American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 47, No. 8, December

A Blow for Democracy
In the fall of 1959 I was working at an IBM engineering and manufacturing plant in San Jose, California, one of the few well established technology enterprises in northern California at the time. One day word came that Nikita Khrushchev, the premier...
A Visit from Pancho
As the Southern Pacific passenger train slowly pulled into the dusty little desert town of Columbus, New Mexico, the passengers leaned out of the windows, eager to see as much as possible of the surrounding scene. Just a day earlier, Pancho Villa and...
Christmas at the Palace
In New Bern, North Carolina, enjoy the holidays in 1970--and 1830, and 1940 Under a dome of stars emerging from the darkening twilight, the air has a Christmasy nip to it and carries the scent of fires in nearby fireplaces, but the breeze is a mild...
Dubin at Work
A half-century ago Harry Dubin bought his son a camera, and together they made a remarkable series of photographs of a city full of blue-collar workers--all of them Dubin Will Rogers may never have met a man he didn't like, but Harry Dubin evidently...
I'm Sorry, Mr. President
A veteran journalist reflects on how public discourse has been tarnished by the press's relentless war against Presidents--including his own biggest offense When commerce secretary Rob Brown was killed in a plane crash in Dubrovnik, Croatia, last...
In Quotations
"BRECKINRIDGE, WHAT DO YOU THINK of the Dred Scott decision and the rights of the South in the Territories now?" This earnest-sounding question would not on the face of it seem to betray what Douglas Southall Freeman described as the "rasping, mordant...
Inventing the Bird Business
At the age of eleven Roger Tory Peterson had an experience that produced a major hobby and a new industry The best ideas perhaps are those that, once thought up, are so obvious that it is immediately difficult to imagine the world without them. The...
Old Years' New Years
Five centuries of American hangovers--and the single greatest faux pas in New York City history Readers, our fearful trip through another presidential election is done. Whatever we may each feel about the results, it is time to relax, remind ourselves...
Purple Haze
* On December 28 the evil specter of drug abuse reared its polychromatic head in the pages of the New York Herald. Under the headline WHOLE TOWN MAD FOR COCAINE appeared the sorry tale of South Manchester, Connecticut, where addiction was so widespread...
Putsch Comes to Shove
* On December 21 Eugene Talmadge, a virulent white supremacist who had just been elected governor of Georgia, died at the age of sixty-two. Since Talmadge had not yet been inaugurated, no one was sure what to do next. The reform-minded incumbent, Ellis...
Sewall Repents
* The year 1696 was not a good one for Samuel Sewall of Boston. In May his wife delivered a stillborn son, and in July he heard of the deaths of a pair of favorite uncles. Furthermore, two of his older children were struggling with their religious...
Small World
ROBERT MOSES built small with the same imperial vigor as he built big, and at his behest the art of making scale-model cities reached its peak. The result still survives, and although few New Yorkers know about it, they can see their whole town--right...
Stonewall Jackson's Deadly Calm
There was a witchery in his name," a Mississippian wrote, "which carried confidence to friend and terror to foe." Nonetheless victimized by Stonewall Jackson's daring thrusts were hardly less laudatory. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, on the verge of becoming...
The Heritage of Time
Watches are like people. There's more behind the face than meets the eye." The History of Time Time has been told many ways: by sun, moon, temperature, stones, and even shadows. Billions of minutes have passed as these rather archaic methods have...
The Rise of American Wine
After trying to produce drinkable wine for three hundred years, we finally got the hang of it--so effectively that in the last quarter-century our results have raised the quality of winemaking all over the world A generation ago the United States was...