One of my greatest joys as an editor is attending history conferences. I love hearing all the latest research, trying to read name tags at belly-button level, and coaxing scholars into sending their work to California History. COVID-19 has been spectacularly unhelpful in this regard.

In April 2020, I was all set to attend the Organization of American Historians annual meeting in Washington, D.C. I had marked up my conference program with all the sessions I planned to attend, and I emailed dozens of presenters to say that I would be there and to ask if we could meet. Alas, COVID. The OAH canceled its 2020 meeting, California History moved onto my couch…but the great articles kept coming.

One of them is in this issue: Adrianna Finamore’s “Geeking and Freaking.” And one of my favorite essays of all time rose above that ill-fated conference: Stephen R. Duncan’s “Soldiers, Sailors,...

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