Press Of Virginia Names New Director University Of Chicago Press
21, 2001-- The University Press of Virginia has named
Penelope "Penny" J. Kaiserlian, associate director and
editorial director of the University of Chicago Press, as its new
director. Her appointment takes effect in mid-August.
succeeds Nancy Essig, who retired in April after 12 years at the
helm. Essig is credited with doubling Virginia Press sales to nearly
$2 million a year and boosting its visibility and reputation through
publishing such books as "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings:
An American Controversy" by Annette Gordon-Reed.
the No. 2 executive at the University of Chicago Press, brings a
wealth of management experience and editorial judgment to Charlottesville
from the nations top academic publisher, which has annual
book publishing income of more than $20 million.
went into the search hoping to find someone with the experience,
the smarts and the leadership ability to ensure the University Press
of Virginia a place in the first rank of American university presses,"
said Raymond J. Nelson, Kenan Professor of English at the University
of Virginia and chairman of the search committee. "Penny has
all those abilities and more."
director of the University of Chicago Press since 1983, Kaiserlian
has served on its executive committee since 1978. As such, she has
set policy, mapped strategy, projected sales and developed budgets.
She also has participated in major personnel decisions, negotiated
book deals and assisted with public relations.
editorial director of the Chicago Presss books division, she
has overseen acquisitions of new book projects, manuscript editing
and contracts. She has managed a staff of 38 and a $3 million budget,
and advised editors on a broad array of issues, such as fundraising
for specialized publications.
has served as Chicagos acquisitions editor for special projects,
selected reference books and style manuals. She has acquired and
handled eight to 10 books a year in these areas, in addition to
managing acquisitions in geography and the history of cartography.
The Association of American Geographers recognized Kaiserlians
contributions in 1999 when it lauded the University of Chicago Press
for "exceptional support of scholarship on the history of cartography,"
citing a decade of publications in the field as well as the Chicago
Presss ongoing History of Cartography project.
also has developed major revision projects, such as the fifth and
sixth editions of Kate Turabians "A Manual for Writers
of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations" and the 14th
and 15th (forthcoming) editions of "The Chicago
Manual of Style." The style manuals 14th edition
has been the most successful, selling twice as many copies as the
previous publishing experience includes stints as marketing manager
for the University of Chicago Press, as exhibits manager for Plenum
Publishing Inc. in New York, and as a sales representative for Pergamon
Press Inc. in the mid-Atlantic states, including Virginia.
holds a bachelors degree in honors English from Exeter
University in England.
look forward to moving from a great private university to a great
public university and leading the University Press of Virginia through
its next stage of growth," Kaiserlian said. "With financial
support from the Mellon Foundation and the University of Virginia,
the Press is poised to launch a new digital imprint and explore
other new ways of publishing scholarly works."
takes over a healthy operation.
university presses are in as solid financial shape as Virginia,
which is a testament to Nancy Essig's leadership and the creative
work of the staff," Kaiserlian added. "I hope to
continue the good work of the Press in the scholarly disciplines
in which it has made a name, and to develop the Press's presence
in the region."
University Press of Virginia was founded in 1963 to publish academic
work, especially scholarly monographs, for institutions of higher
education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It now publishes 50 to
60 titles a year.
keeping to its original mission, the Virginia Press in the past
five years has published more trade and regional titles, including
coffee-table books and guidebooks with a Virginia focus and considerable
commercial appeal. These titles include "Fruits and Fruit Trees
of Monticello," by Peter Hatch; "Architecture of Jefferson
Country," by K. Edward Lay; and the lavishly illustrated "With
Paintbrush and Shovel," the story of a unique federal Works
Progress Administration project that created a wildflower sanctuary
in Petersburg, Va.
University Press of Virginia is nationally recognized for its series
in Victorian studies, Francophone literature in translation and
the Civil War. In recent years, it has launched academically progressive
series in New World Studies, edited by A. James Arnold of U.Va.;
the history of the American South, edited by Edward L. Ayers, U.Va.s
newly appointed dean of Arts & Sciences; and the countrys
first series in eco-criticism, a nature-oriented literary study.
spring, the Press won a grant from the Mellon Foundation, matched
by funds from U.Va., to create the first electronic imprint devoted
to publishing original digital scholarship in the humanities. A
search for the imprints manager is under way.
Saunders, University Press of Virginia interim director and search
committee member, said Kaiserlians challenge will be to build
sales while strengthening the academic reputation of the press and
broadening its scope.
expect her to help us consolidate our current position," Saunders
said. "Were competing with other presses for authors
whose books sell well, cross-over books of interest to the general
reader. We want to get these authors second books as well
as their first. Penny is adept at that kind of acquisitions effort."
Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858