Stanford University Press (SUP) is the publishing house of Stanford University. It is one of the oldest academic presses in the United States and the first university press to be established on the West Coast. It was among the presses officially admitted to the Association of American University Presses (now the Association of University Presses) at the organization's founding, in 1937, and is one of twenty-two current member presses from that original group. The press publishes 130 books per year across the humanities, social sciences, and business, and has more than 3,500 titles in print.
David Starr Jordan, the first president of Stanford University, posited four propositions to Leland and Jane Stanford when accepting the post, the last of which stipulated, “That provision be made for the publication of the results of any important research on the part of professors, or advanced students. Such papers may be issued from time to time as ‘Memoirs of the Leland Stanford Junior University.’” In 1892, the first work of scholarship to be published under the Stanford name, The Tariff Controversy in the United States, 1789-1833, by Orrin Leslie Elliott, appeared with the designation "No. 1" in the "Leland Stanford Junior University Monographs Series.” That same year, student Julius Andrew Quelle established a printing company on campus, publishing the student-run newspaper, the Daily Palo Alto (now the Stanford Daily) and Stanford faculty articles and books. The first use of the imprint "Stanford University Press" was in 1895, with The Story of the Innumerable Company, by President Jordan. In 1915, Quelle hired bookbinder John Borsdamm, who would later draw fellow craftspeople to the press, including master printer and eventual manager Will A. Friend. In 1917, the university bought the printing works, making it a division of Stanford.
The original Stanford University Press colophon.
In 1925, SUP hired William Hawley Davis, Professor of English, to be the inaugural general editor at the press. In the following year, SUP issued its first catalog, listing seventy-five published books. University President Ray Lyman Wilbur established a Special Committee in 1927 comprising the editor, the press manager, the sales manager, and the comptroller in service of the press, whose "principal object is to serve in the publication of University publications of all sorts and to promote human welfare generally.”
A 1929 photo of the Stanford University Press staff.
The first press director, Donald P. Bean, was appointed in 1945. By the 1950s, the printing plant ranked seventh nationally among university presses with respect to title output. The head book designer in the late 1950s and 1960s was printer and typographer Jack Stauffacher, later an AIGA medalist.
In 1999, the press became a division of the Stanford University Libraries. It moved from its previous location adjacent to the Stanford campus to its current location, in Redwood City, in 2012-13.
Stanford Business Books, an imprint for professional titles in business, launched in 2000, with two publications about Silicon Valley. The press launched the Briefs imprint in 2012, featuring short-form publications across its entire list. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SUP debuted a publishing program for born-digital interactive scholarly works in 2015. That same year, it launched its trade imprint, Redwood Press, with a novel by Bahiyyah Nakhjavani.
In April 2019, the provost of Stanford University announced announced plans to cease providing funds for the press, drawing widespread criticism. Following protests from Stanford faculty and students, as well as the wider academic and publishing community, the subsidy for the 2019-20 academic year was reinstated, with additional options for future fundraising on the press's part to be discussed.
Redwood Press publishes books written for a trade audience, spanning a variety of topics, by both academics and non-academic writers.
Stanford Briefs are essay-length works published across SUP's various disciplines.
Stanford Business Books
The Stanford Business Books imprint is home to academic trade books, professional titles, texts for course use, and monographs that explore the social science side of business.
SUP's digital projects initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, advances a formal channel for peer review and publication of born-digital scholarly works in the fields of digital humanities and computational social sciences.
National Jewish Book Award, Jewish Book Council (2010): From Continuity to Contiguity: Toward a New Jewish Literary Thinking
National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies, Jewish Book Council (2010): Memoirs of a Grandmother: Scenes from the Cultural History of the Jews of Russia in the Nineteenth Century, Volume 1
Yonatan Shapiro Book Prize, Association of Israel Studies (2011); National Jewish Book Award in Sephardic Culture, Jewish Book Council (2011): Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine
National Jewish Book Award in Sephardic Culture, Jewish Book Council (2014): Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700–1950
National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies, Jewish Book Council (2014); Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize, Modern Language Association (2015): A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987
Palestine Book Award, Middle East Monitor (2018): Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World
Gold in Success/Motivation/Coaching, Axiom Business Book Award (2019): Life Is a Startup: What What Founders Can Teach Us about Making Choices and Managing Change
Gold in Autobiography/Memoir III (Personal Struggle/Health Issues), Independent Publisher Book Award: Nisei Naysayer: The Memoir of Militant Japanese American Journalist Jimmie Omura
Joseph Levenson Pre-1900 Book Prize, Association for Asian Studies (2019): A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule
1933 Murder Case
In 1933, David Lamson, a sales manager at SUP, was accused of murdering his wife, Allene, at their home on the Stanford campus.Janet Lewis, wife of Stanford poet Yvor Winters, campaigning for Lamson's acquittal, wrote a pamphlet emphasizing the dangers of using circumstantial evidence. Lamson was ultimately released after being tried four times.