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Massachusetts History Journal creates lasting legacy of its own

Date: 7/22/2010

July 21, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- Those working on Westfield State College's (WSC) Massachusetts Historical Journal (MHJ) have made significant strides within the past year.

A new editor and publisher, a substantially increased subscriber base, a redesigned look and an emphasis on preserving the state's heritage has garnered this team, led by WSC professor Dr. Mara Dodge, a renewed direction and accolades. The most recent of which includes a $5,000 grant from Mass Humanities to fund the journal's 75th commemorative issue and the establishment of a public database of past publications.

"She has really done a great job of reviving this [publication]," John Sieracki, director of development at Mass Humanities, said of Dodge's work.

He explained that the grant was given to the MHJ because of its mission to preserve history and promote the public's education.

"The journal really serves the community and provides a place for people to read about local history and also for people to publish their work," Pleun Bouricius, grant advisor at Mass Humanities, said.

Dodge called the grant monies "validations that we're doing great things."

The plan, she said, is to have all issues of the MHJ from 1972 to the present in online public archives by 2012. Dodge noted the Mass Humanities grant would only finance an archive from 1990 to the present.

Dodge and her team of faculty, students and volunteers have already begun work on the journal's 75th commemorative issue, which she said would be a "retrospective of Massachusetts." She said articles may include topics concerning Puritans in the Bay Colony, Native American history and the Guatemalan Mayan community in New Bedford.

"It's such a unique topic that just to give this new twist [on Massachusetts' history] would be fun to shake up people's conceptions," Dodge said of publishing an article on the Mayan community.

She noted the commemorative issue may be a double issue published next summer but if not, the bi-yearly journal will reach subscribers in October 2010 and April 2011.

To subscribe to the MHJ, visit