Somehow I missed this notice when it came out in May. I grew up in one of those households that had stacks of hardcover issues of American Heritage all over the place, on bookshelves here and there, in the basement, the garage, on the top shelf of the hall closet. I don't remember how old I was before I took an interest in them, but eventually I began to flip through the issues at random. Later, on trips home from college, I flipped through them again, this time looking for articles of interest on certain subjects. At some point I purchased the big, hardcover index, but it was of little use in the chaotic shuffling of serial publications in a home overrun by reading material. But the randomness, of course, was part of the appeal -- just grab a couple issues on your way to the bed, and there was bound to be one article, one essay, one "brush with history" that would be worth staying up for.
I tried to salvage a lot of those old casebound volumes, but they were just so damn heavy, and not conducive to apartment living and multiple moves. Invariably, they would end up in some dank, moist place, and have to be tossed in the dumpster on the next move.
I subscribed, on and off, to the modern glossy magazine, but that tailed off. Sometimes, I picked it up off the newstand. Editorially, it had its ups and downs, but I don't mind saying it was always among my favorite magazines. As I typed this blog entry, it occurred to me why AH is suspending print publication. Even loyal readers who were weaned on it have stopped buying it. That's a little sad, but "so it goes," if I may quote another American icon we lost this year.
AH, at least, will continue online with a top-flight website [image at top: cover, October 1959, vol. 10, no. 6].
American Heritage Suspends Print Edition
By Frederick E. Allen
American Heritage, the nation’s preeminent magazine of history . . . has stopped publication, at least temporarily, with the April/May 2007 issue, now on newsstands. The website will continue to publish.
American Heritage, a bimonthly, was founded in 1954. It was bought by Forbes Inc. in 1986 and has suffered financially in recent years amid hard times for magazines in general. Forbes put it up for sale earlier this year and has not yet found a buyer.