Story Press Records

Dates: 1977-1993
Size: 1 linear foot
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: A00007
Provenance: Donated by Richard Meade in 2013.
Access: No restrictions. Patrons, please request material 24 hours in advance of research.
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Story Press Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Processed by: Johanna Russ, January 2016

Historical Note

On September 11, 1978, David Meade, Richard Meade, Carol J. Evans, Robert Hass and Judith Sensibar incorporated Story Press in Chicago, with an initial investment of just $2,300. Richard Meade’s vision for his new, small publishing company was to publish collections of short stories by regional writers who had never published books. At that time, small presses focused on poetry, and Meade wanted to promote the short story genre. His father, David Meade, had worked as an editor and assisted Richard with the press.

Meade continued to work on his English PhD at the University of Chicago and to teach while serving as Story Press’s publisher and editor. Though the books were well reviewed and Story Press was successful in earning grants and literary prizes, running a small press was, for Meade, a labor of love. He never expected to turn a profit. By 1985, correspondence shows that Meade was having trouble funding the venture. In 1986, Meade had begun working at another Chicago publisher, Nelson-Hall. By 1987, there were rumors in the literary world that Story Press had gone out of business. Correspondence reveals that it was simply dormant, and Meade published one more book in 1988 before officially closing shop in 1991. In a little over a decade, Story Press published nine books.

Scope and Content

The collection gives a good portrayal of the workings of a small press, including acquiring manuscripts, the editing process and funding the enterprise through grants and literary prizes. It primarily includes correspondence and reviews, with some administrative files covering articles of incorporation, copyright permissions, contracts and funding. A large portion of the correspondence files consists of letters from authors seeking a publisher for their work. The correspondence series also includes letters from a handful of authors published by Story Press written to Richard Meade. These letters reveal real friendships between author and publisher and range from discussing the business of writing and publishing to family and personal updates to conversation about what each has been reading. The reviews cover most of the books published by Story Press and appeared in regional and national publications.

Arrangement/Series Description

The collection is arranged in three series:

Series 1: Administrative Files
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Reviews

Separated Materials

The following books, published by Story Press, were also donated by Richard Meade, along with the records described above. They have been added to Chicago Public Library’s catalog and can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room.

  • The Hour of the Sunshine Now: Short Stories by Norbert Blei, 1978.
  • The Monkey Puzzle Tree: Short Stories by Florence Chanock Cohen, 1979.
  • Squid Soup: Stories by Michael Mooney, 1980.
  • Swimming the Channel: Poems by Richard Meade, 1981.
  • August Heat: Short Stories by Richard Dokey, 1982.
  • What the Moon Said: Short Stories by Geoffrey Clark, 1983.
  • Crimes of Passion: Short Stories by David Jauss, 1983.
  • Nobody is Ever Missing: Stories by June Rachuy Brindel, 1984.
  • Ruffian on the Stair: Short Stories by Geoffrey Clark, 1988.

Subject Headings

  • Blei, Norbert
  • Brindel, June Rachuy
  • Clark, Geoffrey, 1940-
  • Cohen, Florence Chanock
  • Dokey, Richard
  • Jauss, David
  • Meade, Richard, 1946-
  • Mooney, Michael, 1939-
  • Small presses
  • Small press books

Container List

Series 1: Administrative Files

Scope and Contents

Of note in this series is a promotional blurb from Gwendolyn Brooks.


This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Box 1 Folder 1 Address book and account book, 1977-1983
Box 1 Folder 2 Account book, 1982-1986
Box 1 Folder 3 Articles of Incorporation, 1978
Box 1 Folder 4 Blurbs, 1978-1983, undated
Box 1 Folder 5 Contracts, 1978-1983
Box 1 Folder 6 Literary awards and prizes, 1978-1985, undated
Box 1 Folder 7 Original art by Inara Cedrins. Illustrations for Richard Dokey’s August Heat. Postmarked from Chesterton, Indiana, 1981 May 26
Box 1 Folder 8 Permissions for Geoffrey Clark’s What the Moon Said, 1973-1982

Series 2: Correspondence

Scope and Contents

This series includes general correspondence and correspondence with individual writers. Occasionally letters from the individual authors for whom there are separate folders also appear in the general correspondence files, so researchers are encouraged to consult both areas.


General correspondence is arranged chronologically, and correspondence with individual writers is arranged alphabetically by correspondent's last name.

Box 1 Folder 9 General Correspondence, 1978
Box 1 Folder 10 General Correspondence, 1979
Box 1 Folder 11 General Correspondence, 1980
Box 1 Folder 12 Fan Letters, 1981-1983, undated
Box 1 Folder 13 General Correspondence, 1981
Box 1 Folder 14 General Correspondence, 1982
Box 1 Folder 15 General Correspondence, 1983
Box 2 Folder 1 General Correspondence, 1984
Box 2 Folder 2 General Correspondence, 1985
Box 2 Folder 3 General Correspondence, 1986-1987
Box 2 Folder 4 Norbert Blei correspondence, 1977-1993, undated
Box 2 Folder 5 Geoffrey Clark correspondence, 1981-1992
Box 2 Folder 6 Richard Dokey correspondence, 1979-1987
Box 2 Folder 7 David Jauss correspondence, 1982-1987
Box 2 Folder 8 Michael Mooney correspondence, 1979-1986, undated

Series 3: Reviews

Scope and Contents

This series includes articles about Story Press and scrapbooks, originally kept as binders, with reviews of multiple books from the publisher. Information about programs and advertisements and mailers from Story Press also appear. Also in Series 3 are reviews about individual titles. Reviews for books for which there are separate folders also appear in the scrapbooks, so researchers are encouraged to consult both.


Reviews about Story Press generally are arranged chronologically. Reviews about individual titles are arranged alphabetically by author's last name.

Box 2 Folder 9 Reviews and articles about Story Press, 1978-1979, undated
Box 2 Folder 10 Review of Story Press books, 1984 April
Box 2 Folder 11 Scrapbook, 1978-1982 [contains many reviews of The Hour of the Sunshine Now by Norbert Blei.]
Box 2 Folder 12 Scrapbook, 1978-1990
Box 2 Folder 13 Reviews of What the Moon Said by Geoffrey Clark, 1983-1985
Box 2 Folder 14 Reviews of The Monkey Puzzle Tree by Florence Chanock Cohen, 1979, undated
Box 2 Folder 15 Reviews of August Heat by Richard Dokey, 1982-1983
Box 2 Folder 16 Reviews of Swimming the Channel by Richard Meade, 1981-1982
Box 2 Folder 17 Reviews of Squid Soup by Michael Mooney, 1980-1982


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