The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
(Old) University Press Building

Through action of the Regents in February, 1930, publication activities of the University were combined in one organization to be known as the University of Michigan Press. In April, 1931, a generous alumnus, Dexter M. Ferry, Jr., offered the University the two-story fireproof building at 311 Maynard Street. He said:

I understand that the publications of the Page  1743University have been organized under the name of "University of Michigan Press." It has been my thought for some time that these activities of the University have been greatly handicapped for lack of adequate facilities and unification, thereby not permitting it to keep pace with the possibilities of output of a university with the standing of the University of Michigan. It is my hope by this gift that not only may the present output be more satisfactorily handled but that the additional facilities and centralization may be an encouragement to further output, better quality and expansion of the University of Michigan Press idea.


(R.P., 1929-32, p. 607.)

The Regents promptly adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, That this Board accept with profound gratitude Mr. Ferry's generous gift, with the conviction that he has rendered to the University of Michigan a distinguished service in a field in which assistance is highly desirable and especially welcome …


(R.P., 1929-32, p. 608.)

The building had been erected in 1907 by Harry McClure, who was owner until 1931. It is 52 by 132 feet in dimension and was considered strong enough to carry an additional floor. One of the first buildings in Ann Arbor with reinforced concrete piers, it had for twenty-four years withstood the weight successively of a garage, a bowling alley, a miniature golf course, and the heavy machinery of a broaching factory and of a gasoline gauge plant.

It was remodeled under the direction of Professor Lewis M. Gram, for which purpose Mr. Ferry contributed an additional $5,000.

Early in 1932 the Printing Office was separated from the Binding Department and moved into the first floor of the University Press Building. The Printing Office was then and has continued to be a service enterprise for the University as a whole, producing a wide range of printed material for all units. The first Superintendent of Printing was Gustave Dicks, who supervised its activities until late 1934. Miss Edna Mulholland, Assistant Superintendent, then took over its management until June, 1935, when its present Manager, Edward E. Lofberg ('30), was appointed.

Coincidental with the expansion of printing facilities, book production under the aegis of the University Press was increasing rapidly. Sales of University publications were being handled in various places and a decision was reached in 1938 to centralize all of them. Stocks of all books and other publications were moved into the second floor of the University Press Building, and a mailing room was equipped for packaging orders. The manager of the Printing Office was charged additionally with operational activities of this new distribution center and with organization of a sales office for mail orders and direct purchases of University Press and departmental publications.

Both departments, the Printing Office and the Sales Office of the University Press, have expanded with the growth of the University, taxing to the limit the capacity of the once-ample quarters so generously provided by Mr. Ferry.

From 1931 to 1945, the offices on the second floor were used for various editorial purposes, including the editing of the Journal of Health and Physical Education and the Research Quarterly. From 1945 until 1956 the offices were occupied by the Official and Museums publications of the University Press. The building was sold in 1955 and plans were made for a new University Press Building on Maynard Street and for a new Printing Office building on the north campus.