50 Years Ago

Historian S. L. A. Marshall Tells How He and “Papa” Hemingway Liberated Paris

Ernest Hemingway told a wonderful story about his liberation of Paris. He claimed he was one of the first to enter the city, taking over the bars at the Crillon and Ritz hotels. Famed World War II historian S.L.A. Marshall corroborated Hemingway’s account in American  Heritage. —The Editors

From the war there is one story dear to my heart of which I have never written a line. There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes. Read more »

Adventures in Paris

American artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens finds inspiration in France to create one of America’s most iconic sculptures, a memorial to Civil War hero Adm. David Farragut

AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS came to Paris for the first time in 1867, the year it seemed the whole world came to Paris for the Exposition Universelle, the grand, gilded apogee of Second Empire exuberance. He arrived on an evening in February, by train after dark and apparently alone. He was 19 years old, a redheaded New York City boy, a shoemaker's son, who had been working since the age of 13. He was not one of the first ambitious young Americans to come to Paris following the Civil War.Read more »

Franklin Charms Paris

The 70-year-old statesman lived the high life in Paris and pulled off a diplomatic miracle

By the time John Adams arrived in Paris in early 1778 to replace American diplomat Silas Deane, there was only one American name on everyone’s lips: Ambassador Benjamin Franklin. “His name was familiar to government and people,” groused the envious Adams. “To foreign courtiers, nobility, clergy and philosophers, as well as plebians, to such a degree there was scarcely a peasant or a citizen, a valet de chambre, coachman or footman, a lady’s chamber maid or a scullion in a kitchen . . . who did not consider him as a friend. . . .Read more »

An American In Paris

The Revolution’s Second Toughest Job

Benjamin Franklin was far and away the most famous American when he went to France to wheedle help for the newborn American nation, which was having a very grim time of it when he got there late in 1776.Read more »

Jazz Liberates Paris

American jazz musicians once enjoyed a freedom and respect in France’s capital that they could never win at home. Landmarks of that era still abound.

For all the books and films that have been done about painters and writers who went to Paris, far less has been written about the lives of musicians from the United States who settled there, some for a while, a few for their whole lives. Yet American jazz musicians have felt the influence of that city on their creative abilities no less than did the Lost Generation of American writers after World War I and the impressionists and their successors before them. Much of their world, and of jazz itself, is still there to be seen and enjoyed. Read more »

My Life With The Lone Eagle

The trouble with having (and being) a hero

Charles A. Lindbergh, who vaulted to international fame seventy years ago this May by taking off alone one night and flying from New York to Paris in his single-engine monoplane, is buried in a small churchyard on the eastern end of the island of Maui in Hawaii. I learned this a few years ago in a conversation with a couple of tourists in the bar of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Oahu. Read more »

The Rise Of American Wine

AFTER TRYING TO PRODUCE DRINKABLE WINE for three hundred years, we finally got the hang of it—so effectively that in the last quarter-century our results have raised the quality of winemaking all over the world

A GENERATION AGO THE United States was little more than an afterthought in the world of wine. America certainly had a long history of grape growing and winemaking, but that history hardly mattered. Nor did the wine itself much matter. Large producers, led by E & J Gallo, made gallons of innocuous jug wine, but only a handful of small, largely unknown American wineries produced anything resembling fine wine from Europe. Then, seemingly overnight, American wine took a huge leap in both quality and prestige.Read more »

The Longest Race

At a time when driving from Manhattan to Yonkers was a supreme challenge, a half-dozen cars pointed their radiators west and set out from Times Square for Paris

AS OF FEBRUARY 1908, ONLY NINE people had ever driven across the United States and no car had ever driven across Alaska. No car had driven across Japan. As for Siberia, which had yet to see its first automobile, there was only one man who had ever driven across it alone in any kind of vehicle. It happened in 1791, according to the St. Petersburg newspaper Nichevo , and he had driven a herd of reindeer.Read more »

The Artistic Triumph Of New York

World War I made the city the financial capital of the world. Then after World War II a very few audacious painters and passionate critics made it the cultural capital as well. Here is how they seized the torch from Europe.

Mark Tansey is a definitively post-modernist painter. His pictures stand at two removes from nature; not art but art history (or art theory) is his subject. Tansey deals in theories and notions, presenting them with the sort of sharp irony found in editorial-page cartoons. At the major Tansey exhibition at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts last year, the most striking and I think best example of the painter’s work on display allegorizes a world historical event in the annals of modern art.Read more »

The Virgin And The Carburetor

When Henry Adams sought the medieval world in an automobile, this stuffiest of prophets became the first American to sing of the liberating force later celebrated by Jack Kerouac and the Beach Boys

Test-driving automobiles, Henry Adams discovered in June 1904, was “shattering to one’s nerves.” Trying out a Hotchkiss for purchase “scared my hair green. Truly it is a new world that I live in,” he continued, “though its spots are old. … The pace we go is quite vertiginous. Only men under forty are fit for it.” He was sixty-six, born in Boston in 1838, when railroads were replacing canals.Read more »