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The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicagomarker and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of advanced monographs in the academic fields.

One of its quasi-independent projects is the BiblioVault, a digital repository for scholarly books.

The Press building is located just south of the Midway Plaisancemarker on the University of Chicagomarker campus.


The University of Chicago Press was founded in 1891, making it one of the oldest, continuously operating university presses in the U.S. Its first published book was Robert F. Harper's Assyrian and Babylonian Letters Belonging to the Kouyunjik Collections of the British Museum. It sold five copies during its first two years, but, by 1900, the University of Press had published 127 books and pamphlets and 11 scholarly journals, including the current American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, and Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

For its first three years, the Press was an entity discrete from the University; it was operated by the Boston publishing house D. C. Heath in conjunction with the Chicago printer R. R. Donnelley. This arrangement proved unworkable, however, and in 1894 the University officially assumed responsibility for the Press.

In 1902, as part of the University, the Press started working on the Decennial Publications. Composed of articles and monographs by scholars and administrators on the state of the University and its faculty's research, the Decennial Publications was a radical reorganization of the Press. This allowed the Press, by 1905, to begin publishing books by scholars not of the University of Chicago. A copy-editing and proofreading department was added to the existing staff of printers and typesetters, leading, in 1906, to the first edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, in print since 1906.

By 1931, the Press was an established, leading academic publisher. Leading books of that era are: Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed's The New Testament: An American Translation (the Press's first, nationally successful title) and its successor, Goodspeed's and J. M. Povis Smith's The Complete Bible: An American Translation; Sir William Alexander Craigie's A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles, published in four volumes in 1943; John Manly and Edith Rickert's The Canterbury Tales, published in 1940; and Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

In 1956, the Press first published paperback-bound books under its imprint. Of the Press's best-known books most date from the 1950s, including translations of the Complete Greek Tragedies and Richard Lattimore's The Iliad of Homer. That decade also saw the first edition of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature which has since been used by students of Biblical Greek world-wide.

In 1966, Morris Philipson began his thirty-four-year tenure as director of the University of Chicago Press. He committed time and resources to lengthening the backlist, becoming known for assuming ambitious scholarly projects, among the largest of which was The Lisle Letters — a vast collection of 16th-century correspondence by Arthur Plantagenet, First Viscount Lisle, a wealth of information about every aspect of sixteenth-century life.

As the Press's scholarly volume expanded, the Press also advanced as a trade publisher, when both of Norman Maclean's books — A River Runs Through It and Young Men and Fire— were ranked in the national best-seller list in 1992, and Robert Redford filmed A River Runs Through It. The Press also publishes regional titles, such as One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko (1999), a collection of columns by Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman Mike Royko of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

In 1982, Philipson was the first academic-press director to win the Publisher Citation, one of PEN's most prestigious awards. Shortly before he retired in June 2000, Philipson received the Association of American Publishers' Curtis Benjamin Award for Creative Publishing, awarded to the man whose "creativity and leadership have left a lasting mark on American publishing."

Current Status

Garrett P. Kiely became the fifteenth director of the University of Chicago Press on September 1, 2007. He heads one of academic publishing's largest operations, employing 300 people across its three divisions of books, journals, and distribution and publishing approximately 180 new books and 70 paperback reprints a year.

Books Division

The Books Division of the University of Chicago Press has been publishing books for scholars, students, and general readers since 1892 and has published over 11,000 books since its founding. The Books Division has more than five thousand books in print at the present time, including such well-known works as The Chicago Manual of Style; The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn; A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean; and The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek.

Journals Division

The University of Chicago Journals division publishes 41 journals and seven annuals in a wide range of academic disciplines, including the social sciences, the humanities, education, the biological and medical sciences, and the physical sciences. The American Journal of Sociology, founded in 1895, is the oldest academic journal devoted to sociology, while History of Religions was the first academic journal devoted exclusively to comparative religious history. The Journals Division launched electronic publishing efforts in 1995; by 2004 all the journals published by the University of Chicago Press had become available online.

More recently, changes have taken place. The American Astronomical Society decided in 2007 to move its three journals to the nonprofit Institute of Physics, giving as the reason the desire of the Press to revise its financial arrangement, and the plans of the Press to change from the particular software that had been developed in-house by the Press. The first publication of the society, the Astronomical Journal, switched in January 2008, and the Astrophysical Journal will switch in January 2009.

Another journal, the American Journal of Human Genetics, published by the American Society for Human Genetics, has also moved from the Press, but to Cell Press, a division of the commercial publisher Elsevier.

Starting in October 2007, The University of Chicago Press and the American Historical Association (AHA) embarked on a cooperative agreement to publish the American Historical Review.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Human Capital was published in December 2007, with economist Isaac Ehrlich as its founding editor.

In 2008, the Press began publishing Schools: Studies in Education (affiliated with the Francis W. Parker School ) as well as Renaissance Quarterly (the publication of The Renaissance Society of America ).

Chicago Distribution Services

The Distribution Services Division provides the University of Chicago Press's warehousing, customer service, and related services. The Chicago Distribution Center began providing distribution services in 1991, when the University of Tennessee Press became its first client. Currently the CDC serves over 70 publishers including Stanford University Press, University of Minnesota Press, University of Iowa Press and many others. In 2001, with development funding from the Mellon Foundation, the CDDC (Chicago Digital Distribution Center) began to offer digital printing services and the BiblioVault digital repository services to book publishers. In 2009, the Chicago Distribution Center enabled the sales of electronic books directly to individuals.

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