The Brown University Press dates from the publication of the first volumes of the Brown University Studies series in 1932. David Jonah, Librarian of the University and one of a three-man committee to select works to be published, ran the Press out of his office from about 1957 to 1963, when a full-time staff became necessary. The first Brown University Press Catalog of Books in Print in 1958 listed 33 titles, many in series, as Brown University Studies, Brown University Papers, and Colver Lectures. In June 1964 the Brown University Press was elected to full membership in the Association of American University Presses. The Press, with no printing facilities of its own, used local and European printers. Under the direction of a Bicentennial Publication Committee, a series of volumes, Bicentennial publications: Studies in the Field of General Scholarship, was published between 1962 and 1970. One book which the Brown University Press did not publish was Psychoceramics by Josiah Carberry (Brown University Press, 1945), which was cited in an article by Nicholas Vanserg in American Scientist in June 1958. This hoax did elicit orders for the nonexistent book by the mythical professor.
In 1981 the Brown Press, having published only four books in the preceding five years and facing annual deficits, elected to merge with seven other university publishers in the University Press of New England, which had been founded ten years earlier at Dartmouth. This action allowed the Brown Press, for an annual fee, to turn over to the University Press of New England the responsibility for editing, publishing, and marketing books which might bear the imprint of the University Press of New England or “Published by the University Press of New England for Brown University.” Under the new arrangement Professor Stephen Graubard was named the editor for Brown, and was later succeeded by Professor Ernest Sosa.