Billing itself as the oldest publisher in the state and the largest historical society press in the country, Minnesota Historical Society Press has been publishing regional titles since 1859, while Wisconsin Historical Society Press has been doing it since 1855.
Five years after eliminating four staff positions and cutting
its book production by 30% after the state cut allocations,
MHSP has rebounded. It hired a sales manager in August and
an acquisitions editor in September. “It’s a healthy sign for us,”
publicity manager Alison Aten says, noting that the press
reported just under $1 million in net revenue in fiscal year 2014.
The press has, since the 2009 budget cuts, focused on its
strengths: books about Native American and Scandinavian culture, and about Minnesota’s history and culture. This fall,
MHSP is publishing eight books, ranging from My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation, by Brenda J. Child, to Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand
Homes, by Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt.
WHSP director Kathy Borkowski says that revenue has been
steadily rising for the past few years; she credits that to publishing books appealing to a broad audience extending beyond
Wisconsin, such as Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars
& Breweries, which has sold 9,000 copies to date, and Michael
Perry’s From the Top: Brief Transmissions from Tent Show Radio,
which has sold 7,000 copies so far.
“We hold onto our roots,” Borkowski says. “We do things of
historical significance, but there’s a nice mix every season;
there’s something for everyone.” The seven titles being published this fall are no exception: the frontlist ranges from Blaze
Scholarly presses fulfill
Their mission, broaden their
Reach by looking around
Them to build lists
Takes Its Place
By Claire Kirch
Publishing for the Body, Mind, Spirit since 1901
Discover this hands-on training course for empaths, which
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Learn about the world of tarot
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