Original works of scholarship that have shaped our intellectual life for over a century. Classics that have shaped our culture for two millennia.
Founded in 1913, Harvard University Press is the publisher of such enduring works of scholarship as Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice, Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, Stephen Jay Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, James Kugel’s The Bible As It Was, Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and E. O. Wilson’s On Human Nature. We publish books for a general readership as well as scholarly audiences, written by world-renowned experts and new voices who are redefining entire fields of inquiry. Our commitment to world classics is exemplified by an unrivaled collection of translation series, anchored by the iconic Loeb Classical Library.
Countries and territories where we sell our books
Pulitzer prize-winning books we have published
Books in print
Nobel prize-winning authors we have published
A storied legacy of publishing since 1640.
Stephen Daye prints The Whole Book of Psalms, the first book published in British North America, using the first printing press brought to the colonies. Elizabeth Glover, owner of the printing press, marries Harvard President Henry Dunster. The printing press, plates, and paper are bequeathed to Harvard University upon her death in 1643, laying the foundation for what will become Harvard University Press.
On January 13, the Harvard Corporation officially establishes the entity known today as Harvard University Press, housed in Randall Hall on Kirkland Street, Cambridge, where William James Hall now stands.
Harold Murdock, a Boston banker, succeeds the first Director of the Press, C. C. Lane. Under Murdock, the Press undertakes the strategy of publishing general interest books based on lectures delivered at Harvard.
Harvard University Press becomes the American publisher of the Loeb Classical Library, which James Loeb (Class of 1888) bequeathed to the university upon his death in 1933.
The historian Dumas Malone, Editor-in-Chief of the Dictionary of American Biography, becomes the Press’s third Director. He defines its mission as “scholarship plus,” that is, not merely highly specialized works, but works for the general intellectual reader. Malone hires the Press’s first manuscript editors and establishes the high editorial standards for which the Press is known.
Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr., endows the Belknap imprint with a significant gift to the Press. The imprint is to be modeled on the Clarendon Press imprint at Oxford University Press. Ten years later, Belknap’s mother, Rey Hutchings Belknap, adds her own fortune to the fund. The books published under this imprint go on to win major prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bancroft Prize.
Mark Carroll, who had joined the Press in 1956, becomes Director in 1967. During Carroll’s brief tenure the Press publishes such seminal works as John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice and E. O. Wilson’s The Insect Societies.
Arthur J. Rosenthal, founder and publisher of Basic Books, arrives as the new Director. He builds on Dumas Malone’s vision of “scholarship plus” by making Harvard’s list more appealing to a general readership beyond the academy, establishing a model other university presses would follow in years to come. Among the titles published during his tenure are Bernard Bailyn’s The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson, winner of the National Book Award; E. O. Wilson’s On Human Nature, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Alfred Chandler’s The Visible Hand, which received both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes in 1978; Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice; Thomas K. McCraw’s Pulitzer-winning Prophets of Regulation; and Jane Goodall’s The Chimpanzees of Gombe.
William P. Sisler, formerly of Oxford University Press, assumes the directorship. During his tenure, the Press publishes such distinguished books as Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, Bruno Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern, Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, Stephen Jay Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Mary Beard’s The Roman Triumph, Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, Amartya Sen’s The Idea of Justice, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s Mothers and Others, Nick Sousanis’s Unflattening, and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century; revives and completes the Image of the Black in Western Art volumes; debuts three more classics in translation series; and launches the digital Loeb Classical Library.
Rohan Narayana Murty establishes the Murty Classical Library with a $5.2 million gift, extending the Press’s classics in translation list beyond European traditions. Consequently, Harvard University Press begins to sell books under its own imprint in South Asia, leading the way for other American university presses to follow suit a few years later.
George Andreou, veteran publishing executive from Alfred A. Knopf, is appointed Director and introduces a series of modernizations to translate “scholarship plus” into the twenty-first century. Among the authors published: Kathleen Belew, Robert Brandom, Justice Stephen Breyer, Daphne Brooks, Chen Jian, Marie Favereau, Leroy Hood, Julian Jackson, Joseph LeDoux, Richard Ovenden, Priya Satia, O. Carter Snead, and J. Craig Venter. Critical partnerships with W. W. Norton & Company and HarperCollins India, new collaborations with world-renowned graphic designers and website developers, as well as a renewed attention to training a future generation of scholarly editors begin.
Emerging from the pandemic years, the Press focuses on unifying its digital footprint to engage readers, authors, journalists, and educators worldwide across a range of platforms. The present website, launched in 2023, is the first chapter of that story.
A wide range of expertise, perspectives, and experiences.
For more than a century, Harvard University Press has been proud to publish authors from across the United States and the world, representing a wide range of expertise, perspectives, and experiences. Inspired by the university of which we are a part, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive institutional culture.
We are proud to be a part of the Harvard Green Campus Initiative to promote sustainability.
Collectively dedicated to the pursuit of excellence.
Our Board of Directors
- George Andreou Director, Harvard University Press
- Sara Bershtel Editor-at-Large, Penguin Press
- Ann Blair Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, Harvard University
- Noah Feldman Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
- Alan M. Garber Provost, Harvard University
- John Makinson Chairman and Chief Executive (ret.), Penguin Group
- Das Narayandas Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
- Parimal G. Patil Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Harvard University
- Michael J. Sandel Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University
- Martha Whitehead Vice President for the Harvard Library and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
World-renowned experts and emerging, new voices.
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