‘Retrospects’ are digital collections from the archive of the Historical Journal. They discuss a theme of long-standing or emergent concern, both within the journal and across the wider span of historical writing. The collection will be freely available digitally on the journal's website; the introductory essay will be included both with the electronic collection and in a regular issue of the journal. The introductory essay to the ‘Retrospect’ will set out the field in which the collection belongs and how the archive of the Historical Journal bears out the changing contours of that field. The inaugural ‘Retrospect’ includes articles published between 1941 and 2015, and which span the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. It is edited by Professor Mark Goldie, a former editor of the Historical Journal.