The History of Earth Sciences Society (HESS) was founded in 1982 to help satisfy four needs:
First, the gap between the humanities and the sciences is bridged by some historians interested in the history of earth science, and by some geoscientists interested in the history of their fields. A society to which both historians and earth scientists belong allows for mutually beneficial exchanges of ideas.
Second, because the history of earth science is a global topic, a national group may not be suitably flexible. A society open to all and cosmopolitan in composition and outlook provides this element of breadth.
Third, in the past, even with all the other journals available, it has been difficult to find an outlet for scholarly works in the history of the earth sciences. A prime goal of the new society was immediate establishment of a refereed journal to serve the needs of its members.
Fourth, historical studies of ideas concerning the Earth, institutions involved in such research, and prominent workers have seldom received much attention. With greater prominence and a journal dedicated to the field, more support for intellectual endeavors in the broad domain of geoscience history has been forthcoming.