Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Association of American University Presses records, 1927-1975, 2013-2018

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#00
Bib ID 4078720 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Association of American University Presses
Title Association of American University Presses records, 1927-1975, 2013-2018
Physical Description 5.5 linear feet (13 boxes)
Language(s) English .

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.



This collection is arranged by record type.



Included are correspondence, minutes of Board of Directors and committees, proceedings of annual business meetings, surveys, statistical reports, financial records, photographs, and printed materials. The correspondence files dating from 1927, contain letters from university press directors regarding meetings arrangements, cooperative programs, and other matters of mutual concern. There are no correspondence files for the years 1936 to 1943.

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.

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); Association of American University Presses record ; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of the Association, 1979.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Text of historical sketch and chronology prepared for the Association by Marjorie Seal who inventoried these papers as a class project for Columbia University's School of Library Service (SLS) Course K8205 in 1979.

Cataloged 03/24/1989 Christina Hilton Fenn

Revision Description

2009-06-26 File created.

2012-01-20 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

2017-03-30 Web Archives Series added by Jane Gorjevsky

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Publishers and publishing -- Canada Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
University presses -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


The Association of American University Presses was informally started in the 1920s and formally organized in 1937 as a non-profit trade organization of American and Canadian university presses.

The earliest document I found among the papers of the Association was the carbon copy of a memo of 22 June, 1921, from Donald P. Bean, then at the University of Chicago Press, to the administrative committee of the Press, reporting on a recent meeting in New York, attended by the representativesof the university presses of Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. A proposal was made at that meeting by Mr Marsh, also of the University of Chicago Press, for the organization of an association of American university presses, open without dues or other expenses, to "one representative of each press maintained by an American university or college, and authorized to use its name." The kind of press to which Mr Marsh refers had been established in America, starting in the second half of the 19th Century by men who envisioned universities as a tripartite arrangement consisting of a faculty responsible for teaching and research, a library, and a publishing house to disseminate the results of the interaction between the other two.

By the beginning of World War II, over thirty presses had been established until today, seventy-six unviersity presses are members of the Association. In 1878, Daniel Coit Gilman, President of the Johns Hopkins University, began America's oldest continuously operating university press in Baltimore. Andrew White, President of Cornell, had earlier founded what would have been the first university press, but the press at Cornell, started in 1869, lasted only until 1884 when its appropriation was cut, and it did not resume operation until 1930. In 1891, William Rainey Harper founded the University of Chicago Press and Nicholas Murray Butler began a press at Columbia two years later. A press was also started at the University of California in 1893. The names of these presses and their directors appear frequently in the early records of the association.

On February 8, 1937, the university presses banded together February 8, 1937, the university presses banded together in a formal organization, adopted a constitution and elected their first officers, Donald Bean as President and Charles Proffitt as Secretary. An event of importance to an understanding of the Association, its purpose and activities - the all important 'provenance' of its papers - is the major reorganization the Association underwent in 1964. It emerged from this reorganization in the form of two corporate bodies: AAUP and AUPS. The Association of American University presses, Inc. (AAUP) was formed under the Membership Corporation Law of the State of New York on July 31, 1964 as a successor to a portion of the assets and operations of the unincorporated Association. The remaining portion of the assets and operations were assumed by the American University Press Services, Inc. (AUPS) formed also on July 31, 1964 under the Business Corporate Law of the State of New York.

The Certificate of Incorporation of AAUP provides that its purposes are to encourage the dissemination of the results of research and scholarship through the development of university presses, provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and offer technical assistance and advice to institutions of higher learning. Its activities include assistance to university presses, educational programs such as day-long seminars and liaison with publishing and educational organizations in the United States and abroad. The activities of the AUPS consist of the cooperative activities we trace in the early records: operation of the Educational Directory, publication of bibliographies such as Scholarly Books in America, combined exhibits of university press books at scholarly and professional meetings and preparation of a work of reference. An Advertiser's Guide to Scholarly Periodicals, an annual compilation of information about American and foreign journals, the responsibilities of the Central Office staff are to assist in the operation of the cooperative enterprises, help with the planning and conduct of annual meetings, relieve elected officials of routine work and carry through the Association's contact with other organizations.

By ruling letter dated June 28, 1965, AAUP was held to be an exempt organization under the provisions of the IRS code, Section 501(c)(3). This is of value to the Association in its work because it makes the Assocation eligible for foundation grants which would be difficult to procure otherwise. The early records show, for instance, that in 1931, the Rockefeller grant enabling the creation of the Educational Directory had to be given to the Unviersity of Chicago as an educational organization rather than to the Association. AUPS income is not exempt from federal, state or local taxes.


1918 - First recorded attempt at cooperation between university presses, a joint sales effort by Harvard and Yale University Presses to sell scholarly books to New York City bookstores.

1928 - Publication of Shelfward Ho, joint catalogue of 13 university presses listing 65 titles.

1928 - University presses begin holding day-long annual meetings.

1929 - Publication of the Bean Report, "American Scholarly Publishing," detailing the problems of scholarly publishers.

1931 - Grant from Rockefeller Foundation made to the University of Chicago Press to inaugurate The Educational Directory, a specialized mailing list of academicians and librarians.

1931-1932 - Series of 13 cooperative university press advertisements appear in The New York Times under heading "The Lookout."

1932, 1933 - Publication of mark-down sales catalogues.

Mid-1930s - University press cooperative exhibits prograa organized by the University of Chicago Press .

1932 - Publication of O.H. Cheney's, Economic Survey of the Book Industry, 1930-1931, outlining enlarged program of joint activities by the commercial publishers.

1932 - Publication of Donald Bean's "Memo Addressed to the Producers of Highbrovr Tobaccaos," written in response to the Cheney Report and calling for an organization distinguished from that of the "commercial tobacco producers."

1936 - Announcement by Farrar and Rinehart of an organization to be called "United University Presses, Inc., " to maintain a display of scholarly books and to wholesale them.

1937 - Formation of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), adoption of a constitution and election of first officers.

1941 - First assessment of annual membership dues, $10 per press, to cover cost of communications between member presses.

1946 - Formal adoption of AAUP By-Laws .

1949 - Publication of Chester Kerr's, Report on American University Presses.

1953 - Establishment of Scholarly Books in America at the University of Illinois Press.

1956 - Ford Foundation grant of $2,725,000 to help publish books in humanities and social sciences.

1959 - Organization of AAUP central office in New York City.

1960 - Publication of study by Richard G. Underwood, "Production and Manufacturing Problems of American University Presses", funded by the Ford Foundation.

1960-1965 - Rockefeller Foundation grant of $225,000 for Latin American Translation Program.

1964 - Establishment of American University Press Services (AUPS).

1965 - Establishment of CILA, Centro Interamericano de Libros Academicos, with grants from Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

1967 - Publication of first edition of University Press Books for Secondary School Libraries.

1967 - Publication of To Advance Knowledge, by Gene Haves.

1967-1968 - National Endowment for the Humanities grant of $50,000 to promote scholarly works and publications in the humanities.

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Series I: Correspondence


(Lacks 1936-1943)

Box 1 1927 September 15-December 29, 1927 September

Box 1 1928 January 4-1929 January 2

(re: "Shelfward Ho")

Box 1 1930 May 28-December 29, 1930 May

(re: "The Lookout")

Box 1 1931 January 2-December 29, 1931 January

Box 1 1932 January 12-May 9

Box 1 1933 November 13-1934 December 17

Box 1 1935 January 2-December 26, 1935 January

Box 1 1936 January 3-December 15, 1936 January

Box 1 1943 February-December 31, 1943 February-December

Box 1 1944 January 6-October 19, 1944 January

Box 1 1945 January 2-December 31, 1945 January


Box 2 1946 January 1-December 27, 1946 January

(Includes items re: 1947 meeting)

Box 2 1948 January 26-December 31, 1948 January

(Includes items re: Kerr Report)

Box 2 1949 January 14-December 20, 1949 January

(Includes items re: Kerr Report)

Box 2 1950 January 18-December 7, 1950 January

Box 2 1951 January 16-December 27, 1951 January

Box 2 1952 January 7-December 15, 1952 January

Box 2 1953 May 12-August 10, 1953 May

(Includes items re: finances; Victor Reynolds)

Box 2 1955 August 18-1957 August 23

Box 2 1960 July 14-September 16, 1960 July

Box 2 1968 July 6-1975 September 10


Box 3 American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1949 September 8-1950 August 23

Box 3 American Book Publishing Council, 1952 July 15-1953 February 9

(Re: Group Membership)

Box 3 American Council of Learned Societies--Scholarly Publishing Method, 1949 June 13-1951 May 19

Box 3 Awards 1950 1950 May 28-September 14, 1950, 1950 May

Box 3 Books in World Rehabilitation--Proposal Memorandum, 1948 January 22-August 20, 1948 January

Box 3 Copyright, 1950 April 19-1951 January 26

Box 3 Couch, William T., 1952 February 6-April 23, 1952 February

Box 3 Directories, 1949-1957

Box 3 Directory Requests, 1955-1957

Box 3 Education Council (Graphic Arts Industry), 1949 October 12-1950 November 1

Box 3 Emergency Advisory Committee, 1950 August 2-1951 May 21,, 1950 August


Box 6 Applications for Jobs (7 Folders)

Box 6 Application Forms

Box 6 Employment-General Correspondence


Box 6 Job Openings

Box 6 A-W

Box 6 1951 January 7-1954 January 12

Box 6 Vacancies

Box 6 Miscellaneous Correspondence


Box 7 Executive Committee, 1955-1956

Box 7 Exhibits and Adv. Committee Reports, 1952-1954

Box 7 DeGraff Report on the Educational Director, 1958

Box 7 Ford Foundation, 1956-1957

Foreign Review Media

Box 7 1948

Box 7 Report, 1949

Box 7 Foreign Trade, 1952

Box 7 Kerr Report Reprint, 1949-1950

Box 7 Lasser Report, 1951-1952

Box 7 Letterheads, 1952

Box 7 Low Cost Manufacturing, 1949-1951

Box 7 Modern Language Association, 1949-1951

Box 7 Oxford University Press (England), 1950

Box 7 Permanent Secretariat, 1949-1951

Box 7 Publishing--Interests of AAUP Members, 1950

Box 7 Questionnaire on MS Rejections, 1949

Box 7 Report on Special Types, 1949

Box 7 Survey, 1947

Box 7 Survey of Non-Roman Types, 1947-1950

Box 7 UNESCO, 1949-1950

Box 7 Wilkerson Memorial Bookplates, 1953

Davis Tenure


Box 4 Admissions and Standards Committee 1955-1957 1955 September 16-1957 April 29, 1955-1957, 1955 September 16-1957 April 29

Box 4 Annual Meeting 1956 (Harvard), 1955 August 2-1956 July 23, 1956, 1955 August 2-1956 July 23

Box 4 Annual Meeting 1957 (Nebraska), 1956 April 9-1957 July 15, 1957, 1956 April 9-1957 July 15

Box 4 Essential Books, 1955 October 5-1956 September 4

Box 4 Exhibits Committee, 1955 August 19-1957 April 12


Box 5 Faculty Questionnaire 1955-1957 1 9555 October-1957 May 28, 1955-1957, 9555 October-1957 May

Box 5 Foreign Trade, 1955 August 31-1957 June 20

Box 5 Freedom to Publish, 1955 September 20-1957 April 26

Box 5 General Association, 1954 September 16-1957 May 14

Box 5 General Outside, 1955 August 10-1957 July 2

Box 5 Kerr Report, 1956 January 18-1957 March 22

Box 5 Nominating Committee, 1955 September 16-1956 June 11

Box 5 Postal and Copyright, 1955 August 3-1956 August 27

Box 5 Production Problems, 1955 October 5-1956 July 28

Box 5 Special Committee on Orthography, 1956 June 18-September 26, 1956 June

Box 5 University Press Books, 1956 February 29-1957 February 13

Box 5 Venezuela Book Fair, 1956 January 15-1957 August 23

Series II :Memoranda and Reports

Box 8 Memoranda

Box 8 Admissions and Standards Committee

Box 8 America Scholarly Publishing by Donald P. Bean, 1929 June 28

Box 8 Educational Directory

Box 8 Educational Directory--Exhibit Committee

Box 8 Foreign Affairs and Propaganda

Box 8 Foreign Trade

Box 8 Graduate Study and Research

Box 8 In the Beginning: A History of the Birth of the Association of American University Presses - A Personal Memoir

Box 8 Textbooks

Box 8 University Presses

Box 8 Miscellaneous

Series III:Other Adminstrative Records and Publications

Box 9 Announcements and News Releases

Box 9 Bulletins, 1945-1951

Box 9 By-Laws and Resolutions

Box 9 Meetings, 1951-1958

Box 9 Membership Lists

Box 9 Newsletters, 1951-1955

Box 9 Photographs

Box 9 Publications of Other Organizations

Box 9 Questionnaires, 1945, 1948-1950, 1952-1953, 1955-1956, Undated, 1945, 1948-1950, 1952-1953, 1955-1956, Undated

Box 9 Radio Scripts

Series IV: Finances

Box 10 Accounts, July 1, 1951-July 1, 1952

Box 10 Accounts Payable

Box 10 Accounts Receivable--Spec. Assess., 1949

Box 10 Balance Sheets, Miscellaneous Records

Box 10 Balance Sheet Report, 1952 and 1953 December 31, 1952, 1953 December 31

Box 10 Bank Statements & Financial Statements, 1953-1955

Box 10 Bills Paid, 1953-1955

Box 11 Cashbook

Box 11 Catalogue for International Distribution, 1946-1947

Box 11 Deposit Data, 1953-1955


Box 11 1947-1949

Box 12 1950-1951

Box 12 Dues and Payments Budget

Box 12 Finances

Box 12 Financial Statements, Payments, etc., 1947-1949

Box 12 Invoices and Check Stubs re: USIBA Group members, 1945-1946

Box 12 Special Assessment, 1950

Box 12 State Department, 1951

Series V: Printed Material

Box 13 Catalogues and Checklists

Box 13 Day, George Parmly. "Speeches"

Box 13 Foreign

Box 13 Kerr Report

Box 13 Miscellaneous I & II

Box 13 University Presses

Series VI: Archived Web Site, 2013-present

Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Web Site, 2013-present

Archived web site captures of the official web site of Association of American University Presses (AAUP), at http://www.aaupnet.org/index.php. Captured semi-annually, 2013-present.

Link to Archived Web Site