- Historic Sites
Peter Stevens, who lives in Quincy, Massachusetts, writes frequently on historical themes. Marian Eide is a graduate student in the Comparative Literature and Critical Theory Program at the University of Pennsylvania. We would like to thank Dr. Stephen Lazoritz for his contributions to the research of this article. Lazoritz, a pediatrician specializing in child-abuse cases, first became interested in Mary Ellen’s history when, preparing for a lecture on child abuse, he read “The Great Meddler,” Gerald Carson’s profile of Henry Bergh in the December 1967 issue of American Heritage. Lazoritz was fascinated by the child and traced her history through a trail of documents and newspaper articles. In the story of Mary Ellen’s childhood he found the roots of a movement to prevent child abuse in which he is very much involved today. Lazoritz’s youngest daughter was born during his pursuit of the case. Her name is Mary Ellen. Thanks, too, to the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, whose archives contain full documentation of the Mary Ellen case.
Why do we need a national nonprofit membership society for American history?
“Save America’s Treasures” has been totally eliminated—the largest Federal program supporting preservation of such treasures as the original Star Spangled Banner and George Washington’s tent.
65% of Americans don’t know what happened at the Constitutional Convention, according to a recent survey by Newsweek.
The “Teaching American History” grants—the largest Federal program supporting history education—have been completely eliminated.
Visits to the Top 20 Civil War battlefields have dropped in half from 1970 to 2009 according to official National Park Service statistics.
40% of Americans can’t identify whom we fought in World War II, according to a recent survey by Newsweek.
A quarter of Americans believe Congress shares power over U.S. foreign policy with the United Nations, according to a recent Annenberg survey.
“There is little that is more important for an American citizen to know than the history and traditions of his country,” John F. Kennedy wrote in American Heritage.
The “We the People Program,” which touched some 30 million students and 90,000 teachers over 25 years, has been completely eliminated.
Two-thirds of Americans could not correctly name Yorktown as the last major military action of the American Revolution, according to a recent national Gallup survey.
The National Heritage Areas and Scenic Byways program, the only major Federal program encouraging visits to historic places, has been completely eliminated in Congressional committee.