Acadiensis, 1901 and 1999[*]

David Frank

Printable version


"The name is short, concise, significant and phonetic". [1] With these words -- though some of us think the last word should have read "prophetic" -- an ambitious amateur historian by the name of David Russell Jack (1864-1913) launched the original Acadiensis in Saint John, New Brunswick in January 1901. The name was an invented one, derived from the historical and scientific name for the territory of "Acadia" -- a geographic region including the present-day Maritime Provinces and adjacent areas to the north around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to the south in northern New England.

The name appears to owe something to a cultural convergence between Verrazzano's idyllic land of "Arcadia" and the Mi'kmaq term "quoddy" signifying land or territory. By the early 18th century the predominantly French-speaking population referred to themselves as "le peuple acadien", and the story of the dispersal and reconstruction of their society is one of the epics of regional history; by the 1880s they had established institutions and traditions that would guarantee their survival into the 20th century; in addition, the Acadian identity was being popularized by a New England poet by the name of Longfellow, although his principal theme was not so much the survival of the Acadians as the fidelity of womankind. Meanwhile, the term "Acadia" was also receiving scientific approval as a convenient description of a geographic region; the best example perhaps is the classic Victorian scientific text, Acadian Geology (Edinburgh, 1855), by J. W. Dawson, the Nova Scotian who was the principal builder of McGill University in this era and arguably the most important Canadian scientist of the 19th century. It is clear that in 1901 the founders of Acadiensis were not thinking of "le peuple acadien" but of "Acadia" when they explained the meaning of the name: "Acadia is a title now recognized by the scientific world as applying to the territory embraced within the areas of the Maritime Provinces, including a small portion of the Province of Quebec and the State of Maine, immediately adjacent. This is precisely the ground we wish to cover".[2]

Jack himself was a member of a vigorous group of local citizens in Saint John, mainly businessmen and professionals of Loyalist origins, with an interest in the preservation of heritage and promotion of progress in their community. As a youth Jack had won a prize awarded by the Mechanics' Institute for an essay on the city's centennial; he became an active member of the New Brunswick Historical Society and maintained a lifelong interest in local history. In business life Jack was vice-consul for Spain and an agent for the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. He was also a prominent civic booster -- a member of common council, an advocate of electric street-lighting, a promoter of tourism and motion pictures. Characteristically for the times, he was also at once a supporter of British imperialism, Canadian nationalism -- and regional identity.[3] Indeed Jack and his colleagues shared in some of the growing malaise about the place of the Maritime Provinces within the expanding Canadian Confederation, and there was an idealistic agenda behind the magazine's definition of territory. As Jack explained in the first issue of the magazine, he hoped to see a "closer amalgamation of the people of Acadia" in the form of a "united Acadia", "one great Province" able to hold its own in the country and in the eyes of the world. As Phillip Buckner has noted, "Acadiensis was to create the sense of regional awareness upon which this union would be built". This ambition turned out to be less prophetic than expected in 1901, but the existence of a regional identity cannot be denied and discussions of Maritime Union have remained a staple theme in regional politics for much of the 20th century.[4]

The original Acadiensis was a general interest quarterly magazine, handsomely produced and focusing on a wide range of historical, literary, artistic and cultural themes. Much of it was biographical, descriptive and antiquarian. The work of W. F. Ganong, the New Brunswicker who served as a professor at Smith College in Massachussetts, can certainly be singled out as having made a significant contribution to the geographic knowledge of the region; and the serialization of J. W. Lawrence's "Judges of New Brunswick and their Times" produced a major statement on the evolution of provincial history. There were some good notices for Acadiensis; the forerunner of the Canadian Historical Review, the Review of Historical Publications Relating to Canada welcomed its appearance with a three-page review and later described Acadiensis as having "no rival among similar periodicals in its scholarly articles, artistic appearance and profuse illustrations".[5] But for all its acknowledged quality, Acadiensis was not a financial success, the revenue never sufficient to meet the costs of printing and postage; in 1908 Jack made a reluctant decision to shut it down, while also expressing the hope that it ultimately be replaced by "something better, possibly along somewhat different lines, and under different management".[6] He died five years later, at a relatively young age; his entry in the latest volume of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography singles out Acadiensis as his most significant achievement: "Extremely ambitious, and professional by contemporary standards, the magazine is considered one of the most important periodicals of its kind produced during the era".[7]

All that is by way of introduction, as the name Acadiensis was not revived until 1971, and the Acadiensis of the late 20th century is the result of a somewhat different conjuncture of historical circumstances. There was a conscious gesture of respect towards the earlier efforts, and there was a similar view of the geographic and historical scope of the region, with the important extension of the horizon to include Newfoundland and Labrador. Moreover, the name -- neither English nor French -- was considered an advantage at a time when the country was increasingly aware of its bilingual traditions, though it is obvious that the advantage of a concise title is lost when the subtitle is included in citations: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region/Revue d'histoire de la région Atlantique.

The decision to establish an historical journal focusing on the history of the Atlantic Region was the result of several converging influences. In the course of the 1960s social and demographic developments were leading to a greater emphasis on higher education in the Atlantic Provinces; and in order to better understand their society, students and scholars in these universities were turning more attention to local and regional themes. Much the same thing was happening across the country at the same time, and this was the era that gave rise to a new emphasis on Canadian studies. That a journal of regional history should be established at the University of New Brunswick was not surprising: since the time of its establishment in 1937 under the direction of Dr. Alfred G. Bailey, the Department of History had actively promoted the study of local and regional history; it was understood to be part of the natural mandate of the provincial university in a way that was not generally the case at other universities in the Maritime Provinces. The author of the first modern general history of the region, W. S. MacNutt was the acknowledged dean of regional history by the 1960s; his colleagues included an active group of scholars in the field; the graduate programme that they supervised was beginning to produce a significant body of research in regional history.

What made regional history seem less parochial and more acceptable at this time, however, was the way it intersected with the larger process of challenging the existing consensus about Canadian history. In an address to the American Historical Association, meeting in Toronto in December 1967, one of the country's senior historians, Professor Maurice Careless of the University of Toronto, had offered a high-level seal of approval for new approaches to the study of the past. This short essay, "'Limited Identities' in Canada", is perhaps one of the most influential pieces of historical writing in the last half-century. Careless advanced the proposition that the search for an "all-Canadian way of life" focused on the politics of national unity was a misguided quest; instead, he argued, it was possible that for most Canadians region-building had been a more important experience than nation-building. Of course, in the end Professor Careless underlined what he called the "articulation" of differentiated experience within a larger Canadianism and suggested that this acceptance of diversity and pluralism was the decisive Canadian characteristic. In the meanwhile, he had given an endorsement of the significance of what Ramsay Cook had called "limited identities" and thereby encouraged the growth of studies focused on matters not only of region but also of class, ethnicity, gender and much else that has followed since. [8]

But if there was going to be a reconstruction of Canadian history around such themes, where would the new scholars in the field debate their controversies and publish their findings? Would there be room for such material in the pages of well-established j ournals such as the Canadian Historical Review, always in those days edited by professors in the University of Toronto? Already, I am told, the editors of the Canadian Historical Review had made a convincing, self-exculpatory case that the Atlantic Region was receiving its fair share of articles, at least in proportion to its current population and the number of practising historians in the field; from this perspective, one or two articles a year was all that was appropriate. In 1968 Ramsay Cook, saying farewell to his term as editor of the Canadian Historical Review, even expressed some frustration with the feeling that a submission dealing with a "national" issue necessarily had "an immediate advantage over a local or provincial subject".[9]

All this was encouragement for new ventures, and the hinterland universities were among the places that offered a natural home for this kind of moderately revisionist dissent from the older consensus of national history. Out of that historical moment have come several of the now significant historical and history-oriented journals in Canada, including the Journal of Canadian Studies (1966), Histoire sociale/Social History (1968), B. C. Studies (1968), Canadian Ethnic Studies (1969), Atlantis (1975), Labour/Le Travail (1976).

In speaking of the origins of the second Acadiensis in 1971, 1 must add that I cannot claim to speak as a participant observer. At the time the journal was being founded in Fredericton, I was preoccupied with other matters as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto; I was then editing a quite different publication, the campus newspaper known as The Varsity and, in my spare time, acquiring an honours degree in Canadian history. By the time I was hired at the University of New Brunswick in the 1980s, Acadiensis was a notable success, and the prospect of editing the journal was one of the attractions of the position that was advertised. Interestingly, the founding editor of Acadiensis, Phillip Buckner, was himself also a Toronto graduate who had gone on to the University of London for graduate studies in imperial history before he joined the faculty at the University of New Brunswick. I can also add here that my successor as editor, Gail Campbell, with whom I have alternated as editor in recent years, was also a graduate of an Ontario university; she went on to complete graduate studies in the United States before returning to Canada. Each of us has his or her own particular areas of scholarly preparation and we have all published on the history of the region; but only one of these three editors had actually prepared a doctoral dissertation dealing with an aspect of regional history and even then it was also considered of sufficiently general interest, at least by the Maritime Provinces university that accepted it, to be examined by a professor of American history from Yale University. Accordingly, it is probably fair to say that all three of us belonged to a larger scholarly community that accepted regional history as a legitimate part of the research enterprise. Indeed we assumed as a matter of course the premise that first-rate work of national significance could be completed within the scope of regional history and that, if published in a journal such as Acadiensis it would be widely read.

That is a relevant point, as one of the crucial early decisions at Acadiensis was that this would be a journal of recognized professional quality, that it would attract the best scholarship and that it would stimulate original new research in the field. No specific definition of region or regionalism was established; it was sufficient that studies contribute to an understanding of the experience of this part of the world. Although the journal was organized by historians, participation from other disciplines was welcomed; moreover, publication was offered in either English or French. But the ambition was there from the beginning that this journal would become essential reading not just for those interested in the history of Atlantic Canada, but for all Canadian historians, and perhaps some of those beyond as well. Was the field too small in scope and numbers for such a project to succeed? If there was any model among existing academic journals, it was the William and Mary Quarterly. Who would have thought that a publication that appeared, at least from its name, to have a very limited focus would become such a distinguished scholarly journal? To the founders of Acadiensis that was proof that a specialized journal could set high standards and achieve a broad significance.[10]

Looking back at the first ten years of publication, it is notable how many of the early contributors came to be counted among the most accomplished historians of their generation. I think particularly of Les Upton, David Alexander, Judith Fingard, Jack Bumsted, T. W. Acheson and E. R. Forbes. These were among the most frequent contributors in the first ten years of the journal and are among the most widely cited historians in Canada today. It is clear that they played a significant part in establishing the journal's reputation.

But it is the cumulative impact of the scholarship in the journal that has been one of the most rewarding features of Acadiensis. For this reason, commented H. J. Hanham of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a famous review of Canadian historiography, published in the Canadian Historical Review no less, the back volumes of Acadiensis were "more fun for me to read than an equivalent pile of the Canadian Historical Review... I am conscious in reading Acadiensis that work on Maritime history is cumulative in a sense in which work published in the Canadian Historical Review is not and perhaps cannot be because the range of topics covered is so wide".[11] Already in the production of that faraway first year, one can discern the beginning of some of the key themes that have had an impact on the field and are still attracting the attention of contributors in the most recent issues of the journal.

One of the first research articles in that first year of publication was a study of the early merchant capitalist Nicolas Denys, whose descriptive journals tell us much about 17th century Acadia. The Acadian presence, here understood as the story of the descendants of New France within this region, continued to be a regular theme, in English and in French. Meanwhile, in 1998, we have published a study of the selection of the names for boys and girls in 17th and 18th century Acadia, which tends to confirm the evolution of this distinctive New World identity. In addition, we published last year the first thorough study of the little-known Deportation of 1758, three years after the one that Evangeline made famous, that removed the Acadian population from Ile St-Jean, what later became known as Prince Edward Island.

Another study in that first issue examined the trials and tribulations of a New York Loyalist who served as lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island. This can be considered a contribution to the history of colonial administration in the region generally and the Loyalists in particular. On the first theme we published last year a fine study of the nature of the colonial state and civil society in Newfoundland in the era before responsible government; and at the moment we are preparing a scholarly forum on the significance of the Black Loyalists in regional historiography.

There was also a reprint of a short document by David Russell Jack himself, on the attractions of tourism as a development strategy for the region. Cultural history has come on strong in the past decade, and it has been notably focused on the exploitation of memory and identity for the benefit of the tourist. We now have had several provocative studies of the invention of tradition and the commodification of anti-modernism in the regional identity, and a new consideration of this theme in respect to commemoration of an imagined historical site on the Quebec-New Brunswick border is now in press for 1999.

The most important article in that first issue was one that arrived in Fredericton from the hands of E. R. Forbes, a junior faculty member at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It was a modestly titled article on prohibition and the social gospel in early 20th century Nova Scotia. This essay has come to occupy a prominent place in regional historiography, because it was the first significant challenge to the stereotype that tended to portray the Maritime Provinces as a repository of hidebound conservatism in social thinking and political behaviour within Canada. Too often it was assumed that because historians had not studied the region, nothing of significance had actually happened -- "As for the Maritime Provinces", Frank Underhill had said in a notorious comment, "nothing ever happens down there" -- and it was believed to be true especially in areas of social reform, women's activism or labour protest. Professor Forbes later went on to address this as a distinct problem in Canadian historiography, and the theme has remained close to the centre of the journal's activity. Looking at the 1998 issues again, the study of the Bluenose Marxist Colin McKay, with its argument for Atlantic Canada as the home of the communitarian tradition in Canada, is the most recent articulation of this theme.

Also in that first year of publication, an early study by one of Canada's outstanding social historians examined the contradictions of philanthropic activity among native people in early 19th century New Brunswick. Native history continues to be a significant subject matter within the region, in part because of current controversies over land settlement and resource utilization. The most recent issue of the journal pursues this theme in the form of a four-person forum presented by historians who have served as expert witnesses on both sides of recent court cases.

The second issue of Acadiensis also published the seminal study by T. W. Acheson that identified the importance of the industrial revolution in the Maritimes. This was a topic that most Canadian history textbooks assumed to be virtually non-existent. Like the Forbes article about Maritime progressivism, this one is still regularly reprinted -- in fact it is one of the most frequently reprinted articles in Canadian historiography, and every graduate student in Canadian history must sooner or later come to grips with this study. Who is to blame for the region's troubled economic fortunes in the last 100 years -- our resource endowment and geography? our defective entrepreneurs? our community leaders? businessmen from Montreal and Boston? the railways? the tariff? the banks? Confederation? outmigration? the Canadian state? the capitalist system? How indeed can a small economic region, open to numerous exogenous influences and poised uncertainly between resource exploitation and new industries, find its niche in a nationalizing, continentalizing, globalizing world? That early study has inspired a small industry of case studies that continue to explore the conditions for the rise and fall of economic development in the region.

As a measure of the flexible geographic scope of our loosely defined region, we might also look for a moment at representations of the American connection in the pages of Acadiensis. Already in the first issue a review article by a colleague at the University of Maine discussed recent historical work on the New England-Atlantic Provinces region. Since then we have regularly published articles that address this theme (without excluding by any means more distant locations such as Louisiana, that became home to a New Acadia after the Deportation). Much of this work has had to do with the circulation of ideas and capital, and in one case the plaster cast of a blue whale; but most of it has had to do with the movement of people. In 1992, for instance, Betsy Beattie of the University of Maine examined the experiences of young women from the Maritimes who went to work in the factories of Lynn, Massachussetts. In 1993 Bill Wicken of York University gave us a case study in the relations between American fishermen and native people in an account of the fateful events of one day in August 1726. In 1994 we published a study of the more philanthropically oriented activity of the Rockefeller Foundation in the Maritimes in the 1940s. The following year there was an article on the migration of Black workers from Birmingham, Alabama to work in the blast furnaces in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Then in 1997 we published a social and demographic study of an 18th-century late Loyalist migration from New Boston, New Hampshire to rural New Brunswick. That was also the year of the blue whale -- a project undertaken by the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with Newfoundland whalers for a display at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Meanwhile, in 1998 we have had a fascinating new study of emigration to the United States based on a relatively unknown source at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

Much else has been happening too -- the emergence of labour history, women's history, ethnic history, urban history, rural history -- as well as the substantial contributions in historical geography, economic history, folklore and oral history. Among the contributors in the past three years about 60 per cent were historians; the others included geographers, economists, archivists, sociologists and political scientists. In addition to interdisciplinarity, there is also bilingualism, and we have been much aided by the support of our colleagues at the Université de Moncton and a talented French-language editor. But the important point is that the journal has worked hard to live up to its mandate of serving the interests of a broadly defined regional history while publishing work that added new dimensions to an understanding of the Canadian experience. While making possible the teaching of regional history at the university level and the concentrated scholarly study of regional history, Acadiensis has also ensured that every general text in Canadian history and every anthology of readings contains some appropriate reference to this body of work. The journal is cited with frequency in guides to Canadian historiography; and the two-volume anthology of readings from past issues (now entering its third edition) was included in a Globe and Mail list of the twelve most important titles in Canadian history. In addition, a two-volume general history of the region, prepared by a score of established contributors to the journal, has made it possible for the general reader to gain easy access to a modern account of the history of the region.[12]

But this modest, or at least abbreviated, review would be incomplete if it did not include some notes of concern about the future prospects of this journal. In the 1990s there was no reduction in the quality or quantity of the work available for consideration, but one price of success has been that the workload itself has become more problematic than ever. The submissions are much more numerous, but each of them still requires the same degree of editorial attention; moreover, by the early 1990s the average published issue was at least twice the length it had been in the early 1970s. Besides the research articles, the journal also conducts a far-ranging review essay department dealing with regional and national themes; and the regional bibliography has become a major enterprise involving librarians in four provinces; both of these require careful editorial administration. Beyond this, we hold the mandate for a biennial Atlantic Canada Studies Conference, which has taken place not only in Fredericton but in each of the four provinces as well as in more exotic locations such as Orono, Maine and Edinburgh, Scotland. We administer a student prize competition. An ancillary operation that involves many of the same people has produced editions of documents and anthologies related to the journal's mandate. We have published two retrospective indexes and are now facing the challenge of constructing one that can be carried on the world wide web. All of this has placed heavy demands on the faculty and staff time allocated to the journal; we have addressed this matter, at least in the short-run, by arranging last year for the part-time employment of an assistant editor. Even so, the total faculty and staff time assigned to the journal remains well below two person-years per volume-year.

For all its success, this Acadiensis, like the earlier Acadiensis has never been self-supporting. As always, the journal must get by on the resources that can be mustered from year to year. As far as subscriptions go, the top price is $30.00 US; our bargain rate (for students and seniors) is $10.50 Canadian; on average our income produces revenue of $20.00 per subscription. Among subscriptions, we depend on a substantial institutional base, at this time running at about 40 per cent of the list. Most of the individual subscribers come from within the academic community (though we have had some success with bookstore sales and general readers). And the majority of subscriptions are outside the Atlantic Region. The international component of our subscription list is about 21 per cent, and these are primarily in the United States.

The most important source of support for the journal from the beginning has been our home university and its Department of History. They have provided us with space and services and, most significantly, allocated secretarial time and faculty release time to the operation. Without this support, the journal could probably never have survived, and it certainly could not have flourished. There have been limits, of course; for instance, the assistance of graduate students is no longer available as it once was, as teaching assignments are given priority. But as long as the university continues to identify itself as having a mission of excellence in regional studies, we can feel confident that this most important support for the enterprise will continue.

Of all the kinds of support the university provides, cash is the least of them, and it is money that is needed to pay printing, postage and shipping charges, to purchase equipment and run the office, to prepare and distribute publicity, to organize conferences of our own and attend those organized by others. There are some small sources of revenue from the sales of back issues, the reprinting of articles (shared to be sure with the authors) or in the donations from supporters. But, like other long-established scholarly journals in Canada, we must supplement the subscription revenue with support from government programmes designed to aid in the dissemination of scholarly research. The most significant of these is the Aid to Research and Transfer Journals programme administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. During the past decade our support from this programme has dropped by about 40 per cent. It is all in the formula, and we have moved lately from a situation in which every dollar of subscription revenue was rewarded with a matching dollar in grant revenue to one where the matching support for subscription revenue is only 50 cents. Accordingly, the editorial board has had to come to grips with the frustrations of receiving consistently positive reviews from the adjudication process accompanied by continual reductions in support from the same programme.

This development has forced us into a somewhat unexpected state of retrenchment. Instead of moving to higher levels of activity and increased promotion, we find ourselves taking economy measures to save costs. We have sharply reduced our auxiliary projects, such as the preparation of anthologies, historical documents and bibliographies which have limited commercial potential. We have also been absorbing more production work into the staff-time at the journal, but without adequate technology or more staff the savings cannot be substantial. The impact of restraint is most evident in the number of pages that we publish, and the average issue of the journal in the late 1990s is now about one-third smaller than it was at the beginning of the decade. For this reason, we must proceed cautiously in asking subscribers to accept price increases. Unfortunately, we have also found ourselves at a disadvantage compared to journals located in some of the larger and wealthier provinces that have been in a position to secure additional funding from appropriate provincial government programmes in support of the publishing industry.

Meanwhile, like other journals we have been facing the long-predicted demise of the printed word in the face of new technologies of communication. Of course, this has been expected at least since the 1970s, when I can remember attending a conference session where it was predicted that our journals would in a few years be projected onto the walls of libraries. Certainly there are other models for the delivery of historical information; there always have been; and they must be used to promote accessibility and dissemination. But it does not follow that the historical journal has outlived its purposes. The mode of delivery is only one aspect of the operation of a journal, and as every editor knows, the purpose of a journal is not necessarily to make publication easier but to make it better. In the 1980s Canadian journals were urged to convert to microform publication, but it became obvious that there were serious problems of accessibility with this proposal and that the format was most appropriate only for the most voluminous and technical publications that presented inordinate production costs and serious storage problems. For the average user, especially in the case of the attractively produced and highly readable historical journal, the advantages of what some librarians have called the "BOOK" format -- "bio-optic organized knowledge" -- has still provided the superior mode of delivery. [13]

Now the electronic text has arrived, and it too offers opportunities. So far nobody has suggested we eliminate the printed edition of Acadiensis in favour of electronic text, so the proposition of implementing an electronic format comes to us in the form of a "publish and perish" strategy -- it threatens to add a new level of responsibility to our workload while exposing our subscription base to a new form of competition. Moreover, we must be wary of the unspoken assumption that there are enormous savings to be realized in conversion to new technologies of communication. As I have suggested earlier, the principal expenses in the operation of a journal are not in the realm of dissemination but in the sophisticated editorial process that guarantees the quality of the results. This is the principal cost of publishing an academic journal. Should there be any savings from new modes of dissemination after the costs of capital investment and staff time are taken into account, they cannot be expected to eliminate the need for the recruitment of new contributors, extensive correspondence and consultation, the careful assessment of manuscripts by outside referees, the detailed editorial advice and assistance that go into the development of a study and the preparation of the final text. We also take some pride in the appearance and style of the journal. Those of us who follow some of the electronic discussion lists are very conscious of the difference an editor makes; in the same way, it is worth remembering that the editorial process remains the heart and soul of the successful journal.

It is beyond my purpose to review the reasons for programme reductions and the general climate of restraint, but to the extent that we have been forced to curtail our efforts, the effects have been to limit rather than to promote the intended dissemination of knowledge. Acadiensis was founded with a mandate which it is continuing to fulfill, and despite the hue and cry about the decline of historical interest, there is every indication that Canadian history remains alive and well at many levels of activity. Those of us who came into the field to promote historical awareness among our fellow citizens certainly welcome the current debate about the nature and purposes of history. In this case, we will continue to argue that the publication of high-quality, well-edited and readable historical journals remains one of the natural responsibilities of the academic community. As scholars we need to communicate with each other; we also need to make historical information and ideas more broadly available to the general public. The latter will not necessarily happen directly through the pages of the journals themselves, or even by means of the activity of its editors and contributors. Perhaps it is most useful to think here of the journals as an accumulated body of cultural knowledge that practitioners of many kinds -- educators and writers, film-makers and journalists, makers of policy and promoters of heritage -- must all depend upon in the presentation of other forms of history.[14]

We arrive then at the turn of the millennium with a sense of achievement that is mixed with foreboding. If we are indeed returning to a market-driven model of knowledge-distribution, then the editor of a small-market publication must pause in dismay over the historical record in the Atlantic Provinces. Certainly there is an appetite in the modern world for historical knowledge; but there is also a crisis in the dissemination of knowledge and it is increasingly difficult for smaller, specialized publications such as our own to pay their own way in the global marketplace. In recent years we have witnessed the demise of several regional magazines in Atlantic Canada, publications that might have been partners in projects of reclaiming and popularizing our history. Unfortunately, one can hear gloomy echoes here of the earlier judgements -- "Extremely ambitious, and professional by contemporary standards ... one of the most important periodicals of its kind produced during the era"; and of distant hopes --"something better, possibly along somewhat different lines, and under different management". As we approach in 2001 a celebration of the centennial of the original Acadiensis, we are reminded as well of its untimely fate.


Footnotes:

[1] David Russell Jack, "Salutatory", Acadiensis , I, 1 (January 1901), pp. 3-6.

[2] Ibid., pp. 4-5.

[3] For the intellectual context, see P.A. Buckner, "Acadiensis II", Acadiensis, I, I (Autumn 1971), pp. 3-9, and D.G. Bell, "Introduction", J. W. Lawrence, The Judges of New Brunswick and Their Times (Fredericton, 1985), pp. v-xiv.

[4] Jack, "Salutatory", pp. 5-6; Buckner, "Acadiensis II", p. 7; on this theme, see also Colin Howell, "The 1900s: Industry, Urbanization, and Reform", in E. R. Forbes and D. A. Muise, eds., The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation (Fredericton/Toronto, 1993), p. 179.

[5] Review of Historical Publications Relating to Canada, VII (1902), pp. 73-5; ibid., XIII (1908), p. 63.

[6] Jack, "Adieu", Acadiensis, VIII, 4 (October 1908), pp. 235-7. The theme of political union was not abandoned but was reviewed in this final issue in some detail by R. V. Harris, "The Advantages of the Union of the Maritime Provinces", pp. 238-49.

[7] Peter Larocque, "David Russell Jack", Dictionary of Canadian Biography, XIV (Toronto, 1998), pp. 525-6.

[8] J. M. S. Careless, "'Limited Identities' in Canada", Canadian Historical Review L, I (March 1969), pp. 1-10.

[9] I am borrowing here from anecdotal evidence from P. A. Buckner, as well as his reference to Ramsay Cook in "Acadiensis II", pp. 3-4.

[10] To this we might also add the example of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, which went on as the Journal of American History to achieve national and now international relevance.

[11] H. J. Hanham, "Canadian History in the 1970s", Canadian Historical Review, LVIII, 1 (March 1977), p. 10. In this same issue the editors announced the establishment of an advisory board to "more adequately represent the geographical regions of the country and the areas of interest of the profession".

[12] For the anthologies, see P.A. Buckner, Gail G. Campbell and David Frank, eds., The Acadiensis Readers. Vol. I and II (3rd edition, Fredericton, 1998, 1999); for the general history see P.A. Buckner and John G. Reid, eds., The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History (Fredericton/Toronto, 1994) and E. R. Forbes and D. A. Muise, eds., The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation (Fredericton/Toronto, 1993).

[13] For observations on this episode, as well as the universities' "institutional responsibility" for scholarly publishing, see Marsh Jeanneret, God and Mammon: Universities as Publishers (Toronto, 1989), pp. 336-8 et passim.

[14] See J. L. Granatstein, Who Killed Canadian History? (Toronto, 1998); for some responses see the most recent issue of the Canadian Historical Association Bulletin (Spring 1999).

 

[*]This essay by a recent editor of the journal was prepared for a panel on Canadian historical journals at the meeting of the Organization of American Historians, Toronto, 23 April 1999.

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