American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 43, No. 5, September

A Gallatin Saddle
The saddle at right was made by Edward L. Gallatin in Denver, Colorado, and presented to Col. Jesse H. Leavenworth in 1862 by friends and fellow officers of the 2d Colorado Volunteers. The rich black, hand-tooled leather, the bright gold and silver...
Assassination Medicine
Twice during my tenure as President Reagan's White House physician, I accompanied him to performances at Ford's Theatre. Each time I found myself looking up at the flag-draped box where Booth shot Lincoln and wondering what I would have done had I...
Dvorak in America
The great Czech composer arrived on these shores a century ago and wrote some of his most enduring masterpieces here. Perhaps more important, he understood better than any American of the day where our musical destiny lay. Antonin Dvorak was very...
King Cotton
As any faithful reader of the old gossip columns knows, great wealth too easily acquired can be a very mixed blessing indeed. Many of the very rich whose names appeared endlessly in the columns--the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, for instance--simply...
Making the Pattern
FORBES magazine marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this month. It was founded by my grandfather, B. C. Forbes, in 1917 with money he had borrowed from several leading businessmen of the day. Undoubtedly they found appealing his idea for a magazine...
Mr. Wadsworth's Museum
We tend to identify the first American public display of art with the post-Civil War surge of wealth called the Gilded Age. Conventional wisdom also assumes that our first art museums were born in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia--all of which were...
Our Sporting Presidents
Right now, of course, it is the coming election that provides most of the material on which this column casts its regular history-conscious eye. But not this time. September is the month of pennant races, and I've got baseball as well as Presidents...
Screening History
A child of the Republic looks back on a lifetime spent at--and occasionally in--the movies and discovers how strongly they have shaped the way all of us understand America As I now move, graciously, I hope, toward the door marked "Exit," it occurs...
The Booth Obsession
The author joins the thousands who feel compelled to trace the flight of Lincoln's assassin The first non-children's book I ever read was Philip Van Doren Stern's novel The Man Who Killed Lincoln. How it fell into my hands I cannot say. I retain...
The Lives of the Parties
The two-party system, undreamt of by the founders of the Republic, has been one of its basic shaping forces ever since their time Recently I got a letter from a friend of mine, Max Lale, the current president of the Texas State Historical Society,...
The Magic Ballot
Paper ballots were meant to protect the voter from intimidation, but they offered the ward heeler and the canny party boss great possibilities for mischief "I've got a ballot, a magic little ballot," sang supporters of Henry Wallace's presidential...
The Pentagon's 50th ... and the Future for America's Defense
The huge building at the heart of the American defense establishment is now a half a century old. The nation's military has changed tremendously since it was built--and is changing now more than ever. It was August 1941, and Congressman Sam Rayburn...
The Self-Made Man
Even paranoids have enemies, the old joke runs. And according to Driven Patriot, the elegantly crafted new biography of James V. Forrestal by Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley (Alfred A. Knopf, 587 pages, $30.00), when America's first Secretary...
Through the Locks
The sunlight on Michigan's Upper Peninsula has an amazing clarity. It skids over the steely blue of Lake Superior, penetrates the endless forests that run along the southern coast, and renders the pebble beaches with a precise, silvery light. Eighty...