Princeton University Press

General information

In 1905, when Woodrow Wilson was President of Princeton University, Whitney Darrow, a recent graduate, managed the University’s Alumni Weekly. Because of production difficulties, Darrow saw the opportunity for an enterprising press that could assume the Weekly’s printing. Charles Scribner, a trustee of the University and publisher of the distinguished New York publishing house, Charles Scribner’s Sons, had been considering the need for a publishing company that would issue scholarly books not feasible for commercial firms. Darrow visited him in March 1905, armed with a letter of introduction and a brief proposal. Impressed by his visitor’s pluck and the plan for a press established in the service of Princeton University that would gradually assume the role of publisher, Scribner gave him a check for $1,000. Darrow raised another $4,000 on the basis of Scribner’s endorsement and bought Zapf Press, a local printing outfit. Princeton University Press thus began as a small printer in rented quarters above Marsh’s drugstore on Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Charles Scribner later gave the Press its land, its building (designed by his brother-in-law, the architect Ernest Flagg, and modeled after the Plantin Museum in Belgium), and a generous endowment.

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