Hispanic American Historical Review

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Hispanic American Historical Review

The Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), published quarterly by Duke University Press in cooperation with the Conference on Latin American History of the American Historical Association (AHA), pioneered the study of Latin American history in the United States. HAHR publishes articles of original research, a comprehensive book review section, and special features such as forums, commentaries, and archival reports. Senior editors serve a five-year term; this post had been held by many of the most important scholars in the field.

The 1915 meeting of the American Historical Association, held in Berkeley and Palo Alto, California, in connection with the Pacific Panama Exposition, showcased the growing interest in and depth of scholarship on Latin America. Two attendees, William Spence Robertson and Charles Edward Chapman, met again the next year at a conference of historians and bibliographers held in conjunction with the centennial of Argentine independence, where they discussed the need for a scholarly journal in the field. At the AHA meetings in 1916, a dinner session to explore its development attracted some thirty supporters. The name Hispanic American Historical Review was selected from several variants; it was decided that HAHR should publish "social, economic, and political (including diplomatic) history" and not just "the mere external narration of events" (Chapman 1918, p. 9). The geographic scope was to include not only Central and South America but "the entire Caribbean area and those parts of the United States formerly under Spain and Mexico" (Chapman 1918, p. 9). The journal would consider articles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. The spirit of these editorial policies has remained remarkably constant as HAHR approaches its tenth decade. When the first issue appeared in January 1918, it was hailed by no less than President Woodrow Wilson, who felt it "ought to lead to very important results both for scholarship and for the increase of cordial feeling throughout the Americas" (Wilson 1918, p. 1).

The founding editors struggled to secure funding; donations and subscriptions felt short of what they had hoped for, and publication ceased in 1922 when the largest private donor withdrew support. The journal was resuscitated in 1926 by rapidly expanding Duke University. HAHR weathered another difficult period during the years of World War II, facing this time a shortage not of funds, but of submissions. However, the expansion of American universities and their scholarly endeavors in the postwar years ensured the continued success of the Review. By the 1950s the journal was receiving upwards of sixty manuscript submissions a year, a rate that would hold steady through the first years of the twenty-first century.


Butler, Ruth Lapham, ed. Guide to the Hispanic American Historical Review, 1918–1945. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1950.

Chapman, Charles E. "The Founding of the Journal." Hispanic American Historical Review 1, no. 1 (January 1918): 8-23.

Gibson, Charles, ed. Guide to the Hispanic American Historical Review, 1946–1955. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1958.

Meyer, Michael C. "Reflections on the Hispanic American Historical Review." Hispanic American Historical Review 60, no. 4 (November 1980): 672-675.

Ross, Stanley R., and Wilber A. Chaffee, eds. Guide to the Hispanic American Historical Review, 1956–1975. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1980.

Simpson, Lesley Byrd. "Thirty Years of the Hispanic American Historical Review." Hispanic American Historical Review 29, no. 2 (May 1949): 188-204.

Wilson, Woodrow. "A Letter from President Wilson." Hispanic American Historical Review 1, no. 1 (January 1918): 1.

                                    Kathryn J. Litherland