Launch Letter from the Founders

July 30, 2012

It’s been said that only a tenth of historians’ research makes it into their written work. A tenth of newspapers read, books carried, archives explored, receipts tallied, journals skimmed, letters digested. A tenth of people’s lives sifted to make history manageable and ready for publication. It’s a potent and necessary tenth, but still: a small share of the past, only a fraction of which will ever reach the wider public.

Consider The Appendix your new home for the other nine-tenths. It is a quarterly journal of history for the rest of us, a workshop for essays and art about the people and events just outside what gets taught in school. More often than not, The Appendix’s subjects won't have Wikipedia entries, let alone doorstop-sized biographies of their lives. Instead, The Appendix's historians, writers and artists deliver choice discoveries from the archives – tragic, absurd, and inspiring stories that challenge what we think we know about the past and present. Its pages swell with forbidden love letters, the marginalia of bored policemen and monks, the lost journals of the failed and forgotten, and photographs of someone else’s grandmother. Things often tossed in the dustbin of history—but better off in The Appendix.

This is no cabinet of curiosities, however, accessible only to antiquarians and academics. Its audience is readers of good popular history, educators looking to spice up their classes, and the magpie historian, interested in exploring the stranger corners of the past. The Appendix meets their needs through good writing, clean but deep design, and accessible publishing. Four times yearly, The Appendix will deliver an online edition of the journal and, eventually, a print edition. Subscribers can receive the whole edition immediately on the e-reading platform of their choice, but The Appendix’s website will progressively release content to all readers over the course of the quarter. At least once a week, visitors to The Appendix can enjoy a new feature, essay, interview, piece of fiction, or even comic that marries academic history’s rigor with narrative nonfiction and new media’s sense of story and style. In other words, The Appendix will be as fun to read as it is to research and write.

Sincerely, Your Editors.

  • Ben Breen
  • Felipe Fernandes Cruz
  • Christopher Heaney
  • Brian Jones

The editors of the Appendix currently reside in Austin, Texas; Lima, Peru; and São Paulo, Brazil. Although they met while pursuing PhDs in history, their hopes for The Appendix are also informed by their work outside higher education: between them they build websites, write articles for publications like The New Republic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, make documentaries on outlaw ballooners, curate a blog about the early modern world, and fly planes. They've also edited poetry anthologies, managed rock bands, collected oral histories, and written a book on Machu Picchu and columns for an Ivy League humor rag. They tend many gardens: animal, vegetable, mineral, historical.