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Social History

  • American History Magazine

    It was Titanic

    In 1912, a ship was the only way to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and a century later it is easy to forget that some 2 million people made the transoceanic journey that year. But the RMS more than just a ship. We forget the self-acclaim, the...

  • American History Magazine

    The First Cherry Trees in Washington

    For 100 years, District of Columbia residents have reveled in a glorious rite of spring: the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees, a gift of friendship from the people of Japan. Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki donated 3,020 trees to first lady...

  • American History Magazine

    We’ve Been Here Before: What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn From William...

    We think of William Jennings Bryan as the creationist blow- hard outwitted by Clarence Darrow at the Scopes Trial, a judgment embalmed in umpteen high school productions of Inherit the Wind. But before Scopes, Bryan ran for president three...

  • American History Magazine

    Romare Bearden: Back to Roots

    The little family—a college-educated couple with a precocious toddler— dwelt in Charlotte, N.C., until one day, when the darker-skinned father was out for a walk with his fair-haired boy, a mob thought he was abducting a white child....

  • American History Magazine

    The First Triple Crown Winner

    Sir Barton was an ill-tempered, tender-footed, six-time loser when he came to the starting gate in the 1919 Kentucky Derby. The 3-yearold chestnut colt was expected to set the pace for stablemate Billy Kelly, a favorite to win. But with...

  • American History Magazine

    American History Museum Review: Attachments

    Attachments: Faces and Stories From America’s Gates Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; June 15-September 4 • www.archives.gov/nae/ Beyond the National Archives’ glorious rotunda, with its...

  • American History Magazine

    Weegee’s World

    There were 8 million stories in the Naked City, and he didn’t want to be just one of them: He wanted to be Somebody. Born Usher Fellig in what is now Ukraine, he was given the name Arthur at the age of 11 when his family immigrated to...

  • American History Magazine

    Gold Grab of 1869

    The saga of two fiendishly corrupt financiers who almost took America down in 1869 shows that Wall Street never did care about Main Street. ROBBER BARONS Jay Gould and Jim Fisk were improbable partners in crime. Gould was a secretive,...

  • American History Magazine

    Jack London’s Monumental Man Cave

    A mysterious fire left the novelist’s dream house in ruins before he could forsake the call of the wild. “I have been asked why Jack London, socialist, friend of the common man, built so large a house,” Charmian London wrote in her...

  • American History Magazine

    Eureka! Displays at the Academy of Natural Sciences

    The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia uncorked a sometimes maddeningly democratic process of discovery in the young republic. In November 1868, without fanfare or even much thought to how the public might respond, the Academy of...

  • American History Magazine

    Encounter: Groucho Marx Lectures T.S. Eliot About King Lear

    One day in 1961, Groucho Marx received a letter from a fan requesting an  autographed picture. The request didn’t surprise him but the source did. The letter came from T.S. Eliot, one of the 20th century’s greatest poets, winner...

  • American History Magazine

    The First Digital Camera

    Kodak’s initial foray into the digital world marked the biggest change in photography since the company introduced the original point-and-shoot film camera in 1888. The prototype camera, made in 1975 by Steve Sasson, was an 8-pound,...

  • American History Magazine

    6 Million Mules

    How we ran the nation before it became mechanized. Here is the history of the American mule in numbers. In 1786, there were zero—at least none on record in the new United States. In 2007, there were 28,000. But in 1925—the very peak of...

  • American History Magazine

    The Wild Ones

    Seminoles were wary of the white man—and his camera— so they hid for decades in the Everglades. The Spanish of La Florida called every native they encountered cimarrón—runaway, wild one—a word later corrupted to “seminole.”...

  • American History Magazine

    As American as Modern Architecture

    Harry McCawley looks and sounds like a small-town character, in the best tradition. “It billed itself as the world’s fastest growing newspaper,” he recalled of his employer, The Republic, when he was hired 49 years ago. McCawley, 71,...

  • American History Magazine

    Oil Rush

    At either Titusville or Oil City the stranger finds himself in a new world. The objects which he is too apt to touch, in spite of all precautions, have a greasy, clammy feel. His nostrils are assailed by gaseous odors, such as they...