Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

J. Alex Schwartz
J. Alex Schwartz


NIU Press named recipient of Mellon grant

March 23, 2009

Northern Illinois University Press will work with the University of Georgia Press and New York University Press on a collaborative publishing project funded with $650,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Early American Places” will attempt to counterbalance overrepresented themes in early American history, such as biographies of the Founding Fathers and studies of national politics, by instead examining developments in early North America in the specific places where they occurred.

These developments, which include war, migration, economic trade and contact between settlers, the enslaved and native people, often involved far-flung parts of the world but were experienced in the local places where people lived and worked.

By restricting its focus to smaller geographic units, but stressing that towns, colonies and regions were part of much larger networks, the series will combine scholarly sophistication with modesty of scale and attention to local matters that have largely fallen from favor.

Books in the series will be revised dissertations exclusively, thus promoting the scholarship of the first-time author.

Each participating university press will focus on specific geographic areas: NIU on the Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi Valley, including the Ohio and Missouri River Valleys; Georgia on the Southeastern colonies, the plantation economies of the Caribbean and the Gulf South; and NYU on the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic colonies, and French and British Canada.

Member presses will acquire books for the Early American Places series in accordance with its standard editorial guidelines. All copyediting and design for books in the program will occur through a single managing-editorial office run by an independent contractor. The presses will also participate in joint marketing campaigns to promote the books in the program.

“Obviously we are honored to be part of the elite group of Mellon grant recipients,” said J. Alex Schwartz, director of NIU Press. “Even more importantly, we are thrilled that during this trying economic climate, this grant will financially assist us in persisting with our long standing mission to foster the first publication of the junior scholar.”