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August 2023

catherine leroy
At five feet tall and weighing just 87 pounds, Leroy was tiny compared to most of the men she covered in Vietnam. © Dotation Catherine Leroy

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Becker is a respected war correspondent and award-winning author, having worked for The New York Times, National Public Radio and the Washington Post. Among her books is You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War, from which the following was adapted.

Dickey Chapelle won awards for her photographs, and was killed on a patrol with Marines in 1965 shortly after this photograph was taken.
Dickey Chapelle won awards for her photographs, and was killed on a patrol with Marines in 1965.

Through the years, American Heritage has published many stories of courage on the front lines of war. In this issue, we offer, for the first time, profiles of female journalists who covered combat during the Vietnam war. During that conflict, women were largely barred from witnessing action at the front, and often faced a huge challenge just getting to Southeast Asia. 

mullany poster
A poster created by the New York State United Teachers union features an imagined portrait of Ms. Mullany, of whom few images exist. NYSUT

At the newly opened Kate Mullany House, a National Historic Site in Troy, New York, there is a display of the various flatirons that laundresses in the 19th century used in service to the city’s “collar and cuffs” industry. Among them is a coal-fired iron with a compartment for burning coals. As the coals cooled, they were inflamed with a bellows. What could go wrong?

Made of solid iron and weighing up to 10 pounds, the irons are slightly sinister artifacts of “women’s work” as it once was.

gw with washy
The education of “Washy” proved to be a very frustrating experience for his grandfather. This is a detail from the famous 1796 family portrait by Edward Savage. Courtesy of Mount Vernon

Editor's Note: Charles S. Clark is the author of George Washington Parke Custis: A Rarefied Life in America’s First Family, which was published in 2021 by McFarland Books. A retired D.C. journalist, he writes frequently about his hometown of Arlington, Virginia.

Although George Washington didn’t father any children of his own, he devoted years to caring for two privileged step-children and two step-grandchildren. Most accomplished of those elite offspring was George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857), whom Washington, with his wife Martha, adopted as an infant and raised in the rarefied atmosphere at Mount Vernon.

Editor's Note: Cultural critic and historian Lorissa Rinehart writes about art, war, and politics. She adapted the following from her recently published book, First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent. We thank the Wisconsin Historical Society for preserving a collection of Chapelle's photos, many of which appeared in their book, Dickey Chapelle Under Fire: Photographs by the First American Female War Correspondent Killed in Action, by John Garofolo.

Rosenthal turned his Speed Graphic camera toward the action and pressed the shutter, capturing one of the most recognizable images in the history of photography.
After reaching the summit of Mt. Suribachi, Joe Rosenthal photographed Marines raising an American flag, creating one of the most iconic images of the Second World War. National Archives

The photograph of Marines planting the American flag on Iwo Jima continues to be one of the most inspiring images of World War II. But many people, including visitors at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. when I volunteered there as a tour guide, routinely claimed that the photo was posed. So, I decided to look into the evidence.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt stood with conservationist John Muir at Glacier Point, on a break during a camping trip to Yosemite, which had become a national park in 1890.

Editor's Note: Dean King is the author of twelve books, including, most recently, Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the Friendship that Saved Yosemite, from which he adapted this essay. More information about King and his books is at:

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