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American Heritage Magazine

American Heritage
Early issues were published as hardcover magazines.

American Heritage is the oldest, most widely known and respected popular U.S. history magazine. Central to its mission is making top-tier scholarship accessible to a wide range of audiences, proving that history can be lively, interesting, even spell-binding. 

For 73 years, the magazine has told the American story with verve, humor, accuracy and authority. American Heritage has always been apolitical and non-partisan, but tells the story of our nation and the people who built it with respect and appreciation.

The magazine has long been “the favorite companion of history lovers,” observed USA Today in 2007. “It presents its stories with rich illustration, including many never-before-seen photographs and artifacts, as well as commissioned maps and artwork.”

See "American Heritage is Back!" by Mark Reynolds
about the magazine's history and relaunch in 2017.

The magazine was first published in 1949 by the American Association for State and Local History (, the leading association for historical societies and museums of all sizes. For five years, various state historical societies would produce an issue with essays about their state's history.

In 1954, AASLH sold the magazine to a brilliant quartet of skilled writers and editors; James Parton, Oliver Jensen, Joseph J. Thorndike and founding editor and Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Catton. They began to publish the magazine as a hardcover, and circulation grew rapidly to 350,000 subscribers. American Heritage was nearly ubiquitous in the homes of well-educated Americans.

American Heritage
American Heritage was first published by AASLH, the national organization of historical societies.

American Heritage has published most of the leading historians of the last half century including Stephen Ambrose, Michael Beschloss, David Blight, Fergus Bordewich, H. W. Brands, Douglas Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, Ellen Dubois, Susan Eisenhower, Joseph Ellis, Julie Fenster, David Hackett Fischer, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed, Pauline Maier, Jon Meacham, David McCullough, James McPherson, Peter Onuf, Nathaniel Philbrick, David S. Reynolds, Barbara Tuchman, and Gordon Wood, to name a few.

See "Golden Anniversary" about the magazine's history
in the November/December 2004 issue.

Over the years American Heritage has garnered many honors, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Its return after a brief hiatus in 2007 was “a joy to the world of American magazine publishing,” wrote Cynthia Grenier in The Washington Times.

“American Heritage occupies a special place in publishing,” says Editor-in-Chief Edwin S. Grosvenor. “It is our nation’s shared memory, the place where the insights and observations of our best storytellers have been preserved over the generations.”

American Heritage’s sister magazine, Invention & Technology

For more about our authors and writing tradition, see Authors.

For more about our company and its history, see History.

For comments about American Heritage by prominent leaders and authors, see Comments.