VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review was begun as an annual journal in 1980 through the combined efforts of Barbara Reynolds of Cambridge, England, Clyde S. Kilby, founder of the Wade Center, and Beatrice Batson. Dr. Batson, at that time Chair of the Wheaton College English Department, invited Dr. Reynolds to teach Dante and Ariosto at Wheaton for the 1977-1978 school year. During that year, the two professors spent many hours talking together about Sayers and the other authors. Out of one such lunch-time conversation came the idea for an academic journal focusing on the seven authors' works. Dr. Batson and Dr. Reynolds exuberantly scribbled the original concepts for VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review on a napkin, and then brought the idea to Dr. Kilby, who had long hoped to establish a journal at the Wade Center. The journal was launched in 1980 with a gala dinner in London.
These professors saw the need for a forum where the lives and works of the Wade authors could be discussed with academic rigor without forgoing accessibility. Dr. Reynolds explains, "As thinkers, novelists, creators of new worlds, poets, dramatists, Christian believers, innovators in all they undertook, they set a high standard of intellectual integrity and imaginative achievement. We have still much to learn from them and about them. Their influence, severally and in combination, continues to be far-reaching and an inspiration to all who value creative excellence."
From the outset, submissions were selected based on blind peer-review by an expert advisory board. The first five volumes (1980-1984) were published for Wheaton College by Heffers of Cambridge. Because of cost, it became necessary to find a publisher in the United States. Volumes 6-9 (1985-1988) were published by a Colorado firm that then went out of business, leaving SEVEN without a publisher. After a five-year hiatus, it was decided to reestablish the journal due to the ever-increasing feasibility of in-house desktop publishing. Accordingly, Volume 10 was published by the Wade Center in 1993. The following year, an endowment was established to make SEVEN sustainable-this funding arrangement continues to keep the journal's subscription cost accessible to a range of readers. The Wade Center continues to accept donations to the SEVEN endowment.
SEVEN is now comprised of nearly 30 volumes. Interestingly, despite the increasing popularity of the seven Wade authors, their numerous similarities in world-view, and their interaction with each other, SEVEN continues to be the only publication of an academic nature which offers in-depth discussion of these writers in one forum. The journal is notable for accessibility and freedom from academic jargon on the one hand, and wide-ranging scholarship on the other. In addition to articles by renowned as well as new authors, a SEVEN reader will also find book reviews, news and event reports, resources for research, and, upon occasion, previously unpublished works by the Wade collection's authors.