Skip to main content

tv   The University of Illinois Press at 100  CSPAN  March 3, 2018 9:00am-10:01am EST

9:00 am
>> .. this month we kick off a year filled with workshops, panels, exhibits and more. today after panel is a particularly important one. laurie matheson is joined by
9:01 am
her two predecessors, willis regier and richard wentworth. to add to historical context i will share with you we only had six directors in 100 years and only four of those served in full-time capacity so the reflections we hear today encompass 50 years of history. it is my pleasure to introduce our moderator for today's panel, dr. james anderson. dr. anderson is dean of the school of education which he has held other key leadership roles in his 50 year tenure at the university of illinois. including serving as far from the department of education policy, organization and leadership. dr. anderson was selected in 2016 as presidential fellow and is known internationally as a groundbreaking scholar in the history of school achievement
9:02 am
in the us. he is a member of the national academy of education and professor of history of american education. endowed professorship bestowed upon the most distinguished senior faculty members on this campus. dr. anderson has served on the faculty board of the university of illinois press during each of the 10 years of our panelists today. we thank him for leading us through these reflections of the illinois press club 100. >> thank you. how many years did you say? i need to clarify that. when you look at the other things i have been on during the whole time. go, i was a student when wentworth became in 1970, i have to clarify, i have colleagues who think i was
9:03 am
on the faculty but i was a student then. i was in faculty in 1978 when he became the director and for me, that was the year of my first publication published by the press. i was grateful for that, as always the case, wouldn't have accepted that. i am grateful for doing that. wentworth was born in new hampshire but graduated from university of oklahoma. how do you get from new hampshire to oklahoma? he served in the air force for
9:04 am
four years. after a 1-year internship at university of oklahoma press he spent one year at the university of wisconsin press. and louisiana state university press, because of the student, that was my favorite phrase to order bookstore name. then in 1970, as associate director, then became director via press in 1978 and served in that capacity until 2000 followed by four years as a part-time editor. american literature and english literature from university of nebraska, joined university of nebraska press and i was thinking of the big eight. today people think alabama is the game of the year.
9:05 am
back then it was nebraska and oklahoma hands down, no comparison but he went on to become director of johns hopkins university press 1995-1998 before becoming director in november 1998, retired in 2015, research on es
9:06 am
and renaissance it was a wonderful thing to be part of. >> everybody has a doctorate except me. >> laurie matheson is director and music acquisitions editor of university of illinois press. she served as editor in chief, acquisitions editor, market and copyright editor, included in labor history, folklore, and the university of illinois, singer and composer with recent appearances at illinois state university and library of
9:07 am
congress in washington dc. we proceed with each of the editors to talk about 10 years, editor of the press and after that we will have questions. >> we have some talking dekas. >> the floor is yours. >> i move from louisiana to the frozen north land in january 1970. the weather was a shock, but so was the condition of the list. the previous editor, donald jackson had been gone for almost 22 years, the director had a heart attack and on doctor's orders was working
9:08 am
short days. he had his hands full supervising the printing division which was under the university press, dealing with illinois test of psycholinguistic abilities which brought in half of the press income, it was the critical thing, $100 package with a lot of pieces to be purchased over and over and brought a lot of money to the press. the faculty committee, university press board noted the problem of manuscripts not coming in and took it on themselves to find an editor. got a call from george hendrix, member of the committee, inquiring whether my assistant director at lsu might be
9:09 am
interested in applying for the job and i told him charles was a thin southerner who was going to stay in the south but i might be interested. i had a growing family and was concerned about my kids growing up in the south. we were house in an old library building that was not air-conditioned and i had a perennially engrossing staff, and was offered the job. on arrival i started contacting some of my lsu authors and told them if they had colleagues or grad students with manuscripts coming along, the cupboard was bare. the areas of concentration in
9:10 am
which the press might ultimately excel. it was obvious i should think of subject areas that i knew best. the major thrust of the lsu list was southern history which to a lot of extent is african-american history. i brought with me from baton rouge, 14 volume - booker t. washington and manuscript on race relations in mississippi, both of which, the jefferson davis papers and two big paper projects would be too much. then i started a series in black history with august meyer, in the subject area.
9:11 am
talking to this about lsu and willing to switch to illinois along with his friends, the editor of the booker t. washington series. as the black history series developed by herbert gutman, author of a major book on the black family, i am sure you know it well, published a long critique on the economics of slavery in an african-american journal. i suggested to publish this as a book and new yorker on the cover in which a slave was told not to be too concerned because historians would show his life was not that rough after all. this book led to one of the press's most important areas of specialization.
9:12 am
gutman asked if illinois would be interested in starting a series of working-class history. the leading scholars in the field, david montgomery and david brody him. within two years, in women's history, and immigration history. it is safe to say that in the 80s and 90s illinois was the leading publisher of american social history. we continue to publish in clusters establishing areas of specialization, communication in illinois, american music with jody mccullough, and western history with liz
9:13 am
delaney, short fiction with and we're, poetry with larry lieberman of the english department, sports history with larry malley and practically everything focused on the us. by the end of the century when it was time for me to get out of the way it was time, past time for someone to coming in and broaden the horizon. [applause] >> dick and i disagree about when i came, let me say, fact or fiction, in november 1998 and from there through july 2015, it was clear to me
9:14 am
my first priority was continuity, preserving strength that didn't get established. and leaving the press solvent. and then acquisitions in 2004 concentrating in particular on the history list. and so grateful dick stayed around those extra years. in 1998 when i began, the press had four full-time and one part-time acquisition editor plus dick but dick was acquiring 40% of the new
9:15 am
manuscript. that disproportion could not continue. and the lack of expertise in digital publishing to rectify both problems, acquisitions and digital publishing, i converted one acquisition position to an electronic publisher position. and manage all things it, paul and louis, the most admired members then and now. and digital publishing to our capacity. a step, no, a leap, file for the journals immediately and eventually books too. and wanted was to give judy mccullough freedom to expand her american music list which
9:16 am
was another list. judy built the music list into the best on the continent and lori. i took advantage of another editor from indiana university press. she took on the press of women's studies and african-american studies list, both begun by dick, both now arrive, joan took on most of the history lists to and if additional film studies list managed by danny mathis. my third challenge was to make the list more international. dick had created an ensemble of american studies that were the envy of university presses.
9:17 am
american sports and so on. i wanted to keep that alive and do more. and french, german, spanish and latin american authors, expanded the music list to include box studies and the beethoven sketchbook series. added a series on food studies and science fiction. it is healthy and imaginative. and the most serious problem was the most rapid consolidation of publishing industry which accepted every part of our work from acquisition of books and journals through production, distribution and sales. and commercial publishers of academic journals, making big promises to journal editors, promises that ended up doubling
9:18 am
and tripling the prices for subscribers. most of them library facing challenges of their own. our general managers far off the competition successfully, very successfully and built the illinois journal program in the best in the country. in the 1990s, barnes & noble and borders drove the smaller bookstores out of business. they had to fend off an even larger competitor, amazon, the world's largest bookstore. amazon became the largest customer, amazon to the weight around like a giant it is making demands about shipping, billing and discounts that demanded close attention. libraries consolidated, small
9:19 am
and midsized libraries ceased to buy copies of our book that relied on interlibrary loan from decreasing number of libraries that did buy them. in those years libraries centralized, digitized and cut budgets for books and in a few years, very few years the major libraries of this country like illinois utterly altered the structure and economy of publishing. then came recession of 2008. more bookstores closed, borders went bankrupt. the university suffered annual budget cuts. sometimes semiannual budget cuts. since the press is technically an administrative unit, and administrators and is the biggest and first target to be cut when budgets are cut.
9:20 am
it was expected that the press would accept a bigger cut than colleges. i had to cut personnel. to fend off other cuts, the ugly stuff. as the press climbed out of the recession i relied on the chief financial officer to watch the business end of things, the press should journals that we could no longer afford to support. we lost staff. even so the press maintained its core strength and got stronger and added able young people in every department. i am looking at you. the fifth difficulty with administrative working with the sequence of six chancellors, five vice presidents, some a
9:21 am
good deal better than others and adapting to the university avenue operating system dealing with hiring freezes and budget cuts and accommodating new rules and frequent policy changes. the press managers and my assistant, kathy o'neill, helped deal with all that. it is no secret that hiring danny, don, jennifer, joan, kathy, chris and michael were the best decisions i ever made. when i left in 2015 i wanted to leave on a high note but the press in the black, strong staff and reliable successor who could acquire important new books, that is vitally important press like illinois. my wish came true when lori matheson was appointed and now
9:22 am
it is her turn. [applause] >> i came to the press in 1996, i was a graduate student then and i came to work on development with judy mccullough. both of these directors had a great impact on my development as a publisher and mentored me. it is very humbling to be on this panel with them. i have been at the press for a long time but as a director i have been on the direction for 21/2 years and i kind of crept into it a little at a time in a way. it was a soft entry, came up through the ranks and took on more responsibility over the
9:23 am
course of 20 years. when i moved into the director position i felt not that i would coming in with a brand-new agenda and establish myself as superior to other staff members but really coming as a peer, as an equal and wanting to work side-by-side with the press and i think that is the most important aspect of my tenure so far and i hope it will continue. that is my intention. the strength of the press in a variety of skills, the press staff bring really enable us to face the challenges we have ahead of us. bill has done a daunting and amazing job, illinois right along with those publishers.
9:24 am
the moment i took the chair we encountered a new challenge, the state could not coming for the budget for the state and that endured for 21/2 years. it is an unnerving time and i felt the most important thing we could do was to continue moving forward as productively as we could, enabling people to have the support they needed to just make sure their priorities could continue in place and not be derailed by this legislative blockade or administrative turnover at about the time he hired me and left. then we had a new vice
9:25 am
president in the chair. she came from university as well and to be honest, one of the benefits of the great turnover we have seen is it provided a lot of opportunities for people in the university to take on new roles and that is valuable, as people are in their positions for quite a while which many of our staff have been have a chance to stretch and try out new skills and grow into new kinds of expertise and remain fresh in their jobs to stay with us, to learn new skills and expand their capacity. and a shared sense of mission, that kind of internal coherence
9:26 am
is very important and feeling we are having unified front facing these many challenges that have threats from the outside. the other thing that been important in the past few years has been to expand connections within the university. at the same time we are turning inward and giving each other a leg up day by day and made a priority of connecting with other units on campus and within the community in trying to broaden the foundation of who our constituencies are, that work has been greatly enhanced but so many staff have coming on board taking the energy it takes to step out of the community or step out and
9:27 am
present to various university constituencies to talk about alternative careers, share our knowledge of publishing and possibilities that it offers for young talented people across the academy and the university so certainly the challenges we heard about our continuing even over the past 6 months we have seen library sales declining so one of the challenges is to find books that speak more broadly to more constituents, speak sometimes even to nonspecialists outside the academy so that we have some diversity in our portfolio so by diversifying types of publication continuing to grow the journal's program integrated with books is such
9:28 am
an important strategy for us in the journal staff have done a wonderful job identifying journals that have crossover appeal to various strengths on the book side and have this diversity with constituencies, local constituencies in the university. it speaks broadly to the midwest and we try to strengthen eyes the other campuses at the university of illinois. all of these allowing for diversity of the staff, strengthening our connections and partnerships and alliances, making more friends, we need people to understand what we do so there comes a time there's a question from the administration there has been for other presses about the
9:29 am
value of what university press is supplying, that we answer but we are not the only ones answering, many other voices are speaking to ways we contribute to communities. let me stop there. [applause] >> questions? >> i wondered if each of you could choose a favorite book you acquired that you didn't have high expectations for by the time it came out, with that popularity? >> i got a letter from a person who had a manuscript of 800
9:30 am
pages which included 100 pages of singlespaced footnotes on western history, migration to the west and i told him that is going to have to be good to be published in that size and it was really really good. a finalist for the pulitzer, got a front-page review of the washington post by the leading western historian so that was a book liz delaney made a tremendous contribution to because the author died on the operating table shortly after the book was accepted. that was a very tragic thing but lose a great job working on it editorially and being sure it was ready to go and that is
9:31 am
probably the best book i published in my day. >> the ai a which i did not acquire by myself, i had michael, jennifer, join me to talk to the aia committee about what i could offer and they had questions these other people could answer very readily and as a result we became the publisher for the aia chapter of chicago and the book is still doing well. that was fun. >> i will mention a book i had a small part in acquiring. one joy that i was able to take
9:32 am
on, one of the books she acquired, her fingerprints were on every page, the view is all around us, and one very high national media profile has done extremely well for us, a 1-man promotion machine of his work, tireless performer and never met a person he didn't want to tell about his book and he is a model for the way we need our authors to connect with their audiences not to rely on us to do heavy lifting but rely on themselves as a link between the book and beer and he is a master of that. the reason that book is so
9:33 am
important is he tells the story of ordinary people and why they matter. he looks at particular performers who were in field recordings from the 1930s and 40s so these were made when collectors with their recording equipment strode across the country and their pickups put out call in town square that anybody who new songs of any type could coming out and sing them into the machine and have them preserved that way. these are children on playgrounds or prisoners with work songs or 13 of these are in the book. he went back to these places and found people who had connections with these stories and documented them and documented the tunes and talked about what happens when it goes
9:34 am
from one to another. and a shared architect. it is a privilege to work on that. that is the case with many books we handle. by one editor and another editor takes them up into different editor brings it to a solution because we all rely on our predecessors and the ways they make contact and identify process for the press and help us bring them to publications. >> who is that person? >> you talked about your time
9:35 am
in the press and change if you see for the future of the press and communication in general. >> what changes do we see for the future of the press and communication? i might let others in the room chime in on this question. we are looking at technological changes we can't imagine. a time people will be consuming book content in ways that we haven't developed yet. all of our contracts assign rights to us to publish a work in all forms now known or here and after development. we leave the door open for whatever technologies present themselves. that will be a big challenge
9:36 am
for us to navigate those technological changes. various moves toward open access publication meaning books are published and made without cost. but available to access without cost so where does funding coming from 2q how do we cover the cost of appropriating that free open access material? that is a question to be addressed. >> this is a question. i am glad not to deal with problems now, it is ridiculous,
9:37 am
that you can put print as just sad and so hard to get libraries to buy the books and the journals department is so much more important now than it was in my day. seems to me libraries are more likely to pick up journals and continue with requests from staff then to publish particular books that may or may not be needed so that is important but it is a tough time to be a university press publisher. >> i can think of two other things that are provincial.
9:38 am
one is the change of academic discipline. that is always happening. how that is going to occur. the second change i expect please presses will find patrons and need to find patrons and frontload the expensive publication. i find them to be a successful way to publish as long as we continue to use the review and institutions are persons who are willing to patronize, that is why they would choose something like illinois and all the other quality controls from copyediting and all that is something illinois can successfully excel. if you have a book project that deserves publishing there's an audience waiting for it and we are willing to pay for it as
9:39 am
long as it is well done. if press can be first in line for that or get an addition, that is a revenue stream and readership that was otherwise ignored. >> illinois in the time i have been there, affordable to individuals, it has always been important to us. the practice of raising prices on books beyond what individuals can pay has been going on all the time we have been involved but illinois has kept a lid on that and it remains a priority. we want our books to speak to individuals and have them be able to put the book in their hands but one of the initiatives that has been a cornerstone for my work at the press is to foster a stronger
9:40 am
development program for the foundation, dr. norm wouldn't here is one of our friends and donors and we are developing partnerships with donors, with societies that offer programs who will be rolling out friends of the press program, in that program. all of this will help bridge the gap between sales income and the cost of a book and continue to keep our books accessible to individuals that want to buy them. >> a question. was there anything you wish you
9:41 am
could accomplish? >> don't think i left with that feeling. wasn't that ambitious. i was stung when i lost the relationship. there was no reason for that to happen. and library inspiration, and that journal -- let me mention, i was planning to do this all
9:42 am
along. the press publishes, that are significant in scholarly areas, that i really appreciated but once in a while publish a fun book, one of these, pissing in the snow and other ozark folktales by randolph, this book was reviewed in the new york times book review but they couldn't spell out the whole title for some reason. the title story is a pretty good one, neighbor says to a farmer i don't want your boy hanging around my daughter anymore and what is the
9:43 am
problem? they get along fine and keep him away. he spelled his name in the snow behind the barn and this is not that big a deal, not that big a deal, didn't know my daughter at hand writing? a lot of good stories in their. is a good one. i recommend it. >> i would like to say i copy edited that. it took one whole day and by the time you read those for a whole day it was an overdose.
9:44 am
i have another question. some of our journals are sponsored, books have associations - academia is no longer populated by people like jim henderson who went to graduate school and got on the faculty and became permanent and so on, what do you see as the impact for how they can recruit people, cannot stay in academia or aspire to make their way up, and anything like that that will affect the future of sales in subject areas and journal sponsors. >> societies are making efforts to recruit, make room for the
9:45 am
faculty and provision for them and broaden the idea of what a contributing faculty member is in society. it certainly is a concern. we certainly do rely on our partnerships, we publish a number of journals, and the american box society and other organizations we publish and distribute books for and through those connections we have access to memberships of those groups in terms of ordering them about books and journals, those are very valuable. >> certainly happening in my tenure. mla, something like peak size and that was a place we showed off our books and that has
9:46 am
shriveled. i can't be despondent about it from my own experience. this press has historically attended smaller conferences and smaller society, not huge ones like chemistry or physics but with those smaller ones i found stability, great source for authors and great ideas. and because of our work with the and continued to be a vital part of press operations. >> the wonderful exhibit out there, if anyone understands this, i was struck by the development of the appearance
9:47 am
of books. a book from 1960 doesn't look like a book from 1980, doesn't look like a book from 2010. i was looking at those wonderful publications thinking how does that coming about? was that driven by external factors, development in technology or printing materials or were their internal decisions about presentation, and how we witness that evolution as it took place, how much you feel you were an agent in that or how much you feel whatever. >> always a matter of who was doing the designing and if it
9:48 am
changed over the years, i am not sure it got better but there have been splendid designers working for university press on staff and freelance doing freelance work and one of them is here today, young lady sitting over here whose name, i can almost remember. >> i was always extremely grateful. >> sorry about that. i haven't noticed a change of 30 or 40 years, perhaps others have. >> the computerization of design is a big deal and our designers made the most of it.
9:49 am
it was cheaper and have gotten ugliness and the capabilities of apple became good enough that designers could do what they wanted and we have that additional capacity. >> would you be willing to speak about that transition at all? >> definitely the macintosh computer that did it. there has always been a tremendous design community in university presses. the books are supposed to last. designers have always taken it seriously. that was a revolution all its
9:50 am
own that has been building across publishing. then university press has joined marketing needed to market, as trade publishers did, and use the amazing things and university press doing that to them with great skill and great knowledge and great partners and you can put in a plug for the book so in campus. >> this has a show every year traveling, book and jacket journalism design.
9:51 am
and since your partnering the art design school, to hold that in the link gallery with the art department, and a public heavily trafficked space, a lot of students go through there but connecting with the designs, having them bring their students to the press and using that as a teaching opportunity with graphic design and book design, showing the central space to sponsor that as well. >> we should mention earlier directors, and a man named cunningham, secretary of the board of trustees, and extra
9:52 am
little thing to do. the most prominent earlier director was wilbur schram who was a major force in communications theory. not so much director, the communications department and part-time also the publicity department. schram was a remarkable scholar himself who had books published. he put out books that have lasted until this time that have been reprinted 20 times
9:53 am
each, and mathematical theory of communication by osgood. these books still to this day printed whenever they run out. and it was the mars project, long before sputnik or werner von braun, german scientists published a book about the threats that foresaw what was going to be happening far in the future and that was a remarkable to publish that book. also a book by randall wilkie who some of you may remember
9:54 am
was a politician, the press depended a great deal on the faculty for a long time and faculty in anthropology, communication and psychology brought in significant books, oscar lewis going on to be a bestseller, another person was extremely important for the university, they were able to deal with the people on campus. that is extremely important but you never know what will coming
9:55 am
- the continuity you otherwise don't have. >> something that was published, i remember that steadily, in chicago, the history of american -- that was the talk. the study of american slavery was exploded on the landscape and everybody thought not only would redefine the meaning of slavery but would shift the
9:56 am
method of inquiry to quantitative levels and publishing the numbers game i heard the gunmen and push the reset button to say no and shut down. the book that came out of the press simply shut the whole discussion down. no matter how you got the acquisition to do that. >> in the academic journal it was a long discussion, that would be the nice book. >> a stroke of genius, a cartoon for the new yorker.
9:57 am
>> those who read the book, they did a quantitative analysis how many weapons the average slave received from childhood to adulthood and they had some evidence and quantified it at 0.71, you don't get a 0.71. but then used that cartoon files to pinpoint that analysis. someday, tell the public you only got 0.1 and it was the right cartoon to symbolize a meeting of the book.
9:58 am
>> let's thank dick and bill and lori and jim for joining us today. [applause] >> every year booktv sits down with publishing industry professionals to discuss the publishing process, highlight upcoming book releases and more. you can watch any of these programs on our website booktv.org. just type publishing industry in the search bar at the top of the page and scroll through hundreds of results from interviews with publishers at book expo america, the industry's annual tradeshow, conversations with organizations like the national book foundation and publishing houses. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> we are live on sunday for
9:59 am
in-depth's fiction addiction. the author of 15 military history novels, he will discuss stories of war from the american revolution to the korean war and answer your questions. on afterwards this weekend, that's what she said. the former usa today editor-in-chief discusses how to close the gender divide in the workplace. she's interviewed by republican congressman leonard lam from new jersey. journalist george ramos examines what it means to be a latino immigrant in america. michelle talks about her life as a cia agent working in the middle east. vegas reports on white nationalism in america. the heritage foundation's ryan anderson explores the transgender movement and public policy on gender identity and syracuse university professor daniel thompson discusses why moderates are less likely to run for congress.
10:00 am
that is all this weekend on c-span2's booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books, television for serious readers. for complete schedule visit booktv.org and follow along on our social media accounts on facebook, twitter and instagram at booktv. .. >> good morning. what a pleasure to be here again to talk about some of the

2 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on