InterVarsity Press began right before World War II as a small service branch of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) campus ministry, which had its U.S. beginnings in the 1939-1940 academic year. At first we simply imported books from our sister movement in Great Britain for use by college students and IVCF chapters in the United States. Our first home-grown publication was a Bible study guide, Discovering the Gospel of Mark, written by an IVCF staff member and published in the 1943-1944 academic year. In 1947 a formal publishing program was established and IVP made arrangements for distribution of its books to be handled by Fleming H. Revell (which did so until 1960). In 1951 Joe Bayly resigned as a regional director for IVCF to become the head of IVP. (The next year he also became editor of HIS Magazine, a publication for college students.) In 1952 IVP sold 178,000 books and booklets.
In 1960 our editorial offices moved from Havertown, Pennsylvania, to Chicago where the IVCF offices were then located. At the same time Elizabeth Leake was named to manage IVP. The 1960-61 total list of books in print included 48 books and 20 booklets. By 1965, when James Nyquist became IVP director, this list had grown to 86 books and 22 booklets. The next year brought the landmark publication of How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little. It remains one of our top titles to this day. In 1966 we also moved our offices from Chicago to Downers Grove, approximately 30 miles west.
In 1968 Jim Nyquist became IVP's full-time director and Jim Sire became IVP's first full-time editor. Four other full-time employees filled out the staff. Shortly afterward, we began publishing Francis Schaeffer's works—which put IVP on the map as a publisher of note. The IVP Book Club (1965) and the bookstore Rack program (1971) gave us a solid sales base and continue to be important parts of our publishing program.
In 1984 Linda Doll moved from the editorship of HIS Magazine to the directorship of IVP. The next year LifeGuide Bible Studies were launched; they have now sold over 15 million copies. When Linda Doll decided to go back to editing in 1990, Ken DeRuiter became executive director of IVP.
In that same year, the award-winning Dictionary of Christianity in America was released. While over the years we had published many reference books created in Great Britain, this was the first of many major reference books originating in the United States. In 1994 we published our first Bible, The NIV Quiet Time Bible.
We had built our own warehouse/distribution center in nearby Westmont during 1979. In January 1995, after 29 years in Downers Grove, IVP moved to new offices constructed adjacent to the distribution center. Then in 1997, after Ken DeRuiter's retirement, Bob Fryling joined IVP as director. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. by IVP editors Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll was written in 2006 as an anecdotal history of InterVarsity Press, summarizing leading authors and books that shaped evangelicalism in the 20th century. In 2016, after years of leadership as sales and marketing director, Jeff Crosby was named IVP publisher.
In 2017 we became North America's distributor for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), the United Kingdom's leading Christian publisher. Read more about this expanded partnership, or read the press release.
Today InterVarsity Press has a staff of nearly one hundred, working together to publish more than one hundred titles every year. Our catalog lists more than one thousand books, Bible studies, and booklets. Many of our books are recognized as enduring classics, staying in print for years. Sales have grown steadily over the decades, with our distribution center now shipping more than 2.3 million books each year. Our books are distributed around the world and translated into dozens of languages.
We count it an honor and privilege to participate in the work of Christian publishing, and we pray that our efforts will continue to equip, edify, and challenge people in every generation—heart, soul, mind and strength.