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Editor's Note When a journal moves its editorial office from one place to another, the process is a long-drawn-out one. In June 1996 our Managing Editors Toni Mortimer and Caryn E. Neumann drove a U-Haul truck with all the books and files from Bloomington, and we officially took over the reins on July 1. But packed in that truck was over a year's worth of accepted articles and commissioned book review essays, so we are still benefitting from the efforts of Christie Farnham, Joan Hoff, Ann Taylor Allen, and Moureen Coulter. Now joined by a third Managing Editor, Sarah M. Liros, we are settling into a daily routine made up of locating manuscript reviewers, making decisions on manuscripts, copyediting, and reading page proofs. Since we opened the office in the midst of the production process for volume 8, the Winter 1997 issue was the first we saw at the copyediting stage, and Spring 1997 is the first we are seeing from accepted manuscripts to bound issue. Devoted readers will notice some changes, and more will follow in future issues. In line with our goal of increasing communication across the traditional lines of geographically and chronologically defined fields of women's history, we are planning special thematic issues of the journal. The first, on the history of women's sexuality, guest edited by Gail Hershatter and Joanne Meyerowitz, will appear in Winter 1998. The next, on women and fundamentalism, guest edited by Nikki R. Keddie and Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi, is scheduled for Winter 1999. In addition, we are making an effort to solicit thematic review essays for future issues. This means that we sometimes ask scholars to step far outside their specialties, but we hope that essays on, say, women workers or women's education at different times and places will provide a fresh perspective on our scholarship . Along the same lines, we are arranging the book abstracts alphabetically rather than geographically in hopes that readers will peruse them all and find works on different national traditions that contribute to their thinking and teaching. With this issue we are instituting a new section entitled "Getting to the Source" which will feature articles that address the "doing" of history. Since we as historians spend so much time mining archival sources, poring over published work, studying material culture, collecting oral histories , or otherwise engaged in research, we hope to stimulate thinking about sources, methodology, and other such aspects of the research process . We are delighted to kick off this section with a contribution on oral history by Emily Honig, with a comment by Irene Ledesma. 1997 EDITOR'S Note 7 All of the articles in this issue confront, in one way or another, the ways we "read" the past in a variety of sources. Several deal directly with the complex meanings of memory. Leslie Schwalm makes use of labor contracts filed with the Freedmen's Bureau in post-Civil War South Carolina to argue for the centrality of formerly enslaved African-American women to the South's transition to a free labor society. She "reads" freedwomen's actions, especially their rejection of and violence toward their former overseers and drivers, as a proclamation of their freedom. Martin Johnson explores the ways that women's gendered collective memories of the French Revolution shaped their activism during the Paris Commune of 1871. In contrast to men, women remembered only collective , not individual, actions. Yet in common with men they used the past to act in the present and to fashion the future. Marlene Epp, who studies the rape of Soviet-born East European Mennonite women during the Second World War, grapples directly with the problems of historical memory. Like Johnson, she explores the phenomenon of collective memory and insists upon the need to attend to silences and contradictions as well as the straightforward meanings of spoken words. Also like Johnson, she sees memory as gendered, which helps to explain why the horror of repatriation , rather than rape, became such a central part of Mennonite collective memory. Victoria Wolcott, like Schwalm, "reads" the conflicting desires of different generations of working-class African-American women in the context of the National Training...


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