CCHA Historical Studies, 59 (1992), 9


Editor’s Foreword


        In 1932, James Kenney, historian of early Irish history and an archi­vist with the Public Archives of Canada, conceived of the idea to estab­lish a Canadian Catholic Historical Association. He had been a member of the American Catholic Historical Association since its founding in 1919 and in 1932 he served as President, the first non-American so hon­oured. In the same year, he arranged for the ACHA to hold its annual meeting in Toronto, a meeting that featured several papers on aspects of Canadian Catholic history. Encouraged by the success of the meeting and undeterred by the economic depression, Kenney launched the Cana­dian Catholic Historical Association.

     For the next thirteen years, until his death in 1946, Kenney fostered interest in Canadian Catholic history by organizing an annual confer­ence, soliciting papers on a wide variety of topics of interest to Catholic scholars and publishing them in what was known for many years as the Study Sessions. For Kenney, the field of Catholic history in Canada was a great untapped resource. In 1934 he encouraged the membership to greater efforts: “The work that lies before us is vast ... the surface of our work is hardly skimmed. The harvest is rich and the Canadian Catholic Historical Association is calling for laborers.”

     As editor of Historical Studies for the past two years and a member of the editorial board since 1988, I hope that James Kenney would approve of our efforts. Five years ago, the executive of the CCHA decided that our annual proceedings should become a fully refereed journal and it has. The extent and diversity of historical research cur­rently being undertaken on the Catholic experience in Canada is over­whelming. That it will continue to expand and attract both academic and non-academic historians is without doubt. Historical Studies, I sincerely believe, has played no small part in that revolution. The credit, however, is not mine. None of this would have been accomplished without the magnificent assistance of editorial board members whose names appear on the title page of this edition. I thank them, one and all, for the personal time and effort that they have devoted to Historical Studies. I also wish to thank the executive of the CCHA for the opportunity to be so closely associated with our journal and for their unswerving support and encour­agement during the past two years.

     Our Catholic past is rich in potential. While many have heeded Ken­ney’s words and entered the field, much work remains to be done. The harvest has been plentiful, may it continue to be so in the years ahead.


                                                             Glenn Wright