August 6, 2012
 
 Mr. Timothy Wolfe, President
 University of Missouri
 321 University Hall
 Columbia, MO 65211

 
 Dear Mr. Wolfe:
 
 It is with sorrow and regret that we ask to reclaim the licenses and
rights for the six volumes in the Missouri Sesquicentennial Edition of
the History of Missouri Series and the Dictionary of Missouri Biography
published by the University of Missouri Press.  We do so because we
firmly believe that the new model offered as a replacement for the
existing press will be unable to sustain the quality and high standards
that all serious scholars expect and deserve.  Moreover, if the present
ill-conceived design prevails unaltered, we will be unwilling to assist
or support the proposed venture in any way.  It is our considered
opinion that the vast majority of academics at the University of
Missouri and elsewhere will choose to follow a similar course.
 
 Our associations with the University of Missouri and the University of
Missouri Press have been varied and run deep.  Our UMP publications
serve as core components in the field of Missouri studies.  The Missouri
Sesquicentennial Edition of the History of Missouri Series, initiated
and underwritten by the University of Missouri, is the gold standard for
comprehensive state histories; the Dictionary of Missouri Biography is a
popular and oft-cited reference work, and the numerous other books we
have authored or edited for UMP have been mainstays on its Missouri
list.  Each of these titles can be found in most Missouri libraries
(school and public) as well as in the collections of the nationís
leading university and research libraries.  Furthermore, all of us have
served as readers, editors and consultants for the UMP across many
years.  
 
 Regional and state topics occupy a prominent place on
the publication lists of virtually all university presses, and from its
inception the UMP has provided a valuable service to the state and its
people by serving as the publisher of choice for Missouri-based studies
of a high order.  The proposed reconfiguration of the UMP assuredly will
eliminate that vital avenue for publication and adversely affect
scholarship in these important areas.
 
 We understand that fiscal constraints and changing technologies compel 
those in authority to evaluate and assess each of the university's 
existing programs, and a comprehensive cost benefit analysis is an 
essential element of that process.  Regrettably in this instance, the 
assessment and resulting prioritization of the UMP appear to have grossly 
underestimated its contributions to scholarship and learning and failed 
to fully appreciate its importance for the University, the state of 
Missouri, and the larger world of scholarship.  The nationwide media 
coverage accorded the announcement of the UMP's closure and the ensuing 
outpouring of protests from a diverse array of interested parties provide 
tangible evidence of its stellar reputation.  Additionally, our dealings 
through the years with the UMP's talented and highly professional staff 
embolden us to suggest that they are deserving of better treatment than 
they seem to have received.  The reinstatement of Clair Willcox and John
Brenner would go a long way towards the restoration of confidence in the
UMP's future course.
 
 These are complex issues and changes will undoubtedly be required at the 
UMP, but we respectfully urge you to consider alternative options that 
will lead to the outcomes that all of us want.  Meanwhile, we eagerly 
await your decision on returning licenses and rights to the books 
described above.
  
 Sincerely,
 
Lawrence O. Christensen
Curators Teaching Professor Emeritus and Thomas Jefferson Fellow of the
University of Missouri
 
William E. Foley
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Central Missouri and 
General Editor of the Missouri Biography Series
 
Richard S. Kirkendall
Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
 
Gary R. Kremer
Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri
 
Lawrence H. Larsen
Professor Emeritus of History, UMKC
 
Perry G. McCandless
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Central Missouri
 
William E. Parrish
Professor Emeritus of History, Mississippi State University and Editor 
of the Sesquicentennial History of Missouri Series
 
Kenneth H. Winn
Author and co-editor of the Dictionary of Missouri Biography
 
Copies:  
Steven Graham
Speer Morgan