Milton Waldman (1895-1976) was born in the United States and was an adviser and editor for publishers in London. According to Humphrey Carpenter in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Waldman was introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien by Father Gervase Mathew in late 1949. Due to the success of The Hobbit, Waldman expressed interest in both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Tolkien showed parts of The Silmarillion to Waldman and Waldman offered to publish it if Tolkien would complete it. He would also publish The Lord of the Rings if Tolkien felt no commitment to George Allen & Unwin.
In April of 1950, Tolkien urged Stanley Unwin to agree to publish both books, and when Unwin refused, Tolkien took them to Waldman. To Tolkien's disappointment, Waldman told him that The Lord of the Rings was too long. Waldman then left for Italy for a year and his replacement was much less enthusiastic about Tolkien's works. In late 1951 Tolkien wrote a long letter to Waldman explaining how the two works were dependent on each other, but Waldman still refused.
In 1956, after The Lord of the Rings has been published, Waldman unsuccessfully attempted to publish The Hobbit in Collin's Fontana paperback series.