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  • Editor's Note

The year 2009 marks a significant milestone in the history of Legacy. Twenty-five years ago, in 1983, three enterprising and brave graduate students, Martha Ackmann, Karen Dandurand, and Joanne Dobson, founded the first scholarly journal devoted to a historically based study of American women's writing. Soon thereafter, in 1984, Joanne Dobson, Judith Fetterley, and Elaine Showalter initiated the Rutgers University Press American Women Writers reprint series. These two events, which formed the nucleus of a community of scholars and opened venues for our work, have had an immeasurable impact on our scholarly lives and identities.

So first, a heartfelt thanks is in order to these scholars, whose time and energies went into a visionary enterprise. The current editors of Legacy still seek the input of these founders, who work with us as consulting editors and advise us as interested friends.

We will mark this occasion with a special edition of Legacy, to be published as the second issue of volume 26. This issue will contain features designed to review the journal's history, assess its impact on the field of the study of women writers, and discuss future directions our scholarship might pursue. A group of Legacy supporters has been involved in an electronic conversation about these matters: Their ideas will appear as a roundtable discussion. As well, this issue will feature an excerpt from Anna's Book, a new work of fiction by one of the founders, Joanne Dobson; Shawn Michelle Smith's meditation on how archival photographic collections can enrich cross-disciplinary scholarship on women writers; a new feature titled "On Culture," introduced by Robin L. Cadwallader, in which we explore the material cultural backgrounds that might inform our readings of texts by early women writers; and Karen Kilcup's essay review of several new anthology resources for teaching American women writers.

We will celebrate our anniversary with two special sessions and a reception at the fourth conference of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, scheduled for 21–24 October 2009 in Philadelphia. Please see the SSAWW website at <> for details of the convention and for the specific times of the Legacy sessions and reception.

As the journal's gift to you, our readers and contributors, we are pleased [End Page 9] to announce the redesign of a feature of our website, the Legacy author portrait gallery, prepared by Lisa M. Thomas. Here we have begun to post images of the women writers we have profiled and studied over the past twenty-five years of the journal. We have taken great care to be sure that we have copyright permission to display these images, and we offer links to the institutions that own copyright so that scholars interested in reproducing the images may also obtain permission to reprint. Each author's page includes an image, information about where that author's papers may be studied, and live links to archives, Legacy Profiles, and critical articles about that author. We invite you to help enhance that page by contributing information, images, and corrections and updates. Please see the portrait gallery at the Legacy website at <>.

Another gift is in preparation. In response to many requests from readers, we are preparing a Legacy index that will also soon be posted on the website. This will be a complete index to all volumes of the journal and will have live links to all electronic versions of the journal's contents.

Finally, an announcement. As the field continues to evolve, the Modern Language Association has issued a new edition of the MLA Handbook. As of this date (January 2009), the third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, released last spring, is available. The paperback, classroom edition, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, is expected to be published in spring 2009. The changes laid out in the new edition are few, but significant, designed to make citation of electronic sources easier.

Consistent with the MLA's plans, we ask those submitting papers to Legacy to follow the guidelines of the third edition of the Style Manual and Guide...


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