I am pleased to announce that Stefan Vogenauer of the Max Planck Institute and I are starting co-editing the American Journal of Legal History. Roman Hoyos of Southwestern Law is book reviews editor. Recently Oxford University Press acquired the journal from Temple Law School, which has published it since it was started in the late 1950s. Harwell Wells of Temple Law is the current editor-in-chief. This morning's announcement of the transition is here.
I'm very much looking forward to this. Now is an exciting time for legal history. There are lots of people working in the field; it's deeply embedded in law schools, and has increasing attention in history departments. Having AJLH alongside the Law and History Review, publishing timely and important work, will help the field, I hope and expect. And I want to add that I learned a lot from editing book reviews under two fabulous editors at the Law and History Review -- Chris Tomlins and David Tanenhaus -- and more recently from observing Elizabeth Dale as she has edited Law and History Review. I aspire to bring Chris', David's, and Elizabeth's outstanding judgment, vision, and work ethic to AJLH.
Our new website is up now, as is our portal for manuscript submissions.
On a personal note, this is meaningful because the AJLH published one of my first articles -- a quantitative study of litigation in a county in Pennsylvania (now Delaware) in the late seventeenth century. (That was back in the days when I did more counting than I do now!) And, on a somewhat less happy note, they also were the first journal to reject an article submission by me -- a paper on the legal theory surrounding the suppression of abolitionist literature in the 1830s. There were a couple of really good pieces published shortly afterwards, which made my work, if not completely redundant, at least not all that important.
Update: Over at legal history blog, Dan Ernst talks some about the history of both AJLH and the American Society for Legal History -- and talks about the growth of legal history as a field from the 1950s when they were both founded. Dan also talks about the legal history community. Working with scholars, as authors and referees, is one of the things I'm most looking forward to.