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Compass Fonds

  • CA CDA K-5
  • Fonds
  • 1981-2002

The Compass fonds concerns the activities of the periodical and its editor-in-chief, Robert Chodos, through the end of the 1980s, the 1990s, and the early 2000s in Toronto, Ontario. It documents the communications of the magazine with its readers, contributors, and team of editors, as well as the links between Compass, other Canadian periodicals, and prominent cultural, political, and academic figures of the time. Throughout its run, Compass approached several controversial subjects, including feminism, Quebec nationalism, sexuality, war, media and technology, and environmental concerns. During its publication, it interrogated divisive ideas in religious communities through several issues centered around laity, the place of Indigenous peoples in the Church, power dynamics in the Church, the place of religion in contemporary culture, and the role of religion in social justice. A large amount of letters, draft articles, and planning records bear witness of the sustained efforts made to attracts authors from various backgrounds, including writers from outside of central Canada, as well as women and Indigenous contributors. The 1997 correspondence contains many expressions of support and sympathy from readers following the announcement of the end of the journal's activities due to lack of funding.

The fonds also provides an overview of the magazine general administration and contains as such budgets, reports, statistics, drafts of policies, internal memos, job descriptions, writers’ fees, style sheets, lists of contributors and editorial Board members, evaluation forms, as well as communication material. It also includes a substantial number of minutes for meetings held by the Editorial Board and the Publishing Policy Committee, which provide extensive information about the inner functioning of the magazine, its editorial process, and the evolution of its financial situation. The fonds mainly records the involvement of Robert Chodos, editor from 1987 to 1997, and, to a lesser extent, that of Peter Larisey, S.J., a regular contributor and associate editor from 1993 to 1997.

In addition, the fonds documents the work of Robert Chodos and Jamie Swift concerning the biography of William F. Ryan, S.J., founder of Compass and a member of the Jesuit Publishing Policy Committee, including interview transcripts and notes. The fonds also contains a few brochures and leaflets from the Center of Concerns and the Centre for Social Faith and Justice, in which Ryan was involved, as well as a full bound collection of the published Compass magazines and a copy of the book Compass Points: Navigating the 20th Century.

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