About Columbia University Press


Columbia University Press was founded in 1893 as a nonprofit corporation separate from Columbia University, although bearing its name and associated closely with it. The purpose of the Press expressed in the Certificate of Incorporation was to "promote the study of economic, historical, literary, scientific and other subjects; and to promote and encourage the publication of literary works embodying original research in such subjects."

In its first quarter century the list focused on politics (at Columbia called "public law and government") with books by two U.S. presidents (Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft). In 1927, the Press began publishing major multi-volume works. By 1931 the Press had grown to such an extent that it published an annual list of eighty-three new titles?more than any other American university press and twenty-fifth among all U.S. publishers.

With the publication of The Columbia Encyclopedia in 1935, the Press began to develop a list of general reference works in print (several are now in electronic form) that has set it apart from all other American university presses. King's Crown Press was established in 1940 as an imprint for Columbia dissertations: publication was a requirement for a Columbia Ph.D. until the 1950s. In 1943 Columbia University Educational Films (later The Center for Mass Communication) was created as a division of the Press to create films for use in Columbia teaching and eventually, during its more than thirty years of operation, documentary films for the World Health Organization and other groups.In addition, Columbia University's professional program in social work stimulated a strong list of books in that field.

In 1952 the Press published the great geographical reference work, The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World (revised in 1998 as The Columbia Gazetteer of the World). In the 1960s the Press became the first?and it is still the only?American university press to publish music. The imprints Columbia University Music Press (for BMI composers) and Kings Crown Music Press (for ASCAP composers) were created to publish new music written by Americans. The Press's first fiction series, Twentieth-Century Continental Fiction, was launched in the eighties with novels by Juan Benet (Return to Regian, translated by Gregory Rabassa) and other leading Iberian Spanish writers not before published in English.

Columbia University Press continues to be a leader in the field of electronic publishing with innovative and timely products such as Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO), Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, and The Columbia Gazetteer of the World.