New Amsterdam Becomes New York

The British seize Manhattan from the Dutch—and alter the trajectory of North American history

On September 5, 1664, two men faced one another across a small stretch of water. Onshore, just outside the fort at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, stood Peter Stuyvesant, director-general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, his 52-year-old frame balanced on the wooden stump where he had lost a leg in battle a quarter century earlier. Approaching him aboard a small rowboat flying a flag of truce was John Winthrop, governor of the Connecticut colony, until very recently a man Stuyvesant had called his friend. Read more »

The Boy In The Window

Theodore Roosevelt, his widow recalled, watched Lincoln’s funeral from his grandfather’s house

Stefan Lorant has made a double reputation, as a picture-magazine editor in Europe and as an historian in America ( The Presidency, Lincoln, The New World ). In the pursuit of these two careers he has become the foremost iconographer in his field, with many discoveries to his credit in American pictorial history.

While editing photographs for a recent book on Lincoln, he studied the picture on the opposite page. Following is his own account of what he found:

 

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An Invitation

Working on this, our twenty-first annual travel issue, reminded me that I am fortunate enough to have a most agreeable travel destination virtually under my feet. This is the Forbes Galleries in the company’s headquarters at 62 Fifth Avenue in New York City. I first visited them 20 years ago. News had come to our offices in midtown that Forbes had bought American Heritage. I remembered reading in the papers that our new owners had recently opened a museum. I went down to see it right away and emerged thinking: Boy, have we landed on our feet. Read more »

Worst-case Scenario

A never-before seen report shows just how fragile our great cities were—and are

There was a time when urban Americans weren’t afraid of terrorists, bombs, and poison gas. The worst thing that could happen in a city was a strike. Cities were unprepared for labor walkouts because nobody could tell who would strike or when and where. Mayors saw to it that they kept on good terms with unions.Read more »

Our Malcolm

Discovering what a particular time in Harlem says about the whole nation

 

Richard Snow and Fred Allen, my editors here at American Heritage , were kind enough to suggest that I write something this month about my new novel, Strivers Row , published by HarperCollins, and now in fine bookstores everywhere.

Strivers Row book cover
 
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Brooklyn Rising

The City of Churches and Henry Ward Beecher, of Walt Whitman, Coney Island, and a famously departed baseball team is ready for its next act—as a world-class tourist destination

 

Even if they’ve never set foot on this area of 81 square miles at the southwestern tip of Long Island, most people have a vivid picture of Brooklyn—gained from gangster movies or postcards of its bridges or of Coney Island, songs (“Give Me the Moon Over Brooklyn”), countless immigrant novels or Jackie Gleason’s bellowing, ever-dreaming bus driver in “The Honeymooners.” The gabby streetwise Brooklyn kid, pugnaciously devoted to his trolleys, his Dodgers, and finally his platoon, was a staple of World W

The Industrial Age 1865 To 1917

In 1800 the United States was an underdeveloped nation of just over 5 million people. It was a society shaped by immigration, but immigrants from one country, Great Britain, made up around half the population. Although some pioneers had moved west of the Appalachian Mountains, America was preeminently a seacoast settlement. A prosperous nation, it still lagged far behind England, which was industrializing furiously. And with only 10 percent of its people living in towns and cities, it was thoroughly agrarian. Read more »

The Immigrant Experience

In a nation of immigrants, picking 10 books about the immigrant experience is no easy task. One could plausibly argue that any book about post-Columbian America concerns the immigrant experience. Therefore, I established a few basic guidelines in order to make the job a little more feasible. Some of these, I think, rest on pretty solid ground. I have not, for instance, included any books on slavery.Read more »

Old Glory In New York City

The Stars and Stripes take to the streets

Everyone knows New Yorkers love New York, but perhaps it’s not as well known that New Yorkers love America. Wherever you go in Manhattan, you can see the Stars and Stripes: in the storewindow displays on Fifth Avenue, rumbling by on subway cars, draped from fire escapes, on everything from baseball caps to rhinestone pins, and even in graffiti.

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