The Northern Michigan University Press was established in 1962 by Roy Heath, who was a chemistry professor. That year the press published its first book, Academic Heraldry in America, by NMU faculty member Kevin Sheard.
In the 1970s and 1980s the press was inactive. In 1993, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Michael Marsden, formed an advisory committee to explore options for reviving the University Press. This committee eventually became an editorial board. Members included James Carter, Leonard Heldreth, Stephen Hirst, Peggy House, Ronald Johnson, Paul Lehmberg, Russell Magnaghi, Beverly Matherne, John Smolens, Raymond Ventre and Harry Whitaker. The operation of the press moved to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1994.
Of the 28 titles published prior to 1999, 19 were either authored or edited by members of the NMU faculty, staff or student body. Two others were authored by persons having direct involvement on campus—one was a visiting professor, the other presented a workshop. Two additional titles were authored by persons having an indirect connection to NMU: a former member of the faculty and an individual who represented one of the university's largest benefactors.
Prior to 1999, the press, while drawing upon the talents of those connected with the university, was committed to publishing works that involve the history and culture of the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior region.
In fall 1999, Harry Whitaker, professor and then head of the Psychology Department, was named press director, and Teresa Hunt, professor and then interim head of the English Department, was named associate director. The press' editorial advisory committee was comprised of Russell Magnaghi, Neil Cumberlidge, John Smolens, Beverly Matherne and Leonard Heldreth. Its latest mandate was to publish creative and scholarly work in the humanities and sciences. In summer 2006, Whitaker resigned as director. The press is currently not publishing titles.
University Press Directors
Roy E. Heath, 1962-66; John Pat Farrell, 1966-68; Earl A. McIntyre, 1968-72; James L. Carter, 1972-93; Michael T. Marsden, 1993-1999; Harry Whitaker, 1999-2006
(Source: A Sense of Time, page 298)