American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 55, No. 5, October

1879: Let There Be Light
125 YEARS AGO AT 9:00 A.M. ON October 22, Charles Batchelor, a researcher in Thomas Edison's "invention factory" in Menlo Park, New Jersey, sat down to record the results of the previous day's work. "We made some very interesting experiments on...
Accutron Watches
ON OCTOBER 25, 1960, BULOVA UNVEILED a battery-powered watch called the Accutron. It wasn't the industry's first electronic model, but it was a breakthrough product. A Bulova technical whiz named Max Hetzel had begun developing the Accutron in Switzerland...
America's Unknown Intelligence Czar: George Henry Sharpe's Bureau of Military Information Helped Win the Civil War-And Is Especially Worth Remembering Today
TO THE STUDENT OF INTELLIGENCE HIStory, there has been something eerily familiar in the recent headlines about American intelligence failures. Panels investigating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the September 11 terrorist attacks have zeroed...
An Empire of Wealth: Looking at the Big Picture
I HAVE NOW BEEN WRITING ABOUT the American economy and American business in this column for 15 years and enjoying every column inch of the job. One might think it would be a rather narrow subject, or even dismal, to use Thomas Carlyle's famous descriptive....
Exploring America: Finding Promise in the Past: The Land Speaks in Whispers, Offering the Attentive Traveler Its Stories of Ancient Inhabitants, Hardy Pioneers and Bold Adventurers. the Land Tells Its Tales in Exuberant Festivals, Lively Dances and Solemn Rituals. in Every Part of the Nation, the Land Beckons: Come, Discover the Truth Behind the Fable, and Find Promise in the Past
Oklahoma Native American legends, frontier lore, outlaw tales and geographic diversity engage the imagination in Oklahoma. Within the Sooner State's six regions are ancient granite mountains, 75-foot sand dunes, pristine forests, plains and prairies,...
Franklin's Forgotten Triumph: Scientific Testing: One of His Least-Known Contributions to Modern Life Is Also on of His Most Important
MILLIONS OF ASTHMATICS AND HAY FEVER SUFferers could be spared the misery of. severe attacks by a new vaccine," a newspaper story begins. "Clinical trials suggest new cancer drug may save thousands of lives," a television news anchor intones. "Children...
Innovation
With American Heritage approaching its fiftieth birthday in December 2004, we asked five leading historians and cultural commentators to each pick 10 leading developments in American life in the last half-century. In this fifth installment, Phil Patton--whose...
"Jazz"
"IF THE TRUTH WERE KNOWN ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF 'JAZZ,' IT would never be mentioned in polite society," wrote Clay Smith in Etude magazine in September 1924. A trombonist who had toured Western mining towns in the 1890s, playing in honky-tonks where "the...
The Faces on the Barroom Wall: A Landmark of Comic Art Is Saved from Destruction
THE NEWSPAPER COMIC IS AMONG THE MOST EPHEMERAL of art forms, but for almost 30 years a mural featuring cartoon characters has been lovingly preserved by the owners of a bar in New York City. The longtime showpiece of Costello's, at 225 East Forty-fourth...
Underrated
IT'S BACK AGAIN, AND SIX YEARS OF EXPERIENCE HAS taught me that it's going to make some readers angry. Others will tell us it's their favorite feature. Save for a now-distant cover story about Jane Fonda, nothing we've published has elicited such vehement...