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Table of Contents - December 2009 American History

Originally published by American History magazine. Published Online: September 24, 2009 
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Who Really Discovered America?
A host of explorers who came from all points of the compass reached our shores long before Christopher Columbus
by Heather Pringle

Thomas Jefferson's Beautiful Mind
A coded message that took two centuries to decipher offers a glimpse of the enigmatic Founder's genius
by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Gems Hidden in Plain Sight
Feast your eyes on some of America's best art: New Deal murals on local historical themes that hang in post offices across the country

The Matriarch Behind the Curtain
Author L. Frank Baum's most unlikely source of inspiration for The Wizard of Oz was his suffragist mother-in-law
by Evan I. Schwartz

Lincoln Chronicles: Man of War or Man of Peace?
Both North and South look to Lincoln to bind the nation's wounds, but an assassin's bullet shatters their hopes
by H.W. Brands

She's a Doll
Barbie at 50: Still a bombshell and poised to reeducate the Chinese
by M.G. Lord



Letter From American History

Remembering Emmett Till; a $20 Lincoln letter; Julia Child's kitchen; and more

Medical historian James Mohr gets to the roots of America's health-care mess

The First
Movie star: Florence Lawrence launches the celebrity era

Washington Irving tells a surprisingly familiar tale of boom and bust

Arthur Conan Doyle enjoys séances; Harry Houdini doesn't

Books the President Should Read
Can the CIA be reformed?

Esoteric symbols adorn the Masonic garb of Founding Father Robert Livingston

The Big Picture
Trace the historical origins of the swine flu pandemic

Theodore Roosevelt, conservationist; Civil War wives; and more

Save This Old Barn
A 1920s barn that doubled as a dance hall could be yours for a buck

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