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Before the Colors Fade

In a last conversation before his death at 99 this January, the artist recalled the places he visited, drew, and wrote about during prohibition in New York City. You can still lift a glass at a couple of them.

In 1933 the sale of alcoholic beverages became legal again in the United States—and the speakeasy died.

After a varied career as a soldier, statesman, diplomat, and presidential adviser, Taylor wants to known as someone who “always did his damndest.”

American Heritage interviews Lowell Thomas, the journalist whom Damon Runyon described as “the beau ideal of the radio fraternity, first for his complete artistry and second for his personality. 

As the lights of London’s Covent Garden dimmed that early August evening in 1919, few people, including the young narrator waiting nervously in the wings, sensed the historic nature of the occasion.
In his articles, books, speeches, and interviews General Ridgway has expressed only a secondary interest in the fact, the decision, and the act. He has placed greater emphasis on the reasoning, or the philosophy, that leads to action.

Ridgeway commanded the 82nd Airborne in World War II, became Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Army Chief of Staff, and played important roles in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The famed aviator recalls the dramatic bombing raid he led on Tokyo early in World War II.

An interview with the famed suffragette, Alice Paul

The great American Realist painter Thomas Hart Benton reflects on his life, his work, his colleagues, and much more.

Thomas Hart Benton, one of the nation’s premier muralists, was born in Neosho, Missouri, on April 15, 1889, and was named for his famous great-uncle, who became a political legend during three decades of service as that state’s first U.S. senator.

The Sunday afternoon broadcasts of Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, once described as the "voice of God," were avidly followed by a radio audience of thirty to fifty million Americans during the Thirties.

About 1935, anno Domini, the Reverend Charles E. Coughlin, pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan, was perhaps the most beloved and most hated, the most respected and most feared man in the United States.

The tremendous response to his radio shows led to standing-room-only theatre performances and cross-country tours, but Rudy Vallée claimed it was just good luck and timing.

One night in February, 1928, a technician from WABC, a pioneer radio station in New York City, finished adjusting his amplifying equipment in a nightclub at 35 East Fifty-third Street and signalled his readiness to the bandleader.

One of FDR's closest aides remembers "the Boss" and a lifetime in politics.

As general secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S., Browder was routinely attacked by politicians and thought to be a genuine threat to the nation.

For fifteen years, from 1930 to 1945, the name Earl Russell Browder was synonymous in the public mind with American radicalism.

After he lost in a landslide to FDR, Landon returned to a relatively simple life in Kansas, but stayed on top of political events.

Landslide is not a word formed from Landon, the last name of the man who in 1936 was the Republican nominee for President of the United States. But it might just as well have been.

The author and director of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Green Pastures” recalls the struggle to get a play about a black God produced in 1930.

Just forty years ago this month—on the evening of February 26, 1930—at Broadway’s old Mansfield Theatre, there was uttered for the first time the most awesome entrance cue in all of theatrical history. “Gangway!” shouted the angel Gabriel. “Gangway for de Lawd God Jehovah!”

During World War II, Tunner led the effort to fly supplies from India “over the Hump” of the Himalayas to supply nineteen Chinese divisions, and later commanded the Berlin Airlift operation.


He had vivid memories of fighting in Cuba with Theodore Roosevelt. “We’d have gone to hell with him.”

“In strict confidence, I should welcome any w

The former Attorney General of California recalls the painful internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the efforts to help them return.

By nightfall of December 7, 1941—the day Pearl Harbor was attacked—F.B.I, agents on the Wast Coast had arrested 1,300 “potentially dangerous” enemy aliens.

The admiral who commanded "the ship that wouldn't die" recalls the hellish and heroic hours after a kamikaze turned the carrier Franklin into an inferno.


The admiral who commanded "the ship that wouldn't die" recalls the hellish and heroic hours after a kamikaze turned the carrier Franklin into an inferno.


Teddy Roosevelt once said, “I can either run the country or control Alice, not both.”

This article is the first in a new series that will appear frequently in AMERICAN HERITAGE. "Before the Colors Fade" is the title of a recent biography of General George S. Patton, Jr. and is used with the kind permission of the author, Fred Ayer, Jr., and the publisher, Houghton Mifflin.

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