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Social History

  • American History Magazine

    The First Computer Bug

    One week after Americans celebrated the end of World War II, the massive Mark II computer that ran ordnance calculations for the U.S. Navy shut down. On September 9, 1945, at 1545 hours, technicians found the culprit: a moth trapped...

  • American History Magazine

    Gazette- American History February 2011

    Civil War Photo Trove Celebrates Common Soldiers The collective tragedy of the Civil War—more than 600,000 dead—can mask the individual commitment needed from those who carried out the fighting. But a recent donation of just under 700...

  • American History Magazine

    The Immortals of Baseball

    Babe Ruth and the original Hall of Fame dream team lifted Americans’ spirits with their winning ways. Babe Ruth, baseball’s Sultan of Swat, was renowned for living large. He openly gambled, drank during Prohibition, ate to excess,...

  • American History Magazine

    New Americans

    An Ellis Island portraitist dignifies the transition from huddled masses to U.S. citizens. They boarded the great ships that took them from their homes, and they left forever their cultures and contexts, their sense of themselves as weft...

  • American History Magazine

    Thomas Jefferson: Founding Foodie

    The new French stove is installed. The dumbwaiters are operational. Housemade cider, beer and French wine fill the cellar at Monticello in anticipation of Thomas Jefferson’s homecoming. After serving two terms as president, Jefferson is...

  • American History Magazine

    LBJ Meets the Press

    Let’s put this as charitably as possible and simply say that Lyndon Baines Johnson was comfortable with his body. The 36th president of the United States wasn’t shy about belching or breaking wind audibly. He sometimes summoned his...

  • American History Magazine

    Interview with Edward L. Ayers, Civil War Historian

    Edward L. Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond, has written 10 books about the Civil War, the South and American history. He also co-hosts the public radio program Backstory. Ayers advocates linking commemoration of the 150th...

  • American History Magazine

    The First Comic Strip Hero

    The bald, big-eared, bucktoothed Yellow Kid took a swipe at the hard-knock life in Gilded Age New York for the working-class readers of Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. Creator R.F. Outcault introduced the Kid, aka Mickey Dugan, to the...

  • American History Magazine

    American History Book Review: America Aflame

    America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield; Bloomsbury Press Did evangelical religion cause the Civil War? This fascinating book’s emphatic answer: Yes. America, its settlers and founders believed, was God’s...

  • American History Magazine

    The Wild Wild West

    The culture wars of an expansionist era inspired Charles Deas, but he lost his own battle with madness and obscurity. “From what we can see of it over the shoulders of the hundreds crowding around,” raved the New Mirror in 1844, “it...

  • American History Magazine

    Clarence Darrow: Dragonslayer

    Clarence Darrow turned court clashes into mass entertainment as he wielded his lance against big business and big government. He had magnificent presence. He would walk into the courtroom, the conversation would stop and people would...

  • American History Magazine

    Horace Greeley Interrogates Brigham Young

    When Horace Greeley stepped off a stagecoach in Salt Lake City on a sunny July day in 1859, he carried an umbrella and wore a white suit, a white overcoat and a white hat. It was an odd outfit for a hot day in the desert, but it was...

  • American History Magazine

    The First: American Chicken Breed

    The U.S. is now home to half the world’s chickens, but the bird is not native to the Americas. (Sorry, but the prairie chicken, which is a native American bird, is actually a type of grouse.) Chickens as we know them were brought by...

  • American History Magazine

    American History Book Review: Captive of the Labyrinth

    Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester, Heiress to the Rifle Fortune by Mary Jo Ignoffo; University of Missouri Sarah Winchester built a 160-room crazy quilt of a house in San Jose, Calif., that has steadily drawn crowds since it...

  • American History Magazine

    History Happened Here

    Five heritage sites you should go out of your way to visit. Chances are you can quickly tick off the country’s major historic sights: Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, Bunker Hill in Boston...

  • American History Magazine

    Over Here/Over There

    American painters like George Ault fought to make sense—and beauty—of a world at war. The world had exploded into chaos. A nation already staggering from the Great Depression was plunged into World War II, touching everyone, whether at...