- Editor’s Note
Before stepping into the editor’s role in June, I spent six months shadowing Jennifer Tuttle and learning the responsibilities of the job. During the transition I became more aware than ever of the unique and critical role each of my colleagues plays in producing the journal, and prouder than ever to be part of this collective. Legacy flourished under Jennifer’s leadership, and we are fortunate that she is staying on as a coeditor with Jennifer Putzi. I am grateful beyond measure to Jennifer for the standard she has set and for her wisdom, expertise, and friendship.
Jennifer’s and my new titles are not the only changes on the masthead. Summar Sparks has stepped down as editorial assistant after two years of working closely with our managing editor, Mary Unger. Summar’s meticulous fact- and form-checking is evident in every issue she worked on. As we thank Summar for her contributions and wish her well at the next exciting stage of her career—law school!—we welcome our new editorial assistant, Katie Warczak, a doctoral student at Penn State.
Under Sharon Harris’s editorship, Legacy published my first essay and invited me to be an editorial consultant, introducing me to professional service and welcoming me into a community that has inspired and sustained me ever since. Sharon, Martha Cutter, Nicole Tonkovich, and Jennifer Tuttle modeled scholarly editing as demanding and joyful intellectual labor; they honed the journal’s tradition of judicious and constructive peer review and exacting collaboration with authors at every stage leading to publication. They charged me and my fellow consultants and board members to value every submission, whatever its stage of development and regardless of whether they accepted it for publication, as a contribution to the field our founding editors built.
Thirty-three years after its first issue, Legacy continues to embody what Joanne Dobson has described as “an extensive community of scholars [that] did not exist” when she, Martha Ackmann, and Karen Dandurand founded the journal (Tuttle 198). I never knew American literary studies before Legacy’s editors and contributors transformed it, and I have always taken for granted the stature of Harriet Jacobs, Nella Larsen, Susanna Rowson, and Catharine Maria [End Page i] Sedgwick as major authors. But I step into this role at a time when we cannot take anything for granted—not the state’s commitment to the arts, the humanities, or even the values of rational thought. Not even the “undisputed dignity of [our] womanhood” and authority of our words (Cooper 31). I am honored to advance the journal’s mission, to continue my predecessors’ commitment to supporting the next generation of scholars, and to look after the journal for those who come after.