We compiled this volume of essays to commemorate Joseph F. O'Callaghan's forty years at Fordham University. During those forty years he raised a family with his wife Anne; taught medieval history to two generations of undergraduate and graduate students; rose from the rank of instructor to full professor; and wrote A History of Medieval Spain, a classic book in the field of Iberian studies. Any one of these accomplishments would constitute a rich life. But the wider historical profession best knows Joseph O'Callaghan as a pioneer of medieval Spanish historical studies in the United States. It is hard for graduate students today to appreciate that even ten years ago the extensive program of the International Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo might contain only one panel on Spanish history. O'Callaghan himself tells the story of how he attended a meeting of the American Historical Association and met only one other scholar there who shared his interests—Robert I. Burns, S. J., now professor emeritus of the University of California Los Angeles. The current popularity of the study of medieval Spanish history has been fueled by O'Callaghan, Burns, Charles Julian Bishko (the third pioneer of Iberian studies in this country) and the students of these men.
O'Callaghan's interest in Spain began when he was a doctoral student with Jeremiah O'Sullivan, the noted Cistercian scholar. O'Callaghan became interested in the Spanish military religious orders, specifically, the Order of Calatrava. He was awarded his first Fulbright to conduct this research. This study eventually emerged in his dissertation entitled “The Affiliation of the Order of Calatrava with the Order of Cîteaux.”
In the subsequent years O'Callaghan published articles culled from his dissertation research on the military religious orders, which have since been collected into a Variorum volume. During this early part of his career he found time to pursue his interest in the history of parliament. The Cortes of Castile-León exemplifies O'Callaghan's interests in the origins and development of medieval institutions. Despite the intense focus that English-speaking historians have placed on Britain's parliamentary development, O'Callaghan firmly believes and