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America: The National Catholic Weekly: 100 Years of Publication, 1909-2009

Stephen Richard Kerbs Exhibit Area
January 15, 2009
March 14, 2009

A Jesuit Heritage Exhibit

Founded in 1909 by a group of Jesuits from the Maryland-New York Province, America is a weekly periodical covering Catholic topics at home and abroad. The America headquiarters are in New York City. Over the years, many prominent people have contributed to the journal, and many important events have been described in its pages. During its history, America has published items about World War I, the Mexican revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the Cold War, and many other subjects.

This exhibit features a selection of documents about the history of America and includes original letters, photographs and published articles. Materials relating to several editors-in-chief are presented in this display.

On the second floor in the periodical stacks, the Georgetown University Library owns the full run of America from its founding issue to its current one. In addition, the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center serves as the repository for the America Magazine archives, which are preserved in 68 boxes in Special Collections on the fifth floor of Lauinger Library. The America Magazine Archives contain a vast amount of correspondence to and from its various editors throughout the periodical's history. Indeed, the America Magazine Archives provide scholars with a wealth of information about Catholicism in the 20th century.

America, Volume 1 Number 1, 1909

The cover of the first issue of America magazine.

Prospectus for the New Periodical "America"

America grew out of the periodical The Messenger. America Magazine Archives, Box 62 Folder 19.

List of Editors-in-Chief of "America"

-    Rev. John J. Wynne, S.J. - 1909-1910
-    Rev. Thomas J. Campbell, S.J. - 1910-1914
-    Rev. Richard H. Tierney, S.J. - 1914-1925
-    Rev. Wilfred Parsons, S.J. - 1925-1936
-    Rev. Francis X. Talbot, S.J. - 1936-1944
-    Rev. John Lafarge, S.J. - 1944-1948
-    Rev. Robert C. Hartnett, S.J. 1948-1955
-    Rev. Thurston Davis, S.J. - 1955-1968
-    Rev. Donald R. Campion, S.J. - 1968-1975
-    Rev. Joseph A. O,Hare, S.J. 1975-1984
-    Rev. George W. Hunt, S.J. •- 1984-1998
-    Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. - 1998-2005
-    Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J. - 2005-present

Rev. John J. Wynne, S.J.

Photograph of Rev. John J. Wynne, S.J., the founding editor of America. America Magazine Archives, Box 63 Folder 16. Fr. Wynne also founded The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Rev. Richard H. Tierney, S.J.

Photograph of Rev. Richard H. Tierney, S.J. as a military chaplain in World War I. America Magazine Archives, Box 63 Folder 5.

Letter from Alfred E. Smith to Rev. Wilfrid Parsons, S.J .

Typed Letter Signed, dated 6/16/1932, from Alfred E. Smith to Rev. Wilfrid Parsons, S.J., editor of America, thanking him for sending a copy of America. America Magazine Archives, Box 24 Folder 16. In 1928, Alfred E. Smith, a Democrat, was the first Catholic to win the presidential nomination from his party. Smith also served as governor of New York for four terms.

Letter from Eleanor K. Breen to Rev. Wilfrid Parsons, S.J.

Typed Letter Signed, dated 11/15/1932, from Eleanor K. Breen, President of the Catholic Women's Club of Los Angeles, California, to Rev. Wilfrid Parsons, S.J., thanking him for sending a copy of his book The Pope and Italy. America Magazine Archives, Box 1 Folder 6. The Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center houses Fr. Parsons' papers in addition to material by and about him in the America Magazine Archives.

"The Diabolic Plot"

Dorothy Day. "The Diabolic Plot." America, April 23, 1933. Reprinted in America issue of August 4-11, 2008.

Letter from Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen to Rev. Francis X. Talbot, S.J.,

Typed Letter Signed, dated 10/10/1941, from Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen to Rev. Francis X. Talbot, S.J., editor of America, commenting on Msgr. Sheen's article about aid to Russia. America Magazine Archives, Box 30 Folder 13. Fr. Talbot's collection of Catholic autographs and his personal papers are housed in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Photograph of Rev. John Lafarge, S.J.

Photograph of Rev. John Lafarge, S.J., editor-in-chief of America from 1944-1948. America Magazine Archives, Box 46 Folder 26. The Rev. John LaFarge, S.J. Papers are housed in the Special Collections Research Center.

"The Apostle of the Pen"

Jacques Maritain. "The Apostle of the Pen." America, May 24, 1952. Reprinted in America issue of September 22, 2008.

50th Anniversary Issue

America, April 11, 1959. The cover of the 50th anniversary issue.

Letter from Richard M. Nixon to Rev. John Lafarge, S.J.,

Typed Letter Signed, dated 4/17/1959, from U.S. Vice President Richard M. Nixon to Rev. John Lafarge, S.J., inviting him to attend a Religious Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. to promote equal job opportunity. America Magazine Archives, Box 48 Folder 3. Fr. Lafarge founded the Catholic Interracial Council, and he worked extensively for civil rights.

"Why Some Look Up to Planets and Heroes"

Thomas Merton. "Why Some Look Up to Planets and Heroes." America, March 30, 1963. Reprinted in America issue of August 18-25, 2008.

"On Religious Liberty"

Rev. John Courtney Murray, SJ. "On Religious Liberty." America, November 30, 2008. Reprinted in America issue of June 23-30, 2008. Fr. Murray's personal papers are stored in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.