The early 1990s were an exciting time for the Hanover College History Department. New hires and a revision of the curriculum had energized the faculty. Students were dynamic and energetic. The time was right for ambitious projects.
Aided by supportive colleagues and enthusiastic students, Professor Frank Luttmer took the lead in proposing a journal that would publish student papers and documents related to the field of history at Hanover College. Submissions could come from students in any department of the College. An editorial board of students would select the papers and documents chosen for the journal, and also edit and annotate them as needed. The first student editorial board was headed by Valerie C. Parsons. She was assisted by Starratt Alexander, James Bednar, Christina Hartlieb, Lisa Obringer, Erec Reichardt, David Shine, Jr., and David J. Voelker. Professor Luttmer provided support to the editors in the early stages of preparing the journal, while Professor Daniel Murphy helped oversee the final copyediting for the printer.
The inaugural issue of The Hanover Historical Review appeared in Spring 1993. Featuring several strong student papers and a symposium on James Agee and Walker Evans' Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), the journal was a great success. The HHR flourished for the rest of the decade and into the beginning of the next century, but was published only sporadically after Professor Lutmer's illness and untimely death.
At the outset of the 2016-17 academic year, the Hanover College History Department decided to resume publication of the Hanover History Review, provided that we could find sufficient support for this project among our students. Twelve of our students immediately volunteered to serve on the HHR's editorial board: Jenna Auber, Caroline Brunner, Abigail Carrington, Mersadi's d Curtsinger, Jacob Domalewski, Rebecca Duke, Meghan Lanter, James Macumber, Hannah Markisohn, Falyn Moncrief, Hope Westmoreland, and Eric Woodruff. Senior Medieval and Renaissance Studies major Mersadi's d Curtsinger agreed to serve as the Senior Editor for the HRR this year, while Caroline Brunner and Hannah Markisohn served as Junior Editors. Working with this group of eager and diligent students has turned out to be a great joy for us faculty members. The result of their diligent efforts may be found within the covers of this latest volume of the HHR.
Throughout the 2016 fall semester, the HHR editorial board met every other week on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.. Because the HHR had not been published since 2011, our first tasks were to discuss, review, revise, and finalize the journal's Submission Guidelines. This required updating the language to include electronic submissions. Although the 2017 volume of the HHR contains only essays, the board members wanted to make it clear that, in the future, document transcriptions and translations, as well as book reviews of a historical nature from any discipline, will also be accepted for publication. Other concerns included word count and the need for all submissions to conform to The Chicago Manual of Style. Additionally, the board drafted a Call for Papers with an initial deadline of January 20, 2017. Thereafter the board members visited every history-related class being taught here on campus during the 2016 fall term to promote the HHR and publicize the Call for Papers, the flyer for which was circulated by email attachment in addition to being printed and posted in prominent locations throughout the campus. The board members also voted unanimously to invite President Lambert to contribute an essay to this year's HHR, and in response he has graciously granted us permission to publish his inaugural address at Hanover College from 2015. This is fully in keeping with the history of the journal, which in 2001 published the inaugural addresses of eight Hanover College presidents, past and present, in a special edition of the HHR honoring the 175th anniversary of the College.
The board members also decided early upon a process by which they would review the submissions anonymously. Only Professor Raley would know the identity of the authors until the essays had been reviewed by the board members. This the board regarded as especially important at a small liberal arts college such as Hanover College, where everyone knows everyone else; beyond this, however, a few of the board members wished to submit essays for consideration, and to ensure impartiality here Professor Raley distributed these, minus their authors' names, to other members of the board for anonymous peer review.
Eight specific criteria guided the board's reviews:
1. Does the essay have a clear thesis that is supported with focused arguments and plausible evidence? (If yes, please also state the thesis.)
2. Is the thesis supported with an ample supply of primary sources, critically interpreted for the reader?
3. Is the author's argument placed within the field of current scholarship on the subject (historiography)?
4. Does the essay make a substantive contribution to our knowledge of the subject matter? In other words, does the essay advance the current scholarship in new directions?
5. Are the footnotes/endnotes correctly formatted in Chicago Style? Do they show evidence of attention to detail?
6. Is the writing style clear and fluid? Is the argument interesting?
7. Does this still seem like a paper written hurriedly for a class, or has the author carefully revised the essay for consideration by the Hanover Historical Review editorial board?
8. What specific revisions or additions would you suggest that the author make to improve the article pending its acceptance for publication?
Following the review process, the authors of the submissions were provided with summaries of the board members' comments. The review process, the board decided, would yield one of three ratings: (1) accept for publication as is (or with only minor editing required); (2) revise and resubmit (typically requiring more research and substantive revisions and/or additions as well as reediting the prose and reference notes); or (3) reject for publication. This year we rejected no submissions outright, though some authors chose not to revise and resubmit their work. Those who did revise and resubmit their work were expected to pay close attention to the comments and suggestions for substantive revisions as well as for the editing of the text and formatting of the notes that had been provided by the board members in their reviews. The Junior and Senior Editors of the HHR took over from here, reading all essays still under consideration again and suggesting editorial grammatical and format changes for consistency and clarity. Professors Murphy and Raley oversaw the final edit of the journal, which was printed on campus by Carol Persinger.
What struck us as faculty members was the seriousness and dedication with which these twelve students and also the authors of the articles appearing in this volume approached their tasks. Certainly each of them was already sufficiently burdened with college assignments, athletic commitments, club and student senate responsibilities, rehearsals for campus musical organizations, and part-time employment, and yet each gave willingly and freely of his or her time to make this project come to fruition. In the process, these students not only performed a worthy public service, but they also learned a great deal about the anonymous peer-review process employed by academic publishers. The writing and research skills of these HHR board members and authors no doubt improved, and they also developed a deeper sense of professionalism.
For all of these reasons and many more personal ones, we have thoroughly enjoyed working with these fine students. We hope that you will share our enthusiasm as you read the articles published within these covers (or within this .pdf file if you are reading the digital version).
Daniel P. Murphy and J. Michael Raley, Managing Editors