10 notable books published by Stanford University Press
Stanford University Press has published a diverse and influential portfolio of scholarly work over the past 125 years, including works on U.S. economics, marine biology and the ancient Mayan civilization.
Over its 125-year history, Stanford University Press has published close to 6,000 book titles, of which almost 3,500 are still in print and available for purchase.
Stanford University Press administrators, led by director Alan Harvey, dug through the press’ archives and identified 10 books that have been especially notable in its 125-year history.
The Tariff Controversy in the United States, 1789-1833
Orrin Leslie Elliott
This was the first book published by Stanford University. The work examines U.S. economics and history in the first few decades after the nation won its independence. Elliott was an English instructor at Cornell University and Stanford’s first registrar.
The Story of the Innumerable Company
David Starr Jordan
In this volume, Jordan, Stanford’s founding president, compiled several historical and allegorical stories united by the idea of “the higher sacrifice,” the belief that receiving an education compelled those to advance society. The work was the first to bear the “Stanford University Press” imprint and was based on a sermon Jordan gave.
Genetic Studies of Genius
Lewis M. Terman
The three-volume series compiled Terman’s research findings that dispelled stereotypes of the time about smart children, who were thought of as frail and anti-social. Terman headed Stanford’s Department of Psychology and helped introduce IQ testing to the United States. (See a 2000 Stanford magazine story for more about Terman’s legacy.)
Edward F. Ricketts and Jack Calvin
The book is considered to be a classic work on marine biology and has been in print for over 80 years, making it one of the best-selling books of the university press. Its 1948 edition includes a foreword from Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. He was a friend of Ricketts, who devoted most of his life to studying marine biology and ecology in California.
The Ancient Maya
Sylvanus Griswold Morley
This best-selling, award-winning work presented the most comprehensive study of the origins and development of the ancient Mayan civilization for its time. The book was a result of Morley’s decades of research and excavations of the Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America. The Stanford University Press received awards for topography and cover design for its work on the book.
William Walter Greulich and S. Idell Pyle
Greulich and Pyle, both scholars at Stanford School of Medicine, compiled detailed data and X-rays from an intensive study of the development of the hand and wrist. The book is the most profitable in the history of Stanford University Press.
Written by one of America’s most important historians of military intelligence, this book won the Bancroft Prize, a prominent award in the field of American history, and was brought up during the discussion of intelligence failures that led to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. According to a 2007 New York Times article, the 9/11 Commission quoted the book in its report: “After the event, of course, a signal is always crystal clear; we can now see what disaster it was signaling since the disaster has occurred. Before the event, it is obscure and pregnant with conflicting meanings.”
Considered to be a classic work of political philosophy, the book, written by one of today’s foremost feminist theorists, offers a sweeping challenge to conventional understandings of the contract as a social and political mechanism, particularly the contradictions and paradoxes that arise around women and the contract.
Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno
Written by two German philosophers, the book is considered to be a canon of critical theory, a school of thought in sociology and political philosophy that stresses reflective assessment and critique of society and culture. The work was written during World War II and circulated privately until it surfaced in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. Stanford University Press published its comprehensive English translation of the work – replete with textual variants, commentary and editorial discussion.
A translation project by Daniel C. Matt
The project is the first-ever attempt at full English translation of The Zohar, a 13th-century commentary about the mystical aspects of the Torah. The 12-volume series, written originally in Aramaic, is the “biggest project the Stanford University Press has ever done.” (Read more about this work in a 2008 Stanford Report story.)