Ohio Valley History Replaces The Filson History Quarterly

By Mark V. Wetherington, Ph.D.

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As its foreword announced to The Filson's membership in 1926, our scholarly journal was originally envisioned as a regional publication, one that placed the Ohio Valley region within the context of American history and Kentucky within the context of the region. During the following seventy-five years, however, the quarterly largely focused on the history of Kentucky and Louisville, producing an impressive collection of scholarship, but gradually losing sight of the regional vision. As a result, The Filson History Quarterly today is identified more with Kentucky and Louisville than with the Ohio Valley region. It has essentially become a state history journal.

In the spirit of the original vision for our scholarly journal, The Filson will return to a regional focus beginning in 2003 by jointly publishing, with the Cincinnati Museum Center, a quarterly entitled Ohio Valley History. In its strategic planning, The Filson's Board of Directors and staff recognized the region's need for greater intellectual definition and for the research collections to support such a project. A journal dedicated to the history and culture of the Ohio Valley region, which includes Kentucky and parts of the surrounding states, is another step-along with collections development, fellowships, and conferences-toward our goal of making the Ohio Valley region an increasingly significant field of scholarly inquiry. As important as state and county boundaries are in managing our daily lives and in organizing the historical record, they represent divisions that can hinder our understanding of the larger unity of historical experience framed by the Ohio River and its diverse communities, cultures, and peoples, who, often as not, have found themselves at borderlands or crossroads with blurred regional identities. By reaching beyond the boundaries, we understand ourselves better by understanding others; by casting our net wider, we have a broader pool of scholarship to draw upon; by expanding our field of interest beyond Kentucky, we better understand our state's context and its role within a community of states-our region. And by cooperating with a sister institution across the Ohio River, we forge a truly regional collaboration that will help fulfill our mission as well as theirs.

Ohio Valley History will replace The Filson History Quarterly, which will publish its final issue at the end of this year. But The Filson History Quarterly's name and the important role it has played in our publications history will not disappear. In the future, selected essays from past issues of the Quarterly exploring such topics as the frontier, antebellum, and Civil War eras, as well as others, will provide students, teachers, scholars, and general readers with a convenient bookshelf of the best in Kentucky and local history that the Quarterly has offered. We owe a debt of gratitude to the editors and contributors who have made this possible, and especially Dr. Nelson L. Dawson, who has edited the Quarterly since 1976.

The collective memory of our region, with its diverse experiences, is a story worthy of its own journal, as The Filson's founding generation recognized. I hope you will enjoy the fruits of this new collaboration, one that will expand our horizons beyond Kentucky while still remembering the central role the commonwealth has played in the Ohio Valley region's rich and textured past.

Volume 3, Number 4

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