Mission & History

The Oregon State University Press Mission

  • Promote the advancement of knowledge through the publication of significant scholarly books and other works that embody the fruits of scholarship and creativity.
  • Contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and social development of Oregon and the West.
  • Publish important ideas and information that otherwise might not find a forum.
  • Stimulate and recognize superior scholarship and creativity.
  • Extend the benefits of the university's teaching, research, and public service beyond the usual boundaries of the university community.

The Oregon State University Press History

For sixty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest—its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region’s literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian.

Founded in 1961 when the University adopted its current name of Oregon State University, the OSU Press at first published mainly scholarly works on the biological and natural sciences. But sprinkled throughout our list were titles about Oregon that appealed to the book-loving public. In our first year alone, we produced eight books, including Atlas of the Pacific Northwest and Winter Twigs, both of which are still available today in later editions, and the best-selling Weather of Oregon, which retailed for 75¢.

In 1961, the Eugene Register Guard heralded the arrival of the state’s first university press. “Our friends in Corvallis have stolen a march,” the editor wrote. “They have a going concern over there and … are spreading the name of their new university around the country. Few activities lend more prestige to a university than the university’s imprint on a line of books.”

Sixty years—and nearly 500 books—later, the heart of our mission is still the same. We are a scholarly publisher with distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies and we publish titles that celebrate, evaluate, invent, and illuminate the Oregon condition.

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