Harvard Common Press

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Harvard Common Press
Founded 1976
Founder Larry Anderson, Kathleen Cushman, and Edward Miller
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Boston
Key people Bruce Shaw, publisher
Publication types Books
Official website www.harvardcommonpress.com

Harvard Common Press of Boston, Massachusetts, is an independent publisher of high-quality cookbooks and parenting books. Founded in 1976 in a house on the town square of Harvard, Massachusetts by Larry Anderson, Kathleen Cushman, and Edward Miller, The Harvard Common Press was purchased in 1981 by the current president and publisher Bruce Shaw. The company remains an independently owned trade publisher, housed in a loft in the South End of Boston.

Parenting Books[edit]

The Nursing Mother's Companion[edit]

In 1984, an unsolicited manuscript arrived at the company's new office in Boston. The manuscript—The Nursing Mother's Companion, by Kathleen Huggins—was the first comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding issues ever to be published. Still in print, now in its fifth edition, and with sales topping 1,000,000, The Nursing Mother's Companion remains the standard in the category. It has been the cornerstone of a childcare publishing program renowned for its combination of professional advice and nurturing support.

The Joy of Pregnancy[edit]

In 2008, The Harvard Common Press published The Joy of Pregnancy, by Tori Kropp. Kropp, a childbirth educator and perinatal nurse for more than twenty years, wrote the book in response to what she perceived as a trend of women becoming more anxious about pregnancy than necessary. She saw women in her classes who had read many pregnancy books, and became unnecessarily worried that every ache signaled some dire problem with the baby. Kropp's book aimed to provide a sound medical perspective on pregnancy, while maintaining a calm, supportive, reassuring, and candid tone that she felt was missing from other pregnancy guides.

The book was met with critical praise:

"(The Joy of Pregnancy) is a refreshing mix of medical information and helpful, nonjudgmental advice, which urges readers to inform themselves but also to relax and enjoy the special time and anticipation of pregnancy. Years of experience working with pregnant women gives Kropp a reassuring voice, and her book is sure to leave readers feeling more prepared—and less frightened—about the journey of pregnancy." - Publishers Weekly

"This deserves to be on all consumer and public library shelves, not least because it has the most up-to-date information available but because the information is so clear and compassionate. Partly in reaction to several of the current best-selling pregnancy guides, Kropp… has written a book that does not belabor potential problem areas during this ten-month journey. Instead, she gives similar coverage to both the joyful and the challenging aspects without being alarmist. Kropp keeps the excitement of pregnancy alive..." - Library Journal

Other Parenting Books[edit]

The Harvard Common Press has published many parenting reference books of note, including:


Cookbooks have likewise been a vital publishing category for The Harvard Common Press, particularly in the areas of barbecue, vegetarian, international, regional American cookbooks, appliance driven cookbooks, and books about spirits, wine, and cocktails.

Barbecue Books[edit]

In the mid-1990s The Harvard Common Press was awarded its first James Beard Book Award for Smoke & Spice and The Border Cookboo', both written by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. Other books published by Harvard Common Press include:

  • Good Spirits, by A.J. Rathbun
  • Hot Chocolate, by Fred Thompson
  • BBQ Bash, by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
  • Born to Grill, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
  • Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue, by Paul Kirk
  • The New Gas Grill Gourmet, by A. Cort Sinnes

Baking Books[edit]

The Harvard Common Press has published many books about baking, such as The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger, and dessert, including a series of books by Bon Appetit contributing editor Dede Wilson: A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes; A Baker's Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies; A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies; and A Baker's Field Guide to Holiday Candy and Confections. The field guide format and design made the books unique.

Not Your Mother's Cookbooks[edit]

In 2005, The Harvard Common Press published a slow cooker cookbook titled Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. The title fast became a new culinary catch phrase. Harvard Common Press registered the moniker and this initiated a series of books creating the Not Your Mother's series, presenting contemporary, healthful recipes that are designed for practical everyday use. The runaway success of the first book led to two more books of slow cooker recipes: Not Your Mother's Slow Cook Recipes for Two, by Beth Hensperger; and Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining, a companion volume to the first Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker book, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. The fourth book in the series, Not Your Mother's Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger, was published in September 2008. The series continues with Hensperger's Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Family Favorites in Winter 2009 and Not Your Mother's Microwave Cooking in Spring 2010.

Other Cookbooks[edit]

Other cookbooks published by The Harvard Common Press include:

  • Gadgetology, by Pam Abrams
  • Prairie Home Cooking, by Judith Fertig
  • Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons
  • Catalan Cuisine, by Colman Andrews
  • The Japanese Kitchen, by Hiroko Shimbo.
  • The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann

Travel Books[edit]

  • Paradores of Spain, by Sam Ballard & Jane Ballard
  • Pousadas of Portugal, by Sam Ballard & Jane Ballard


In 2008, the International Association of Culinary Professionals gave an award for best food styling and photography to Good Spirits, by A.J. Rathbun.

In 2003, the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards named The South American Table, by Maria Kijac, the best Latino Cuisine cookbook in the world. In 2008, it chose the book again as The Best of the Best, naming it one of the best cookbooks published in the past 12 years.


External links[edit]