Harvard University Press: A History

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Cambridge, MA 1986 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 272 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

A university press is a curious institution, dedicated to the dissemination of learning yet apart from the academic structure; a publishing firm that is in business, but not to make money; an arm of the university that is frequently misunderstood and occasionally attacked by faculty and administration. Max Hall here chronicles the early stages and first sixty years of Harvard University Press in a rich and entertaining book that is at once Harvard history, publishing history, printing history, business history, and intellectual history.

The tale begins in 1638 when the first printing press arrived in British North America. It became the property of Harvard College and remained so for nearly half a century. Hall sketches the various forerunners of the "real" Harvard University Press, founded in 1913, and then follows the ups and downs of its first six decades, during which the Press published steadily if not always serenely a total of 4,500 books. He describes the directors and others who left their stamp on the Press or guided its fortunes during these years. And he gives the stories behind such enduring works as Lovejoy's Great Chain of Being, Giedion's Space, Time, and Architecture, Langer's Philosophy in a New Key, and Kelly's Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although the official founding of the Harvard University Press did not come until 1913, this history shows that there were antecedents at Harvard dating back to 1638. Concentrating on the period from 1913 through 1972, however, Hall, editor for the social sciences from 1960 to 1973, traces the press's ancestry, founding, important figures, and events. As Hall points out, the history of the Harvard University Press reflects the history of Harvard itself. Those interested in 20th-century books, moreover, will enjoy reading about the genesis of many important works at Harvard. Hall writes interestingly and well. His discussion of books, publishing economics, and personalities is well balanced. For larger collections. Larry Earl Bone, Mercy Coll. Lib., Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674380806
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/1986
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Hall, who was Harvard University Press's first Editor for the Social Sciences (1960-1973), has had access to all Press records and numerous private University documents, and has been able to interview many of the participants in the story, from Director Dumas Malone on. He has produced a narrative of interest not only to the Harvard community and Press authors but also to anyone concerned with printing and publishing history and the role of the university press in the advancement of knowledge.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A University and Its Publishing House

1. Antecedents and Founding

2. First Steps under C. C. Lane, 1913-1919

3. The Murdock Years, 1910-1934

4. Malone and a Wider Audience, 1935-1943

5. Wartime Shock

6. Scaife and Survival, 1943-1947

7. Wilson and the Rise of the Press, 1947-1967

8. The Paperback Question, the Double Helix, and Other Stories

9. Crisis and Reorganization, 1968-1972

Notes

Sources and Acknowledgments

Index

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