Joyce O. Appleby, a warm and enthusiastic supporter of the JIH and a member of the Editorial Board, was also a constructive critic, spurring the journal to more searching and innovative approaches to interdisciplinary historiography. She was never reluctant to reprove lines of endeavor that seemed to be going astray. In many ways and over many years, especially the early ones, she helped the JIH to grow stronger and more searching.
After graduating from Stanford, Appleby worked as a journalist for a popular magazine in New York City before returning to academic studies at the Claremont Graduate School, where she received her doctorate. Her teaching career began at San Diego State University, but she eventually became a key addition to the early American history group at ucla with Gary B. Nash, James A. Henretta, and Daniel W. Howe.
Appleby became highly influential in scholarly discussions about the evolving response of economic thought to the political changes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She was a major participant in debates about classical republicanism and what she termed “the liberal concept of liberty,” with its link to Lockean ideas, in the creation of the early American economy. Appleby’s views about how these themes interrelated were reinforced by her deep research and her capacity for independent reflection. She was an intellectual historian who also paid attention to the social order and the national context as it underwent intergenerational change during the early republic. Her final studies ranged from science in the wake of New World exploration to a history of capitalism from the early United States to the global economy of the twenty-first century.
Appleby’s primary legacy is in the field of intellectual history, elucidating the emergence of theories of republicanism and liberalism. Her studies traced the expansion of the market from the British imperial north Atlantic region to a worldwide frame and examined the popular experiences engendered by this transformative process.