Inasmuch as the rest of the world is currently celebrating the new millennium (even though it does not begin until January 1, 2001!), it is appropriate that this occasion be noted by the Journal. Accordingly, this issue has a number of special features, as detailed below. I shall begin, however, by recounting the events that led to the birth of the Journal and summarize its subsequent development. Our Society can look back at the Journal's first 18 years with considerable pride with regard to its content over the years and its attainment of a respectable circulation for a quarterly subspecialty journal. That the Journal has flourished to the extent that it has is due to the efforts of many people, including my three illustrious predecessors as Editor-in-Chief (Ancel Blaustein, Steven G. Silverberg, Henry J. Norris), a distinguished Editorial Board, and most importantly, those authors, both members and nonmembers of the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists, who have contributed manuscripts to the Journal over the years.
The history of the founding of the Journal will not be familiar to many of its readers. In 1977, Springer Verlag expressed to Dr. Ancel Blaustein an interest in starting an international journal of gynecological pathology with him as Editor-in-Chief. He approached the Executive Committee of the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists to seek the Society's sponsorship of the proposed journal, but the Committee decided that the time was not propitious in view of the recent founding of two other pathology journals (American Journal of Surgical Pathology and Histopathology) and the obvious competition for contributions that would exist. In 1980, however, the Committee recommended to the Society that it should sponsor a quarterly journal devoted to gynecological pathology, prompted in part by the perceived likelihood that a gynecological pathology journal was going to emerge in the near future with or without the blessing of the Society. The following arguments were put forth by the Committee in favor of this proposal, as recorded by Dr. Robert E. Scully, President of the Society: a journal would enable the Society to fulfill its mission of international education and more effectively facilitate communication among the members, including Associate Members, who do not ordinarily attend pathology meetings, and foster a closer relationship between the Society and other societies; a journal would facilitate the exchange of information among scientists in various parts of the world; and a journal guided by the Society would be preferable to one controlled by a publisher and an unknown editorial board. At the business meeting of the Society in New Orleans in March 1980, a motion, introduced by Dr. William Christopherson, was passed to establish a Publications Committee to investigate further the question of founding a journal by the Society. Dr. Blaustein was appointed Chairman of the Committee; the other members were Dr. Frank Vellios (who was then Emeritus Editor of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology) and members of the Executive Committee. The Publications Committee enthusiastically endorsed the founding of the journal and presented its report at the meeting of the Society held in conjunction with the World Congress of the International Academy of Pathology in Paris, September 1980, and later at the meeting of the Society in Chicago in March 1981. The proposal was approved by the membership, and subsequently, Dr. Blaustein, on behalf of the Society, negotiated a contract with Raven Press, Springer Verlag having lost interest in such an endeavor. The first issue of the Journal appeared in early 1982, with Dr. Blaustein as Editor-in-Chief, Drs. Jason Norris and Gisela Dallenbach-Hellweg as Associate Editors, and an Editorial Board consisting of 22 distinguished gynecological pathologists from 11 countries. In a preface to Volume 1, No. 1 of the Journal (1), Dr. Scully wrote: “After consolidating its position as a viable organization and attaining a multinational membership, the Society voted in 1981 to found a journal dedicated exclusively to recording progress in gynecological pathology and disseminating information about the activities of the Society.”
It is appropriate to record here a few biographical details of Dr. Blaustein, who adroitly and successfully led the Journal through its fledgling years. He was born in Montreal and received his M.D. degree from McGill University in 1945. After a fellowship in hematology at the Royal Victoria Hospital, he moved to Schenectady, New York to undertake additional training in clinical and anatomical pathology. In 1957, he became the first full-time Director of Pathology at the Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing, New York, a position he held for the rest of his life. Readers of the Journal will be well aware that Dr. Blaustein also edited the first and second editions of Pathology of the Female Genital Tract, which has lived on as Blaustein's Pathology of the Female Genital Tract and has become one of the standard reference books in gynecological pathology. Dr. Blaustein died unexpectedly on June 27, 1984 at the age of 64; a tribute to him appeared shortly thereafter in the Journal (2).
Dr. Blaustein's untimely death left a void at the Journal that was promptly and capably filled by Dr. Steven G. Silverberg, who assumed the duties of Editor-in-Chief and expertly guided the Journal for the next 7 years (1984–1991). Dr. Silverberg was succeeded by Dr. Henry J. Norris, and his 3-year tenure was served with similar distinction. A significant improvement in the Journal occurred during this period with its expansion from a page size of 7” × 10” to its current 8” × 11,” a change that began with Volume 11.
It was a privilege for me to become Editor-in-Chief in the fall of 1994. Dr. Norris kindly continued to serve the Journal for several years as Associate Editor, as did Dr. Francisco Nogales, and I wish to acknowledge their valuable service to the Journal and their assistance to me during my first few years as Editor. Over the past 5 years, corporate mergers have resulted in a transfer of the production of the Journal from New York (Raven Press) to Philadelphia (Lippincott-Raven), and in 1998, to Baltimore (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). During this period, the Editorial Board has been increased to 60 members, and Dr. W. Dwayne Lawrence and Dr. Michael Wells were appointed Associate Editors. Dr. Stanley J. Robboy also now serves as Associate Editor, with responsibility for book reviews (he had already performed this function with distinction for some years as a regular Editorial Board member). In 1996, an ongoing series on the history of gynecological pathology was introduced at the suggestion of Dr. Robert H. Young, who is Associate Editor with responsibility for this area. The Journal's history series antedated, albeit not by much, the current upswing in interest in medical history, and we have had a historical essay in almost every other issue. The current issue contains the seventh contribution in the series, by Drs. Katherine Downes and William R. Hart.
A number of review articles were solicited for this issue, and I am grateful to the authors for their willingness to undertake their assignments on relatively short notice. Two contributions are of a historical nature. The first details the planning and early stages of the Society by two individuals who played pivotal roles in its founding: Dr. Hernando Salazar (first Secretary and third President) and Dr. Scully (the first President). In another article, Dr. Young delves even further into the past to focus on a number of textbooks that persevere as monumental contributions to the gynecological pathology literature, and as such, deserve to be consulted much more often than they generally are. In his contribution, Dr. Silverberg focuses on the important and difficult area of grading of ovarian carcinomas, and describes his recently proposed grading system for these tumors. Next, Dr. Mark Stoler provides an update on the continually evolving and challenging area of human papillomaviruses and precancerous squamous lesions of the uterine cervix. Dr. Andrew Östör then reviews the diagnostically challenging area of early invasive adenocarcinomas of the cervix based on his experience with a large number of personally studied cases. In another article, Dr. G. Richard Dickersin, an authority in his field, elaborates on the role of electron microscopy in the evaluation of gynecological tumors. In this article, Dr. Dickersin emphasizes how useful this technique can be in the diagnosis of certain lesions. Finally (using my license as Editor-in-Chief!), I have contributed a review of uterine smooth muscle tumors, with a focus on the many recent advances in our knowledge of these tumors that continue to pose numerous diagnostic problems for the pathologist and therapeutic problems for the gynecologist.
With respect to recent and future developments, beginning with Volume 16, the number of pages in each issue was increased by approximately 10% and a smaller font was introduced. These changes, coupled with the previous expansion in the format of the Journal, have allowed for an approximately 50% increase in the number of manuscripts published in each issue. More recently, the Journal has been added to the Ovid database and now has its own Web page that includes the table of contents of each issue. It is planned that the abstracts will also be added in the near future, and the possibility of having the full text of each issue online will be considered at a later date. I look forward to your continued support of the Journal through your contributions and welcome suggestions for new features that you as readers might find of interest and that will add to the appeal of the Journal in the 21st century.
1. Scully RE. Foreward. Int J Gynecol Pathol 1982; 1:1.
2. Dwek JH. In memoriam: Ancel Blaustein, M.D. Int J Gynecol Pathol 1984; 3:247–8.