Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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J U D A I C A P R O D U C T I O N O F
U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S E S
By
S
alam on
F
aber
P
u b l i s h i n g a c t i v i t i e s
of university presses represent an impor-
tant factor of academic endeavor in America. They began in
1878 at Johns Hopkins University to meet the need “to diffuse
knowledge not merely among those who can attend the daily
lectures but far and wide.”1 In the course of the years university
presses were established on more and more campuses. Their ob-
jectives were expanded, (1) to provide an outlet for publication of
research for the faculty members of its own and other universities;
(2) to extend the instructional function of the parent institution
by publishing and disseminating knowledge and scholarship as
widely and as economically as possible to both scholars and edu-
cated laymen; (3) to publish learned books of small sale potential
and limited possibility of financial return, which commercial pub-
lishers cannot profitably undertake; (4) to gain favorable publicity
and prestige for the university of which it is part.2 Their publish-
ing program covers the entire spectrum of knowledge, e.g. agri-
culture and animal science, art and architecture, anthropology and
archeology, biology, business and economics, chemistry, communi-
cation arts, education, engineering and mathematics, folklore,
geography and geology, history, law, language and literature,
linguistics, literary criticism, medicine, music, philosophy and
religion . . . and even such specialized publications as reference
books and works on Chinese paintings.3 Their importance to the
academic community can be gauged by the fact that in 1965 every
12th book issued in the United States had a university press im-
print.4 Equally significant is the fact that booksales of university
presses grossed in 1966 over 30% of the total.5
The term “Judaica,” according to the definition in
Webster’s
International
(3rd edition), covers “literary and historical ma-
terials relating to Jews and Judaism.” Many such materials have
been published by university presses.6 The selection and number
1Gene
R.
Hawes,
To Advance Knowledge,
University Press Service (N.Y.,
1967), p. 30.
2Chester Kerr,
A Report on American University Presses
(Chapel Hill, 1949).
3America,
Jan. 9, 1965, p. 49.
4Charles A. Madison,
Book Publishing in America
(N.Y., 1966), p. 385.
5
Publishers Weekly,
Jan. 29, 1968, p. 49 ff.
6For purposes of this article only books are considered. Judaica materials
in scholarly journals published by university presses were not included in the
preparatory studies.
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