I’m glad to have this opportunity to recall and celebrate Becky and Joe Hogan’s innumerable contributions to life writing and auto/biography studies. As a facilitator, editor, and publisher of hundreds of articles, professional talks, panels, and meetings, Becky has been one of the most visible people in our field for the past three decades. She was present at the creation, one might say, of auto/biography studies as a recognized field by the MLA. Her name is on the “Petition to Create a New Discussion Group on Autobiography and Biography” that the MLA Program Committee approved by in the spring of 1983. I met her and Joe two years later at the landmark international conference on autobiography that James Olney put together at LSU. Becky was soon busy trying to organize ways for those of us who were just getting started in auto/biography studies to communicate. A newsletter that featured works-in-progress, notes and queries, and short book reviews appeared in 1985, but the next year Becky proposed and, in the summer of 1986, delivered the first special issue of the newsletter offering articles, reviews, and bibliographies on a scholarly topic. Becky’s special issue devoted to diaries showed us all what the newsletter could become—the scholarly journal that our new field badly needed.
Between 1986 and 1989, our new desktop-published journal, dubbed a/b: Auto/Biography studies by Tim Adams, appeared in a succession of special issues edited by various capable hands. It was clear that good scholars read and contributed to the journal, but it was even clearer that the journal had the capacity to evolve into fully-fledged intellectual forum and scholarly exchange of ideas. What the journal needed the most was an editor who would oversee an editorial board that would be responsible collectively for setting and maintaining standards, policies, and editorial practices on an ongoing basis. In the fall of 1989 Becky answered the call. She’s been the lead editor of a/b ever since, through forty-five successive issues. Joe joined her as editor in 1993. The two of them have overseen the journal with uncommon grace and good humor. Their foresight and wisdom have led to two excellent additions to what was Team Hogan, namely, Emily Hipchen in 2000, and Ricia Chansky in 2010. Now [End Page ii] those of us in the old guard can envision a smooth transition for the journal’s leadership as Becky and Joe step down.
The continuity, dedication, and commitment that Becky and Joe have brought to the journal for more than twenty years have kept a/b in the forefront of journals on life writing. The journal continues to offer opportunities for new and established scholars and critics to pursue the research and extend the dialogue that Becky was among the first to initiate and facilitate when life writing was just coming into its own. For all these reasons, Becky and Joe’s editorship of a/b has been crucial to establishing this field of ours and to giving so many of us the chance to find our voices and establish our scholarly identities in one way or another via our participation in the journal. [End Page iii]