Features

Aaron Burr's 1807 trial challenged the Constitution

In late March 1807 Aaron Burr arrived in Richmond, Virginia, in a vile mood, filthy and stinking. He had just endured a month of hard travel under heavy guard through the dense forests of the Southeast. Read more >>

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 thro Read more >>

CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite underwent a dramatic change of heart during the Vietnam War—and in doing so, changed the face of broadcast journalism

On February 6, 1965, Vietcong guerrillas attacked the U.S. base at Pleiku, killing eight American soldiers and wounding 126. The Johnson administration quickly retaliated, commencing another vicious cycle of lightning reprisals and military escalations. Suddenly U.S. Read more >>

New England industrialists hired thousands of young farm girls to work together in early textile mills—and spawned a host of unintended consequences

In June 1833 President Andrew Jackson, visiting the brand-new factory town of Lowell, Massachusetts, watched as 2,500 female mill workers marched past the balcony of his hotel. Read more >>

Debate over America's involvement in World War II came to a head in July 1941 as the Senate argued over a draft extension bill. The decision would have profound consequences for the nation.

On July 19, 1941, when Gen. George Catlett Marshall, Army chief of staff, stepped before the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, his gray civilian suit could not disguise the proud bearing of a soldier and commander of men. Read more >>

A new look at a famous Revolutionary figure questions whether history’s long-standing judgment is accurate

AT 9 O’CLOCK ON THE morning of September 25, 1775, a French Canadian habitant banged on the main gate of Montreal. The Americans were coming, he blurted breathlessly to a British officer. Read more >>

Restoration experts make a startling discovery that an 1848 daguerreotype hides a wealth of insight into life in a pre-war riverside town

In 2006, conservator Ralph Wiegandt flipped on his Zeiss Axio stereomicroscope and peered at the surface of an 1848 daguerreotype. Read more >>

The business of forging George Washington’s signature and correspondence to sell to unwitting buyers goes back 150 years

As the editor of the papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, I have the privilege of intersecting with many people who come bearing documents supposedly signed by the first president. Read more >>

In a top-secret program, talented, young female mathematicians calculated the artillery and bomb trajectories that American GIs used to win World War II

The air at 20,000 feet above Schweinfurt, Germany, was icy cold, but the bombardier crouching in the nose of the B-17 hardly noticed. Sweat poured down his forehead as flak rocked the aircraft, periodically spattering his compartment's Plexiglas bubble with fragments. Read more >>

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. Read more >>

To bring their nation to the leading edge of technology, Soviet leaders are turning to the United States. Their grandfathers did the same thing.

Our usual picture of the Soviet Union and its history is strictly political and economic. We trace the many struggles for leadership power and the ups and downs of the Soviet economy. Read more >>

In 1817, “Old Pewt’s” rebellious cadets met their master in Sylvanus Thayer

It was June 15, 1817, and up at West Point newly elected President James Monroe, staunch friend of the Military Academy, was in a towering rage. The place was in poor shape, its curriculum had unraveled, examinations were unknown, and discipline was non-existent. The acting superintendent, Captain Alden Partridge, Corps of Engineers, seemed to be running a “Dotheboys Hall” of sorts, where favoritism governed and cadets were being graduated without reference either to academic standing or military ability. Read more >>

From law officer to murderer to Hollywood consultant: the strange career of a man who became myth

Late in his life Henry Fonda, at dinner with a producer named Melvin Shestack, recalled meeting an old man who said he had firsthand knowledge of a memorable Fonda character, Wyatt Earp, the legendary frontier lawman of John Ford’s classic My Darling Cl Read more >>
My mother loved parades and early on imbued me with a love of same. An incident at one sticks in my mind. I believe it was in 1926 or 1927. I can’t be sure as I was only a small boy then. Read more >>

A vast tribute in cloth to the victors of D-day is good art, good history—and surprisingly affecting

In the ancient seafaring town of Portsmouth, England, overlooking the English Channel, stands the D-Day Museum. Read more >>

Did the Indians have a special, almost noble, affinity with the American environment—or were they despoilers of it? Two historians of the environment explain the profound clash of cultures between Indians and whites that has made each group almost incomprehensible to the other.

When the historian Richard White wrote his first scholarly article about Indian environmental history in the mid-1970s, he knew he was taking a new approach to an old field, but he did not realize just how new it was. Read more >>

Harriet Beecher Stowe, an extraordinary member of an extraordinary family, always claimed that God wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin

She had been brought up to make herself useful. And always it suited her. Read more >>

For ten tumultuous years Sam Adams burned with a single desire: American independence from Great Britain.

AMERICAN HERITAGE takes part in announcing an astonishing discovery at Yale—the earliest map ever found that shows any part of America. Traced to a copyist in Basel about 1440 A.D., it shows, long before Columbus, the New World lands discovered by the Norsemen. Authenticated by painstaking scholarly detective work at Yale and the British Museum, it opens the door to tantalizing historical speculations

History, like an iceberg, lies mostly submerged, hidden from our sight; only rarely, through some strange upset, does a forgotten portion of it suddenly rise up and give us a glimpse backward through the mists of time. Read more >>

The great illustrator found giants in clouds and inspiration in the classics of fiction and history. And, like old Charles Willson Peale, he founded and trained a dynasty of fine artists

The spreading power of a great illustrator’s work can be beyond calculation; it is an imponderable force that works in hidden ways and eludes attempts at measurement. So it certainly has been in the case of N. C. Wyeth. He was an unmistakable personality, a man of enormous energy and great talent. He possessed a breath-taking imagination, constant and grand, which he poured into a series of dynamic pictures. He illustrated most of the great children’s classics, with fire that kindled sparks in tens of thousands of young minds. Read more >>

Carrying the Stars & Stripes unfurled, from Vicksburg to Washington, and Gretna Green to London

Tuesday, April 14, 1868, was a busy day in Washington, D.C. In the Senate the impeachment trial of President Johnson was in full swing, with one of the newspapers urging parents to keep children away from the sessions lest they be corrupted by the “rude manners” of some of the legislators. In the House a committee was investigating the transfer to private hands of an island acquired from Russia and said to be rich with fur-bearing seal. Read more >>
In his somewhat sardonic book of political sketches, Masks in a Pageant, William Allen White had a chapter on Warren Gamaliel Harding in which he recorded incidentally one of Harding’s “primrose detours from Main Street.” It had come to garish light in the summer of 1920, when Read more >>

Upon the clash of arms near a little Maryland creek hung the slave’s freedom and the survival of the Union

The great tragedy of the twenty-eighth President as witnessed by his loyal lieutenant, the thirty-first

A third of a century since his defeat and death, most of the passion that surrounded Woodrow Wilson in life is spent. Read more >>