St. Johann Press began as a book packaging company in 1991 and then started publishing its own titles in 1998. From the beginning, it concentrated on niche markets that tended to be overlooked by the large publishers. The owner, David Biesel, has had over 35 years of experience in all phases of publishing but primarily professional, scholarly, and reference. He worked at Bowker, Macmillian, American Institute of Physics, and Scarecrow Press, among others. Both he and his wife, Diane, have been authors and series editors (Scarecrow). Diane brings to the company her 35 years as a librarian and the two share a desire to publish books that need to be done.
Although numerous others support the company in various free-lance capacities, perhaps the most important members of the in-house staff are two 16-year-old rag doll cats. Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere bring the peace and calm that are needed in a hectic operation. Their predecessors, Harry and Tuxedo, who now work at the Great Cat Publisher in the sky, were opposites. Harry, a cross between Garfield and Bugs Bunny, created havoc, while Tuxedo managed to be an executive secretary par excellence.
St. Johann Press takes its name from the old town section of Saarbruchen in Germany from where the Biesel family emigrated to the United States in 1848.