writers he launched into prominence fell under the spell of the national security state, embracing what would eventually be called “big government conservatism” and “the democratic empire.” Yet he bore these wounds stoically, without recrimination or complaint, and labored on, true to his principles.

Together with other giants of the traditionalist philosophical revival of the 1950’s—Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, and M.E. Bradford—Henry Regnery developed a close affiliation with The Rockford Institute and Chronicles in his later years. He served as an active member of our Board of Directors from 1988 until late 1995, when physical ailments finally precluded his regular attendance at meetings. The Board thereupon elected him as an Honorary Director of the Institute. Many times and in concrete ways, he expressed his deep gratitude for this magazine, and its congruity with his own labors.

A devoted son of his region, the Midwest, a patriotic American, and a Christian gentleman, Henry Regnery embodied the virtues we treasure and celebrate. May he rest in peace.