American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 56, No. 2, April-May

1939 World's Fair Memorabilia: The Buyable Past
The 1939 World's Fair was a showcase for modern-age marvels ranging from nylon to television. Displayed in settings devised by top architects and designers, they provided walloping doses of wish fulfillment for people just emerging from a deep economic...
1955 the Conquest of Polio
50 YEARS AGO ON APRIL, 12, IN AN auditorium at the University of Michigan, "amid fanfare and drama far more typical of a Hollywood premiere than a medical meeting" (according to The New York Times), Dr. Thomas Francis announced the results of an...
A Legacy of Parks: Beloved by Theodore Roosevelt, New York State's Wild Places Continue to Provide Endless Diversions
As a statesman, Theodore Roosevelt left an enduring legacy-from rugged individualist and leader of the legendary "Rough Riders" of the Spanish-American War to architect of an American foreign policy that reverberates today. One of his most palpable...
A Matter of State: Defending a Recent Victim of Presidential Politics
THE SEEMINGLY INTERMINABLE 2004 presidential campaign is well behind us now, but I'm still not willing to let it go yet. I want to hear an apology from someone about the most egregious smear to emerge from the campaign. I'm not talking about the Swift...
Buffalo Run: Whether You Ride in the Roundup or Join the Thousands Who Watch from the Sidelines, It's an Amazing Show
It's a brisk October morning in the Black Hills, and sunrise has just served as the warm-up act to the main event, Custer State Park's annual bison roundup. I'm among several thousand spectators perched on two hillsides waiting to experience the ancient...
Hawaii Territory: Long before It Became a State, Hawaii Enchanted Americans with a Vision of Tropical Ease, Languid Music, and a Steady Throb of Sensuality. That Life Disappeared on December 7, 1941, but Vivid Traces of It Remain
I WAS A YOUNG Army wife, on my way to our new posting. Through some happy quirk, the Army sent us to Hawaii, on the ocean liner Lurline. We sighted Diamond Head, and long before we docked, the scent of flowers and ferns reached the ship. Very soon...
I Hear America Singing on the Internet: WPA Interviews from the 1930s Can Now Be Read and Heard Online
ONE SUMMER DAY IN 1939 A YOUNG man stopped another man under an elevated train in New York City and asked him, "Do rich people and poor people have anything in common?" The man replied, "God made all this, and he made it for everybody. And he made...
Maryland Mountains, Bay and Sea Lively and Legendary
Whether your style is to seize the day or just ease into its rhythm, there is a perfect pace and place in Maryland. Intriguing for its history and variety, the Old Line State offers fresh perspectives on the past and new delights for travelers seeking...
New Neighborhoods
MY MOTHER, A LIFELONG NEW YORKER, often guided me on what I thought of as ghost walks of New York. Not, however, to search for haunted houses or to attempt communion with the dead, but simply as a remembrance of what had gone before. What was once...
Queen of the Highways: A Pony Express Stop for Our Time
IN SUNSHINE OR DARKNESS, GOOD WEATHER OR bad, whether I'm wide awake or dead tired, the most beautiful roadside sight for me is a sign that says WE NEVER CLOSE. I have warm memories of such homes of 24-hour gasoline and coffee: in the Poconos on I-80;...
Remember the Alamo
WHEN DVD'S WERE INTRODUCED, A NUMBER of critics hailed them as an opportunity for filmgoers to stop and reflect on films that hadn't been given a fair shot the first time around. It hasn't turned out that way. The constant flood of new product on the...
Spirit World: A Visit to Two Villages That Still Share the Nineteenth Century's Conviction That We Can Communicate with the Dead
WE WALK DOWN A STREET THAT SEEMS LIFTED FROM A Victorian-era children's book, and there, on the white clapboard cottage's wall, is the small sign we have been told to look for: MRS. HANSON--MEDIUM. Reverend Hanson answers the door, and behind her sits...
Stonewall Jackson's Arm: You Actually Can Spend a Few Moments in the Past, If You're Willing to Get out of Your Car-And If You're Lucky Enough to Meet the Right Guide
I HAVE NEVER SHAKEN HANDS WITH A politician. I have never worked on a famous person's house, nor have I ever witnessed a historic event. But one time I had lunch with Stonewall Jackson's arm. A few years back, during a family vacation in Virginia,...
The Southeast Memorable for Its Welcome
Warm traditions, stop-and-visit-awhile hospitality and treasured pieces of the past set the American Southeast apart like no other region of the world. This is a perfect year to explore newly mapped routes, historic sites and favorite landmarks; experience...
The Town That Took a Chance: From Its First Boom during America's Biggest Gold Rush to Its Current Gamble on Gambling, Deadwood, South Dakota, Has Managed to Keep Itself Very Alive
MAYBE I WAS FATED TO TAKE A TRIP TO DEADWOOD. BACK IN 1952 I was living under the high white Hollywood sign while my father played small parts in big movies, such as Popilius Lena in Julius Caesar, the version that starred Marion Brando. That year...
The War in Iraq Is Just like Vietnam: ... and Every Other War in American History
History teaches, but only those who are open to being taught. For others, history supplies a convenient set of templates into which everything that happens afterward can be fitted. The current Iraq war is a case in point. Supporters say it's World...
Why Do We Say That? "Gobbledygook"
"EVERY PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE ... SHOULD be (a) in English, (b) clear and trenchant in its style, (c) logical in its structure and (d) devoid of gobbledygook." So wrote Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., in a memo as an assistant to President John E Kennedy...
Wyeth's Inspiration: The Farm That Launched a Thousand Paintings Can Now Be Visited
NEARLY AS IMPRESSIVE AS THE METICULOUS DETAIL work in Andrew Wyeth's painting is the balancing act he maintains between opposing schools of art: modern without being modernist, classical without being stuffy, and realistic without being either ironic...

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