|Parent company||Unitarian Universalist Association|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Distribution||Penguin Random House Publisher Services (worldwide)|
Publishers Group UK (UK)
|Key people||Helene Atwan, director|
Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is known for publishing authors such as James Baldwin and Viktor Frankl, as well as The Pentagon Papers.
The history of Beacon Press actually begins in 1825, the year the American Unitarian Association (AUA) was formed. This liberal religious movement had the enlightened notion to publish and distribute books and tracts that would spread the word of their beliefs not only about theology but also about society and justice.
The Early Years: 1854–1900
In the Press of the American Unitarian Association (as Beacon was called then) purchased and published works that were largely religious in nature and "conservative Unitarian" in viewpoint (far more progressive, nonetheless, than many other denominations). The authors were often Unitarian ministers—dead or alive, American or British, mostly Caucasian, and far more male than female. Many of the books were collections of sermons, lectures, and letters, balanced by volumes of devotion, hymns, and morally uplifting tales.
New Century, New Mission: 1900–1945
In the early 1900s Samuel Eliot broadened the mission of the press by publishing books dealing with ethical, sociological, philanthropic, and similar subjects, as well as those of a more strictly religious character. . . . Although books of marked theology and religious note continued to have a predominant place in Association publication, the wide interest in all subjects relating to social and moral betterment were included and the evergrowing topics of war and peace and arbitration, or national amity and racial brotherhood were represented
The Modern Era: 1945–
Under director Gobin Stair (1962–75), new authors included James Baldwin, Kenneth Clark, André Gorz, Herbert Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, Howard Zinn, Ben Bagdikian, Mary Daly, and Jean Baker Miller. Wendy Strothman became Beacon's director in 1983; she set up the organization's first advisory board, a group of scholars and publishing professionals who advised on book choices and direction. She turned a budget deficit into a surplus. In 1995, her last year at Beacon, Strothman summarized the Press's mission: "We at Beacon publish the books we choose because they share a moral vision and a sense that greater understanding can influence the course of events. They are books we believe in." Strothman was replaced by Helene Atwan in 1995.
In 1971, it published the "Senator Gravel edition" of The Pentagon Papers for the first time in book form, when no other publisher was willing to risk publishing such controversial material. Robert West, then-president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, approved the decision to publish The Pentagon Papers, which West claims resulted in two-and-a-half years of harassment and intimidation by the Nixon administration. In Gravel v. United States, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution's "Speech or Debate Clause" protected Gravel and some acts of his aide, but not Beacon Press.
Beacon Press seeks to publish works that "affirm and promote" several principles:
the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in society; the goal of the world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence; and the importance of literature and the arts in democratic life.
The King Legacy Series
In 2009, Beacon Press announced a new partnership with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. for a new publishing program, "The King Legacy." As part of the program, Beacon is printing new editions of previously published King titles and compiling Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including new introductions by leading scholars.
- Skinner House Books, another book publisher of the UUA, specializing in books for Unitarian Universalists
- Publishers Group UK – Publishers
- "Beacon Press Celebrates 150 Years of Publishing". UU World: The Magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. September–October 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Wilson, (2004), p. 209.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2010-12-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Association of American University Presses Membership Directory". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Blanshard, Paul (1948). American Freedom and Catholic Power. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Revised 2nd edition 1958.
- Blanshard, Paul. American freedom and Catholic power. Boston: Beacon Press. Second Edition, January 1, 1958
- Zinn, Howard (1964). SNCC : The New Abolitionists. Beacon Press. ISBN 9781608462995.
- Wolff, Robert Paul; Barrington Moore Jr; Herbert Marcuse. A Critique of Pure Tolerance. Boston: Beacon Press. 1965. ISBN 978-0807015599
- King, Martin Luther. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?. Beacon Press, Boston. 1967. ISBN 978-0-8070-0067-0
- G., Raymond, Janice (1979). The transsexual empire : the making of the she-male. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0807021644. OCLC 4529467.
- Baldwin, James (July 9, 1984). Notes of a Native Son. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6431-3.
- Miller, Jean Baker (1987). Toward a New Psychology of Women. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-080702909-1.
- Daly, Mary (November 12, 1990). Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1413-4.
- Marcuse, Herbert (October 1, 1991). One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1417-2.
- Canada, Geoffrey (January 31, 1995). Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0423-4.
- Meier, Deborah (November 12, 1995). The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-3113-1.
- West, Cornel (May 25, 2001). Race Matters. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0972-7.
- Oliver, Mary (November 15, 2005). New and Selected Poems: Volume One. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6878-6.
- Oliver, Mary (September 2, 2007). Thirst. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6897-7.
- Khalidi, Rashid (April 15, 2005). Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0235-3.
- Frankl, Viktor (June 14, 2006). Man's Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1429-5.
- Hall, Meredith (April 11, 2007). Without a Map. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7273-8.
- MacDonald, Michael Patrick (October 4, 2007). All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7213-4.
- Lane, Frederick S. (June 1, 2008). The Court and the Cross. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. 288 pages. ISBN 978-0-8070-4424-7.
- DiAngelo, Robin. Contrib Michael Eric Dyson. White Fragility. Beacon Press, Boston, 2018. ISBN 9780807047422
- Saini, Angela. Superior. Beacon Press, Boston, 2019. ISBN 9780807076910
- "Beacon Press to reissue Martin Luther King Jr.'s books". UU World Blog. June 1, 2009.
- Philocrites: Beacon Press launches 'Beacon Broadside' blog
- "New England Book Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- History and Mission
- Wilson, Susan. "Beacon's Modern Era: 1945–2003," Journal of Scholarly Publishing (2004) 35#4 pp. 200–209 online
- Beacon Press's Home Page
- Democracy Now! Special: "How the Pentagon Papers Came to Be Published by the Beacon Press: Mike Gravel, Daniel Ellsberg, and Robert West (audio/video and transcript)
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