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About American Heritage Magazine

About American Heritage Magazine

The Spring 1952 issue focused on upstate New York.
The Spring 1952 issue focused on upstate New York.

American Heritage is the oldest, most widely known and respected popular U.S. history magazine. Central to its mission is making top-tier scholarship accessible to a wide range of audiences, proving that history can be lively, interesting, even spell-binding. 

For over 70 years, the magazine has told the American story with verve, humor, accuracy and authority. American Heritage has always been apolitical and non-partisan, but tells the story of our nation and the people who built it with respect and appreciation.

The magazine has long been “the favorite companion of history lovers,” observed USA Today in 2007. “It presents its stories with rich illustration, including many never-before-seen photographs and artifacts, as well as commissioned maps and artwork.”

See "American Heritage is Back!" by Mark Reynolds
about the magazine's history and relaunch.

The magazine was first published in 1949 by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH.org), the leading association for historical societies and museums of all sizes. For five years, various state historical societies would produce an issue with essays about their state's history.

In 1954, AASLH sold the magazine to a brilliant quartet of skilled writers and editors; James Parton, Oliver Jensen, Joseph J. Thorndike and founding editor and Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Catton. They began to publish the magazine as a hardcover, and circulation grew rapidly to 350,000 subscribers. American Heritage was nearly ubiquitous in the homes of well-educated Americans.

American Heritage has published most of the leading historians of the last half century including Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough, James McPherson, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Snow, David Hackett Fischer, Barbara Tuchman, Joseph Ellis, Gordon Wood, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., John Gordon Steele, Geoffrey Ward, James M. McPherson, Annette Gordon-Reed, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Douglas Brinkley, to name a few.

See "Golden Anniversary" about the magazine's history in theNovember/December 2004 issue.

Over the years American Heritage has garnered many honors, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Its return after a brief hiatus in 2007 was “a joy to the world of American magazine publishing,” wrote Cynthia Grenier in The Washington Times.

American Heritage occupies a special place in publishing,” says Editor-in-Chief Edwin S. Grosvenor. “It is our nation’s shared memory, the place where the insights and observations of our best storytellers have been preserved over the generations.”

American Heritage’s sister magazine, Invention & Technology, is the only consumer magazine that celebrates the history of technology, science, and the innovative American spirit. It is scheduled to be relaunched this September.

For more about our authors and writing tradition, see Authors.

For more about our company and its history, see History.

 

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

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