Signature Books was founded in 1980 (incorporated the next year) to promote the study of Mormonism and related issues pertaining to the Rocky Mountain area. As we began applying our vision to the particulars of editorial decisions over the next few years, a few genres emerged that have become our forte: biography, documentary reference (including the complete diaries of significant Mormon figures), personal essay, regional history, fiction (of local interest), and humor (mostly editorial cartoons). For the past twenty-five years we have released about one new title each month, or about 4,000 pages annually, which we accomplish through a full-time staff of six people.
Originally we were located in the Boston Building in downtown Salt Lake City. However, there were less expensive and more easily accessible accommodations in nearby Midvale, so for a short while we operated from the suburbs. In time we realized how much we missed the charm and benefits of the downtown area and moved back to the old Oquirrh School building at Fourth South and Fourth East. However, as picturesque and comfortable as it was, it proved to be too small, and we found ourselves out looking again—this time for a house of our own.
It was in 1992 that we found the historic Nelson Wheeler Whipple home, built in 1854 and one of the three oldest structures still standing in the valley. Although it showed its age, and, in fact, its survival was in question, we decided to rescue it and move our editorial offices there. When the restoration was complete, we also built a roomy warehouse two blocks away (although our shipping continues to be coordinated from the renovated “carriage house” behind the Whipple home).
The original founders of Signature Books were George D. Smith and Scott Kenney, assisted by a distinguished board of directors comprising historians and business leaders: Eugene E. Campbell, Everett L. Cooley, David Lisonbee, D. Michael Quinn, Allen Dale Roberts, and Richard S. Van Wagoner; and a similarly impressive editorial board: Lavina Fielding Anderson, Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Davis Bitton, Orson Scott Card, and Jay Parry.
Quoted in the Deseret News on our third anniversary, George Smith explained the purpose of Signature Books: “As a team, we are committed to expanding the scope of Mormon history,” he said, “as well as enhancing the opportunities for expression by scholars and writers within the local community.” Thinking about it recently, we have decided that this remains our intent today.
The current board of editors includes Lavina Fielding Anderson, Gary James Bergera, Lisa Orme Bickmore, Martha Sonntag Bradley, Kenneth Cannon, Ron Priddis, John Sillito, and George D. Smith.
The staff includes: Devery Anderson (electronic publishing), Jani Fleet (administrative assistant/proof-reading), Jason Francis (production), John Hatch (acquisitions), Greg Jones (order fulfillment), Keiko Jones (bookkeeping), Tom Kimball (marketing), and Ron Priddis (managing director), with George D. Smith (president and publisher) operating from his office in California, though in Salt Lake City once a month for staff meetings and for quarterly board meetings. (see also the staff page, and our emeritus page).
Signature Books trade titles can be ordered from the Chicago Distribution Center:
Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60628
Phone: (800) 621-2736 / (773) 702-7000
Fax: (800) 621-8476 / (773) 702-7212
Otherwise, to contact us directly by mail, please address your correspondence to:
564 West 400 North
Salt Lake City, UT 84116-3411
(We are sometimes asked about the street address. Yes, that’s how they do it here, with coordinates rather than street names per se.) Our telephone numbers are (voice) (801) 531-1483; (fax) (801) 531-1488; and our e-mail address: