Columbia University Press was founded in 1893 and is the fourth-oldest university press in the United States. The purpose of the press as expressed in its Certificate of Incorporation is to "promote the study of economic, historical, literary, scientific and other subjects and to promote and encourage the publication of literary works embodying original research in such subjects." Signers of the certificate included Seth Low, then president of Columbia; Henry Fairfield Osborne; and Nicholas Murray Butler, who succeeded Low in 1902 as president of the university and of the Press.
In its first quarter century, CUP's list focused on politics, including books by two U.S. presidents, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft; on seminal books by Columbia University faculty, including Edwin Seligman; and on series—the Columbia University Biological Series, the Columbia University Studies in English and Comparative Literature, several series on Oriental and Middle Eastern studies, the first published anthropology series (edited by Franz Boas), and the Records of Civilization: translations and studies of foundational documents of Western and, later, Asian civilization. In 1928 an editorial department was formed to create The Columbia Encyclopedia, the first comprehensive English-language encyclopedia in one volume.
In the 1940s, building on the success of The Columbia Encyclopedia, the Press expanded its reference program by publishing the Granger's Index to Poetry and The Columbia Gazetteer of the World. These two works, which now exist in print and as vital online resources, remain essential reference works that are acclaimed by librarians. In addition to these single-volume reference works, the Press has published major multivolume works, including Geoffrey Bullough's Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800.
Innovative Columbia University instructional programs are reflected in the Press's publishing of material for teaching core courses on Asian civilization. Under the direction of Wm. Theodore de Bary, John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus and provost emeritus of Columbia University and recipient of the National Humanities medal in 2014, the Press has published and subsequently revised four influential anthologies: Sources of Indian Tradition (first published in 1958, revised in 1988 and 2014), Sources of Japanese Tradition (1958, revised in 2005), Sources of Chinese Tradition (1960, revised in 1999), and Sources of Korean Tradition (1996). These anthologies were followed by dozens of standard-setting translations, from Donald Keene's translation of the Major Plays of Chikamatsu (1961) to The Art of War: Sun Zi's Military Methods, translated by Victor Mair (2007). The updated Sources books continue to be used in the classroom. They have been joined by Sources of Vietnamese Tradition (2012) and Sources of Tibetan Tradition (2012).
Throughout its history, one of the strengths of the Press has been the diversity of its list. It has distinguished itself with its strong program in social work publishing, begun in collaboration with faculty at the Columbia School of Social Work, and the Press's social work texts have been widely adopted in courses and are used by professionals in the field. Through its European Perspectives series, which publishes works by leading European historians, philosophers, and social theorists, the Press has published a range of innovative and field-leading scholarship by world-renowned thinkers such as Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Roland Barthes, and Gilles Deleuze. The Press also publishes notable lecture series, such as the Leonard Hasting Schoff Memorial Lectures, sponsored by the University Seminars at Columbia; the Bampton Lectures in America, also sponsored by Columbia University; and the Kenneth J. Arrow Lectures, sponsored by the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia.
The Press has published prominent authors from a variety of disciplines, including Talal Asad, Alain Badiou, Peter Brown, Judith Butler, Arthur Danto, John Lewis Gaddis, Mikhail Gorbachev, R. Glenn Hubbard, Roald Hoffman, Donald Keene, Rashid Khalidi, Julia Kristeva, Michael Mann, Howard Marks, Andrew Nathan, Paul Offit, John Rawls, Jeffrey Sachs, Edward Said, Joseph Stiglitz, Mark C. Taylor, Hervé This, David Foster Wallace, and Kenneth Waltz.
The Press currently publishes approximately 160 new titles every year in the fields of animal studies; Asian literature, philosophy, politics, and history; biological sciences; business; criminology; culinary studies and food history and science; current affairs; economics; environmental sciences; film and media studies; finance; global history; health policy; international affairs; journalism; literary studies; Middle East studies; New York City history; paleontology; philosophy; political theory; psychology; religion; science policy; social work; and U.S. history.
Widely reviewed and the recipients of numerous awards, Columbia University Press titles are sold around the world.
Columbia University Press continues to be a leader in the field of electronic publishing with innovative and timely products such as Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO), the Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, and the Columbia Gazetteer of the World. CUP is also committed to publishing in all electronic formats, and CUP e-books are available from dozens of vendors around the world.
Now in its second century of scholarly publishing, Columbia University Press seeks to enhance Columbia University's educational mission by acquiring and publishing outstanding original works by scholars and others that contribute to an understanding of global human concerns. Through the agency of book, reference, and electronic publishing and distribution services, the Press endeavors to broaden the university's international reputation in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
Columbia University Press is located at 61 West 62 Street, New York, NY 10023.