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Walter Johnson and his brother-in-law Kurt Jacoby founded the Academic Press on 125 E. 23rd Street, New York, in 1941. Their publishing activities concentrated on scientific books and textbooks.

Walter Johnson (previously Jolowicz) had been a co-owner of the Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft (AV) in Leipzig. The AV was founded by his father Leo Jolowicz in 1906 and was one of the top science publishers in Europe. Kurt Jacoby, who had previously worked for Springer-Verlag, started working at the AV in 1923. On November 10, 1938, both Johnson and Jacoby were arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, but were subsequently released. Soon after, they fled Germany, arriving in New York City between 1941 and 1942, traveling through the USSR and Japan.

In 1969, Academic Press was acquired by Harcourt, Brace & World. Reed Elsevier bought Harcourt in 2000, and Academic Press is now an imprint of Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific books.


Abel, Richard, and William Gordon Graham, eds. Immigrant publishers: The Impact of Expatriate Publishers in Britain and America in the 20th Century. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2009.

Beschler, Edwin F. "The Immigrants Academic Press: Walter J. Johnson and Kurt Jacoby." Cornell University Department of Economics, 2007. Web. 03 Dec. 2012.

Fischer, Ernst. Verleger, Buchhändler und Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933. Stuttgart: Verband Deutscher Antiquare, 2011.

  • Location: New York
  • Period: 1941-1969
  • Publisher(s): Walter Johnson (1908, Leipzig - 1996, New York); Kurt Jacoby (1893, Insterburg - 1968 New York)
  • Main Focus: Scientific books and Textbooks
  • Number of Titles Published: unknown