ASLH on the Web
H-Law continues to maintain the joint H-Law/ASLH webpage on the H-Net website. This year we received the newsletter from Charles Donahue Friday, August 25 and had it up Monday, August 28.
This year H-Law commissioned and posted 30 reviews of books of interest to the H-LAW community in the fields of American and foreign legal and constitutional history. Last we posted 17.
BRUCE ACKERMAN. The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, andthe Rise of Presidential Democracy. Cambridge and London: Harvard UniversityPress, 2005.
By Steve Sheppard
CHARLES C. BOLTON. The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
By Christopher W. Schmidt
CRAIG M. BRADLEY, editor. The Rehnquist Legacy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
By Williamjames Hull Hoffer
PAUL BRAND. Kings, Barons and Justices: The Making and Enforcement of Legislation in Thirteenth-Century England. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
By N. G. Jones
IRENE QUENZLER BROWN and RICHARD D. BROWN. The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.
By Randall McGowen
STEPHANIE COLE and ALISON M. PARKER, editors. Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest. Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004.
By Lisa Lindquist Dorr.
MICHAEL COMISKEY. Seeking Justices: The Judging of Supreme Court Nominees. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.
By Matthew L. Harris
DAVID P. CURRIE. The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
By Austin Allen
JOHN J. DINAN. The American State Constitutional Tradition. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006.
By Eva Sheppard Wolf
KEITH EDGERTON. Montana Justice: Power, Punishment, & the Penitentiary. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004.
By Stephen J. Leonard
JAMES R. FARR. A Tale of Two Murders: Passion and Power in Seventeenth-Century France. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 2005.
By Marie Seong-Hak Kim
LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN. Private Lives: Families, Individuals, and the Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
By Peter Charles Hoffer
SHARON M. HARRIS. Executing Race: Early American Women’s Narratives of Race, Society, and the Law. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2005.
By Felicity Turner
ANDREW T. HARRIS. Policing the City: Crime and Legal Authority in London, 1780-1840. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004.
By Elaine A. Reynolds
CHARLES F. HOBSON, editor. The Papers of John Marshall, Volume 12: Correspondence, Papers, and Selected Judicial Opinions January 1831-July 1835, With Addendum June 1783-January 1829. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
By Mark R. Killenbeck
JEANNINE HURL-EAMON. Gender and Petty Violence in London, 1680-1720. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2005.
By Carla Spivack
WILLIAM JOHNSTON. Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star: A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
By Marie Seong-Hak Kim
CLARE V. McKANNA, Jr.White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2005.
By Paul T. Hietter
VANESSA McMAHON. Murder in Shakespeare’s England. London: Hambledon and London, 2004.
By Carla Spivack
KEVIN J. MULLEN. Dangerous Strangers: Minority Newcomers and Criminal Violence in the Urban West, 1850-2000. New York: Palgrave, 2005.
By Michael Bellesiles
LEONORA NEVILLE. Authority in Byzantine Provincial Society, 950-1100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
By Warren Treadgold
MICHAEL J. PFEIFER. Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society,
1847-1947. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.
By Dennis B. Downey
JOHN PHILLIP REID. The Ancient Constitution and the Origins of Anglo-American Liberty. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005.
By Richard A. Cosgrove
RALPH A. ROSSUM. Antonin Scalia’s Jurisprudence: Text and Tradition. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006.
By Helen J. Knowles
JOESEPH E. SLATER. Public Workers: Government Employee Unions, the Law, and theState, 1900-1962. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.
By William P. Jones
JENNIFER TRAVIS. Wounded Hearts: Masculinity, Law, and Literature in American Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
By Auli Ek
JON L. WAKELY. Birth of the Bill of Rights: Encyclopedia of the Antifederalists. Volume 1: Biographies. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.
By David J. Siemers
CHRISTOPHER WALDREP AND MICHAEL BELLESILES, editors. Documenting American Violence: A Sourcebook. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
By David Peterson del Mar
JEFFREY WATT, editor. From Sin to Insanity: Suicide in Early Modern Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.
By Elisabeth Cawthon
CARL R. WEINBERG. Labor, Loyalty, and Rebellion: Southwestern Illinois Coal Miners and World War I. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.
By William H. Thomas, Jr.
All reviews and all posting are available on the H-Law website and are searchable.
Christopher Waldrep, Editor
Law and History Review
NB: Discussion/action items at 1, 2b, 6, and 10b
1. General and Organizational
Once again, I am pleased to report that Law and History Review is flourishing. LHR enjoys generous support from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [UNLV]. The William S. Boyd School of Law has provided office space, secretarial assistance, and the technical expertise to support our electronic journal management system [visit at http://lhr.law.unlv.edu] for LHR that facilitates on-line submission, refereeing, and journal management. Joshua Brauer, the law school’s Director of Information Technology, deserves special thanks for his updating of LHR’s journal management system. The UNLV History Department and College of Liberal Arts have provided me course relief. Consequently, LHR enjoys full access to all necessary facilities and equipment at UNLV.
In light of the exceptional support that the journal has enjoyed from the William S. Boyd School of Law, the UNLV College of Liberal Arts, and the UNLV History Department, I ask that the Board make a resolution expressing its appreciation to Dean Richard J. Morgan, who has been a strong supporter of the journal, and that the President of the Society incorporate those sentiments in a letter to Dean Morgan who is retiring on July 1, 2006. I also ask that the Board make resolutions expressing its appreciation to Dean Ed Shoben and History Department Chair Eugene Moehring for the support each has given to the Law and History Review, and that the President of the Society incorporate those sentiments in letters to these individuals.
2. Contract and Related Matters
[a] Our relations with the University of Illinois Press continue to be sound, and the servicing of the journal has operated effectively throughout 2005-06. On behalf of the Society, last year Bruce Mann, the Chair of the Publications Committee, and Walter F. Pratt, the Secretary-Treasurer, negotiated a new five-year contract with the University of Illinois Press. It continues the practice of LHR operating with a 224-page default and deals with overages on an ad hoc basis. Under the new contract, ASLH is charged $500 per 16-pages of overage. This approach continues to be the strategy with greatest flexibility. Moreover, since the Press would not offer a cheaper per page rate for expanding the journal to a 256-page default, this strategy is also cost effective as long as we fill the additional signature(s). As a practical matter it means that our length can vary from 224-256 pages per issue.
[b] LHR has not run a 224-page issue since Fall 2003. Consequently, I ask that the Board recognize this development with a resolution granting the journal 16-pages of overage per issue. This resolution would allow the editor to plan for 240-page issues.
[a] Over the course of 2005-06 the Press improved the distribution of LHR. Our production schedule has each issue on its way to subscribers before the end of January (Spring issue), the end of May (Summer issue) and the end of September (Fall issue). LHR 24:1 was mailed on March 6, LHR 24:2 was mailed on June 2, and LHR 24:3 was mailed on October 6. To facilitate meeting target dates, the Press changed printers and revised its production schedule. As a result, we are now meeting our target dates. As always we owe particular thanks to the University of Illinois Press and its journals manager, Clydette Wantland, for attending to our needs. I also want to thank UIP journals production editor, Heather Munson, and our UIP copy editor, Christina Dengate, without whom the journal simply could not function with its current efficiency.
[b] Report of Joshua Brauer, Director of Information Technology, William S. Boyd School of Law.
LHR continues using the open-source software, Open Journal System (OJS), which it began using in 2005. An incremental upgrade in July has added several new features and a plug-in architecture that provides the opportunity for future growth. Two immediate features of the upgrade included better user account management and statistical reporting for the editor. We anticipate incorporating book reviews into the system over the course of the next calendar quarter. LHR will continue to evaluate new features as OJS and third-party developers introduce functionality to see if those features may be appropriate for the editorial management system.
[c] The LHR website continues to provide services and contacts for prospective authors, society members, and browsers. [Visit us at www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/lhr.html]. Authors are routinely participating in our “pre-print” program, which posts manuscript drafts of forthcoming articles in PDF format, along with article abstracts. PDF postings are quickly picked up by major search engines, such as Google. In other words we can assure authors who might have to wait fifteen months after acceptance to see their work in print that their work will circulate from the moment it is posted in this preliminary form. For administrative purposes I have continued the practice of posting manuscripts to the pre-print server at the same time that they are sent to the press to begin the production cycle for the issue in which they appear. Once the article is published in its final version, the pre-print is removed. The final version itself circulates electronically, of course, through the History Cooperative. This means that manuscripts now appear on the pre-print server for approximately 10 months.
[d] Publication of our electronic edition on the History Cooperative site is currently simultaneous to distribution of the print edition of the journal. Of the twenty-one journals currently on the History Cooperative, LHR is the fifth most popular destination, exceeded only by the American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, the William & Mary Quarterly, and the History Teacher. Traffic to the History Cooperative Site continues to grow rapidly. Recruitment of new member-journals continues apace, and the contents of the site are expanding to cover conference proceedings and other forms of scholarship. Finances remain a struggle since the Cooperative is constantly in search of a predictable income stream; therefore, costs to member journals may rise. The Cooperative’s Executive Committee is considering the implementation of an annual increase in per-pages fees indexed to actual cost increases. I should also note that the Cooperative is currently revamping its search engine. It is essential that the Cooperative maintain a state-of-the-art Web site to retain the support of key organizations, including the American Historical Association.
4. Manuscript Submissions
[a] During the twelve months ending 31 August 2006, LHR had 67 new submissions under active consideration.
Of the 67 manuscripts newly submitted as of 31 August 2006, 30 have been rejected without the assistance of external peer review, 11 have been rejected after one or more rounds of review, 0 are awaiting initial consideration, 6 were undergoing first-round review, 16 have been returned to their authors after review with advice for revision and resubmission, 0 were undergoing second-round review, and 4 have undergone full review and have been accepted for publication.
[b] As of 1 September 2006, LHR’s active “inventory” consists of 12 manuscripts awaiting publication but not yet published: 4 in 25:1 (in advanced copy edit), 4 in 25:2 (in preliminary copy-edit), and 4 in 25:3 (which will go to copy-edit in February 2007). Although there are no manuscripts remaining to be assigned, I expect to accept a number for publication by the end of the year. I have closed 25:3. Hence LHR is “full” for the year 2007.
[c] The current tally of manuscripts considered inactive (those continued for one full year without any activity or advice of the author’s intentions) stands at 27. Some of those date back to 1995. It is worth noting that occasionally, manuscripts long considered inactive do revive. Nonetheless, virtually all inactive manuscripts should be considered “dead.”
Manuscript Submissions – Trends – Table
5 Year Received Rejected/Withdraw n Reviewed Pending Accepted
*acceptance figures do not include mss pending from previous years
**split editorial year - figures include mss from previous years
5. Manuscript Submissions -- Matters Arising
[a] The figure for manuscripts received during the year ending 31 August 2006 (67) is the second highest total since the journal’s inception. It continues the recent trend of 60+ submissions/year that has prevailed since 2002. The yearly average of manuscripts received each year over the last four years is now more than 60, and the results of the last three years suggest that we may well be moving toward an average of 65+. As the above table indicates the number of manuscripts received annually by the journal has virtually doubled over the past ten years. This suggests not simply vitality in the field, but increasing name recognition for LHR.
[b] Our acceptance rate over the past five years has been approximately 1 in 5 manuscripts submitted. More recently, our performance in attracting manuscripts has improved rapidly, suggesting that our catchment area is expanding, while the number of accepted manuscripts has remained steady, suggesting that we are becoming more selective. Maintaining and improving the quality of the journal, however, depends at least as much on maintaining high standards of refereeing and editing as on attracting a rising number of manuscripts. Our goal must be to maintain an annual “core” influx of solidly publishable or probably publishable manuscripts (depending on how much work one is prepared to put into pieces with potential) at 12+ submissions per year.
[c] Refereeing: I have experienced almost no difficulty in gaining access to referees and obtaining four reports per manuscript. The vast majority of manuscript authors receive a first-round review response within ten weeks of submission. The members of our large editorial board deserve special thanks for their willingness to referee manuscripts. I am happy to report that in qualitative terms, the standard of our refereeing remains extraordinary, a feature of the journal on which authors comment frequently.
6. Book Reviews – Report of Alfred L. Brophy, Associate Editor for Book Reviews (September 2005-August 2006)
Report of the Book Reviews Editor (September 2005-August 2006)
From the beginning of September 2005 through the end of August 2005, LHR received approximately 149 books to consider for review and commissioned 67 reviews. We currently have 58 reviews in hand, awaiting publication. As I have said in past years, the good news is that we have plenty of reviews. The bad news is that we are running a publication lag of approximately fourteen to eighteen months, which is longer than has been typical for LHR and it is getting longer. The 2006 volume will publish only 40 reviews. (By comparison, the 2005 volume published 44 reviews and the 2004 volume published 41). To help with some of the space constraints, in 2004 we reduced the target length of reviews to 800 words and I have (more or less) successfully policed that limitation. In some instances, we publish longer reviews, such as Charles Donahue’s review of Helmholz’ volume in the Oxford history and in cases of joint reviews, such as Stephen Siegel’s joint review of Gross, Stanley, and Zipf and Elizabeth Hillman’s joint review of Dobbs, Fischer, and O’Donnell.
I see three issues that need addressing. First, the practice of using book reviews as “filler” to bring each volume up to the right page count has meant that reviews are frequently pushed back because of expansion of the rest of the volume. (Sometimes this can be alleviated by the Society’s purchase of an additional “signature” (16 pages). We need to do more of that.) This has been a particular problem in recent years because the University of Illinois Press has had unusual difficulty in estimating how much space articles will take. By the time we realize that the issue will be an overrun, it is too late to ask for additional pages. Moreover, even if we were printing 15 reviews per issue, that imposes a limit on the number of books that can be reviewed.
Second, and related to the first, is the publication lag. My sense is that the publication lag of reviews is not substantially longer than other leading journals that I have inquired about (Journal of American History is typically nearly a year and Journal of Southern History is also typically a year). Reviews in American History is substantially shorter, typically around six months or less. Because we turn in copy approximately nine months before an issue goes to print, it will be difficult to reduce dramatically the lag time unless we go to posting pre-prints of reviews, the way we do for articles. Obtaining additional space for reviews would help with the publication lag. It will also help with a growing problem: there simply is not space to print reviews of all the books that are (in my mind, at any rate) central to legal history.
Third, I think it also makes sense to begin, if we can get additional space for book reviews, to think in terms of adding another book review editor, with the goal of having one person responsible for books on the United States (and English-speaking colonial America) and another for non-US books. This is part of helping the journal expand and making the transition to what I hope will be going from three to four issues per year.
I have noticed a gender imbalance in the book review section, which I have taken steps to address. The imbalance may be due in significant part to the demographics of the legal history profession; it strikes me that legal history is still a surprisingly male field. In summer 2007, the most recent issue submitted to the editor-in-chief, there are 19 reviews scheduled. Eleven were written by women. That will be the first time in recent memory where a majority of reviews are authored by women. (The number of reviews may change due to the shifting of reviews, which I wrote about two paragraphs above. But as of right now, we are making some, though not enough, progress.)
I am increasingly interested in the gender and racial make-up of the profession and what that says about the subjects we study. However, for present purposes I will reserve comments to this noting that I am aware and bothered by the gender imbalance in the book reviews section and am going to continue to work to redress it.
In selecting books and reviewers, I have three primary goals. First, and most importantly, to maintain the journal’s rigorous standards of scholarship. I try to send out books that make important contributions to the field and to solicit reviews from scholars who work in the area of (or who use similar methods to) the books under review. I sometimes try to select reviewers who have a different vantage from the author. I try to send out every book that is at the center of the field. (I rarely send out edited volumes, because they pose such great difficulties in preparing a coherent, short review. However, in a few instances a book is so central to the field and the essays are so centered around a theme that a useful review is possible within our space constraints. William LaPiana’s review of Kronman’s volume on Yale Law School’s history is one example.)
Second, I hope that the reviews will advance the field by bringing attention to deserving scholarship. Thus, I try to select books that might not get much attention in other journals or that might otherwise escape attention of the journal’s readers or that might not be at the center of the field of legal history. Finally, I hope the book reviews will help bring attention to younger scholars, as both reviewers and as the subject of reviews. To those ends, I have tried to recruit reviews from distinguished senior scholars in legal history and other fields, as well as the most promising emerging scholars.
I am proud that we have reviews in line awaiting publication on important books by important reviewers. Some of the highlights include reviews of Richard M. Valelly, The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement, by J. Morgan Kousser; Robert A. Williams, Jr., Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, and the Legal Theory of Racism in America, by Kevin Milliard; Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, by Kerry Abrams; Mary Frances Berry, My Face is Black is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations, by Bernie Jones; Jordanna Bailkin, The Culture of Property: The Crisis of Liberalism in Modern Britain, by Susan Scafidi; Amanda I. Seligman, Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side, by Richard Chused; Anders Winroth, The Making of Gratian’s Decretum, by Charles Donahue; Martha J. McNamara, From Tavern to Courthouse: Architecture and Ritual in American Law, 1658-1860, by Claire Priest; Adriaan Lanni, Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens, by Kyle Lakin; Rebecca J. Scott, Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery, by Julie Saville; and Bruce Laurie, Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform, by Thomas J. Davis.
As in past years, I have relied on the generosity of a number of people in helping identify reviewers. I have drawn upon the good will of many, and repeatedly drawn upon the goodwill of Stuart Banner, Mary Sarah Bilder, Charles Donahue, Richard Helmholz, Chris Tomlins, David Tanenhaus, and James Whitman.
7. LHR and the History Cooperative
I have already referred in a previous section to our relations with the History Cooperative (see 3(d) above). Let me now explore this crucial aspect of the LHR’s operations more fully.
At its Board meeting in 2000 the ASLH accepted the History Cooperative’s invitation to have LHR distributed online alongside the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review. Our membership in the Cooperative began formally in January 2001.
Currently all issues published from 17:1 (Spring 1999) are posted on the History Cooperative site . The current issue is now routinely available electronically at the same moment of publication as the print edition. This is an important achievement for the Cooperative.
Currently the Cooperative distributes electronic editions of twenty-one journals – JAH, AHR and LHR, plus the William and Mary Quarterly, Western Historical Quarterly, the History Teacher, Common-Place, Labor/Le Travail, Labour History, the Journal of World History, Environmental History, the History of Education Quarterly, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Indiana Magazine of History, the Massachusetts Historical Review, the Oral History Review, World History Connected, and three new members, Health and History, Journal of Social History, and the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Negotiations with other journals are ongoing. The Cooperative is particularly interested in publishing electronic editions of the journals of major state historical societies. The Cooperative now also publishes conference proceedings. Its continued development of site tools for use by interested scholars is also noteworthy, including the revamping of the cooperative’s own search engine.
Under the terms of the Cooperative, all subscribers to each member journal will continue to receive a print copy through the journal’s existing subscription/fulfillment system. In addition, if the journal is “gated” (i.e. access restricted to subscribers) they will get password-controlled unlimited access to the journal on-line through the Cooperative web site. Non-subscribers will get time-limited access for which they pay the Cooperative. The site will be fully searchable across all constituent journals, but unlimited access will be available only to those journals to which the searcher (or home institution) has a subscription.
[c] Open Access
It is important to note that LHR is “open access” – not restricted to subscribers only. To the extent that the ASLH considers its role to be the promotion of legal history to the world at large, maintaining open access to legal-historical scholarship published on-line is one of the most significant expressions of that role. Cooperative statistics continue to show that LHR is one of the most widely used journals on the Cooperative site. Usage is exceeded only by the large-circulation journals – the AHR, JAH, the History Teacher, and WMQ. Relative to its own subscriber base, LHR can still claim to be the most widely used journal on the Cooperative site.
Costs of converting our production files to a form compatible with the site and site services (site-wide searching) are rising. The ASLH should anticipate that per page figures for conversion may increase.
8. LHR and JSTOR
The complete LHR backset, through the year 2000, is available for searching and browsing on JSTOR. Volumes will be added on an annual basis. Currently the History Cooperative search engine (which is linked to the JSTOR data base) can produce results from the AHR and JAH backsets on JSTOR [On-line access to the actual materials cited in search results will require that the user or their institution be a JSTOR subscriber.]
I also am pleased to report that beginning in 2006 as part of its revenue sharing plan, JSTOR will pay LHR $2,000. As Ariana Souzis, JSTOR’s Communications and Outreach Specialist, explained: “In 2004 JSTOR reached a new milestone—with over 2,100 participating institutions, our revenue from annual access fees exceeded $13 million. While we are currently distributing 15% of this revenue to our participating publishers, this level of success allows us to recognize with an additional monetary benefit the important role that publishers play in the creation and sustainability of the archive. Beginning in 2006 (and in subsequent years where annual access fees exceed $13 million for the preceding year), we will make a supplemental payment to each journal available in the JSTOR archive that has a moving wall of 5 years or less. Journals with moving walls of 4-5 years will receive $1,300 per title, while those with moving walls of 3 years or less will receive $2,000 per title. This approach recognizes the contributions made by those publishers who have chosen to make more recent issues accessible through the archive. Your journal, Law and History Review, will be eligible for this yearly supplemental payment of $2,000.”
9. LHR and Hein On-Line
LHR now has an agreement with “Hein On-Line” (subtitled “The Modern Link to Legal History”). For those who may not be familiar, Hein On-Line <> is essentially an on-line archive of law journal backsets. So far Hein has mounted (or is in the process of mounting) some 250 law journals. It has another 200 under contract. As the project develops it will expand from law journals to select documents, select cases, and “classics” of legal scholarship.