Princeton University Press to Name Its Higher Education List in Honor of William G. Bowen

William G. Bowen, President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Photo credit: David Lubarsky

Princeton University Press has lost one of its greatest authors and closest friends and supporters. William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton University and of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, died last Thursday night at age eighty-three. While President Bowen will be best remembered, and appropriately so, as a university leader, he raised the study of higher education and its institutions to a new level as an author, coauthor, and editor of books. In addition to the many Princeton University Press titles that bear his name, Bill recruited a score of authors to PUP and, through the impact of our list on the scholarship of higher education, attracted even more. To mark this singular contribution to our publishing endeavor, the Press has chosen to make the unprecedented gesture of naming our higher education list in his honor: henceforth, The William G. Bowen Memorial Series in Higher Education.

William Bowen began his decades-long association with Princeton University Press as an author in 1969 with the publication of his monograph (with T. Aldrich Finegan), The Economics of Labor Force Participation. Then, beginning in 1972, as president of Princeton, he served on the Press’s board of trustees. He resumed his role as a PUP author in 1988—the final year of his presidency—with the publication of Ever the Teacher, a collection of his official writings and remarks. Yet it was as president of the Mellon Foundation, rather than of the University, that Bill made his most lasting, significant mark on the Press, beginning with the 1989 publication (with Julie Ann Sosa) of Prospects for Faculty in the Arts and Sciences. Though, nearly thirty years on, he is more closely identified with other, later works, it was this book that initiated the parade of publications that defines not only our publishing in the field of higher education, but, indeed, the scholarly arc of analysis of higher education in America and in the world.

Bill’s engagement with PUP expressed itself in two ways. He was, first and foremost, author, coauthor, or coeditor of twelve books on higher education under the Princeton University Press imprint, the subject matter of which spanned the gamut of issues from admissions to diversity, sports, the market for scholars, digital technology, cost containment, degree completion, governance, leadership, and more.

Bowen_Shape of RiverHis greatest achievement as an author, indisputably, was his 1998 collaboration with Derek Bok, The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, which—in a research study unprecedented in scale and comprehensiveness—made the evidence-based case for affirmative action and influenced higher education policy nationwide. Beyond the extensive acclaim it gathered across the political spectrum, and the awards it garnered, The Shape of the River enjoyed the rare distinction of being cited by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in the 2003 US Supreme Court case upholding affirmative action, Grutter v. Bollinger.

In addition to his prodigious work as an author, Bill was an informal PUP advisory editor, attracting to the Princeton list authors from his network of fellow researchers, thereby bringing a chorus of informed voices to the higher education conversation under the PUP imprint. Largely through Bill’s tireless work and enthusiastic editorial recruitment efforts, PUP can now boast as authors such distinguished scholars and higher education leaders as Harold T. Shapiro, Bill’s successor in the Princeton presidency; Derek Bok and Neil L. Rudenstine, presidents emeritus of Harvard University; Michael S. McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation and former president of Macalester College; Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern University; and Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Princeton’s former dean of the college—to name just a few.

Seen from a wider perspective, Bill was in effect the architect of a scholarly agenda that, translated into a publishing program, has raised and addressed many of the most relevant, urgent questions besetting higher education. The books he brought to the Princeton list constitute a whole far greater than the sum of its parts: emanating from Bill’s own field of economics outward through the work of historians, legal scholars, scholars of religion, sociologists, and others, the list both encompasses and defines the intellectual terrain of modern higher education while framing the big issues for future scholars to explore.

Lesson PlanBill Bowen’s last book, published by us earlier this year, eloquently embodies his PUP publishing legacy. Cowritten with his close colleague and frequent collaborator Michael McPherson, Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education offers a blueprint for addressing the central issues now facing colleges and universities, and touches upon all the relevant areas on which Bill and his co-researchers have shed light: educational attainment, completion rates, socioeconomic and racial disparities, affordability, student aid, efficiency, sports, teaching, technology, and leadership. In outlining their “agenda for change,” Bowen and McPherson display a characteristic purposefulness mixed with optimism:

There is much that can be accomplished. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his famous Democracy in America (1835), observed: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” However true this may have been in the early part of the nineteenth century, we fervently hope that it is true today.

William G. Bowen—author, editor, collaborator, adviser, supporter of the Press, and true friend—brought this combination of purpose and optimism to the Press as he worked with us to publish books, define our ongoing editorial agenda, and repair not a few of our faults as we strove to be better. In formally dedicating our higher education list in his name, his grateful associates at Princeton University Press hereby make a partial payment on the Bowen legacy, which will live on in the books he has inspired.

Peter J. Dougherty, Director
October 24, 2016

PUP’s record year for translations: A note from our director

This year PUP is proud to announce a banner year across the board in international rights. Our team reported a 27% increase in translation licensing, including a record deal with the German publisher Klett-Cotta for Angus Deaton’s The Great Escape, negotiated via our representatives at The Fritz Agency. Publisher’s Weekly covered the deal, which started with a bidding war at the Frankfurt Book Festival shortly after Deaton won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics. Other exceptional translation deals included those for The Gunpowder Age by Tonio Andrade, The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert Gordon, and Phishing for Phools by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, with economics and science titles particularly well-represented.

Along with a consistently strong market in China, a significant increase in Italian licensing, and our first Mongolian license this year, we’re thrilled to see a 140% increase in translation licensing over a ten year period. This is a testament to the global reach of our outstanding scholarship as well as our partnerships with some of the finest publishers in the world.

Thanks again to our fabulous international rights team, including Kim Williams, Jenny Redhead, and Rebecca Bengoechea.

—Peter Dougherty

International Rights

The Best of 2015 in PUP books

The Princeton University Press “Best of 2015” list is a testament to those recent PUP titles that have resonated with a broad array of readers in prominent publications around the world. Congratulations to our authors. —Peter Dougherty

Browse the impressive selection of books that were honored in over 40 “Best of 2015” lists:


Publishing for a digital age: A word from Peter Dougherty #UPWeek


Scholarly Kitchen ran a terrific article yesterday on the important contributions of university presses, and how many are redefining their role in the digital age. At Princeton University Press, the past year has brought the successful launch of a major intellectual, digital, and global undertaking. A word from our director, Peter Dougherty:

EinsteinProbably the most stunning development at Princeton University Press is the successful launch of our Digital Edition of The Collected Papers of Albert EinsteinThe Digital Einstein Papers has given scientists and historians alike all over the world free access to the first thirteen volumes of the Einstein Papers, one of the most important intellectual archives in all of scholarly publishing.  According to Kenneth Reed, PUP’s Digital Production Manager, usage statistics suggest that the Digital Einstein Papers has been a truly successful global project:

“Since its launch, there have have been 2.7 million page views from across the world. Outside the United States, Germany and India represent the second and third most visitors to the site. Visitors view an average of over nine pages per visit, and returning visitors are 75%. Mobile users account for over 30% of the site usage, which is not surprising given the global appeal of the site.”

The Digital Einstein Papers also represents a global success by way of being a great international and cross-institutional collaboration, drawing on the talents and effort of colleagues not only at PUP, but at our partner institutions, The Einstein Papers Project at Caltech, the Albert Einstein Archive at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the online platform firm, Tizra.  PUP will add new volumes as they appear roughly every eighteen months.

—Peter Dougherty

Read what these other university presses have to say on the future of scholarly publishing, from the value of acquisitions work and the meaning of gatekeeping in the digital era, to how university presses are picking up the slack left by trade publishers:

Indiana University Press

Oxford University Press

George Mason University Press

University Press of Colorado

University Press of Kansas

UNC Press

West Virginia University Press

Johns Hopkins University Press

University of Georgia Press

PUP author Angus Deaton wins the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics

The Great EscapeCongratulations to Princeton Professor Angus Deaton from his proud publisher, Princeton University Press, on his 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics.  Deaton’s 2013 PUP book received admirable notices near and far, including this one by none other than Bill Gates: “If you want to learn about why human welfare overall has gone up so much over time, you should read The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality.”   We couldn’t agree more.

Peter J. Dougherty

From the Nobel committee, as reported in The New York Times:

“To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices,” the committee that awarded the prize said in a statement. “More than anyone else, Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding. By linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics and development economics.”

You can watch a Financial Times interview with Angus Deaton, where he discusses global inequality with John McDermott here.

In Memory of John and Alicia Nash

NashGradThe staff and community of Princeton University Press mourns the tragic loss of John and Alicia Nash. In 2001 we had the great privilege of publishing The Essential John Nash, a collection of Professor Nash’s scholarly articles edited by his biographer, Sylvia Nasar, and his longtime colleague and friend, Princeton mathematician Harold Kuhn, (now deceased). The Essential John Nash received impressive public exposure largely because it was published during the release of the Academy Award-winning movie version of Nash’s biography, A Beautiful Mind. Critics and readers admired The Essential John Nash as a faithful representation of Nash’s most important work, made available for a broadly intellectual audience of mathematicians and social scientists. Gratifying as this recognition was for us, during the course of publication, the staff members at PUP who worked on Professor Nash’s book had the great good fortune to get to know him and Alicia, two gentle and wonderful people. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family.

Peter J. Dougherty

June, summer, and Princeton University Press in the movies

Friends of Princeton University Press,

With June here, and summer finally upon us, our thoughts go to pleasant things—vacations, beaches, baseball, and the summer movie season.

ivory tower

Princeton University Press has a special movie connection this summer–and beyond.

For starters, the soon-to-be-released documentary Ivory Tower, about the financial crisis in higher education, features prominently one of our authors, Andrew Delbanco, whose widely admired 2012 book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, has been at the center of the debates over the future of higher education. Those who saw Page One, the acclaimed documentary about The New York Times and the challenges besetting newspapers, will be familiar with the work of Andrew Rossi, who made the film, Ivory Tower. Journalist Peter Coy reviews it in the current issue of Bloomberg Business Week, and mentions Andy Delbanco and our book.

Another PUP book forms the basis of the November 2014 release, The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing, the cryptologist who cracked the Enigma code during World War II and was later tortured for his homosexuality. The movie is based on our 2012 biography by Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma. The Imitation Game sports an all-star cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, and Charles Dance. We will be re-releasing Hodges’ biography under the title, The Imitation Game, in September. A related PUP book is Alan Turing’s Systems of Logic: The Princeton Thesis, edited in 2012 by Andrew Appel of the Princeton School of Engineering.  Our poster for The Imitation Game generated huge interest last week at Book Expo in New York.

Speaking of all-star casts, the third movie with a connection to a forthcoming PUP book is Interstellar, also to be released in November, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, and Michael Caine. The premise of Interstellar is based on the work of PUP author and Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who is credited as a consultant and executive producer of the film. His forthcoming book, with Stanford’s Roger Blandford, is Modern Classical Physics. Kip Thorne has another PUP connection, serving as he does on the Executive Committee of the Einstein Papers Project.

See you at the movies,

Peter J Dougherty

Presenting the Fall 2014 Catalog

F14-catalog-coverWe are delighted to announce the fall 2014 Princeton University Press catalog.

Leading off the fall list is Story/Time: The Life of an Idea, by the celebrated dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. Accompanying it are exciting offerings from a range of disciplines including classics, Adrienne Mayor’s The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World; cognitive science, Timothy Verstynen and Bradley Voytek’s Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?; European history, Anders Winroth’s The Age of the Vikings; literature, Paula Rabinowitz’s American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street; and other compelling titles from a broad array of fields.


Peter J. Dougherty

To view the catalog as a PDF, please click here.


Game of Tongues — PUP Director Peter Dougherty Reflects on the Importance of Translations (#UPWeek)

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This post is presented as part of the University Press Week Blog Tour. November 11-15 is set aside as a week to celebrate the myriad ways university presses contribute to scholarly communication and society at large. Please support our colleagues by exploring more posts in the tour via the links below. For a complete schedule, click here.



If you want to get a great sense of the global reach of the university press and, not incidentally, of the potential of forthcoming publications, you could do worse than observing a few days’ worth of foreign rights meetings at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Perched in a folding chair at a card table in the Princeton University Press booth last month, I watched my colleague Kim Williams, PUP’s foreign rights manager (who operates from our office in Oxfordshire), hold 80 meetings with nearly 200 publishers from 22 countries, representing 17 languages around the world. Meetings such as Kim’s–going on eight frenetic, exhausting hours a day over the five-day forced march of Frankfurt–comprise the annual ritual wherein the world decides which books and which ideas get dispersed across nations. The word “dissemination” is sometimes used to characterize the mission of university presses. Frankfurt is an example of dissemination of the highest, most sophisticated, most intricately orchestrated kind.

Pitching our books to Chinese publishers at #fbf13 - cheers to Cheers Publishing!

Pitching our books to Chinese publishers at #fbf13 – cheers to Cheers Publishing! (credit: @PUP_Rights)

Not only geography, but history matters in the annual translation transaction Olympiad. Kim Williams knows her counterparts at the foreign publishers and has worked with many of them for years. She knows their tastes, interests, and strengths. The experience she brings to the task and the development of these relationships, invest her exchanges with insight and efficiency, providing a kind of multicultural shorthand for conducting the world’s book business.

And the game of tongues matters. Over the past ten years the number of Princeton’s translation licenses has nearly tripled. Rights deals in Chinese over this period have increased almost tenfold, translations into Japanese have almost tripled, and Korean rights deals have also increased dramatically. And this growth is not limited to Asian markets. We’ve seen equally strong growth in the number of Turkish, Czech, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish translations, among others. Taken all together this increased activity reflects changes in international economic development and national cultural priorities. This upward trend in translation activity will only increase as economic development rises. It would be interesting to know how many of our translated titles win awards and other accolades in their adopted languages.

And much as the annual idea-swap in Frankfurt provides us with a window on the world, it also tells us a lot about ourselves. From a distance, it tells us which subjects “travel” well, yielding valuable insights into list-planning and therefore into editorial acquisitions. From a closer standpoint, it provides a powerfully compelling preview of how a publisher’s upcoming list is likely to perform. If three dozen foreign publishers are panting over a particular title, chances are you’ve got a winner in English as well as around the world in other language markets.

Finally, a week at a rights table in Frankfurt gives a publisher a glimpse into its soul. Just how good are we? Are certain lists as strong as we think they are? Are we current or are we yesterday’s news? Do our lists have the three Ds–depth, dimension, and durability–or are we publishing mere ephemera? The five-day stress test in front of the world’s hard-bitten foreign publishers answers those questions, sometimes painfully, other times reassuringly.

As the global university press evolves, table talk in Frankfurt will continue to serve as a vital indicator of our impact around the world and our insight into ourselves.

Peter J. Dougherty
Princeton University Press


Click through to check out the covers of various On Bullshit translations.

For more information about Princeton University Press’s foreign rights program, please visit

Congratulations to William G. Bowen, recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal

William G. Bowen, President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon FoundationOur congratulations and heart-felt good wishes go to William Bowen in recognition of his 2012 National Humanities Medal.

This medal will be awarded by President Obama today, July 10, 2013.  According to the White House, Mr. Bowen will be honored for “his contributions to the study of economics and his probing research on higher education in America.”

The staff of Princeton University Press celebrate this honor, acknowledging Bill Bowen not only as an illustrious author—most recently of his 2013 book, Higher Education in the Digital Age—but as a former trustee, long-time advisor, and most of all, friend.

In Memoriam: Herbert S. Bailey, Jr.

July 5, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Press,

Herbert S. Bailey, Jr., the fifth director of Princeton University Press, and one of the most influential and well-respected scholarly publishers of his time, died on June 28, 2011, after a brief illness, just weeks short of his 90th birthday. He directed the Press from 1954 to 1986. A member of the Princeton University class of 1942, Bailey joined the Press in 1946 as its first science editor. Then, after a brief stint as its editor in chief, Bailey was named PUP’s director. At 32, he was the youngest head of a major university press in the United States. He served as president of the Association of American University Presses in 1972 and, upon his retirement from Princeton in 1986, received the prestigious Curtis Benjamin Award of the Association of American Publishers and the Bowker Award for Creative Publishing.

During his long tenure at the Press, Bailey brought its publication program to a new and unprecedented level of distinction, enhanced its international reputation, placed it on firm financial footing, and propagated its surpassing standards for book production and design. He undertook a number of long-term, monumental projects, including The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, and, most notably, The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. In 1969, he acquired the world-renowned Bollingen Series, established to publish the Collected Works of C. G. Jung and eventually comprising over 250 extraordinary titles from archaeology through religion. Some of the individual titles include Kenneth Clark’s The Nude; E. H. Gombrich’s Art and Illusion; Aleksandr Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, translated and with commentary by Vladimir Nabokov; and the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of The I Ching, or Book of Changes (which remains the Press’s single best-selling book with more than 900,000 copies in print).

By the end of Bailey’s PUP years, he and his colleagues had nearly tripled the Press’s annual title output. Among his many legacies was the establishment of the Press’s modern Editorial Board, comprising Princeton faculty members from different and complementary fields. Closely resembling its present form, it served the purpose of preserving and enhancing the scholarly quality of the Press’s books. Bailey’s emphasis on editorial excellence shone through his legacy. During his 32 years as Princeton’s director, the Press won some 250 prizes, including 2 National Book Awards, 7 Pulitzer Prizes, and 2 Bancroft Prizes. Included among many important PUP authors of the time were George F. Kennan, John Tyler Bonner, Herman Kahn, Richard Ullman, Herbert Feis, R. R. Palmer, Albert O. Hirschman, Richard Rorty, Robert Pinsky, Richard Feynman, Earl Miner, and Wilfred Cantwell Smith.

Herbert S. Bailey, Jr., was born in New York City in 1921 and there attended the Horace Mann School for Boys. Following his 1942 graduation from Princeton, he spent three years as a naval radar instructor in World War II. In his inaugural role as editor, he built up the Press’s offerings in the sciences and mathematics, and later, as director, in poetry and in translations. Eventually he helped move the Press into positions of publishing leadership in the social sciences and political theory while bolstering its traditional strengths in history and the humanities. This balanced scholarly publishing portfolio, reflecting the broad and inclusive intellectual character of Princeton and of liberal learning itself, continues today at the Press. William G. Bowen, president of Princeton during many of the years when Bailey was at the Press, gave Bailey credit for the exceptionally close relationship that existed between the Press and the University. “The two were seen by Bailey as highly complementary resources, and so they were.”
In the words of his successor, Walter H. Lippincott, who served as PUP’s director from 1986 through 2005, “Another important legacy was Bailey’s restructuring the Press into well-functioning departments—editorial, design, production and printing, marketing, accounting, and general management—a structure,” notes Lippincott, “that to a great extent remains in effect today.” Lippincott adds that under Bailey’s leadership, PUP built a separate printing plant, modernized its offices, and launched a highly successful paperback publication program.

Having institutionalized the modern identity and structure of Princeton University Press, Bailey exercised a commensurate influence throughout the larger world of publishing and letters. According to Sanford G. Thatcher, who served as PUP’s editor in chief under Bailey, and later as director of the Pennsylvania State University Press, Bailey played a prominent role in several important initiatives, including the National Enquiry into Scholarly Communication (1976–1979), “whose final report (published in 1979 by the Johns Hopkins University Press) made numerous recommendations that are still relevant today, including more widely distributing the financial burden for supporting the system of scholarly publishing.”

Thatcher recalls, too, that Bailey championed the adoption of acid-free paper throughout American publishing and was an early innovator in the propagation and application of computer technologies, noting his role in the Library of Congress’s Optical Disk Project Advisory Committee in the 1980s, and subsequent efforts. Adds Harvard University Library director and former PUP Editorial Board member Robert Darnton, “Herb retired Princeton’s linotype presses reluctantly, but was one of the first to foresee the possibilities of digital book delivery.”

Bailey’s 1970 book, The Art and Science of Book Publishing, originally published by Harper & Row and subsequently republished by the University of Texas Press and later by the Ohio University Press, “became a classic in its field virtually on the day of publication,” in the words of publisher Charles Scribner, Jr., and stands as an enduring testament to the breadth and depth of his command of publishing.

Beyond his contributions to PUP and to the broader world of scholarly communications, Bailey is remembered fondly as a teacher and a leader. Admired for his shrewd business sense, he was equally appreciated for the way he treated his staff and the collegiality he fostered. Joanna Hitchcock, a PUP managing editor during the Bailey years who went on to become director of the University of Texas Press, puts it as only a close colleague could: “As a leader, Herb was energetic and inspiring. Ideas were tossed around, and even junior employees were encouraged to speak out. Herb ran a tight ship and we worked hard, but the environment was challenging and there were ample opportunities for mobility and advancement. He was both idealistic and practical, imaginative, fair, and loyal to colleagues even when he disagreed with them.”

Bailey’s professional influence can best be measured in the work of younger Princeton colleagues who carried the lessons they learned from him beyond PUP’s walls into leadership roles throughout the nation. Sanford Thatcher and Joanna Hitchcock not only became distinguished and highly successful press directors in their own right, but succeeded Bailey as presidents of the Association of American University Presses. Other future directors trained by Bailey included John Irvin at Minnesota, Carol Orr at Tennessee (also a later AAUP president), and John Putnam at Northwestern. Putnam would go on to become executive director of the AAUP.

Joining Bailey in the leadership of Princeton University Press during his decades at the helm were three outstanding fellow publishers, R. Miriam Brokaw, associate director and editor, William C. Becker, associate director and controller, and Harold W. McGraw, Jr., chairman of the board of McGraw-Hill, Inc., and president of Princeton University Press’s Board of Trustees.

Mr. Becker and Ms. Brokaw served as Bailey’s closest advisers and, along with him, formed the core management of the Press. Mr. McGraw, who died in 2010, served on the Press’s board from 1962 onward for 25 years, 8 as its chairman, and provided the Press with the endowment to fund the most ambitious publishing project in its history, The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.

Bailey is survived by his beloved wife, Betty, four children, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Their sixth grandchild, Emily, passed away in 2000. After his retirement in 1986, he and Betty lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He visited the Press only a few times during his later life. A particularly notable occasion was its centennial reception in June 2005. One of the speakers that evening quoted a line from Bailey’s 1970 book—a line that rings as true today as it did then:

What makes a great publishing house are great books, written by great authors, edited by great editors, designed with taste, produced with skill and efficiency, and energetically and widely sold.

This spare, yet wise and powerful sentence stands as the goal that the current staff of Princeton University Press pursue, inspired as we are by the enduring example of Herbert S. Bailey, Jr., and by the magnificent legacy he has left us.


Peter J. Dougherty