The Ninety-Six Press was established in 1991 at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. In July 2015 the press and its assets were formally donated to the Furman Library to become part of the South Carolina Poetry Archives.
The name of the press is derived from the old name for the area around Greenville—the “Ninety-Six District.” The old name survives in the name of the town Ninety-Six.
The Name Ninety-Six
The origin of the name is obscure, but South Carolina historian David P. George, Jr., hypothesizes that it derives from the old phrase “nine and six.” In pre-Revolutionary times, a section of the traders’ path running from Charleston to the Cherokee nation was known by this name because of a unique grouping of nine and then six streams crossing the path in the vicinity of the present-day Ninety-Six. See George’s article “Ninety Six Decoded: Origins of a Community’s Name,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 92 (1991): 69-84.
Editors and Friends
Gilbert Allen and William Rogers were the founding editors of Ninety-Six Press, and they operated the press jointly until Professor Rogers’s retirement from Furman University in 2010. Gilbert Allen continued editing the Press until his retirement in 2015. The Ninety-Six Press has published twenty-one books of poetry by South Carolina authors.
Over the years, the press has received support from the Metropolitan Arts Council of Greenville, from the Emrys Foundation, from the South Carolina Arts Commission, and from Furman University. In 2011 the press became a partner with the South Carolina Poetry Archives (established by DebbieLee Landi, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist) and the Furman University Libraries (directed by Janis Bandelin). This partnership was announced at the symposium “The Ninety-Six Press: Twenty Years of Poetry in South Carolina,” held at Furman’s James B. Duke Library on November 19, 2011.
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE PRESS
The name of the press suggests its focus upon the writers, readers, and culture of the region. The Ninety-Six Press publishes only poetry—usually, single-author books by writers who live in South Carolina. In 1994 and 2005, however, the press brought out anthologies of South Carolina poetry, and in 2003 it published a volume that contained chapbook-sized selections of poems by five South Carolina authors.
The press has operated on the premise that a number of fine poets live and work in the state, and that they need more opportunities to make their writing available to the public in attractively printed books.
The Ninety-Six Press accepts manuscripts by invitation only, and it will not be soliciting new work until further notice.