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Social History

  • American History Magazine

    American History Review: Lego Architecture

    Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. (www.nbm.org) In the 19th century, skyscrapers embodied the American dream. Looming monuments to the promise of the future, they were born and raised in the...

  • American History Magazine

    Salem Witch House

    Ghosts inhabit the historic home of hanging judge Jonathan Corwin, but not the ones you might expect. When Jonathan Corwin and the widow Elizabeth Gibbs wed in 1675, they needed a house to match their status as heirs to two prominent...

  • American History Magazine

    FDR’s Loyal Mistress

    A letter arranging one last secret rendezvous casts new light on the star-crossed love of Franklin Roosevelt and Lucy Rutherfurd. Marked “Personal & Private,” the letter arrived at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s retreat in...

  • American History Magazine

    Can Big Oil Be Kept in Line?

    The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power by Daniel Yergin Yergin explores the uneasy ties between Big Oil and Big Government in his sweeping history of the petroleum industry. In the 1904 presidential campaign, for example,...

  • American History Magazine

    The First: Point-and-Shoot Camera

    Take your own pictures, without the unwieldy “pack-horse load” of equipment of the glass-plate negative age. That was George Eastman’s promise in 1888, when his Kodak Company introduced a 3-by-4-by-6 1/2-inch box camera. The...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    CWT Book Review: Scars to Prove It

    Scars to Prove It: The Civil War Soldier & American Fiction  by Craig A. Warren, Kent State University Press Part of the war’s fascination lies in the abundance of literature it spawned, from letters and memoirs to historical...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    CWT Book Review: Gender and the Sectional Conflict

    Gender and the Sectional Conflict by Nina Silber, University of North Carolina Press During the war, women were entrusted to keep their homes and families together, shoulder economic burdens and provide support as nurses, hospital...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Ural on URLs: After Slavery

    Convinced that the era of Reconstruction (1865-1877) was a “great missed opportunity” in American history, an international team of scholars in 2006 created the Web site afterslavery.com as a venue for further study on the subject. In...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Lee’s Last Hurrah

    Five years after the war, the beloved former general set out on a sentimental journey through the Southland. Four years of unremitting war and five years of an uncertain peace had taken a cruel toll on Robert E. Lee. Vigorous in his youth...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    A Small Home for a Big Decision

    The tiny Leister House along the Taneytown Road is best known for serving as the headquarters of Union Major General George Gordon Meade during the Battle of Gettysburg. It was here, in its cramped interior, that Meade convened his famous...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    ‘Villains, Vandals and Devils’

    Hatred of Yankees helped keep Rebels fighting on. Eighteen-year-old Robert W. Banks worried about doing his duty. He seemingly had every reason to fight to preserve slavery as well. His father, a wealthy Mississippi attorney and planter,...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    CWT Book Review: “God Alone Knows Which Was Right”

    “God Alone Knows Which Was Right”: The Blue and Gray Terrill Family of Virginia in the Civil War  by Richard L. Armstrong, McFarland Among the most literal embodiments of the Civil War tragedy of “brother against brother” was...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Collateral Damage: Antietam’s Fury Devastates the Roulette Farm

    William Roulette burst out of his cellar door, thrilled to discover that the soldiers streaming past his house were Union men, not the despised Confederates who had occupied his fields for the past two days. “Give it to ’em,” he...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    CWT Book Review: Gentlemen Merchants

    Gentlemen Merchants: A Charleston Family’s Odyssey, 1828-1870 edited by Philip N. Racine, University of Tennessee Press Brothers Henry and Louis Young wrote most of the Civil War–era letters in Gentlemen Merchants, an account of the...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Substitute for a Corpse

    A photographer adds an extra ‘body’ to hype his work. Photographer Thomas C. Roche and his assistant raced into Fort Mahone on April 3, 1865, the day after the Rebel stronghold in the Petersburg line fell to a Union assault. Roche knew...

  • World War II Magazine

    Iron Will: Scrapping History

    Americans at times went too far in their nearly unstoppable drive to collect scrap metal for the war effort. Every store, farm, and business in Comanche County shut down for the day on Friday, August 28, 1942. This was no traditional...