This year BYU Studies celebrates its fifty-fifth year of publication. As I look back at the table of contents of the first issue, published in 1959, I am struck that the same multidisciplinary variety still flourishes today in BYU Studies as it did then. Articles, essays, and book reviews in that issue covered topics of contemporary interest that are still of interest today.
In that inaugural issue, subjects included an LDS philosophical engagement with existentialism, a Mormon embrace of the human values found in modern art, an economic historical analysis of the Word of Wisdom, and a literary reading of Hawthorne's wrestle with the complexities of human interactions and of moral transgressions. Found in that first volume were department chairs as well as rising young assistant professors whose names were larger-than-life presences in LDS academic circles and on the BYU campus when I arrived as a freshman in the fall of 1964. They included such notables as Truman Madsen, Conan Matthews, Marden Clark, Leonard Arrington, and Kent Fielding.