America’s Oldest University Press, founded 1878

It is one of the noblest duties of a university to advance knowledge and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures but far and wide. 

– Daniel Coit Gilman

About HistoryDaniel Coit Gilman, the first president of the Johns Hopkins University, considered publishing not simply the necessary business of a great research university, but one of its “noblest duties”. In 1878, just two years after the founding of the University, Gilman turned to leading members of the Hopkins faculty to launch the pioneering enterprise that would become the Johns Hopkins University Press.

The Press began as the University’s Publication Agency, publishing the American Journal of Mathematics in its first year under the editorship of the brilliant mathematician J. J. Sylvester. In 1880, the renowned classicist Basil Gildersleeve founded the American Journal of Philology. Both journals continue to be published by the Press today.

The Agency published its first book, Sidney Lanier: A Memorial Tribute, in 1881 to honor the poet who was one of the University’s first writers in residence. In 1891, the Publication Agency became the Johns Hopkins Press; since 1972, it has been known as the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Today, the JHU Press is one of the world’s largest university presses, publishing 95 scholarly journals and nearly 200 new books each year. Award-winning lists in history, science, literary studies, political science, and medicine reach a worldwide audience of scholars, students, and discerning readers. General interest books, such as the acclaimed Johns Hopkins Press Health Books, help fulfill Gilman’s mandate to broadly disseminate the expertise of leading scholars, scientists, and physicians. The mission of the Johns Hopkins University Press is to excel in the selection, preparation, and innovative dissemination of works that advance teaching and research and enlighten a diverse audience of readers. The Press also seeks to sustain itself financially.

The Press is also home to Project MUSE, a ground-breaking collaboration with the Sheridan Libraries at JHU launched in 1995, which provides online access to more than 260,000 journal articles and 410,000 book chapters from 120 scholarly publishers for millions of students, scholars, and other readers around the world. 

After several moves on and off the University’s Homewood Campus, in 1993 the Press acquired a permanent home, a renovated former church in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The Press’s Journals Division and Project MUSE occupy offices nearby. 

Still inspired by the ideals set forth by President Gilman in 1878, the Johns Hopkins University Press continues to identify and publish works that advance new knowledge, delivering them “far and wide“ in innovative and effective ways.