“Publication is as much a function of the university as teaching or research [and] an obligation that every great university owes to itself and to society.”
—The University of Wisconsin Committee on University Publications, April 13, 1936
In 2016, we mark the eightieth anniversary of the founding of the University of Wisconsin Press. Throughout the calendar year, we’ll be blogging about the history of the Press, as well as welcoming guest posts from our UWP authors and editors.
Subscribe to our blog (at right) to read more UWP history throughout the coming year.
1936 On April 13, 1936, the University of Wisconsin faculty senate enacts legislation to “publish particularly meritorious manuscripts as books using the imprint ‘The University of Wisconsin Press.’” Livia Appel is hired as managing editor.
1940s Hit hard by the toll of war—paper shortages, staff shortages, and the near impossibility of finding printers with facilities for “non-essential” work, the Press nearly ceases operations.
1950s The Press publishes the two-volume Classics in Translation edited by University of Wisconsin faculty Paul L. MacKendrick and Herbert M. Howe. It will become our all-time bestseller.
1960s The new Journals Division publishes its first volumes of Contemporary Literature, Luso-Brazilian Review, Slavic and East European Journal, Journal of Land Economics, Arctic Anthropology, and Monatshefte. Five of these continue as UWP journals, joined by later acquisitions.
1970s University budget cuts result in the Press reducing by half both its staff and the number of new publications.
1980s The Press publishes its largest-ever book in a single volume: the 1056-page Fishes of Wisconsin, by George C. Becker of the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. (It’s now available free online.)
1990s UW–Madison professor of art Warren G. Moon dies, leaving an endowment of $700,000 for the book series Wisconsin Studies in Classics. His legacy continues to support a thriving series.
2000s The Press begins publishing journals and books in both print and electronic formats. Our bestselling e-book is Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders by William R. Drennan.
2010s Several new book series are launched: Critical Human Rights, the Harvey Goldberg Series in Understanding and Teaching History, and Languages and Folklore of the Upper Midwest. Three new journals in African Studies are added to the Press’s publications: Mande Studies, Ghana Studies, and African Economic History.