University of Chicago Press
Parent company University of Chicago
Founded 1891
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Chicago
Publication types Books, Academic journals
Official website

The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States.[1] It is operated by the University of Chicago 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 Plaisance on the University of Chicago campus.


The University of Chicago Press was founded in 1891, making it one of the oldest continuously operating university presses in the United States. Its first published book was Robert F. Harper's Assyrian and Babylonian Letters Belonging to the Kouyunjik Collections of the British Museum. The book sold five copies during its first two years, but by 1900, the University of Chicago 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.

By 1931, the Press was an established, leading academic publisher. Leading books of that era include Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed's The New Testament: An American Translation (the Press's first nationally successful title) and its successor, Goodspeed 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 worldwide.

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, 1st 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.

In 1982, Philipson was the first director of an academic press 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 person whose "creativity and leadership have left a lasting mark on American publishing."

Current statusEdit

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 three divisions—books, journals, and distribution—and publishing approximately 180 new books and 70 paperback reprints each year.

The Press currently publishes 51 journals and over 50 new trade titles per year across many subject areas. It also publishes regional titles, such as The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004), edited by James R. Grossman, Ann Durkin Keating and Janice Reiff; The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age (2008) by Neil Harris; 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; and many other books about the art, architecture, and nature of Chicago and the Midwest.

The Press has recently expanded its digital offerings to include most newly published books as well as key backlist titles. The contents of The Chicago Manual of Style are available online to paid subscribers. The Chicago Distribution Center is recognized as a leading distributor of scholarly works, with over 75 client presses.

Books DivisionEdit

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 six 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. In July 2009 the Press announced the Chicago Digital Editions program, which made many of the Press's titles available in e-book form for sale to individuals.[2] As of August 2010, more than 1,300 titles are available in this format. In August 2010, the Press published the 16th Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style simultaneously in a print and online edition.

Journals DivisionEdit

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 (journal) 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. The Society said it was changing publishers because the Press intended to alter its financial arrangement with the Society, and also because of the Press's desire to revise its in-house software. The Society's first publication, Astronomical Journal, left the Press for the Institute of Physics in January 2008. Astrophysical Journal made the move in January 2009.[3]

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.[3]

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 (Chicago)) as well as Renaissance Quarterly (the publication of The Renaissance Society of America (RSA)).

Chicago Distribution ServicesEdit

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. Since 2001, with development funding from the Mellon Foundation, the CDDC (Chicago Digital Distribution Center) has been offering 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 and provided digital delivery services for the University of Michigan Press among others. Chicago Distribution Center has also partnered with an additional 15 presses including the University of Missouri Press, West Virginia University Press and publications of the Getty Foundation.

See alsoEdit


  1. "The University of Chicago Press Selects Rightslink(R) For Online Copyright Permissions". Business Wire. February 5, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Howard, Jennifer (2007-05-18). "U. of Chicago Press Loses 3 Journals After Publishing Agreement Is Changed". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 

External linksEdit


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