Indiana University Press was founded in 1950 by Herman B Wells as part of IU's post-war growth spurt. During its first 60 years of operation, IU Press has embodied and protected the academic freedom that is essential to higher education.

Highlights from the first six decades of IU Press history:
| 1960-1970 | 1970-1980 | 1980-1990 | 1990-2000 | 2000-2010

The First Decade: 1950-1960

  • Bernard Perry photoBernard B. Perry, son of Harvard philosophy professor Ralph Barton Perry, was hired as the first director of the Press on February 17, 1950.
  • More than 200 books were published. The first, released in March 1951, was a translation of Edouard de Montule's Travels in America, 1816–1817. Edward D. Seeber, IU professor of French, was the translator.
  • Sales increased every year during the decade and exceeded $167,000 in fiscal year 1959-60.
  • The Press was granted full membership in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) in 1952.
  • Noteworthy titles included a reissue of The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period, 1815-1840 by R. Carlyle Buley, the 1950 Pulitzer Prize winner in history; Motif-Index of Folk-Literature by Stith Thompson, a revised and enlarged edition of the six-volume masterwork; and the paperback version of Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Rolfe Humphries, which remains the Press's bestseller, with more than 500,000 copies in print.
  • A Poetry Series was launched with The Gypsy Ballads of Garcia Lorca, translated by Rolfe Humphries, and Dry Sun, Dry Wind by David Wagoner.
  • Several other notable series were established. The Latin American Classics Series, sponsored by UNESCO and OAS, was launched with The Cross and the Sword by Manuel de Jesus Galvan, translated by Robert Graves. The highly praised Civil War Centennial Series was launched with Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship by Major General J.F.C. Fuller; The Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, with an introduction by B.H. Liddell Hart; and Numbers and Losses in the Civil War in America by Thomas L. Livermore.
  • Midland Books, a line of quality paperbacks, was introduced.
  • The Press moved to its current offices at Tenth and Morton streets in 1960 after operating from the Wylie Mansion at 307 East Second Street, a borrowed office in the Graduate School, a Quonset hut on Forrest Place, and offices in the Radio Building and Heighway House.
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The Second Decade: 1960-1970

  • Five Plays by Langston Hughes coverDuring its second decade, the Press published more than 600 books, and annual sales increased, with the figure for fiscal year 1969-70 recorded at more than $976,000.
  • The decade’s most successful titles included Selected Poems of Octavio Paz, translated by Muriel Rukeyser; The Teaching of American History in High Schools by Maurice G. Baxter, Robert H. Ferrell, and John E. Wiltz; The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye; and The Addict and the Law by Alfred R. Lindesmith.
  • From several longstanding monograph series, the Press created distinguished lists in international studies; Russian and East European studies; Greek and Latin studies; and education.
  • The Cinema One series was introduced under the auspices of the British Film Institute.
  • The History and Theory of Linguistics Series, with Thomas A. Sebeok as general editor, was introduced with the republication of Holger Pedersen's classic study on linguistic science, The Discovery of Language.
  • The Midland series paperback edition of Five Plays by Langston Hughes was issued and became an immediate sales success.
  • In 1968, the Press joined with the Modern Language Association's Center for Editions of American Authors to publish, in multiple volumes and under the general editorship of IU Professor Edwin H. Cady, A Selected Edition of W.D. Howells.
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The Third Decade: 1970-1980

  • john gallman photoThe Press published more than 900 books during its third decade and boosted sales to a 1980 total of more than $1.9 million.
  • The Carrey Drawings of the Parthenon Sculptures, edited by Theodore Bowie and Diether Thimme and sponsored by pharmaceutical and philanthropic giant Eli Lilly, was published in 1971.
  • Bernard Perry was elected vice president of the AAUP.
  • Timely and successful titles included Paul R. Clancy’s Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam Ervin; In Defense of Earth by Lynton K. Caldwell, an IU professor who helped to draft the legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency; The Supermarket Trap by Jennifer Cross; The History of Keyboard Music to 1700 by Willi Apel; Indian Man: A Life of Oliver La Farge by D'Arcy McNickle, which was nominated for a National Book Award; Joseph M. Belth’s Life Insurance: A Consumer's Handbook; Katharine Briggs’s four-volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales; and Africa, edited by Phyllis M. Martin and Patrick O'Meara (followed by second and third editions in the following two decades and a forthcoming fourth edition in Spring 2011).
  • New series introduced included Advances in Semiotics led by Umberto Eco's A Theory of Semiotics; The American West in the Twentieth Century; and America since World War II with volumes on the Eisenhower and Kennedy-Johnson years.
  • John Gallman was recruited from Johns Hopkins University Press as editorial director and eventual successor to Bernard Perry, who retired as director in 1976.
  • The Press contracted with the Peirce Edition Project at IUPUI to publish Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition.
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The Fourth Decade: 1980-1990

The Fifth Decade: 1990-2000

  • complete dinosaur coverThe Press published more than 1,600 books and 13 journals and pushed combined net sales to more than $7 million by fiscal year 1999-2000.
  • The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, was published with generous support from Allen W. Clowes.
  • New series in music scholarship, history, and performance; Russian music; folklore; Midwestern history; railroads; the American West; and philanthropy were established. The Press also resurrected its outstanding military history list, created in the 1950s, with a new emphasis on the Vietnam and Civil wars.
  • The Press opened a 20,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Bloomington.
  • The IU Press website, http://iupress.indiana.edu, was launched.
  • The Press received a three-year, $1.2 million National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant in 1992 to increase publication in the humanities.
  • The Life of the Past series, led by highly successful paleontology books, including the award-winning The Complete Dinosaur by James O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman, was created.
  • The Press built its reputation as a leading publisher in women's studies with biographies, cultural descriptions, and historical records, including Cheryl A. Wall’s Women of the Harlem Renaissance; Till My Tale Is Told: Women's Memoirs of the Gulag, edited by Simeon Vilensky; Mary Farrell Bednarowski's The Religious Imagination of American Women; and The Face of Our Past, edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin
  • Jeanne Sept’s Investigating Olduvai: Archaeology of Human Origins, produced by IU’s Teaching and Learning Technologies Lab, was published as a CD-ROM.
  • The Press introduced companion music CDs to books such as The Hundred Thousand Fools of God by Theodore Levin and Contemporary Anthology of Music by Women compiled by James R. Briscoe.
  • The Friends of IU Press, an organization of private donors, was started in 1992.
  • The Press built on the strength of its regional series with such new titles as Moonlight in Duneland: The Illustrated Story of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad by Ronald D. Cohen and Stephen G. McShane; The Natural Heritage of Indiana edited by Marion T. Jackson; Trees of Indiana by Maryrose Wampler and Fred Wampler; and Perennials for the Lower Midwest by Ezra Haggard.
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The Sixth Decade: 2000-2010

  • Janet Rabinowitch photoThus far in its sixth decade, the Press has published more than 1600 books and as many as 30 journals. Combined net revenue totaled more than $7.3 million in fiscal year 2009.
  • John Gallman retired and was replaced by Peter-John Leone as director in 2000.
  • Quarry Books, an imprint dedicated to regional topics, was started in 2004.
  • Janet Rabinowitch was named interim director of the Press in 2003 and director in 2004. The first woman to lead the Press in its 60 years of history, she was chosen by Book Business Magazine as one of its Top 50 Women in Publishing in 2009.
  • The Press published several critically acclaimed, award-winning encyclopedias, including the Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, edited by Rosemary Skinner Keller and Rosemary Radford Ruether; Latinas in the United States, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sanchez Korrol; Encyclopedia of North American Railroads, edited by William D. Middleton, George M. Smerk, and Roberta L. Diehl; and the first of seven volumes of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, edited by Geoffrey P. Megargee.
  • INscribe, the Journals Division's online publishing platform, was launched in 2006.
  • The IU Press blog was established in 2007 and was named one of the Top 100 Blogs That Will Make You Smarter in 2008.
  • IU Press Online, a growing collection of electronic editions of books and themed journal issues, was launched in 2009.
  • The Press received $877,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2009 for Ethnomusicology Multimedia (EM), a collaborative project with Kent State University and Temple University presses, led by IU Press, to publish first monographs (accompanied by a web-based platform for hosting audio and video files) by scholars in ethnomusicology.
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