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Jim Leonard <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Jun 2012 12:57:17 -0400
text/plain (160 lines)
Well done, John.  --Jim Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Bird
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Save the University of Missouri Press--Facebook page and

Here is the letter I just sent the president of the university:

Dear President Wolfe:

I am Professor of English at Winthrop University in South Carolina and
the Vice President of the Mark Twain Circle of America, an international
organization with several hundred members. While I cannot speak for all
members of the Mark Twain Circle, I know I speak for the vast majority
when I say that we are very distressed at your recent decision to close
the University of Missouri Press, and we hope you will reconsider.

The press has a number of series, including Mark Twain and His Circle,
which is directed by Tom Quirk, Professor of English at University of
Missouri-Columbia. The University of Missouri Press has established
itself as the leading academic publisher of books on Mark Twain. They
published my book, Mark Twain and Metaphor, in 2007. The staff of the
press treated me and my book with utmost professionalism throughout the
process, from acceptance and editing through layout and production and
promotion.  All of the other Twain scholars who have published with the
press join me in saying that we are extremely pleased with the quality
of the work by all the staff.

Mark Twain is certainly among the most important and well-known
Missourians who ever lived. It is truly right and proper that the best
line of scholarly books on Mark Twain emanate from the state of his
birth, the state that contributed so much to his greatness as a writer.
If the University of Missouri Press does indeed close, books about him
will be published elsewhere. I consider that a crying shame and a huge
loss for your university and your state.

I join with the many voices who respectfully ask you to reconsider your
decision. The Mark Twain and His Circle series is only one of many that
will suffer if the University of Missouri Press ceases to exist.

John Bird
Vice President, Mark Twain Circle of America Professor of English
Winthrop University Rock Hill, SC 29733 [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Tracy Wuster
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Save the University of Missouri Press--Facebook page and

Hello all,

I know that many Twain scholars have been following the sad decision to
close the University of Missouri Press.  Bruce Miller and Ned
Stuckey-French have passed on the press release below and asked Twain
scholars to join the FaceBook page and sign the petition in support of
the press and the "Mark Twain and His Circle" series.

Facebook page:


Please take a minute to express your support for the press and its work
on Mark Twain.


Tracy Wuster

Bruce Joshua Miller Ned Stuckey-French
773  275-8156 850  553-9549
[log in to unmask] [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
<[log in to unmask]>


Facebook Page Attracts Hundreds; Missourians and Others Up in Arms

New University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe=92s announcement last
Thursd= ay that he was shutting down the University=92s press has
prompted a firestorm of opposition.

The Press, which was founded 54 years ago, has published approximately
2,000 titles for both scholars and the general reader, everything from a
biography of St. Louis Cardinals=92 great Stan Musial to the Collected
Work= s of Langston Hughes. The Press has also published the letters and
autobiography of favorite son Harry Truman, and now Missourians and
others have decided to =93give =91em hell.=94

Authors, teachers, librarians, Missouri alums, and readers from across
the state of Missouri and the country have voiced their outrage. Within
one day a =93Save the University of Missouri Press=94 on Facebook had
attracted ove= r
600 followers. Articles about the national reaction to the closing have
appeared already in Publishers Weekly, Inside Higher Ed, St. Louis
Today, and the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune.

Many of the letters and posts have focused on the disparity between the
fact that the head football coach at the University of Missouri Gary
Pinkel receives an annual salary of $2.7 million while the
University=92s subsidy for the Press=92s staff of ten, which designs,
edits and produces 30 titles= a year, is only $400,000.

Successful trial lawyer, UM alum and Missouri Press author Thomas Strong
wrote President Wolfe to say, =93I cannot adequately express how
offended I am by your decision. Please remove the plaque that bears my
name in a room of the law school. I will make no further financial gifts
to MU.=94

The American Association of University Presses (AAUP) issued a formal
announcement: =93The AAUP was shocked by the unexpected announcement by
University of Missouri system president Timothy Wolfe of the planned
closure of the University of Missouri Press. =85The shortsighted
decision t= o close an experienced publishing center during a time of
expansion in scholarly communications rather than to creatively benefit
from the invaluable resource of a widely respected university press is
one we hope the University of Missouri will reconsider.=94

The Press publishes scholarly series and editions devoted to the work of
Missouri-born authors such as Langston Hughes and Mark Twain, and
scholars of those authors have been some of the first to write to
President Wolfe.
Southern Methodist University professor and Hughes scholar Darryl
Dickson-Carr wrote, =93Hughes, as you know, was a native son of
Missouri, o= ne of many stellar writers born, raised, or shaped by the
state's great, rich history. I needn't tell you of the others, including
Mark Twain, who helped put Missouri at the heart of this nation's great
literary tradition. =85I urge you to reconsider because the press has
already been an excellent steward of the state's resources. It has taken
the funds invested and turned them into scholarship that documents the
history of a great state.
It has enhanced the university's mission. Without it, all of us will be

National Public Radio commentator, Seattle librarian and author Nancy
Pearl wrote, =93As a book lover, I am saddened by this decision -
especially in light of the huge disparity between what the relatively
paltry amount that University of Missouri Press needs to continue
operations in comparison to the huge amount of money that goes to
support the University's major sports teams. Something's screwy in our
values, here.=94

At the time of this release, President Wolfe had not responded to the
public outcry.