Happy Quasquicentennial to Us!

February 16th, 2018 marks the quasquicentennial of University of California Press, celebrating 125 years of scholarly publishing since its founding on this day in 1893. Throughout this time, UC Press remained one of the most forward-thinking publishers in the world, collaborating with scholars, librarians, and authors, to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship.

With $1000 appropriated by the University of California’s Board of Regents, UC Press was established “to publish papers prepared by members of the Faculty,” 25 years after University of California was founded in 1868. The first UC Press publication was Outlines of the Temporal and Modal Principles of Attic Prose, a pamphlet by Greek Isaac Flagg, which went on sale at the student store in Berkeley in 1893.

From its inception, UC Press disseminated scholarship that has undergone rigorous peer review, and championed work that influences public discourse and challenges the status quo in multiple fields of study. Today, UC Press continues to serve as the nonprofit publisher of the University of California system, publishing 200 books and 30 multi-issue journals each year, and maintaining 4,000 book titles in print. Its mission to drive progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds and giving them voice, reach, and impact is evident by its award-winning editorial program. A selection of awards UC Press titles has received in recent years includes: American Book Award, CHOICE Award, Municipal Art Society of New York Brendan Gill Prize, American Musicological Society Award, Daedelus Foundation Award, Smithsonian Eldredge Prize, National Jewish Book Award, ASCAP Foundation Virgil Thompson Award, and PROSE Award.

UC Press has also been recognized as an innovative, global leader in digital publishing, critical to its goal of making its content widely accessible. Its Open Access products, which include Collabra: Psychology, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, and Luminos, benefit from the same high standards for selection, peer review, and production as its traditional publishing programs.

Editorial Director Kim Robinson states, “Books make a difference, and I’m enormously proud to be associated with the long publishing history of University of California Press and its progressive publishing mission. Our authors consistently provide vital context and background to the most pressing issues facing us today, and we strive every day to ensure that their critical voices are heard.”

UC Press currently publishes in American studies, anthropology, ancient world/classical studies, art history, Asian studies, California and the West, communications, criminology, economics, environmental studies, film & media studies, food, geography, history, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, music, psychology, public health, religion, and sociology.

Notable UC Press publications from decades past include:

To celebrate this milestone, UC Press will launch Voices Revived, a new cross-disciplinary series that brings field-defining, out-of-print books back into print.

On the Occasion of Our Quasquicentennial — #UCP125

February 16th will mark the quasquicentennial of University of California Press, celebrating 125 years of scholarly publishing since our founding in 1893.

From the start, UC Press has disseminated scholarship which has undergone a rigorous vetting process by committee, championing work that influences public discourse and challenges the status quo in multiple fields of study. Today, we publish approximately 200 books and 30 multi-issue journals each year that address society’s core challenges.

The following is a letter from J. Harmon Bonté, secretary of the Board of Regents, to Martin Kellogg, president of the University of California from 1890 to 1893, establishing the publishing program with a modest annual budget of $1000.

The framed letter hangs in the UC Press offices in Oakland, CA. Click to enlarge.

University of California,
Alameda County,

Berkeley, Feb. 16,1893

President Martin Kellogg,

Dear Sir:

The following is a copy from the report of the Committee on Internal Administration submitted at the meeting of the Board of Regents held the 14th instant:

Your Committee, believing that it is often desirable to publish papers prepared by members of the Faculty, begs leave to submit the following recommendations:

The sum of $1000 shall be appropriated in the annual Budget for the printing of monographs, etc. prepared by members of the Faculty of the University.

There shall be a Committee of five members of the Faculty to be appointed by the President who shall himself be a member and ex-officio chairman of such committee, whose duty it shall be to pass upon all papers submitted for publication, and to determine all questions arising with reference to the same.

“As the money provided in the foregoing plan will not be available until after July 1, 1893, any member of the Faculty having, in the meantime, a paper which he thinks worth of immediate publication may submit it to the Committee which shall be appointed at once, and the Committee shall make such recommendation to the Board to meet the expense of publication as it may deem proper.



J. Harmon Bonté

On the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we reflect not only on the Press’s milestones and illustrious publishing history but also look ahead to see the work to be done, true to our mission. Throughout the year, join us in celebrating this landmark occasion—one that bolsters our commitment to driving progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds. Follow along on social media: #UCP125