This article traces the history of university presses in North America, from the founding of the first presses at Cornell University and Johns Hopkins in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the present. The growth of colleges and universities and new imperatives that faculty engage in productive research helped shape the function of the modern university press. In the twentieth century, smaller subsidies from parent institutions, new developments in technology, and the erosion of library budgets affected the stability of many presses and forced many to revise both their editorial goals and their business and management practices. Faced with new modes of scholarly communication, the explosion of digital publishing, and the open-access movement, university presses will need to continue to adapt and to assert their proper role in the scholarly community.


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pp. 1-20
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