From its estFirst_logoablishment in 1918 until well into the 1940s, the University of Illinois Press printed very few bound books each year. And by very few, we mean around seven. This number didn’t grow much over the years. By 1949 the press output was closer to twenty-two, a three-fold increase, but still not a very large number. A majority of these publications were printed at the campus print shop, though more specialized volumes were contracted out to other publishing companies. The campus Print Shop connected with the University of Illinois Press, however, was kept very busy  printing close to 2,000 jobs a year for various campus units and events.

UIP_logo_smAt this point in the Press’s history, it had neither marketing nor art direction for book publications. There were proofreaders, typesetting machine operators, monotype operators, compositors, and bindery workers. It was in the early 1940s that the Press was motivated to start making changes. A 1941 report to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees argued for expanding the Press’s mandate and capabilities. A research trip later that year led to a host of changes, but it wasn’t until Wilbur Schramm took over in 1947 that UIP really started to look like the Press we know today.

Third LogoThe next two years were pivotal for the look of the Press. First, it instituted peer review procedures. Second, and that same year, UIP printed its first seasonal catalog, changing forever the look it showed to the outside world. Twenty three new books and one journal were in that catalog, which featured an line print of the Illini Union steeple on the cover, but no other images.

The thir4th logod important event took place the following year, in 1949, when Schramm hired Ralph Eckerstrom as UIP’s first art director. Eckerstrom’s design of David Broder’s I Did Not Interview the Dead that put that book in the top fifty books noted by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). That achievement was a first for UIP, but we would better that feat two years later when Life in a Mexican Village by Oscar Lewis and Bibliography in an Age of Science by Louis N. Ridenour would make the list. They were also selected by the Art Director’s Club of Chicago for that group’s annual show, and the Lewis cover would go on to be selected for a merit award.


Marketing was busy with more than just catalogs. The UIP newsletter to faculty, “Book News,” from January 1951 notes that UIP books were going to academic conferences as well. Though the number of books was much smaller than today, the calendar was pretty full. The newsletter notes that UIP books were exhibited at over twenty titles at nineteen conferences.

Over the years, the Press added more art and marketing support. Then, at the beginning of March 1971, the University of Illinois Press was split into UIP and Campus Publications (now called Document Services), a structure that applies today.



Currently, the Editorial, Design, and Production manager is Jennifer Comeau, who has a team of nine people working with her, including art director Dustin Hubbart. Marketing is led by Michael Roux, who works with seven other marketing team members, and one of those is our exhibits manager, Margo Chaney. The University of Illinois Press regularly places books in the Association of University Presses Book, Jacket,  and Journal Show, and we take far more than nineteen books to dozens of professional conferences each year.

Design Marketing graphic

IllinoiCiceroS18s became a state on December 3, 1818. One hundred years later, the University of Illinois Press opened its doors. The Press’s debut book, on Abraham Lincoln, marked the beginning of a remarkable union between the Prairie State and its premier scholarly publisher. In the hundred years since, the two have formed a double helix of intellectual inquiry dedicated to understanding our past and illuminating our present.


That commitment maintains with new books like Frank Cicero Jr.’s Creating the Land BaezS18of Lincoln, a history of how three state constitutions helped create modern Illinois, and Ian Rocksborough-Smith’s Black Public History in Chicago, the untold story of an alliance of African American activists, educators, and organizations fighting for civil rights. UIP’s roster of journals bring short-form scholarship to our continuing mission via publications like the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Soceity  and, to say nothing of collections like the Illinois History Reader, our forthcoming primer for exploring some lesser-known corners of the past.


And the present? Jillian M. Baez’s In Search of HaddixF17Belonging introduces us to Latinas making sense of media and their lives in a changing Midwest. Larry Bennett, Roberta Garner, and Euan Hague’s Neoliberal Chicago shows us what became of the Windy City and how it got that  way, while Carol Mighton Haddix, Bruce Kraig, and Colleen Taylor Sen’s Chicago Food Encyclopedia serves up all you need to know about the City That Eats.


The fuBilesS18ture is also secure with an upcoming biography of Harold Washington and a history of the women’s-led digital arts revolution, while series like Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest and Heartland Foodways promise to expand what we know—and need to know—about the Prairie State’s diversity and dynamism.







This post is from our new newsletter. Read more in The Callout and sign up to stay up-to-date on UIP news. 

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Little free library 2 In honor of Women’s History Month, UIP will be releasing weekly reading lists with some of our favorite women’s history books. We are joining the call to #PressforProgress for gender equality, and we will be updating our Little Free Library, located in the union, weekly! Find out which books will be available by tuning into out blog every week and stop to get a copy of your favorite book while you still can!

Our next reading list is….


Here are 4 more books to add to your #PressforProgress Reading List!

Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass


In the first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, Murphy Hicks-Henry documents the lives of more than seventy women whose vibrant contributions to the development of bluegrass have been, for the most part, overlooked.  





Working Girl Blues: The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens




Hazel Dickens and Bill C. Malone bring us the life story of singer and songwriter Hazel Dickens, the inspiring voice of a whole generation of women and workers. Conveying sensitivity, determination, and feistiness, Dickens comments on each of her songs, explaining how she came to write them and what they meant and continue to mean to her.




A Feminist Ethnomusicology: Writings on Music and Gender




In this intellectual memoir, Ellen Koskoff describes her journey through the maze of social history and scholarship related to her work examining the intersection of music and gender. Her goal: a personal map of the different paths to understanding she took over the decades, and how each inspired, informed, and clarified her scholarship.





Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story

StonemanEllen Wright recounts the fascinating life of Roni Stoneman, the youngest daughter of the pioneering country music family and a woman who, in spite of poverty and abusive husbands, eventually became “The First Lady of Banjo,” a fixture on the Nashville scene, and, as Hee Haw’s Ironing Board Lady, a comedienne beloved by millions of Americans nationwide.







Authors on Issues

The following is a guest post from Jane Rhodes, the author of Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon

The Revolution has come. . . Again

Panthermania is back. In the 1960s and 1970s, and again in the 1990s, the concept of Panthermania described how American popular culture fetishized the style and politics of the Black Panther Party. Journalist Gail Sheehy’s 1971 book coined the term as she sought to both explain the “lure of the Panthers” and to reinforce the image of them as violent and dangerous hustlers. Mostly Sheehy helped to elevate their celebrity. When Mario Van Peeble’s motion picture Panther was released in 1995, black spectators flocked to theaters and hailed it as a badly needed reclamation of black power politics. Said one black critic, Panther gave viewers “the euphoria of possibility.” Now, a motion picture based on a comic book has resurrected the name and revolutionary fervor of Panthermania. The February debut of Black Panther broke box office records, making nearly $200 million in the first week. Tickets were sold out around the globe and critics hailed Black Panther as “a jolt of a movie” that has the potential to flip the status quo in mass culture. Just a few years ago activists decried the scarcity of black performers and themes in Hollywood-made motion pictures. Now, two media conglomerates—Disney and Marvel Comics—are being credited with helping to create heroic images of black men and women, of transforming the representations of Africa, and of boosting black Americans’ self-esteem.

The film is accumulrhodesating wealth for its corporate underwriters and accolades for its black director and actors by invoking the memory of the Black Panther Party, while also denying any connections. Disney’s marketing strategy touted the film as “revolutionary” in an overt bid to attract audiences hungry for a message to counter the racism, xenophobia, and misogyny of our times. Yet, the comic’s origin story is quick to deny any connection with the real revolutionaries. They claim Black Panther was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee prior to the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party. Are we to believe that Kirby and Lee never encountered the symbol of the Black Panther used by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or heard Stokely Carmichael’s fierce demands for black power? We do know that Marvel tried repeatedly to distance the comic from its radical namesakes, using only Panther to identify the character in the 1970s, and even changing his name to Black Leopard for a time. This was a small part of a larger project by the state and culture industries of the period to counter the popularity of the Black Panthers and ultimately eradicate their organization. In my book Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon, I trace how the press and entertainment media shifted its representations of the Panthers from anti-white terrorists to sexy revolutionary symbols while the FBI labeled them a national threat. In the marketing of Black Panther we see both of these forces at work.

Despite the quest to decouple the film from politics, Black Panther succeeds in offering viewers a cathartic connection with radical change. From setting the opening scenes in Oakland, to a script with ample critiques of colonialism and white supremacy and calls for the redistribution wealth and a global black freedom struggle, we see and hear the shadow of the Black Panther Party. Since the film’s debut, schools, churches, community organizations, and family groups have made viewing Black Panther an act of racial solidarity and pride. Projects like #BlackPantherChallenge raised thousands of dollars to underwrite tickets for black children. On opening night in Chicago I spoke to a group of 250 well-heeled black attorneys and judges—some resplendent in African-inspired garb—who were giddy with excitement about the film. They were also anxious to examine the underlying need for an “uplifting” black film and saw it as a chance for celebration. The next week I encountered a room full of black college students ready to unpack every trope, scene and character and to connect them to the current political environment. If viewing Black Panther helps to create black spaces for conversation and critical engagement then Panthermania has, indeed, returned.

-Jane Rhodes, University of Illinois at Chicago

Headed to SCMS in Toronto this week? So are we!

Here’s what you need to know:

1.  We’re giving away 50 copies of Pink-Slipped: What Happened To Women In The Silent Film Industries. Stop by our booth in the exhibit hall and grab your copy before they’re gone! 

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2.  Jane Gaines, the author of Pink-Slipped will be awarded the Distinguished Career Achievement Award during SCMS!








3. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Contemporary Film Directors Series. To celebrate, we’ve reissued a second edition of the book that started it all: Abbas Kiarostami by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Here are some other new books in the series:

Kelly Reichardt

Wes Anderson


Jan Svankmajer

 Michael Bay

4.  It’s our 100th Anniversary this year, and to celebrate, we’re giving away an iPad stocked with 100 UIP ebooks! Stop by our table in the exhibit hall to enter!




Don’t forget to check out some of our other recent media titles too!

vaillantDerek W. Vaillant is an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Sounds of Reform: Progressivism and Music in Chicago, 1873-1935. He recently answered some questions about his book Across the Waves: How the United States and France Shaped the International Age of Radio.

Q: How did you first become interested in this topic?

Vaillant: Over a decade ago at an international conference of broadcast scholars, it hit me hard that while the Anglophone world’s interconnection to the media and communications history of the United enjoyed an extensive broadcast history, other important players were often sidelined or absent from the discussion. I am pleased to see that many scholars are helping to rectify this situation, but I felt compelled to explore those uncharted waters for myself. I chose France as a focus of study given the lengthy intertwined histories of the U.S. and France, but especially the extensive transatlantic circulation of person, ideas, the arts, and cinema. I asked, what difference (if any) did radio make in the history of U.S.–French communication and cultural history? As I began exploring the topic, I discovered a mind-boggling amount of information ignored by U.S. media historians that described an extraordinary history of interconnectivity that casts U.S.–French interaction and the making of radio and the global media environment in a fresh light, particularly for scholars grappling with the historical shaping of 21st-century communications, questions of nation-state sovereignty in a wireless context, and issues of power, prestige, and relevance in today’s mediated geopolitics. Continue reading


Little free library 2In honor of Women’s History Month, UIP will be releasing weekly reading lists with some of our favorite women’s history books. We are joining the call to #PressforProgress for gender equality, and we will be updating our Little Free Library, located in the union, weekly! Find out which books will be available by tuning into out blog every week and stop to get a copy of your of your favorite book while you still can!


Our second reading list is…



Here are 5 more books to add to your #PressforProgress Reading List!

Ladies of the Ticker: Women and Wallstreet from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression


During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women played an essential role in areas such as banking and the stock market. George Robb sheds light on the trailblazers who transformed Wall Street into a place for women’s work in his pioneering study that explores the financial methods, accomplishments, and careers of three generations of women.





On Gender, Labor, and Inequality

milkmanIn this collection of essays by Ruth Milkman, she presents four decades of her writings, tracing the parallel evolutions of her ideas and the field she helped define. A first-of-its-kind collection, On Gender, Labor, and Inequality is an indispensable text by one of the world’s top scholars of gender, equality, and work. 






Gendering Labor History

Kessler HarrisAlice Kessler-Harris presents a collection of seventeen essays that narrate the evolution and refinement of her central project: to show gender’s fundamental importance to the shaping of U.S. history and working-class culture. The collection taken as a whole reveals Kessler-Harris as someone who has always pushed the field of American history to greater levels of inclusion and analysis, and who continues to do so today.





Women, Work, and Worship in Lincoln’s Country: The Dumville Family Letters

HeinzThis collection of letters offers a rarely seen look at antebellum working women confronting privation, scarce opportunities, and the horrors of civil war with unwavering courage and faith. Anne M. Heinz and John P. Heinz draw from an extraordinary archive at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to reveal how Ann Dumville and her daughters Jemima, Hephzibah, and Elizabeth lived in mid-19th century rural America.





Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry


Tiffany M. Gill argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly frivolous space of a beauty salon actually has stimulated social, political, and economic change. Gill demonstrates how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. 






GainesS18In Jane M. Gaines newest book, Pink-Slipped: What Happened to Women in the Silent Film Industries?, she rediscovers the previously overlooked women of the silent era that were instrumental in the earliest days of film. Today, the film industry is known for being dominated by men, however Gaines challenges previous historians’ conclusion that women were wholly excluded from the film industry, identifying countless women that played an influential role in the development of film, such as Alice Guy Blaché, Lois Weber, Madeline Brandeis, and Dorothy Arzner.  Contrary to popular belief, during the silent era there were women who worked as producers, directors, editors, copywriters and more.


“This is not simply a book about the historiography of early film history or women’s place in it. Gaines’s larger argument is more ambitious, as she attempts to trouble, complicate, and inject some skepticism into the historical project in which she and others are engaged.”–Patrice Petro, author of Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s 

There were more women in positions of power during the silent film era than there were at any other time in motion picture history, including today.

  • In 2017, women comprised 18% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
  •  In 2017, 1% of top grossing films employed 10 or more women in key behind-the-scenes roles, while 70% of films employed 10 or more men.
  • In 2017, slightly less than one-third or 30% of films employed 0 or 1 woman in the roles considered (directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers).

Today, women are reclaiming their right to work in the film industry. After the Fall of 2017 brought a number of allegations of sexual misconduct against high profile men in Hollywood, the ‘Time’s Up’ coalition was formed by women working within the film, theater, and television industries. On January 1, 2018, the “Time’s Up’ organization made headlines when the group published a manifesto that made a widespread call to action for gender equality and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. On their website, the group states that,

“TIME’S UP is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.”

As contemporary women in Hollywood continue their fight to hold positions of power in the film industry, let us also recognize the women that came before them.


Gene Gauntier: director, film actress, writer, producer, screenwriter

Alice Guy

Alice Guy-Blaché: film company owner, director, producer, screenwriter, writer,secretary


Dorothy Arzner

Dorothy Arzner: director, editor, screenwriter, film-cutter

Lois Weber

Lois Weber: director, actress, producer, film company owner, screenwriter

Controlling the SilverWe’re pleased to announce that Lorna Goodison, the author of Controlling the Silver, Turn Thanks, and To Us All Flowers Are Roses, has been awarded the 2018 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize in Poetry. She will be honored along with her fellow recipients in drama, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction at a ceremony and literary festival at Yale September 12-14. The prize, which was judged anonymously over the course of the past year, includes an unrestricted grant of $165,000/ £119,000 GBP.

The award committee said:

“Lorna Goodison’s poetry draws us into a panoramic history of a woman’s life, bearing witness to female embodiment, the colonial legacy, mortality, and the sacred.”

Lorna Goodison is one of the Caribbeans foremost writers and the current Poet Laureate of Jamaica (2017-2020). The poet Derek Walcott described Goodisons work as containing that rare quality that has gone out of poetry . . . joy.Often intensely metaphysicTurn Thanksal, even theologicalFlowers are Roses, her poems are at the same time deeply rooted in the particularities of time and place. She writes of her mothers long hours at the sewing machine, of family meals, of funerals and weddings, punctuating her verse with folk songs, hymns, recipes, and family lore. Elsewhere she turns more explicitly to history, writing about the experiences of Rosa Parks and Winne Mandela, finding in such figures the promise of resistance and the hope for liberation. In Mother, the Great Stones Got to Move,Goodison writes: one stone is wedged across the hole in our history / and sealed with blood wax. / In this hole is our side of the story.Goodison has long worked to move the stone, and to deliver untold storiesof duty and desire, of language and historyinto the world. She has received many honors, including the Musgrave Medal (1999) and the Commonwealth WritersPrize (1987). She is Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan, where she was the Lemuel A. Johnson Professor of English and African and Afroamerican Studies.

Join us as we congratulate Lorna Goodison on this well deserved achievement!

“Our 97802520827269780252083204aim has been to publish conceptually ambitious, risk-taking work that challenges familiar models for understanding film authorship.”–Justus Nieland, CFD series editor

Since the publication of an illuminating cross-cultural dialogue on the legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami in 2003, the University of Illinois Press has published 50 engaging titles in the Contemporary Film Directors series. These concise, theoretically and historically sophisticated volumes provide intriguing commentaries on films by living directors from around the world.

Jennifer Fay and Justus Nieland have served as the CFD editors for the last five years and continue to welcome proposals. Justus writes with excitement about recent acquisitions in the series:

“New work in the series considers Wes Anderson as a consummate collector, Jan Švankmajer as a poet of thingly vitality, Kelly Reichardt as a chronicler of everyday emergencies, and the sheer bigness of Michael Bay as an outsized roadmap to the populist politics of9780252083020 the present. Forthcoming work also includes the first study of Lana and Lily Wachoski as trans filmmakers.”

“The authors’ striking insights illuminate the filmmaker’s style and her importance not only in contemporary art and indie cinema spheres but for American cinema more broadly.”—Elena Gorfinkel, coeditor of Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image

Announcing a New Film Series with the Art Theater


To commemorate 15 years of Contemporary Film Directors publications, we are launching a new film series in partnership with the Art Theater, a nonprofit cinema in downtown Champaign, Illinois. The first event highlighted a recent title in the series, Kelly Reichardt (2017), with a screening of the director’s humble, heartrending third feature, Wendy & Lucy. Authors Katherine Fusco and Nicole Seymour joined the audience via Skype for a special Q&A after the film.

This post is from our new newsletter. Read more in The Callout and sign up to stay up-to-date on UIP news. 

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