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Pressing Business: The Forgotten History of Stanford University Press





Speaker: Alan Harvey, Director, Stanford University Press


For much of the last 50 years, Stanford University Press has publicly traced its founding back to 1925—and yet, evidence of the Press’s existence before this date exists in abundance. For instance, in 1917 Stanford erected a building custom-built for the Press on Lomita and Panama; meanwhile, books bearing the Stanford University Press imprint surface as far back as the 1890s. Curious, our staff decided to investigate: What had happened to these forgotten years, the earliest in the Press’s history?


Through some simple archival detective work, our staff unearthed the long and lesser-told history of Stanford University Press, from its humble origins in 1892 to its myriad transformations over the course of the 20th century. This history, studded with the stories of plucky pressmen, master craftspeople, and intellectual luminaries reveals a deep tradition of the Press’s pioneering spirit, its indelibly Californian character, and an unremitting commitment to plumbing even the most obscure corners of human inquiry.


Join Alan Harvey as he provides an update on this ongoing historical survey and presents some of the more intriguing, amusing, and even alarming events we have uncovered. His talk, in part an homage to the Press’s 125th year of publishing, will be held in the Bender Room in Green Library. There too, the Press will divulge some of the most interesting discoveries from its archives in an exhibit that will run through November and December. We invite you to help us celebrate one of the oldest university presses in the United States, now 125 years young.