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Journal of the Early Republic 25.2 (2005) 285-287

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Editor's Page

SHEAR Membership Drive

SHEAR recently embarked on a membership drive aimed at increasing the numbers of our individual subscribers and would like to recruit your help with the effort. If you are reading this, chances are you are already a member of the organization and are enjoying one of the many benefits of membership—your subscription to the JER. Please spread the word to friends and colleagues of the joys of being part of SHEAR and experiencing what the journal's managing editor, Tricia Manning, calls the warm and fuzzy feeling of membership (a particularly enticing prospect as I write these words in late January on Philadelphia's coldest day of the year—wind chill seven degrees below zero!).

But you may not belong to SHEAR. You may be reading your library's copy of the JER, or perhaps you've borrowed it from someone—whatever. We want you to take out your own subscription. One group we are particularly interested in reaching is the hundreds (I kid you not) of early republic historians in our universities and colleges who are not members of our organization. If this means you, please take a look at the following communication from the JER's former editor, John Larson.

Dear Colleague:

Twenty-five years ago I was a "starving" new historian with a high-risk job at a living history museum, a three-year-old daughter, and an enormous dose of anxiety about whether I would ever make a living doing history. Determined not to lose touch with the profession, I started going to SHEAR conferences, where the welcome mat was always out and where senior people seemed unusually interested in hearing from and talking to perfect strangers from the "shallow waters" of the academic community. This comfortable little organization welcomed me because of the tireless labors of dozens of visionaries who agreed that historians of the early American republic desperately needed a place to schmooze. I chose early to hoist my own career sails on SHEAR yardarms and see where we landed.

I have just stepped down after ten years as coeditor of the Journal of [End Page 285] the Early Republic, still richly engaged in the profession, better known and respected, securely employed, and in general more successful than I had any right to expect when I ventured away from graduate school. Many factors make a successful career, but one constant contributor to my own survival has been SHEAR—the journal, the meetings, and the terrific community of scholars that constitute its membership.

I share this little confessional piece because I want to invite you to join me in supporting SHEAR. Even if you do not perceive that you need the primary benefits of membership—the journal and the annual meeting—our profession desperately needs these important outlets for new scholarship as well as postdoctoral fellowships, seminars, and other programs that keep the collective enterprise healthy and growing. To make that happen, we need to take up the burden and support organizations like SHEAR for the good of the commonweal. (How much more "republican" can you get?)

So please join me in becoming a member of SHEAR. Your membership helps support a revenue stream that allows the officers of SHEAR to imagine ever-better ways to promote the study and understanding of the early republic. Remember, we are not just buying a magazine: we are teachers and scholars who are ensuring the persistence of a scholarly conversation that began almost thirty years ago and that has never been more exciting than it is today.

Thanks for your support, and welcome to SHEAR. See you in Philadelphia in July for our Annual Meeting!

PS: Make sure your library subscribes too!

Graduate Students and SHEAR

Apropos the membership drive, the JER's editorial intern, Patrick Spero, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, suggested that he write a letter outlining why graduate students should join SHEAR. Over to you, Patrick:

Dear Fellow Graduate Student:

SHEAR membership offers many exceptional benefits for...


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