University Press holds its own against other publishers

Theresa Edwards

Kent State has an independent press, and it’s not the Daily Kent Stater, but the two frequently are confused.

The Kent State University Press is an independent academic publishing company located on the Kent campus in 307 Lowry Hall. Though an academic press, it doesn’t publish textbooks, and it doesn’t publish authors only from the university.

The publishing company publishes books and journals relating to American history, autobiographies and even fashion studies books such as Women’s Shoes In America by Nancy Bedford.

Their biggest accomplishment so far has been Under Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway, said Mary Young, editorial assistant at the Kent State University Press.

The book is the original text as Hemingway wrote it, she said. The last sentence was unfinished and that’s how they published it.

She had part in putting the publication together when she was an intern at the Press by proofreading the forward.

“We wanted to preserve the integrity of it,” she said.

Will Underwood, director of the Kent State University Press, said getting publishing rights for Under Kilimanjaro was a competitive process because there were other publishers interested as well.

The publishing company also produces books for their True Crime Series and chronicles of Civil War history, Young said.

She explained that the True Crime Series is more about the social aspects of crime.

They also take on historical regional titles such as West of the Cuyahoga by George Condon, which is about the history of Cleveland, she said.

“It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t really find at a library,” she said. “And you wouldn’t really find (it) anywhere else.”

All of the books published by The Kent State University Press are available at their office or via their Web site at They are also available on

The University Press also takes the liberty of printing the Wick Chapbook Series and the Wick First Book Series. The series are produced through competitions held by the Wick Poetry Center, in which students submit poetry for possible publication.

Publication is focused, but the proposals the Press receives are a different story.

Young said proposals are submitted by all kinds of people. Professors who have a specific area of interest submit proposals along with regular people who just started writing, she said.

“We even get proposals from inmates, which some of them have a lot of interesting things to say,” she said.

Young added that alumni from Kent State will send in manuscripts thinking they’ll automatically be published, and that isn’t always the case.

The Kent State University Press started in 1965, and the articles of incorporation to make it official were signed in 1966.

Underwood said the Press receives letters and e-mails of inquiry nearly everyday, and serious proposals, which receive a follow-up, are submitted about once a week.

They generally publish about 30 new titles per year, and they publish a quarterly journal. They are considered a small- to medium-sized press, he said.

Underwood was hired in the fall of 1989 as the design and production manager when he came from Syracuse. He has been working for university presses since high school because his dad was a director.

Young likes that the University Press is small and everyone gets to do a little of everything.

“It’s a great atmosphere here,” she said. “Everyone is friendly, and it’s the campus environment here so everyone’s willing to teach you if you need to learn.”

Contact features reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].