On August 25th we lost our longtime friend and contributor James “Jim” Phillips.
KNIFE Magazine readers will remember Jim from his many articles on military and custom knives. His first contribution to our predecessor publication Knife World came all the way back in 1981, and dozens of interesting topics would follow in the ensuing years. His last piece for the magazine served as our August cover story: “A Deadly Little Dagger,” on the highly classified poison pin issued to CIA agents during the Cold War.
Phillips’ working career included 37 years with the Camden City (NJ) Police Department, mostly with the SWAT team, and he also worked with the famous NY Detective Robert Volpe on America’s first art recovery team. Jim contributed to the first book devoted to a single knifemaker, Moran: Fire & Steel, and as the owner of Phillips Publications he published dozens of books on the history of U.S. Military elite units as well as a number of titles of interest to knife enthusiasts. These include Bowie Knives of the Ben Palmer Collection, OSS Special Weapons (I & II), Clandestine Edged Weapons, The Earliest Commando Knives, and reprints of Bowie Knife by Raymond Thorp and Christmas and the Bowie Knife by J. Frank Dobie. He served as a director of the American Bladesmith Society since 1984, helping build a small group of individuals into the world’s largest knife organization.
Jim gave selflessly to all he believed in, and was a tireless promoter of handmade knives and knifemakers. He was the sort of man who seemed like he would live forever, and it’s hard to imagine a world without his smile and “Let’s do it!” positive attitude. Rest in peace good friend, your contributions to the knife community will not soon be forgotten.