The Best Professional Editor category was not one of the original Hugo categories in 1953. It was introduced in 1973 as a replacement for the Best Magazine award, partly to recognize the name of the individual who was the driving force behind the magazines, but also, at least in theory, to open the award up to anthology editors, although an anthology editor wouldn’t win until 1985. For the first five years the award was presented, it was won by Ben Bova. In 2007, the award was split into Best Editor, Long Form and Best Editor, Short Form. Gardner Dozois won the Best Professional Editor Award fifteen times, including a six-year streak and a seven-year streak. George H. Scithers won the award for the first time in 1978, ending Ben Bova’s streak, and then for a second time in 1980.
George Scithers had a long career in science fiction, both professionally and in fandom. He began publishing articles in the fanzine Yandro in 1957 and in 1959, he began publishing his own ‘zine, Amra, which won Scithers his first two Hugo Awards (in 1964 and 1968). Amra, which was a Robert E. Howard specialty ‘zine, is also the ‘zine which coined the term “Sword and Sorcery.”
In 1963, Scithers chaired Discon I, the 21st World Science Fiction Convention. He wrote The Con-Committee Chairman’s Guide to provide guidance for future chairmen. For several years in the 60s, he also served as the Worldcon Parliamentarian.
Scithers founded Owlswick Press in 1973 and over the years published works by Roy Krenkel, L. Sprague de Camp, Jack Williamson, Barry B. Longyear, and others. The final two volumes published by Owlswick came out in 1991 and 1993 and were collections by Avram Davidson.