History

The first issue of The Mind’s Eye was published in January 1977 and consisted of a single sheet of paper and one piece, a review of an article in the New York Times Magazine on systemantics, by the then library director Charles McIsaac. McIsaac wrote to a friend that The Mind’s Eye: A Review of the Press was intended to be a monthly publication and “mini-mini Atlantic or Harper’s in that it imitates the kind of thing they do, and it apes the New Yorker with drawings.” It quickly became a biannual, then annual publication. Following the death of Charles McIsaac in 1984, issues were published in 1987 and 1989 and then not again until Fall 1997, when it was resurrected under the leadership of Professor Tony Gengarelly. Since then, at least one issue has been published, except for 2010, every year.

From the beginning, college faculty, administrators, staff and alumini, as well as scholars from outside the MCLA community, contributed reviews, poetry, opinion pieces, original research and illustrations, and members of the editorial board have usually come from the ranks of the faculty. Early board members included Tony Gengarelly (History and Political Science), Steve Green (Sociology), Ellen Schiff (English) and then Harris Elder (English) and Bob Bishoff (English). Initially, contributions were short commentaries on new books or articles found in the popular press. The April 1977 issue covered an interview with Joan Didion in the New York Times Magazine, an article on the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) in Change, the trans-Alaska pipeline in an article from Audubon, as well as additional commentary on articles from Harper’s, the Atlantic, and the book Ethnicity: Theory and Experience (edited by Nathan Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan.) The September 1977 issue however, included original scholarship, with contributions by Tony Gengarelly (writing on Sacco and Vanzetti) and physics professor Bill Seeley on our national energy needs.

Not surprisingly, higher education has often been a topic of contributions to The Mind’s Eye, but politics, the arts, the media, women’s issues, human rights, economics and literature have been the subject of articles that reflect the varied interests of our faculty. The Mind’s Eye has been fortunate to have been able to publish contributions on a wide range of topics, from “Manuel Puig, Pedro Almodóvar and the Politics of Camp” by Graziana Ramsden, (Spriing 2003) and “Global Justice and the Absence of Universal Morality” by Paul Nnodim (Spring 2006) to “Psycholinguistics: To Be Taboo or Not to Be” by Tim Jay (Fall 2001) and “Vision and Blindness in Greek Tragedy” by Gerol Petruzella (Spring 2001). At least two articles found their way into other publications, having been seen in The Mind’s Eye. Thomas Mulkeen’s (History and Political Science) article “Higher Education in the Coming Age of Limits” was republished in The Journal of Higher Education (1981) and Charlie McIsaac’s editorial “Soccer in a Puddle of Water”, about the investigation into corruption and fraud in Massachusetts public construction programs was picked up by the Boston Globe (1980). Two special issues have been published: the 2013 The Mind’s Eye focused on teaching and learning, while in 2007 The Shaping Role of Place in African-American Biography gathered together articles presented at the NEH-sponsored four-day conference of the same name held at MCLA in 2006. The conference was organized by Frances Jones-Sneed, who was guest editor of the special issue and past managing editor of The Mind’s Eye.

In 2013, it was suggested that all issues of The Mind’s Eye, papers copies of which are held in the Freel Library archives, be digitized and made available for all to read. The digital files were uploaded to the Internet Archive, whose goal is to offer permanent and free access to historical collections that exist in digital format. I hope you can take some time to look at The Mind’s Eye online. Links to all issues of The Mind’s Eye can be found at http://mcla.libguides.com/localhistory/mindseye. Original copies of The Mind’s Eye are kept in the Freel Library archives.

(A different version of this article was originally published in November 2014 issue of the Faculty Center News, a newsletter for MCLA faculty and librarians.)