Made in America

A Brief History of Dorrance Publishing

When you decide to publish with Dorrance, you become part of over 100 years of history. This week we will take a brief look at that rich tradition, full of success and achieved dreams!

Gordon Dorrance, a member of the family that owned Campbell’s Soup Company, created a better way to publish in the early 1900s. His journey began like many other authors – with a great sense of frustration from rejection.

While in the process of editing his first manuscript, The Pocket Chesterfield, he found himself at a creative crossroads with Scribner’s. Dorrance had a difficult decision to make – either sacrifice his creative vision and cower to the publishing company, or chart a new path. To the benefit of many today, Gordon Dorrance chose to chart a new path, and found a better way to publish.

In the spirit of American entrepreneurism, Gordon Dorrance opened his own publishing company. In 1920, he was able to publish his own book under the Dorrance imprint. Dorrance’s brave move to go on his own changed the publishing world forever. He went against the grain and gave hope to people everywhere. Aspiring authors were no longer held by the whims of the select few publishers who held the keys to the literary kingdom, deciding who will, and who will not, pass. 

Over the next several decades, the Dorrance Publishing Company would build a reputation of trust, publishing a multitude of genres. Poets found their voice. History was kept honest as more and more autobiographies found themselves bound in leather and readily available. Now, the everyday man or woman could share their story, and have it for future generations to enjoy.

Dorrance Publishing itself found its way into literary history with work such as The Bonapartes in America, which was published in 1939, and Away From the Here and Now by Clare Winger Harris, a pioneering science fiction author, in 1947.

In 1955, Dorrance published a volume of poetry titled Ommateum by A.R. Ammons. This publication catapulted Ammons’ career, and he went on to win the National Book Award in 1972 and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981. 

In 1973, Dorrance published The Navajo Code Talkers by Doris A. Paul, which would achieve much success. Today, it remains the single most comprehensive historical account of the contribution of the Navajo Americans during World War II. Now with more than 50,000 copies in print, The Navajo Code Talkers was one of the first published efforts to tackle the fascinating subject of how Navajo Marines developed a code based on their own language. It was adapted into the film Windtalkers in 2002.

Thanks to Gordon Dorrance’s pioneering spirit and that light bulb moment that he had more than 100 years ago, Dorrance Publishing continues to illuminate the path for people and make their dreams of being a published author a reality.


Make your dreams come true by contacting us today!


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Publication via the Dorrance imprint is a perfect choice for the author looking for a complete, high quality, personal publishing program that leverages the expertise of publishing professionals. Find out for yourself today!

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