Skip to main content

1942 Fifty Years Ago

March 2023
1min read

August Sleigh Bells

Irving Berlin’s song “White Christmas” made its unlikely first appearance in August, when the Mark Sandrich film Holiday Inn was released. The movie featured Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby vying for the same woman amid tap dancing and Berlin’s music. “White Christmas” took over the airwaves from another great ballad of separation and lament, “White Cliffs of Dover,” and went on to become the biggest seller of any record to date. Among the less eternal tunes going around that militant summer were “You’re a Sap, Mister Jap” and “We’re Gonna Find a Feller Who Is Yeller and Beat Him Red, White and Blue.”

As wartime restrictions kicked in, silk stockings were among the first items to become scarce: the material was needed for parachutes. Nylon hose, made from petroleum, grew expensive, and “bottled-stocking” kits appeared on drugstore shelves that summer; Legfizz and Legstick were just two of the brands of paint-on stockings. Sales of slacks ran five times what they had been in 1941, due both to shortages and to the greater number of women going to work in factories.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "July/August 1992"

Authored by: The Editors

Essays on Our Endangered Republic

Authored by: The Editors

A Collection of Favorite American Quotes, Poems, Songs, and Recipes

Authored by: Nathan Ward

August Sleigh Bells

Authored by: Nathan Ward

Other Fires

Authored by: Nathan Ward


Authored by: David McCullough

Thus did Franklin Roosevelt characterize the man who was to be his running mate in 1944 and—as everyone at the astonishing Democratic Convention knew—almost certainly the next President of the United States. Here is FDR at his most devious, Harry Truman at the pivot of his career, and the old party-boss system at its zenith.

Authored by: Thomas Fleming

The elder statesman sets the record straight on JFK, LBJ, Stalin, the bomb, Charles de Gaulle, Douglas MacArthur—and, most of all, the American Presidency

Authored by: Gene Smith

A reporter’s encounter with Harry Truman

Featured Articles

Famous writers including Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts turned Sleepy Hollow Cemetery into our country’s first conservation project.

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

A hundred years ago, America was rocked by riots, repression, and racial violence.

During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.

Now a popular state park, the unassuming geological feature along the Illinois River has served as the site of centuries of human habitation and discovery.  

The recent discovery of the hull of the battleship Nevada recalls her dramatic action at Pearl Harbor and ultimate revenge on D-Day as the first ship to fire on the Nazis.

Our research reveals that 19 artworks in the U.S. Capitol honor men who were Confederate officers or officials. What many of them said, and did, is truly despicable.

Here is probably the most wide-ranging look at Presidential misbehavior ever published in a magazine.

When Germany unleashed its blitzkreig in 1939, the U.S. Army was only the 17th largest in the world. FDR and Marshall had to build a fighting force able to take on the Nazis, against the wishes of many in Congress.

Roast pig, boiled rockfish, and apple pie were among the dishes George and Martha enjoyed during the holiday in 1797. Here are some actual recipes.

Born during Jim Crow, Belle da Costa Greene perfected the art of "passing" while working for one of the most powerful men in America.