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Editor's note.

The twenty-five years since Legacy's founding can be measured in statistics: The journal comprises more than fifty issues, printed by four different presses, prepared by seven editors and a dozen or so editorial associates, aided by countless graduate and administrative assistants, not to mention the silent but absolutely necessary work of unpaid reader/consultants, who have anonymously evaluated essays and written wise and useful critiques. My first task is to thank you all.

The hours these colleagues have devoted to Legacy are not unrewarded, even if they were unremunerated. The greatest reward of our work is traced in the academic genealogies of four generations of scholars who have devoted part or all of their intellectual energies to the journal. This intergenerational bond is evident everywhere--in citations and bibliographies, in prefaces and forewords, at conferences and in regional chapters of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, and, in the issue before you, in the expressions of those who have written in celebration of the journal's anniversary.

As we editors conferred about how best to mark this occasion, we agreed that we should try to represent those generations and invited a group of scholars who represented the founders and their students, whose work laid a strong foundation for our research, and their students' students, a younger cohort of scholars, whose graduate training did not begin with their being forced to make the argument for the intellectual respectability of focusing on American women writers. Now their graduate students are moving into the field and beginning to submit essays to the journal.

The responses of many of those whose work has been foundational to Legacy's development have been crafted by Jennifer S. Tuttle into two thematic parts. We all felt it necessary to remember the conditions of our existence: to recount the challenges faced by the first generation of scholars who established the legitimacy of our work and to celebrate their courage and their foresight. Thus, a large part of our first conversation offers an anecdotal account of our past. Then, seeking to match the vision and foresight of our exemplars, and remaining committed to collaboration and conversational methodologies, we asked the Roundtable discussants to consider new directions we might take, some of them in response to the wealth of new technologies that make our work simultaneously easier and more complex, others of them less reactive and more directive as we seek ways to refine our theories, hone our methodologies, expand our focus, and sharpen our critique.

We see these Roundtable conversations as a beginning point for other discussions we hope to continue in the coming year--at conferences, on the SSAWW listserv, by e-mail, and in person. The Roundtable discussions also were the point of departure for several of us who have written longer essays here. Theresa Strouth Gaul, Sharon M. Harris, and I have each written essays that imagine the new goals, directions, and potentialities for our future work. Susan Belasco and Karen L. Kilcup have added essays that extend these new directions into the infrastructures of the classroom, the library, and the Internet.

In the next quarter century, we will continue to honor the best scholarship of the past while modifying and advancing its aims. With this anniversary issue, we reiterate our commitment to recovery work and to archivally based research methodologies, as well as to strengthening the infrastructural support for those activities. Retaining the journal's current focus on American women's writing from roughly the sixteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, we also intend to sharpen and redefine several of our key terms--American, women, and writers--in ways that are suggested in several of the essays included in this issue.

The Roundtable conversations make it clear that readers value not only the scholarly essays we print, but also the features that distinguish Legacy from other academic journals. In this issue, we recognize that unique part of our identity in several ways. First, as a anniversary gift to readers, founding editor Joanne Dobson has allowed us to print a chapter from her forthcoming novel. Anna's Book imagines the nineteenth-century women writers whose lives and works first captured many of our scholarly

imaginations as they may have interacted with each other and with their readers and editors. Second, in From the Archives, Shawn Michelle Smith has written a fascinating essay that establishes suggestive connections between visual cultural texts--in this case photographs--and literary scholarship, expanding our understanding of the connections of archival materials too frequently separated by genre. Third, with this issue, we announce another new feature, On Culture. Robin L. Cadwallader has written the first of these essays. Instructions for how to submit essays for this new section, as well as for Profiles, From the Archives, and Reprints, are also included.

Heeding Susan Belasco's call for attention to academic infrastructures, we anticipate using our website as an integral part of the journal's identity, increasingly including content there that does not duplicate the print journal. Anticipating that new emphasis, we plan to devote increased editorial energy to developing the website.

Knowing that Profiles have been some of the most timeless and useful features of the journal, in this issue we have included a complete index of past Profiles. Images and bibliographical information about these writers are now also available electronically in our Author Portrait Gallery. Please visit that feature of our website at <>. We owe editorial assistant Lisa M. Thomas great thanks for preparing the index and for producing the Author Gallery.

Roundtable participants and other correspondents have told us that a full index of all essays, reviews, and features would be a welcome aid to their work. We are pleased to announce that this resource is now available on the website, with live links to each essay that is available electronically. As well, we are in the process of posting abstracts of each essay.

In our anniversary-themed conversations, several words are repeated: generosity, collaboration, and mutual support chief among them. In that spirit, we invite your help in developing these electronic resources by contributing links, information, and volunteer labor.

With the publication of this issue, we note several changes in our editorial board and consultants. We thank Dorothy Z. Baker for her valuable service as a board member and for her willingness to continue to be associated with the journal as a consultant. Laura Laffrado, of Western Washington University, will join the board as its newest member. Cathy Rex (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Laura Stevens (University of Tulsa), and Cindy Weinstein (California Institute of Technology) have graciously agreed to serve as reader/consultants.

On behalf of the current editors and staff, I extend my good wishes. We all look forward with great optimism to the next era of our mutual endeavor.
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Author:Tonkovich, Nicole
Publication:Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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