The Lovejoy approach
Arthur O. Lovejoy (1873–1962) coined the phrase history of ideas and initiated its systematic study
 in the early decades of the 20th century.
Johns Hopkins University was a "fertile cradle" to Lovejoy's history of ideas;
 he worked there as a professor of history, from 1910 to 1939, and for decades he presided over the regular meetings of the History of Ideas Club.
 Another outgrowth of his work is the
Journal of the History of Ideas.
Aside from his students and colleagues engaged in related projects (such as
René Wellek and
Leo Spitzer, with whom Lovejoy engaged in extended debates), scholars such as
J. G. A. Pocock, and others have continued to work in a spirit close to that with which Lovejoy pursued the history of ideas. The first chapter of Lovejoy's book The Great Chain of Being (1936) lays out a general overview of what he intended to be the programme and scope of the study of the history of ideas.