American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 3-4, May-June

Bakelite Jewelry
Costume jewelry was born in the nineteenth century, using mass production to give ordinary people baubles that looked almost exactly like real gold or silver, diamonds or pearls. But Bakelite, the plastic jewelry that emerged in the 1920s, was a triumph...
Best Friend
FOR YEARS, A COPY OF THIS PHOTOGRAPH HUNG IN THE HOUSE OF WENDELL C. HOLT'S grandfather, in Fairfield, Illinois. It shows Holt's father, William, around the age of eight, and his dog Cap, a creature that to young William must have loomed as large as...
Cradle of the Bed-and-Breakfast
A RESORT SINCE LINCOLN'S DAY, CAPE MAY OFFERS EASY ENTREE INTO THAT ERA'S TASTEFUL HOUSES "IT'S SUPPOSED TO RAIN," I mentioned to my editor on the eve of my departure for Cape May, New Jersey, thinking he might suggest I postpone the trip. Commanding...
Editors' Bookshelf
Col. Robert Morgan flew 25 daylight missions over Nazi Germany and France and led the first B-29 raid on Tokyo, yet his claim to fame lies in a fetching piece of artwork and a snappy nickname painted on the nose of his plane. Morgan was the pilot of...
Esther Bubley's America
In a career spent photographing the country during a time of triumph and prosperity, she also left a record of loneliness, melancholy, and individual courage that are always part of the human lot PROBABLY A BIT OF DISCLOSURE IS NECESSARY as you...
Give Me Your Wired, Your Poor
ELLIS ISLAND PUTS ITS RECORDS ONLINE ACCORDING TO A 1995 POLL, MORE THAN 113 million Americans are researching their family histories. Presumably, the others are put off by the hobby's side effects: nausea induced by hours spent staring at microfilm,...
Goodbye to All That
WHEN WE SCHEDULED JOHN LUKACS'S article about Americans in Venice to run in the previous issue, we assumed that it would be the easiest of stories to illustrate: After all, that city has been living on its looks alone for more than two centuries now....
Men in Gray
FEW THINGS COULD COAX US TO SHORE WHEN THE SURFING WAS GOOD ... Growing up in Satellite Beach, Florida, in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center, in the 1960s, my friends and I often had our routines interrupted by cries of "Missile! Missile!"...
News from Pearl
A NAVY WIFE AWAITS WORD AFTER THE BOMBING IT WAS A CLEAR, QUIET Sunday morning. Dad was in the living room reading the Los Angeles Examiner and listening to the radio. Mother and I were in the kitchen discussing Christmas plans while I bathed my...
Perils of the Surplus
ANDREW JACKSON GOT IN BIG TROUBLE WHEN HE WAS IN BUSH'S FIX FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 70 years, the United States is dealing with the politics of surplus. Between 1930 and 1997, the government ran surpluses in only 10 years, and they were...
Present at the Creation
WILLIAM HEWLETT AND THE BIRTH OF SILICON VALLEY IT BEGAN, AS LEGEND HAS it--and in this case the legend is true--in a one-car garage at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, California, in 1938. There William Hewlett, who died this winter at the age...
Religious Education
CONFRONTING AN ISSUE AS OLD AS PUBLIC SCHOOLS OUR INTERMINABLE NATIONAL argument about education now seems to have boiled down to the debate over school vouchers, both left and right having more or less accepted the idea that we must have "standards."...
Screenings
PEARL HARBOR ON VIDEO THE JAPANESE BOMBING OF PEARL HARbor was such a shock to the American system that it took eight years for a film about it to reach the screen. For those not sated with the carnage of the epic Pearl Harbor, to be released this...
The Magician and the Cardsharp
After 20 years of looking for someone who could perform the "middle deal," Dai Vernon had pretty much decided this supreme piece of sleight of hand was a fable. Then, one night in a Wichita jail, a prisoner told Vernon he'd seen a man do it ... ...
The Meaning of Tet
A historian argues that in Vietnam America's cause was just, its arms effective, and its efforts undermined by critics back home -- and that this is how things must work in a free society MORE THAN 2,000 YEARS AGO, THUCYDIDES wrote in his history...
Time Machine May/june
1851 THE FIRST PROHIBITION LAW 150 YEARS AGO ON JUNE 2, GOV. JOHN Hubbard of Maine signed an act prohibiting the sale, manufacture, or "keeping for sale" of alcoholic beverages anywhere in the state. The law's enactment culminated two decades...
Where History Lives
The past is never far away in the South. It's very much alive in the cuisine and customs and carefully preserved in museums and historic homes, outdoor dramas and battlefield reenactments. Each of North Carolina's three regions are rich in heritage,...
Why We Hate to Love Judges
As the 2000 election made very clear, we are torn between revering judges and despising them. It's in the nature of the job. A JUDGE, THE OLD SAW GOES, IS A LAWYER WHO KNEW A governor (or a President or a senator). In most states, a judge is a lawyer...