American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 48, No. 5, September

Among the Cowboys
The biggest roadside attraction along I-40 is the row of ten classic Cadillacs half buried, at the angle of the Great Pyramid, with tail fins upthrust, at Stanley Marsh's Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. The models range from 1946 to 1964. Marsh...
Attractive Nuisance
During World War II, I served aboard USS Alabama in the United States Navy. Al Barkan, a shipmate more than ten years my senior, assumed the role of mentor to me. Al was a graduate of the University of Chicago and a natural teacher. In the winter...
Aural History
I've read The Education of Henry Adams. You might think that this should go without saying for someone in my job, and you'd be right. But I'm afraid that more than once I told people I'd read The Education of Henry Adams when in fact I hadn't....
Babbitt
On September 14 Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt arrived in America's bookstores amid great anticipation. His previous novel, Main Street (1920), had created a national sensation with its indictment of stagnant small-town life, and many people wondered whether...
Bull Session
None of us looked forward to going on duty and standing our watch. Four hours on and four hours off around the clock was not an easy routine. This was especially true if you were a radioman aboard the USS Missouri, flagship for the U.S. 3d Fleet deep...
New York Knickerbockers
Several stories in September's newspapers showed why the women of New York City were acquiring a reputation for feistiness. Under the headline TROUSERED WOMAN WALKS BROADWAY, a newspaper reported on September 28: "Broadway, birthplace of both the...
Niagara Falls: For Two Hundred Years It's Been Attracting Tourists - and Tourist Traps
Niagara Falls is invariably, and quite properly, described as one of nature's wonders. Yet perhaps the greatest wonder is that it can still attract visitors in the 1990s. After all, there are no multimedia links and nothing to click on. A trip to...
"Oh! Susannan." (Lyricist Stephen Foster)(The Time Machine: 1847)
On September 11 Stephen Foster's first great song, "Oh! Susanna," received its initial public performance at Andrews' Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its composer was not identified, and few members of the sweet-toothed audience...
South Carolina: Where Remarkable Things Happen
To say that South Carolina is blessed with a rich history is a little like saying that Charleston is beautiful or cotton was an important crop in these parts. The truth is, South Carolina has cradled so much remarkable history that a traveler ambling...
Speed
On September 16 John Rhodes Cobb of Britain set a land-speed record of 394.2 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. By so doing, he broke his own record of 369.7 mph for a measured mile, set at Bonneville in 1939. In keeping with the...
Super Mario Nation
In 1962, an M.I.T. student named Steven Russell pulled off the ultimate hack. Russell was the kind of kid people make jokes about: short, full of nervous energy, passionately devoted to B-grade science fiction, shy, and brilliant. He worked with the...
Terms of No Endearment
The uproar that erupted only a few weeks after President Clinton's 1997 inauguration when news of his personal involvement in Democratic fundraising activities came to light made it clear that his second term was off to a bumpy start. That's not a...
The Atlantic Stakes
When I was a child, the most magical day of the year for me was the one -- usually a week or two after New Years-when my grandparents would leave on their annual trip to someplace warm. My brother and I got a day off from school, and a hired car took...
The Halls of Montezuma
On September 14 the United States Army, commanded by Gen. Winfield Scott, raised the American flag over Mexico City, capping a year and a half of sporadic fighting that had begun in a dispute over the Texas border. After defeating the Mexicans at...
The Heretic
In his lifetime Fairfield Porter (1907-75) appeared on no one's list of the greatest American painters of the twentieth century. Although he was respected and admired for both his painting and his criticism from the early 1950s on, Porter achieved...
What Made the Government Grow?
The tradition of distrusting government -- almost any government -- has such deep roots in the American past that a newcomer could justifiably think of the United States as a nation of a quarter of a billion near-anarchists. After all, it was Tom...