Association of American University Presses Turns 75

AAUPThe Association of American University Presses (AAUP) was officially founded on February 8, 1937 (Happy Birthday). Yesterday the AAUP web published an essay by Brenna McLaughlin looking at what led university presses to form an association.

(According to the AAUP, there’s more brewing for the 75th anniversary year—from a continued historical review, to festivities in Chicago this June, and—most excitingly—a University Press Week to be held November 11-17. We’ll keep you posted on the details.)

Starting in the 1920s, various university press directors began talking about the possibility of starting an association and finding ways to coordinate their efforts. However, the idea for an association gained momentum at a meeting in 1928 at the Waldorf-Astoria, in a variety of representative from presses focused on “problems of advertising and selling, including both more efficient marketing to a core audience of scholars, and affordable ways to sell to a wider trade audience” (some things never change!).

Though in the words of the attendees the meeting ended with “a perfect score of no resolutions and no officers, but…’100% harmony,” momentum was set in motion for a more formal organization. The meeting did however initiate “Shelfward Ho!” a joint catalog of university press titles that achieved limited success. Meetings continued through the 1930s and in 1937 a constitution was adopted forming the Association of American University Presses with twenty-two members.

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