University of Edinburgh professor and dean Frank Cogliano has graciously shared the letter he was inspired to write to my institution’s administration lamenting the scheduled demise of University of Missouri Press. It is a reminder that scholarly publishing has a worldwide reach and an impact that is felt on other continents even it often goes unnoticed in offices right across town. Of course, the following represents Frank’s opinion rather than the official position of his institution – not that we couldn’t use some Scottish intervention right about now:
Dear President Wolfe,
I am writing to you to ask you to reconsider the decision to close the University of Missouri Press. University presses play a vital role in disseminating scholarship that might not otherwise find an audience.
The University of Missouri Press has fulfilled this role admirably over the years. A brief search of the catalogs of the libraries I use most frequently reveals that the University of Edinburgh library holds 266 titles published by the University of Missouri Press. The nearby National Library of Scotland has almost 500 titles published by Missouri. These may not be huge numbers, but they are not insignificant. Moreover they demonstrate the wide range of Missouri’s reach, even as far away as Scotland. As an historian of the United States who teaches outside of the United States I can attest that the output of university presses is vital. It is sometimes very difficult to convey to British students that there is more to the United States beyond New York and Los Angeles. Publications by university presses help to fill that gap. (It’s worth observing, however, that the range of titles in our library published by your press extends far beyond Missouri-related themes.)
I appreciate that these are difficult times in higher education. We are all facing severe budget constraints. Nonetheless I ask respectfully that you reconsider the decision to close the University of Missouri Press. A quality press is one of the hallmarks of major research university. You may find you regret this decision when better times return.
Professor of American History
Dean International (North America)
School of History, Classics and Archaeology University of Edinburgh William Robertson Wing Old Medical School Teviot Place Edinburgh EH8 9AG SCOTLAND