News October 2022 Perspective Online

Bridwell Press

Bridwell Library has launched the new Bridwell Press, with the publication of its first book, The Antediluvian Librarians’ Secrets for Success in Seminary and Theology School, written and illustrated by four current and former Bridwell Library staff members.

The new press aims “to engage with a broad community of authors, who seek to publish creative, quality, and freely accessible works on a global scale,” according to the Bridwell Press mission statement.

“We believe there is room for new, adventurous, and diverse thinking in publishing, especially as it supports emerging scholars who may not have easy opportunities to publish,” said Anthony J. Elia, Director and J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian, Bridwell Library, SMU Libraries & Perkins School of Theology. “The press will support open source, interdisciplinary, and creatively unorthodox scholarship.”  In developing these efforts, Elia also was recently appointed as Associate Dean of Special Collections and Academic Publishing.

This first work, along with successive books due out later this year, reflect a diverse group of genres and disciplines.

“We hope to fill more than one niche, but our goal is to provide works of great and varied interest, which are also affordable: either free as e-books or at-cost for print-on-demand options,” Elia said. The press uses the Fulcrum digital publishing platform based out of the University of Michigan; its print-on-demand option is provided by the University of Chicago Press.

Over the past 70 years, Bridwell Library has published more than 100 titles under various imprints associated with its collections, from exhibition catalogs and Methodist works to biographies and occasional papers. Bridwell Press will balance Bridwell Library’s legacy with “a more openly defined space for scholarly activity,” according to Elia.

“We hope to encourage authors to cross boundaries in their work, such as religion and cooking; theology, arts, and rhetoric; ministry and martial arts; music and ethics; translation studies in areas under-served or underutilized,” he said. “While we wish to maintain the highest professional standards, we also believe that there is always room for new, adventurous and diverse thinking in publishing.”

Elia added that another goal is to support the goals of the university in its road to R1 (Research 1 University Status), especially related to scholarly content creation and academic publishing.

Bridwell Press’s first publication, The Antediluvian Librarians’ Secrets for Success in Seminary and Theology School, was a collaborative effort by four current and former staff members at Bridwell Library: Jane Lenz Elder, Duane Harbin, and David Schmersal, who co-wrote the book, and Rebecca Howdeshell, who illustrated and formatted the book.

“We are indeed very lucky to have this kind of superb talent on staff to put together our first volume, which is an outstanding work in every way,” Elia said.

Three additional books are slated for publication this fall, including Food for the Soul: The Recipes of Schubert Ogden, an abridgement of Roberto Unger’s Religion of the Future, and Marc Ellis’ First Light: Encountering Edward Said and the Late Style Jewish Prophetic in the New Diaspora.

Visit the Bridwell Press page here:

Browse offerings of the Bridwell Press and purchase hard copies here: