Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

New Press records, 1992-2014, bulk 1993-2011

Summary Information

Abstract

The New Press is an independent, non-profit, book publisher. It was established in 1992 by André Schiffrin and Diane Wachtell. The Press focuses on publishing books that are in the public interest. The records include appointment books, catalogs, correspondence, clippings, contracts, drafts, financial records, meeting notes, proposals, production records, reviews, rolodexes, and sales reports.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1696
Bib ID 10553372 View CLIO record
Creator(s) New Press
Title New Press records, 1992-2014, bulk 1993-2011
Physical Description 99 linear feet (79 record cartons and 2 document boxes)
Language(s) Primarily in English, with some material in French.
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions, except that most contracts/check requests files for living persons are restricted due to the presence of restricted personal information in these records.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series.

Description

Scope and Content

The New Press is an independent, non-profit, book publisher. It was established in 1992 by André Schiffrin and Diane Wachtell. The Press focuses on publishing books that are in the public interest. The records consist primarily of editorial files and Schiffrin's business and correspondence files. The records include appointment books, catalogs, correspondence, clippings, contracts, drafts, financial records, meeting notes, proposals, production records, reviews, rolodexes, and sales reports.

The New Press records consist primarily of editorial files. Most editorial files are in Series I: Editorial Files but Series II: Institutional Files also includes editorial records. Files related to specific book projects include author information, contracts, editorial correspondence, permissions, production information, publicity, and reviews. In most cases, these files do not include full sets of manuscripts, corrections, or proofs, although they do contain sample chapters, information on revisions, and short drafts. The Editorial Files and Institutional Files also contain files related to proposed projects and to subject areas where the Press had an interest in developing new projects.

The Editorial Files and Institutional Files also contain files related to the Board of Directors, Editorial Advisory Committees, development, finances, literary agents, sales, and translations.

The New Press Records also includes files maintained by André Schiffrin. These files consist primarily of correspondence, but also include appointment books, business records, clippings, a rolodex, and files related to the publication of Schiffrin's book, The Business of Books, and to André Gide, Jacques Schiffrin: Correspondance 1922-1950, relating to Schiffrin's father, published by Gallimard in 2005.

The records include a full set of catalogs (1992-2014). These are filed in Series IV: Catalogs.

The New Press records lack important business records. Records related to the Board of Directors, Advisory Committees, and the Editorial Board are not comprehensive, although there is a full set of records for the Editorial Board for 2006-2009. There are meeting notes and notebooks that supplement these records, but the creators of these are generally unidentified. The collection also lacks financial records, including budgets, planning documents, tax records, and other financial statements.

  • Series I Editorial files, 1980s-2011

    This series consists of files related to editorial work at the New Press. These files contain author information sheets, editorial correspondence, clippings, contracts, drafts, proposals, reviews, and other records pertaining to marketing, permissions, publicity, production, and sales. While the editorial files contain some information on revisions, they generally do not include full sets of manuscripts, corrections, or proofs.

    Most files pertain to books that were ultimately published by New Press, but there are some files that pertain to proposed projects that remain unfinished or unpublished, or that were ultimately published elsewhere.

    There are additional files related to editorial work filed in Series II: Institutional Files.

  • Series II: Institutional Files, 1987-2009

    The New Press distinguished between "Institutional Files" and "Editorial Files" within their file labels. While the Institutional Files include general business records, there is some overlap between these files and the Editorial Files, and the difference between the two sets of files is unclear.

    The Institutional Files filed by author or title overlap somewhat with the files in Series I: Editorial Files. The series includes files on specific projects that are similar to those found in the Editorial Files. However, this series also includes general files on authors, areas of interest for future projects, and project proposals, which are less frequently found in the Editorial Files in Series I.

    The Institutional Files filed by subject also include business files on the board of directors, development, finances, literary agents, and sales reports, as well as appointment books for Diane Wachtell.

  • Series III: André Schiffrin Files, 1990-2007

    This series consists of personal business files kept by André Schiffrin.

  • Series IV: Catalogs, 1992-2014

    This series contains a full set of New Press catalogs from Spring 1992-Spring 2014.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions, except that most contracts/check requests files for living persons are restricted due to the presence of restricted personal information in these records.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); New Press Records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Andre Schiffrin Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Catherine C. Ricciardi and Atefeh Akbari (GSAS 2018), 2015-2016.

Finding aid written by Catherine C. Ricciardi, October 2016.

Revision Description

2016-10-19 File created.

2016-10-19 xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
American literature -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors and publishers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book editors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gide, André, 1869-1951 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schiffrin, André Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schiffrin, Jacques Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wachtell, Diane Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The New Press was founded in 1992 by André Schiffrin and Diane Wachtell.

The founding of New Press grew out of the forced resignation of Schiffrin at Pantheon Books. Schiffrin had spent 28 years as managing editor and director-in-chief at Pantheon at Random House. But in 1990, Alberto Vitale, CEO at Random House, dismissed Schiffrin due to chronic losses at Pantheon and his refusal to accept cutbacks to his title list, his staff, and other changes. The dismissal was highly controversial, and was protested by other Pantheon editors and many high-profile authors.

Within two years, Schiffrin had raised enough money to start New Press, and its first book, Stud Terkel's Race, was published in the spring of 1992. New Press was an immediate success, and many of Schiffrin's authors from his time at Pantheon Books left Pantheon to work with him at New Press.

The Press also created an intern program to introduce young people from minority ethnic backgrounds into publishing with the aim of increasing diversity in the book business, which has benefited publishing as a whole.

Schiffrin remained Director and Editor in Chief at New Press until 2003, and then continued to work in the capacity of editor-at-large and founding director until his death in 2013. Wachtell has remained with New Press since its founding in 1992, and currently serves as its Executive Director.

The New Press was founded as an alternative to a conventional publishing model that Schiffrin believed could not or would not support serious books. The Press was created as an independent, nonprofit publisher of books "in the public interest," funded by major foundations. It aims to publish books in the public interest, "books that promote and enrich public discussion and understanding of the issues vital to our democracy and to a more equitable world." Over time, the Press has evolved to also function as an activist press, using books to leverage and to direct social change.