Boydell & Brewer Ltd was formed in 1978. It merged two companies, Boydell Press and D.S. Brewer, whose founders, Richard Barber and Derek Brewer, were themselves scholars - Brewer a Chaucer specialist and subsequently Professor of English and Master of Emmanuel College, Barber a medieval historian and Arthurian.
In 1996 the company bought John Varey's Tamesis list and became the leading academic imprint outside Spain. Tamesis specialises in the publication of archive studies of Spanish theatrical history and scholarly editions and monographs relating to the literature, history, art and philology of the Spanish-speaking world. Recent titles include Companions to the twentieth century Spanish novel, Spanish cinema, Portuguese literature and Lope de Vega. In 2006 a new venture, Gallica, specializing in medieval French, was launched.
The Boydell Press has also become one of the leading publishers of books on classical music, with particular emphasis on British music and music of the twentieth century. Recent successes include Winton Dean's Handel's Operas 1726-1741 and a reissue of the first volume covering the composer’s operatic output from 1704, long out of print; the fourth volume of Letters from a Life, the selected correspondence of Benjamin Britten; and Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music by John Lucas. Boydell also distributes a number of music book publishers, including Plumbago Books, Toccata Press, and the English-language publications of the Paul Sacher Foundation.
Seeking to establish a presence in the US market, Boydell & Brewer entered into a partnership agreement with the University of Rochester to found the University of Rochester Press in June 1989, which now publishes between 20 and 30 books each year. Alongside publications in the fields of African studies, philosophy, and social and medical history, URP is also home to the prestigious Eastman Studies in Music series. In 1998 the US programme was extended further with Boydell & Brewer's acquisition of Camden House, a scholarly publisher of books on German and American literature and culture.
In 2008, the renowned publisher of books on African Studies, James Currey Ltd joined the Boydell and Brewer group of imprints. Founded in 1984, when James Currey left Heinemann Educational Books, this independent imprint continued his personal engagement in African publishing, which began with his first job at Oxford University Press, Cape Town, and continued through his role as publisher of the Heinemann African Writers series.
Camden House was founded in 1979, and since 1998 an imprint of Boydell & Brewer, Camden House continues its primary stress on scholarly books dealing with German-language literature and culture. In recent years it has begun also to concentrate on German film studies, American literature studies, and cultural history.
James Currey, an imprint of Boydell & Brewer since 2008, has long been recognized as the leading imprint of academic books on Africa.
Founded in 1984, when James Currey left Heinemann Educational Books, this independent imprint continued his personal engagement in African publishing, which began with his first job at Oxford University Press, Cape Town, and continued through his role as publisher of the Heinemann African Writers series (an account of those exciting years can be found in his book, Africa Writes Back, available in the UK from Boydell & Brewer).
University of Rochester Press was founded in 1989 as a unique collaboration between the University of Rochester and British academic publisher Boydell & Brewer, Ltd., the University of Rochester Press (URP) publishes books of high intellectual merit that reflect selected strengths of the university and contribute to scholarly dialogue in specific subject areas. The press sees as its mission the dissemination of scholarship to the academic community and to thoughtful general readers, particularly in the fields of musicology and music theory, African studies, European history, and the history of medicine. All manuscripts chosen for consideration by the press are rigorously peer-reviewed and brought before its editorial board for approval. We acquire and select projects—specialized monographs and contributed volumes—that fortify our established series, and that add meaningfully to the store of knowledge in these and related disciplines.