A Year of Book Love: Celebrating Eighty Years of Vanderbilt University Press
The following is a guest post by Gianna Mosser, director of Vanderbilt University Press.
As we look forward to a new decade, Vanderbilt University Press also has the pleasure and occasion to celebrate eighty years of publishing. Founded in 1940, VUP was originally a platform for literary writers affiliated with the university, similar to many university presses incorporated at the time. Today, VUP’s authors circle the globe and write on topics even farther ranging, from history to Latin American studies to public health to urban studies. We also have a mission-driven approach to publishing books on the region and its cultural communities.
We have been reflecting so much this past year on the type of publisher we want to be. In order to know where you want to go, you have to know where you come from. I have had a steep hill to climb in learning an entire new (to me) backlist, but the knowledgeable staff and faculty have pointed me in the right directions. In order to assist me and anyone previously unfamiliar with VUP, we have decided 2020 will be a year of book love. Every day our office is open, the staff will share via social media one book or historic milestone in the long and storied career of this publishing house. Many will be glorious; some require closer scrutiny. It is in our collective attention to these books that we find inspiration. We will carry on the tradition of publishing works that expand the university’s mission to an engaged readership. I look forward to learning together about our past and pursuing a future where the books you love are the books we make.
In order to view or participate in the 2020 festivities, follow us on Twitter (@VanderbiltUP), Facebook (@VanderbiltUP), Instagram (@vanderbiltuniversitypress), and subscribe to our blog. Different platforms lend themselves to different types of content, so it is best to sign up for the whole kit and kaboodle if you don’t want to miss anything.
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Happy new year! This year marks Vanderbilt University Press's 80th anniversary, and we'll be celebrating throughout 2020 with weekday posts spotlighting the many titles that VUP has published throughout our 80 years. We're kicking off this yearlong look at VUP's history with the first book that VUP ever published, from 1940: CHANCELLOR KIRKLAND OF VANDERBILT by Edwin Mims. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Published three years after the death of James H. Kirkland—Vanderbilt's longest-serving chancellor—the book looks at Kirkland's life and his 44 years of leadership at Vanderbilt University. Author Edwin Mims was a professor of English literature and served as the chair of the English department at Vanderbilt for three decades. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A review of CHANCELLOR KIRKLAND OF VANDERBILT published by the journal SOCIAL FORCES in 1941 notes: "It is eminently fitting that the first book to be published by the Vanderbilt University Press should be Chancellor Kirkland of Vanderbilt. . . . In a very real sense the life of Dr. Kirkland is a history of education in his region, on the secondary as well as on the higher education level. Dr. Mims has ably portrayed the Man and in so doing has given educators a sustaining and inspiring book." #vup80