In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.4 (2002) 417-419

[Access article in PDF]

Founding Editor's Note

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. As I sat down to write this I realized that a bit more than half of my life has involved affairs of the Journal. So I'd like to reflect a little on what its development and success might represent.

Back in the 1950s there were very few programs at the American Philosophical Association relating to the history of philosophy and only occasionally would the then-existing journals accept papers on the subject. In most philosophy departments people interested in the history of philosophy were marginalized. They had to prove their bona fides by doing philosophy, not writing about the dead white males who wrote philosophy in the past. People who cared about the exact wording of classical philosophical texts were regarded as museum keepers, not philosophers.

It was in the '50s that my own career as a historian of philosophy really took off with a series of papers about different aspects of the history of skepticism. As I got to know other people working in historical subjects, I learned of their difficulties in their professional departments. I suggested to some that there be a journal of the history of philosophy. It turned out that a committee had been appointed by the APA to look into this possibility. As I recall, two of the members were Richard McKeon and Julius Weinberg. Nothing much seemed to have come of their efforts. In 1960 I was invited to take a post at the Claremont colleges where my former teacher, Herbert Schneider, was very anxious to establish a journal of the history of philosophy. He was in contact with Chancellor E. W. Strong of Berkeley and John Goheen of Stanford. They apparently discussed this in some detail and just needed some troops to do the work. So I was tossed into the situation to see if I could help get the project off the ground. The Claremont colleges were willing to give us office space and an assistant, plus some financial backing. The other two institutions, Stanford and Berkeley, provided some further backing and the late publisher of the Library of Liberal Arts, Oskar Piest, supplied information about publishing arrangements and also provided some backing.

The next stage was to get some content for the journal, to start assembling referees who could assist us, and to make publishing arrangements. By 1963 we had enough material to publish two issues and enough money to keep going for a year or so. Next we had to press to get subscribers and a regular flow of submitted materials. It turned out subscriptions rose very quickly, showing that there was a real need for such a publication. Within a couple of years we were flooded with submitted material and we were gradually assembling groups of referees who could help us establish standards. In 1963 I moved the project down to the University of [End Page 417] California, San Diego. We were taken over by the University of California Press as our publisher but the University of California itself refused to finance us. So there was a long history, a sad one, regarding our attempt to become solvent, which only ended completely this year. However, in the last decade or more we have had a substantial reserve fund and no longer had to engage in fundraising as a major activity. Our relations with UC Press came to an end when an early computerized system of theirs lost our subscription list. We had to reconstruct it by writing to possible subscribers asking if they were subscribers and when they had last paid. We had a second disaster with an early computerized publisher who was not able to get our issue printed and we had to take over the publication ourselves. A few of our first and most loyal subscribers would alert me to possible difficulties when an issue was late. An eminent scholar from Princeton would write asking if there was something wrong when his...