The His­tory of Us

To cel­e­brate our 70th an­niver­sary, we’re mark­ing mem­o­rable mo­ments from our past and shin­ing the spot­light on our read­ers.

Reader's Digest (Canada) - - Contents - DO­MINIQUE RIT­TER AND NICOLE SCH­MIDT

APRIL 1945

Stan­ley High, as­so­ciate ed­i­tor of Reader’s Di­gest, is among 17 ed­i­tors and pub­lish­ers se­lected by U.S. Army Gen­eral Dwight D. Eisen­hower to fly over­seas and in­spect Ger­man con­cen­tra­tion camps.

MAY 1945

Af­ter help­ing in­ter­view pris­on­ers in con­cen­tra­tion camps and study­ing doc­u­ments re­gard­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion of France, High is in­volved in cre­at­ing a call to ac­tion for the U.S. to adopt an ur­gent pol­icy on war crim­i­nals. A state­ment re­leased on be­half of the re­porters while they are still over­seas claims that the Nazis were pur­su­ing “cal­cu­lated and or­ga­nized bru­tal­ity.”

“We are more than ever con­vinced that there can be no peace on earth un­til the right of the earth’s peo­ples to life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is rec­og­nized and pro­tected un­der law,” the state­ment reads.


The Reader’s Di­gest As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounces a French-lan­guage edi­tion for Cana­di­ans, sched­uled for re­lease in July of the fol­low­ing year.


One year af­ter Sélec­tion makes its first ap­pear­ance on news­stands, Reader’s Di­gest be­gins pub­lish­ing an English­language edi­tion in Canada. The publi­ca­tion quickly builds a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the coun­try’s most read and most in­flu­en­tial mag­a­zines.


While statis­tics about the health risks of smok­ing cig­a­rettes started to sur­face as early as the mid-1940s, the ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic is kept in the dark un­til Reader’s Di­gest pub­lishes the ground­break­ing ar­ti­cle “Can­cer by the Car­ton.” The story sum­ma­rized the lat­est science link­ing to­bacco to lung can­cer at a time when an es­ti­mated 54 per cent of Cana­di­ans smoke.

Reader’s Di­gest is cred­ited with con­tribut­ing to the largest drop in cig­a­rette con­sump­tion since the De­pres­sion.


The to­bacco in­dus­try re­sponds by in­tro­duc­ing fil­ter cig­a­rettes, which they say will trap tox­ins be­fore they can set­tle in the lungs. Full-page ads claim­ing that the re­search link­ing to­bacco to can­cer is in­con­clu­sive are placed in hun­dreds of news­pa­pers.

Reader’s Di­gest be­comes one of the first mag­a­zines to deny ads from cig­a­rette com­pa­nies. The publi­ca­tion con­tin­ues to re­port on the topic with the re­lease of a July ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Facts About the Cig­a­rette Scare” de­bunk­ing the fil­ter-cig­a­rette myths.


Reader’s Di­gest pub­lishes “The Long­est Day,” a two-part ex­cerpt of Cor­nelius Ryan’s book about the D-Day in­va­sion of Nor­mandy. Sev­eral years later, in 1962, it is adapted into a film. In ad­di­tion to John Wayne, the cast fea­tures Sean Con­nery, Richard Bur­ton and Ot­tawa na­tive Paul Anka.


An ex­cerpt of Alex Ha­ley’s Roots: The Saga of an Amer­i­can Fam­ily ap­pears in Reader’s Di­gest in two in­stal­ments. In 1977, the minis­eries adap­ta­tion will draw a record­break­ing au­di­ence of 130 mil­lion.


Reader’s Di­gest Mag­a­zines Canada es­tab­lishes a foun­da­tion to pro­mote high-qual­ity jour­nal­ism. Since that time, the foun­da­tion has given away $3.6 mil­lion in grants.


The Reader’s Di­gest As­so­ci­a­tion pub­lishes a con­densed ver­sion of the Bi­ble—40 per cent shorter than the 850,000-word re­vised stan­dard ver­sion—af­ter seven years of plan­ning. The spe­cial edi­tion is later pre­sented to Pope John Paul II.


When the AIDS cri­sis starts mak­ing na­tional head­lines in the 1980s, Reader’s Di­gest re­sponds by launch­ing an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign to ed­u­cate peo­ple on pro­tect­ing them­selves and their loved ones. The six­page mag­a­zine spread runs in 38 coun­tries and 15 lan­guages.

JUNE 1995

The true story that in­spires the ro­man­tic drama The Vow (2012), star­ring Cana­dian Rachel McA­dams and Chan­ning Ta­tum, ap­pears in the pages of Reader’s Di­gest as “For Bet­ter, For Worse.”


In a Roper poll, Reader’s Di­gest Canada is named the coun­try’s most trusted mag­a­zine brand—a sta­tus it has held al­most every year since.


An ex­pert panel con­vened by Mast­head, the pe­ri­od­i­cal in­dus­try’s watch­dog, names Reader’s Di­gest Canada the most in­flu­en­tial mag­a­zine in the coun­try’s pub­lish­ing his­tory.


“Map of Shame,” an in­ves­tiga­tive health fea­ture in Reader’s Di­gest Canada, re­veals a lack of stan­dard­iza­tion in can­cer treat­ment across the coun­try. The story ex­poses enor­mous dis­crep­an­cies in drug ac­cess be­tween prov­inces, amount­ing to a “post­code lottery.”


Reader’s Di­gest Mag­a­zines Canada turns 70 and thanks all of you!

John Wayne in The Long­est Day

The first is­sues of the Cana­dian editions.

Chan­ning Ta­tum and Rachel McA­dams in The Vow.

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