The following letter was written for UNP’s spring and summer 2016 catalog.
What an honor it is to be the director of the University of Nebraska Press as it celebrates its 75th anniversary and diamond jubilee. Reference to a diamond seems particularly apt, since I have often thought of the press as the “jewel in the crown” of Great Plains publishing. Always innovative—whether it was the bold idea more than fifty years ago to start a paperback reprint line called Bison Books, or the hunch that great works of fiction translated into English would eventually receive the honors they deserved, or the recent technological plunge into XML formatting, or the collaboration with the Jewish Publication Society, or the recent acquisition of Potomac Books—UNP has never failed to be at the forefront of scholarly and regional publishing.
And it has paid off: three UNP authors went on to become Nobel Laureates; one author became a U.S. poet laureate and won a Pulitzer Prize; two authors in recent years won Bancroft Prizes (history’s highest honor); we recently ascended into the largest tier (in revenue) of university presses; and, of course, we continue to be committed to publishing and disseminating works of intellectual and cultural significance that move civilization forward.
Just use this catalog as a barometer: the depth and breadth of our offerings are staggering. Our Native studies books include works on no fewer than seven different populations: Ojibwes, Comanches, Ho-Chunks, Lakotas, Kiowas, Salish, and Alto Perené Arawaks. We are pleased to publish a comprehensive biography of the great John G. Neihardt. Our sports history titles run the gamut, from football, baseball, and basketball to cycling and martial arts. We are publishing several books on Mexico and the Mexican experience, an area in which the press has become a leading publisher of important scholarship, and we continue to publish important works of current affairs, military affairs, foreign policy, and political biography both recent and historical.
Seventy-five years is a long time, and myriad people have come and gone from the press, each making his or her contribution. In many ways we have changed over three-quarters of a century, but in many ways we are just the same: everything we do we strive to di exceptionally well—acquire, edit, design, market, and distribute excellent books and journals in print and digital formats.
It goes without saying that the University of Nebraska Press remains indebted to and grateful for the support of our parent institution—regents, presidents, and chancellors past and present—as well as the sustenance provided by all of our authors and readers. Thanks to all of you.
With best regards,
Donna A. Shear