America was born in 1909. That year, its first weekly issue was dated April 17. America, a Jesuit magazine, was planned as the American counterpart of The Tablet of London, a respected Catholic weekly review. We are now approaching our 100th year of continuous weekly publication. America is the only national Catholic weekly magazine in the United States. After considering several hundred names, the founding editors chose the name "America," which was suggested by Thomas J. Gannon, S.J.
The editorial rooms of America have been located at various addresses on the island of Manhattan over the years since 1909.
We began life at 32 Washington Square West. In 1911 the editors moved to 59 East 83rd Street. In 1918 the editorial residence was a town house at 39 West 86th Street. Then in 1926, another move was made, this time to a double house at 329 West 108th Street, where the editors remained for 39 years. Finally, there came the move to our present midtown quarters at 106 West 56th Street. A very generous gift from Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston made it possible to purchase this building, which had been New York headquarters of a national fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. The nine-story facility contains living quarters, library, editorial and business offices, meeting halls and chapel designed by Thomas Slon, S.J.
Since 1909 there have been over 200 U.S. and Canadian Jesuits associated with the magazine, many for terms of only one or two years. On the other end of the scale, some editors have had long tenures. Father John LaFarge was associated with this review for 37 years; Father Vincent S. Kearney for 32 years; Father Benjamin L. Masse for 30 years and Father Paul L. Blakely for 29 years. Father Charles W. Whelan and Father John W. Donohue recently retired after 45 and 35 years of service respectively.
The Founder of America was also the founder of The Catholic Encyclopedia. He heads the list of editors-in-chief:
- 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. Wilfrid 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. 2005-2012
- Rev. Matt Malone, S.J. 2012-
Read Father Thomas Stahel's history of America from The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History.
Browse the first issue of America from April 17, 1909.
View a video history of America.
Read episodes in the history of America.
Read the June 20, 2005 editorial on the mission of America.