Our First Issue from 1909

As America’s readers know, we are celebrating our hundredth year of publication. Ever wondered what the magazine looked like in April of 1909? Online editor Tim Reidy has scanned and posted the April 17, 1909 initial issue of America as a .pdf file--you can read it here. (it’s a big file: be patient). The initial issue wasn’t big on graphics or readability, but heavy on content. All the ads were crammed into the last six pages, after 26 pages of solid text (the ads are not available in the .pdf--we suspect an early editor thought them not worth saving). Our circulation in those days was around 15,000. We average close to 50,000 these days, but there are a lot more Catholics out there now, too... The first editor in chief was John J. Wynne, S.J., a former editor of the monumental Catholic Encyclopedia and one of American Catholicism’s most colorful characters. We’ll feature his story in a future issue of America as part of a series of articles celebrating a century of publication. Jim Keane, SJ

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