Skip to main content

Growing Up With Tv

March 2023
1min read

I found Harry Matthei’s superb “Inventing the Commercial” well written, well researched, and well remembered. When I arrived at the end of the story and read that Mr. Matthei had died last February, I realized that above all, the article was well timed. This serves as a lesson for us all. Regardless of how trivial an incident may seem, whether it’s about how we produce commercials, make toast, pump gas, or mow the lawn, the passage of time makes even the most mundane occurrence an event of historical importance. Even if people assume that their lives reflect a startling lack of accomplishment, they can create a lasting legacy by simply buying a tape recorder and spending a few idle afternoons recalling the way things were. Personally I can only assume that my grandparents laughed at Krazy Kat, played mumblety-peg, and joined in the celebration on Armistice Day. What I would give to hear this for a fact and in their own words!

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 "October 1997"

Authored by: Frederic D. Schwarz

Topless Body in
Humorless Town

Authored by: Frederic D. Schwarz

Birth of the Sonic Boom

Authored by: Hugh Rawson


Authored by: Louis Menand

WILLIAM JAMES’S EXHILARATING movement to sweep aside all philosophies is making a surprising comeback a century later

Authored by: Stephen Bates

SIXTY YEARS AGO THIS MONTH the Soviet Union orbited a “man-made moon” whose derisive chirp persuaded Americans they’d already lost a race that had barely begun

Authored by: The Editors


Featured Articles

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Rarely has the full story been told how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

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

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.

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.