McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, was founded in the spring of 1979 by Robert McFarland Franklin. McFarland is located in Jefferson, North Carolina, a small Appalachian town in the northwestern corner of the state (close to both Tennessee and Virginia). From the beginning, McFarland has been a library-oriented publisher, producing comprehensive reference works and scholarly monographs on a variety of subjects. The books are manufactured to the highest specifications. They have the best design in the business, the best typography (with minutely reworked fonts for grace and easy reading), readability-oriented editing, and the finest available printing (acid-free, strong opacity paper with extra-sturdy cloth, board and paper bindings).
McFarland is now one of the leading publishers of academic nonfiction in the United States, offering about 7500 titles in print. McFarland publishes more than 350 new titles each year for a worldwide market; almost all new books are published simultaneously in a print edition and an ebook edition. In addition to academic libraries, McFarland books have found a home with enthusiasts and savvy individuals. For example, McFarland is recognized for its serious works in such popular fields as pop culture (especially film), sports (especially baseball) and automotive history.
McFarland announced the launch in November 2016 of Exposit Books, an imprint combining popular nonfiction topics such as true crime with a serious approach. In 2019, McFarland launched Toplight Books, a nonfiction imprint focusing on body, mind, and spirit.
In addition to “McFarland” being a family name for founder Robert Franklin, it was in part chosen because of a strong North Carolina and Tennessee heritage. One early namesake, Robert McFarland, was an officer at the Battle of Kings Mountain, later spent time in or near the Ashe County, North Carolina area, then went on to become the first ever sheriff of Greene County, Tennessee. That McFarland’s grandson, Robert McFarland, fought at Vicksburg and was a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court in the 1870s and 80s. There’s also a Scottish connection. The “McFarland’s Lantern” of Scottish folklore has been incorporated into the company logo, and the clan tartan appears on the company banner.