Bruce Catton

Notes about the famous historian and American Heritage editor

For decades, Yale history professor David Blight, an award-winning author and a preeminent scholar of the Civil War, has studied the legacy of Bruce Catton, the historian/writer who significantly shaped our understanding of the Civil War by bringing it into exhilarating, memorable relief through his books and magazine articles. “Few writers have grasped the transformative effect of the war so well,” says Blight, “along with understanding that it is ultimately a great human story.”  Read more »

JFK on Our Nation’s Memory

Forty seven years ago, the president wrote for American Heritage that the study of history is no mere pastime but the means by which a nation establishes its sense of identity and purpose

There is little that is more important for an American citizen to know than the history and traditions of his country. Without such knowledge, he stands uncertain and defenseless before the world, knowing neither where he has come from nor where he is going. With such knowledge, he is no longer alone but draws a strength far greater than his own from the cumulative experience of the past and a cumulative vision of the future. Read more »

Major New History Web Site Launched

AMERICAN HERITAGE PUBLISHING has just announced the launch of , a new website offering users information on thousands of historic sites across the United States. Visitors can sift through nearly 3,000 places and historical societies, searching by theme or type of site, as well as by location. Read more »

Editor’s Letter


A friend called me last May with the stunning news that American Heritage had suspended publication.

I was shocked. The idea that an institution so important to the historical community—indeed, to the intellectual life of our nation—would simply no longer exist seemed unthinkable.

Winter 2008
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Editor’s Letter

American Heritage couldn’t be allowed to just fade away.

A friend called me last May with the stunning news that American Heritage had suspended publication.Read more »

Golden Anniversary

Like the nation it covers, American Heritage was revolutionary at its birth. And like that nation’s story, ours is a real cliffhanger.

It is rare for any magazine to live half a century. This one’s unusual longevity has been immeasurably helped by the circumstances of its birth, when a brilliant array of people came together hoping to produce a publication for all those interested in our American story. 1, for one, have a personal stake in this account, as my father, Robert L. Reynolds (1924-1981), was on the American Heritage staff—ending as managing editor—from 1958 through 1970.Read more »

In Memoriam: Allan Nevins

The longtime adviser to American Heritage wrote history not simply as a means of talking with other historians, but in order to talk to the general reader.

They say a tree is best measured when it is down. Allan Nevins is gone, at last, although he seemed imperishable, and we at AMERICAN HERITAGE feel a poignant sense of loss. We measure him now by the length of the shadow he cast, and by the abiding influence he had upon us and upon the magazine we serve. We also think of the friendship which he extended to everyone who knew him, and that is immeasurable. Read more »

The American Heritage Society Awards

In the last issue this magazine commenced regular and intensive coverage ot conservation and historic preservation, signifying our deep concern for the widely endangered physical heritage of America. This month we are pleased to announce that this concern is to he backed up by a group of awards, totalling $50,000, to be given by the American Heritage Society, the organization launched last July to bring together our two scholarly and founding groups, our history-publishing operations, and the readers whose interest supports us. Read more »

What They Did There

Our American heritage is greater than any one of us.

The sun goes down every evening over the muzzle of a gun that has been a museum piece for nearly a century, and where there was a battlefield there is now a park, with green fields rolling west under the sunset haze to the misty blue mountain wall. You can see it all just about as it used to be, and to look at it brings up deep moods and sacred memories that are part of our American heritage.Read more »