One Hundred Years in One Magazine

When I received my April 2009 edition of The Progressive magazine, I saw that it was the one-hundredth anniversary issue, so I expected a self-congratulatory throwaway. (My, I’m becoming such a cynic.)

Instead, to my extreme delight, the issue devotes one page to each year from 1909 through 2009, with clips from actual articles spanning the one hundred years of the magazine’s existence. It amounts to being a survey course of American social history.

Here are some examples to show you what I mean:

  • 1910: two paragraphs from the magazine’s article on the strike of the shirtwaist factory girls, which resulted in unionization of workhouses.
  • 1920: a clip entitled “Women Vote,” beginning with the sentence “Susan B. Anthony’s prediction is verified.”
  • 1930: a clip warning that the crushed nation of Germany could become radicalized.
  • 1940: the article title: “Negroes Seek Right to Join Democratic Party.”
  • 1950: Senator Hubert H. Humphrey writes on abolishing war.
  • 1960: A clip entitled “Kennedy for President.”
  • 1970: an Earth Day article that includes mention of “things which last, which can be used and reused.”
  • 1980: a clip discussing the way in which pharmaceutical companies are targeting supposedly “neurotic women.”
  • 1990: Bill Moyers expresses disgust over the Iran-Contra affair.
  • 2000: an article entitled “Meet Enron, Bush’s Biggest Contributor.”

How fascinating does all that sound? And every page is that good. I highly recommend this issue. Browse through it. See how many things you remember. Leave it out for the kids to see. Discuss it over dinner. Find a library book about something in it that really interests you. Keep it in your bookcase and open it to any page when you’re bored.

History is all around us. And this month it’s in a smooth, glossy, easy-to-hold package that costs $3.95.

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