Johns Hopkins Press moves to a place of its own

BOOKS & AUTHORS

March 28, 1993|By James H. Bready

The Johns Hopkins University Press has dwelt under many roof since 1878, but none was ever its own. Always its directors, editors, art directors, marketers and business people, housed now on campus, now off, were renters. But in 1993, at 2715 N. Charles St., in four stories of wholly renovated, single-occupant, 1897 building, at last the press has a home all its own.

Jack Goellner and his 112-member staff held open house the other day for book-trade guests, with justified pride. JHUP now is both the nation's oldest continuous university press operation and its newest.

The tour led past more shelving than in some libraries; intercom to negate those stairs, plus elevator; parking lot; two-story boardroom walled by about 4,000 books -- virtually every title JHUP has ever published; room to expand, in the cellar; and office of the director, who still uses a manual typewriter.

Long ago, No. 2715 was a church. The rounded interior arches are still there, on the top floor; and one of the 40 learned journals published by JHUP is the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

Annually since 1918, a new book of O. Henry Memorial Award stories has appeared, chosen from general-reader and "little" magazines. "Prize Stories of 1993" is out (edited by William Abrahams; Doubleday, $25) and two of its 23 entries are by Baltimoreans.

Stephen Dixon's "The Rare Muscovite" appeared originally in a Utah magazine; Josephine Jacobsen's "The Pier-Glass," in a Missouri magazine. These two grandmasters of the short story tell -- respectively, compellingly -- of a Moscow tourist guide and an American vacationing in the Caribbean. Ms. Jacobsen, of course, is one of the leading poets in the country as well as a fiction writer; Mr. Dixon teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and has had more than 300 short stories published.

The "old" New Yorker leads, with four stories. Of the 153 magazines scanned for 1993's contest, the only Maryland magazine was Antietam Review, published in Hagerstown.

Baseball (cont.): Rand McNally, the map publisher, has entered the game with "Official Baseball Atlas: A Sports Travel Guide" (paper, $12.95). It offers 28 major-league parks' worth of street maps and game schedules, and parking, restaurant and lodging advice. On one of its four cover maps -- Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Phil Woods, the Baltimore sports-mnemonics whiz, was the book's baseball consultant. . . . The 20th century started horribly for Baltimore, with its Orioles ejected from the majors in 1903, its downtown conflagrated in 1904. Small wonder if, as the century ends, few facts from that period linger in mind. Yet this was when the American League began, home plate became five-sided, sportswriters attained bylines. And 1901 was the only time the Orioles' uniforms (on the road: blue and orange) ever bore the single letter O. Now Marc Okkonen, biographer of the abortive 1914-15 Federal League, has made those times visual, in his "Baseball Memories, 1900-1909: An Illustrated Chronicle of the Big Leagues' First Decade" (Sterling, $30). For anyone who cares about baseball's past, essential. . . . The pasture for elderly sportswriters now attracts young history professors. And for many a book of baseball look-back, the publisher is a university press. In "Baseball: A History of America's Game" (University of Illinois Press, $24.95), Benjamin G. Rader of the University of Nebraska tells it impartially and well, at 1842-1990 length, and in a mere 216 pages. Contemplating the 1894-95-96 Oriole champions, Mr. Rader is struck by their Irishness.

Sylvan M. Shane of Baltimore is the author of "The Divorce: a Lawyer-Bashing Epic" (Lowry & Volz, $19.95), a first-person novel (partially reprised in the book as a one-act play, "Thou Shall Not"). Dr. Shane, an anesthesiologist and dentist, counts it his 13th book.

A reading by Marta Knobloch, and reception in honor of her new collection of poems, "Sky Pond" (S.C.O.P. Press, $9.95), will be at 3 p.m. today at the College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St.

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