History

For nearly one hundred years, the University of Washington Press has served the university, the local community, and students and scholars around the globe. We publish groundbreaking scholarly work in many fields as well as important books that illuminate the history and cultures of the Pacific Northwest. As a nonprofit publisher, our mission is to develop and produce books based on value and impact rather than solely on commercial success. We develop many of our titles in partnership with museums, cultural organizations, and Indigenous communities. We host scores of readings and other events each year at libraries and bookstores across the region and beyond. Our books encourage discovery, inspire curiosity, and challenge readers to explore the world around them.

The press traces its origins to 1915, when Edmond Meany’s Governors of Washington, Territorial and State was issued. The first book to bear the University of Washington Press imprint, an edition of The Poems of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey edited by Frederick M. Padelford, appeared in 1920. Since that time, the press has published approximately 4,000 books, of which some 1,400 are currently in print. Today we publish about sixty new titles each year.

From the beginning, the press has reflected the university’s major academic strengths. By building on those strengths and developing strong ties to many regional partners, the press has achieved recognition as the leading publisher of scholarly books and distinguished works of regional nonfiction in the Pacific Northwest.

In summing up the press’s work, University of Washington Provost Jerry Baldasty said, “It’s about ideas. Ideas keep us alive. They keep us creative and make us and our world a better place. Part of enhancing the life of a community is telling its stories. That’s what the press does.”

University of Washington Press books have won many prizes for scholarship and literary excellence, as well as for graphic design.

Fields of Publication

Our titles cover a wide variety of academic fields focusing especially on American studies; anthropology; art history and visual culture; Asian American studies; Asian studies; critical race studies; environmental history; gender, women, and sexuality studies; Native American and Indigenous studies; and Western and Pacific Northwest history. Social justice, equity, and environmental sustainability are cross-cutting currents in our list.

Our publishing program has important implications beyond the books we produce. We support the work of other university departments including the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the University Libraries, the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and other divisions for which we either publish or distribute publications. These collaborations reinforce the university’s ties to its community.

We have been proud to publish books by several Nobel laureates, as well as many other internationally known figures in the humanities, arts, and sciences. We are proud, too, of the many young scholars, poets, and artists whose first books have appeared under our imprint.

Structure

The University of Washington Press reports to the UW Libraries. A faculty press committee responsible for approving every book we publish oversees our imprint. About one-fourth of our books have some connection to the university, while the rest come from authors around the world.

With a dedicated and highly professional staff, the press shepherds books through the full publishing process, from an author’s or editor’s initial idea through development, review, copyediting, and design to marketing and promotion. Since 2012 the press has been under the leadership of Director Nicole Mitchell. Her in-house management team includes Tom Helleberg, Chief Financial Officer; Larin McLaughlin, Editor in Chief; Margaret Sullivan, Editing, Design, and Production Manager; Michael Campbell, Marketing and Sales Director; and Beth Fuget, Grants and Digital Projects Manager.

Although the press is an integral division of the university, we operate with considerable autonomy. Like most other book publishers, we have no printing facilities. We are not involved with production of the university’s magazines, newspapers, bulletins, or catalogues. As a nonprofit cultural organization, our sole function is to find, develop, select, and publish scholarship of high quality and enduring value.

Beyond the University

The University of Washington Press maintains close ties with other university publishers. As a member of the Association of University Presses since 1947, the press has hosted national and regional meetings, and its staff has participated actively in association programs.

In recent years, the press has established copublishing and distribution relationships with a growing list of museums, university presses, and other institutions throughout the world. This activity enables us to give worldwide distribution to many valuable publications. Mindful of the shrinking world, the University of Washington Press has long placed special emphasis on our role in the two-way exchange of knowledge and information internationally. The books that bear our imprint are among the university’s most significant ambassadors to the outside world. They are distributed through overseas marketing consortia and copublishing arrangements, and many have been translated into more than ten languages.

We eagerly anticipate the challenges of the next decades. As new technology makes possible almost limitless access to information and data, our traditional role as “gatekeepers” of quality in the publication of scholarship is sure to assume even greater importance. At the same time, we are committed to developing new ways of serving our university, our region, and the world beyond.

We at the press are constantly aware of the magic that books can evoke and the far-reaching influence they can exert. We are proud of our books, and we care deeply about the quality of our publications, their physical appearance, and their effective distribution.