Stanford University Press

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Stanford University Press
Stanford University Press Logo.png
Stanford University Press
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationRedwood City, California
DistributionIngram Academic (US)
Combined Academic Publishers (UK)[1]
Publication typesBooks
ImprintsRedwood Press

Stanford Briefs

Stanford Business Books

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.[2] 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.[3] In 1917, the university bought the printing works, making it a division of Stanford.

The words "Stanford University Press" superimposed on a line drawing of one of the gates to the main quad
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.[4][5] 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.”[3]

A group of people in front of a building
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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8][9] With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SUP debuted a publishing program for born-digital interactive scholarly works in 2015.[10][11] That same year, it launched its trade imprint, Redwood Press, with a novel by Bahiyyah Nakhjavani.[12]

In April 2019, the provost of Stanford University announced announced plans to cease providing funds for the press, drawing widespread criticism.[13][14][15] Following protests from Stanford faculty and students, as well as the wider academic and publishing community,[16] the subsidy for the 2019-20 academic year was reinstated, with additional options for future fundraising on the press's part to be discussed.[17][18][19][20]


Redwood Press

Redwood Press publishes books written for a trade audience, spanning a variety of topics, by both academics and non-academic writers.

Stanford Briefs

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.

Digital Publishing

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.[21]

Notable Series

Notable Publications

Major Awards


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.[23] 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.[24]


  1. ^ "Marston Book Services". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  2. ^ "Founding of AAUP". 2012-11-15. Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  3. ^ a b "Accent on Quality". Stanford University Press Blog. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  4. ^ "About the Press". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  5. ^ University, Stanford (2017-11-09). "Stanford University Press celebrates 125th anniversary". Stanford News. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  6. ^ "2004 AIGA Medalist: Jack Stauffacher". AIGA | the professional association for design. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  7. ^ "Redwood City moves complete".
  8. ^ Press, Stanford University. "Stanford Briefs Thumbnails". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  9. ^ "On the Merits of Brevity". Stanford University Press Blog. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  10. ^ "Taking Digital Scholarship to the Presses". Stanford University Press Blog. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  11. ^ "Stanford Digital Projects". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  12. ^ "Stanford University Press Launches Trade Imprint". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  13. ^ Kafka, Alexander C. (April 26, 2019). "Proposed Cut of Stanford U. Press's Subsidy Sparks Outrage". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Jaschik, Scott (April 29, 2019). "Stanford Moves to Stop Supporting Its University Press". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Miller, Elise (2019-04-29). "Stanford community outraged at SU Press defunding, over 1,000 sign petitions". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  16. ^ "Association Stands in Support of Stanford University Press". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  17. ^ Kafka, Alexander C. (2019-04-30). "Facing Blowback, Stanford Partly Reverses Course and Pledges Press Subsidy for One More Year". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  18. ^ Miller, Elise (2019-05-01). "Provost compromise a 'step in the right direction' on SU Press defunding, but not enough, say faculty". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  19. ^ "Stanford backs down -- for a year -- on ending support for university press". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  20. ^ "Op-Ed: Graduate students on SUP's future". The Stanford Daily. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  21. ^ "Stanford Digital Projects". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  22. ^ "Stanford University Press Awards". Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  23. ^ "Was It Murder?". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  24. ^ "The Ordeal of David Lamson". 16 December 2012.