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Our Backstory

A Little More About Us

City of Light Publishing

City of Light Publishing has deep roots in Buffalo, New York—the lesser-known City of Light.

When Canisius College Press was told to cease publishing, Marti Gorman—co-founder of City of Light—swept in, determined not to let its beautiful books about Buffalo be locked in closets and allowed to go out-of-print. Together with Joe Bieron, the extraordinary chemistry professor at the helm of Canisius College Press, Gorman co-founded Buffalo Heritage Unlimited.

Buffalo Heritage Unlimited operated from 2006 to 2019 as Western New York’s premier book publisher. With a mission to celebrate the city’s renaissance—and to show that there’s much more to Buffalo than snow—Buffalo Heritage published beautiful books like B is for Buffalo: An Aerial Alphabet and GardenWalk Buffalo. The latter was instrumental in turning the city into a first class garden tourism destination.

After Bieron retired, Gorman added the CrissCross Applesauce imprint and began publishing children’s picture books. She also revived her original publishing imprint from the 1980s—New Idea Press—and began publishing trade nonfiction.

In 2018, Hannah Gordon joined Buffalo Heritage Unlimited as the director of marketing and publicity but quickly became an acting partner. In their first year as a team, Gorman and Gordon looked at the backlist and the industry and realized that there was the potential for something much larger. So, in September 2019, they co-founded City of Light Publishing.

The Name

City of Light is, in part, a nod to the publishing company’s hometown: Buffalo, New York. Buffalo earned the nickname City of Light in late 1800s when it became the first city to have electric streetlights. The moniker spread around the world in 1901 when Buffalo, the eighth largest city in the nation and the most most extensively lighted city of its time, hosted the Pan-American Exposition. A major feature of the Exposition was the electric lighting, which was made possible by hydroelectric power, courtesy of neighboring Niagara Falls.

But beyond being true to our roots, City of Light represents the idea that we can all be a light in the world. And if we all strive to beam the best of ourselves, soon we’ll light up even the darkest of corners.

Read more about our mission and our name here.