The Rio Grande Press [NO LONGER IN BUSINESS]


The Rio Grande Press [NO LONGER IN BUSINESS]

Some History about the Rio Grande Press:

The tiny village of Glorieta, New Mexico, is the home of the Rio Grande Press operated by Robert B. McCoy and John Strachan. Rio Grande Press was founded in 1962 by Robert B. McCoy, who had been executive director of the book department of Popular Mechanics magazine in Chicago. McCoy had visited New Mexico for the first time in 1957 and fell in love with the region. In 1967 Rio Grande Press moved in to an old school building, thus bringing Rio Grande Press from Chicago to the vicinity of the river that provided its name.

Rio Grande Press is strictly a reprint publisher. The only exception to this rule was Changing Ways of Southwestern Indians, which was published for the Santa Fe Corral of the Westerners. Having chosen the title "Rio Grande Classics" to identify with the Southwest, McCoy and Strachan began "to rescue old books." When McCoy began the operation in 1962 he contacted the New Mexico Historical Society, seeking its collaboration in selecting titles on New Mexico history for reprinting but received no response. Therefore, he chose titles himself and continues to make the final selection.

Where possible they add a scholarly introduction, a new index, new maps, new illustrations, and related documents that did not appear in the original book. The addition of new material is one of the most unique and distinctive features of Rio Grande Press publications. Titles reprinted by the Rio Grande Press cover a wide range of subject matter, but there are also several broad topics in which a number of books have been published. These include Indian arts and crafts, ethnography and ethno history, the Spanish period, early travel accounts, and local history. The Rio Grande Press also has done more to reprint Mexican War materials than perhaps any other publisher. A number of their titles are classics while others are important to scholars.

McCoy and Strachan feel that they have found a special niche in the publishing business because big companies cannot afford to print small numbers of a given title and small companies are limited by their resources. Despite a few great successes McCoy and Strachan explain that they really don't make much money, but after a decade and a half in the business they still find it exciting. It has been a "great adventure" and a "labor of love." Profits from good sellers are utilized to print other books. "We've got the sense of having done something that will carry into the years after we are gone," McCoy explains. "These books will be used long after we are gone."

Source: The New Mexico Historical Review, RICHARD N. ELLIS, Book Review Editor