Herbert Warren Richardson (born April 14, 1932) is an American professor of theology, an ordained Presbyterian minister, and the founder of The Edwin Mellen Press, which describes itself as "a non-subsidy academic publisher of books in the humanities and social sciences."
Herbert Warren Richardson was born in 1932. Richardson is the great grandson of Isaac Adams, a Massachusetts State Senator and the inventor of the Adams Power Press. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio and pledged an interracial fraternity, where his friends included James Lawson, the activist and an architect of the civil-rights movement. In 1963, Richardson earned his doctorate at Harvard Divinity School where he later he served as an assistant professor, until 1968.
He was the first professor appointed to the HDS faculty who was trained by it, which he served "with unusual elan" as a teacher and scholar.
As a scholar of religious studies, Richardson made a name for himself early on, publishing a translation of the works of St. Anselm of Canterbury and an early exploration of American theology. During the height of the ecumenical movement in the late 1960s, he left Harvard for the University of St. Michael's College, a Roman Catholic institution that is part of the University of Toronto. In 1970, he was invited to become a Gastprofessor at the University of Tübingen. There, he learned wissenschaftlich publishing, also known as "S4S" ("scholar-for-scholar") publishing.
In 1972, four years into his time at St. Michael's, Richardson started his own scholarly press. The business was called Edwin Mellen Press, after his grandfather. The Press' original goal was to publish dissertations by graduate students from his department at St. Michael's. Soon thereafter, the Press wasn't just publishing dissertations from the department, but also dissertations from outside the University. The press published books on topics as varied as the health problems of migrants living on the border of Thailand and Burma to the role of parrots in fiction.
By 1979, the press had grown large enough that the business moved out of the basement and opened up shop in Lewiston, NY, a village just across the Canada–US border near Niagara Falls. The press grew and was publishing as many as 150 titles each year. In 2013, The Press claimed that universities around the world own their published books, including the University of London, with 4,926 of its books, and Harvard University, with 4,731.
In 2013, Richardson made national news when he sued librarian and blogger Dale Askey for libel after Askey criticized the quality of Mellen's books in a blog post. According to coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 30 scholarly organizations condemned the press, which maintained that its good reputation was at stake and had prompted the suit. The matter was settled, without payment, in February 2015. In the 1990s, Richardson brought a similar suit against the magazine Lingua Franca for its coverage critical of the company.
In 1998, Richardson befriended Margot Lipton, a former secretary to Robert Kempner, (a German-born American lawyer who served as assistant U.S. chief counsel during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg). Shortly thereafter, Lipton signed her legal decision-making power over to Richardson. He moved her to an assisted-living facility in Lewiston, NY. In November 1998, Richardson persuaded Lipton to move Kempner's estate, which she was given power of by Kempner's will, to a white clapboard two-story house in Lewiston. On the house's front lawn, a wooden sign advertised "The Robert Kempner Collegium." In 1999, detectives looking for parts of the collection met with Richardson. He said "he was trying to help them... and make sure the Kempner collection was preserved." He then "agreed to relinquish" to the Holocaust Museum a set of Nazi documents that had come into his hands.
In 2013, Richardson was involved in the discovery and relinquishment of the missing for 67 years diary of Alfred Rosenberg, one of Hitler's most long-standing leading supporters, convicted and hanged for his war crimes in 1946. The loose-leaf diary pages, dating from 1936 through 1944, was also held by Robert Kempner until his death in 1993 at age 93. According to reports, the diary was then given to Richardson for "safe-keeping." The diary was recovered by U.S. ICE agents in June 2013 and is now in the possession of the Holocaust Museum.