The Book Publications program aims to make the Institute list significant to the full complement of scholars working in the American colonial and early national periods and to incorporate provocative scholarship that opens up inquiry rather than defines it. Putting into print about three to six books a year, the program is small and necessarily selective. Both first-time authors and established scholars have contributed to the Institute list, distinguished by many prize-winning titles. With professional expertise in early American studies and in scholarly editing, the publications editorial team applies detailed substantive editing and copyediting to the manuscripts. As publisher of Institute books, the University of North Carolina Press gives authors the benefits of its highly skilled design, production, and marketing staffs.
The first titles appeared in 1947 and inaugurated a series of monographs and documentary editions, more than two hundred to date, that spans almost seventy years and many historiographical turns. At the outset, topics pertaining to the thirteen British mainland colonies dominated the Institute’s list. By the end of the twentieth century, the widening arc of early American studies had come to encompass native America, French and Spanish colonial North America, the Caribbean, slavery, West Africa, gender, literature, natural history, and material culture. And the transatlanticism implicit in the Institute’s initial charge to look “eastward as well as westward” is transforming into a multidirectional global perspective in the twenty-first century.