Gibbs Smith, Publisher

In 1969, Gibbs Smith and his wife, Catherine, started the company known today as Gibbs Smith, Publisher.

With $12,000 in cash earned from the Smiths’ work on the movie Joe Hill, the company published four initial books, which would be used as supplementary texts in college history classes. The first few years were tough, as Gibbs and his wife, Cathy, ran the company out of their studio apartment in Santa Barbara.

In 1973, the company relocated to Utah, where Gibbs and Cathy reinvested profits back into the business and lived on savings. They spent the first summer there converting an old barn (built in 1916) on the family farm into offices. It was a race against time, as the barn had no roof and winter was rapidly approaching. During that summer they also managed to publish a new textbook, Utah’s Heritage. This proved to be a very wise decision, as the company’s textbook division provided financial stability during the early years.

Working in a semi-converted barn was challenging at times. Madge Baird, who joined the company in 1974 and now serves as Managing Editor, recalls a meeting with an author that was interrupted by the birth of a lamb.

Gibbs still believes that the unique working environment stimulates the creative side of the business, which has always been its dominant strength. "Each day, our spirits are renewed and refreshed by the sound of running water outside our windows, the feel of old log cabins located on our farm, the subtle hues of weathered barnwood, the smell of hayfields, the sight of sheep outside our windows," he says. "We feel our feet are on the earth and our minds and spirits are seeking to express only the best in the pages of our books."

Introducing selected titles. Click on the book's cover image and you will be redirected to the publisher's website where you can purchase the book:

Edible Wild Plants, Gibbs SmithEdible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate by John Kallas published by Gibbs Smith in 2010. Wild foods remains a mystery after almost 50 years of books on the subject. Many wild food guides are nothing more than catalogs of plants with no detail written by authors who have never experienced what they are writing about. Historically, people learned about wild foods from their elders. This book was written and designed in every way to serve the reader to overcome directly all the limitations. The goal is to take the mystery, not the romance, out of wild foods, to give you the tools to move forward with confidence, and to have lots of success actually using wild foods. This book provides what you really need to know to have your own wild food adventure, it full of details and maps, explanations and multiple close-up photographs. John Kallas spent his youth in a quiet suburban Midwestern neighborhood, he was fascinated with nature and with outdoor skills, building shelters, making bows…Today, trained botanist, he has a doctorate in nutrition, a master’s in education, and degrees in biology and zoology.

Language of the Robe: American-Indian Trade Blankets by Robert W. Kapoun with Charles J. Lohrmann published by Gibbs Smith. Gibbs Smith, Publisher - NeoPopRealism JournalThe subject of this title is 'a case in point.' This western garment first created by Europeans and later American manufacturers. A big segment of the literature about the American Indian trade blanket as garment is based on the knowledge of similar costuming indigenous to the Great Plains and the American Southwest. Greatly illustrated, Language of the Robe: American-Indian Trade Blankets tells about culture and about people who wore these trade blankets. The trade blanket makes a visual statement of "Indianness," and of an person's bond to traditional ways and roots. Today, trade blankets are collectibles. This book is the first account to identify, classify, and present the history of the trade blanket.
Robert W. Kapoun has lived in the Southwest for over 30 years. He's working with Native Americans whose passion for the trade blankets inspired Bob to collect and document these fabulous pieces of art.
Charles J. Lohrmann was founding editor of Four Winds magazine; he is currently a freelance writer. Charles lives in Texas.

Humankind, Gibbs SmithHumankind: An Emotional Journey
by Yoshio Komatsu and Eiko Komatsu published by Gibbs Smith in 2006. This photography book is a celebration of the humankind and its commonalities. Photographers Komatsu traveled all over the world illustrating what ties people together. Komatsu captured the lives and emotions of many people. This book shows that we all the same everywhere and talks about love, touch, feel, hope, laugh, hurt, fear, believe, try, play, rest and the need. The titles contains quotations of Ernest Dimnet, Marjorie Holmes, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Henry Ward Beecher, Mark Twain, and other important people.

Book Publishing

More pages