With headquarters in New York City, AMERICA Magazine traces its origins back to a set of directives (Oct. 26, 1891) by Very Reverend Father Anthony Anderledy, S.J., which anticipated the establishment of a monthly periodical published by the Maryland-New York Province of the Society of Jesus. The idea for the periodical originated with Thomas Campbell, S.J., the provincial superior of the Maryland-New York province. According to Thomas C. Widner's (SJ) article 'From the History,' after three years of problems with the prospective publisher, the impossibility of meeting a proposed starting date, disagreement among staff members and adverse sentiment among members of the province, the project was abandoned in 1891. The idea was, nonetheless, kept alive by John Wynne (SJ), the founding editor.
Father Wynne began planning a weekly review of world affairs presented from the Catholic perspective. His initial plan was for a scholarly review, but he later saw the need for a more practical review with shorter articles and more timely topics. Father Wynne was also determined that this review should defend the Church against prejudices he saw against Catholicism; however, it was not until December 8, 1909, the issuance date of Very Reverend Father Francis Xavier Wernz's 'Ordinatio,' that it was founded. AMERICA was to be the U.S. counterpart to 'The Tablet' of London,a well respected English Catholic weekly. Although Father John Wynne (SJ) served as the founding editor (1909-1910), his tenure in that post lasted less than a year. Due to his involvement in personal and professional controversy, Father Wynne was relieved of his duties as Editor-in-Chief and was replaced by Thomas Campbell (SJ), the Jesuit provincial who first conceived of the idea for the review. [For more detailed information concerning the history of AMERICA, one should consult John Ciani's (SJ) master's degree thesis entitled 'The Founding of America Magazine and the Development of American Catholic Identity'].
AMERICA was housed, originally, in a building located at 32 Washington Square, West in New York City. In 1911, it was moved to 59 East 83rd Street. In 1981, another location was 39 West 86th Street. In 1926 came a residence on 329 W. 108th Street where it remained until the move to its present location-106 West 56th Street [former New York headquarters of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, a purchase made possible by a donation from Richard [Cardinal] Cushing, Archbishop of Boston].
AMERICA began as the result of a combined effort between the Provinces of California, Canada, Maryland-New York, Missouri and New Orleans, in conjunction with the Missions of Colorado, New Mexico and New Orleans. Father Wernz's 'Ordinatio', placed AMERICA under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in 1958, Very Reverend John B. Janssens named Blessed Edmund Campion its special patron.
The Editors of AMERICA from its foundation in 1909 through 1989 are listed as follows: 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. 1944-1955; 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 Hunt, S.J. 1984- .