Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine July/August 2020

Smithsonian Magazine takes you on a journey through history, science, world culture and technology with breathtaking images from around the world.

United States
Smithsonian Institute
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11 Números

en este número

2 min.

“Is it cultural imperialism to keep declaring Alexander ‘great’?” Precious Land One thing left out of “Hallowed Ground” (June 2020) was how national monuments often are precursors to national parks. Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create national monuments. One of those was Grand Canyon National Monument (later a national park). Just as author Rahawa Haile described cuts to Bears Ears National Monument today, back then a local newspaper called protection of the canyon “a fiendish and diabolical scheme,” one “limiting development of [Arizona’s] mineral resources.” History, especially that involving exploitation of natural resources, often repeats itself. — Thomas J. Straka | Pendleton, South Carolina Beer Pioneers I enjoyed your beer-making article featuring Charlie Papazian (“Home Brew Hero,” June 2020). Papa-zian’s influence was certainly great, but he…

2 min.
recovery and resilience

EVEN BEFORE I CHOSE HISTORY as a profession, one of the things that drew me to the past was the clarity it provides. History can ground us, inform us, and inspire us in the face of great challenge. We find ourselves in a period of profound social change, grappling with the dual pandemics of Covid-19 and deep-rooted racism. We find ourselves balancing unfamiliar new health guidelines with the all-too-familiar anguish of inequality and injustice. We find ourselves struggling to move forward, James Baldwin’s proverbial “people trapped in history.” To me, one of the great strengths of the Smithsonian is that we understand that we are trapped in history only if we fail to learn from it. In the nearly 175 years since the Smithsonian was founded, we have weathered a civil war…

4 min.
just desserts

DELICIOUS, but too messy to handle,” was how Ruth Burt described the new ice cream treat her father, Harry Burt, concocted in 1920—a brick of vanilla ice cream encased in chocolate. So her brother, Harry Jr., offered a suggestion: Why not give it a handle? The idea was hardly revolutionary in the world of sweets, of course. Harry Burt Sr. himself, a confectioner based in Youngstown, Ohio, had previously developed what he called the Jolly Boy, a hard-candy lollipop on a wooden stick. But ice cream on a stick was so novel that the process of making it earned Burt two U.S. patents, thus launching his invention, the Good Humor bar, into an epic battle against the previously developed I Scream bar, a.k.a. the Eskimo Pie, a worthy rival to…

2 min.
post-colonial custard

THE FOUNDERS shared a love of ice cream, but none was more devoted than Thomas Jefferson. In 1789 he returned from France with his chef—newly trained in making frozen desserts—and a resolve to keep enjoying it. In Philadelphia in 1791, he sent to France for 50 vanilla bean pods, which, he later wrote, are “much used in seasoning ice creams.” He built an ice house at Monticello in 1802. And at Jefferson’s White House that year, Senator Samuel Latham Mitchill recalled eating ice cream in warm pastry—“a curious contrast, as if the ice had just been taken from the oven.” Sweet Revolution The process for making ice cream was not self-evident, so Jefferson wrote it down. Here it is, slightly condensed. 2 bottles of good cream6 yolks of eggs1⁄2 lb. sugar Mix the yolks…

2 min.
free time

HISTORY ZEROES IN on exciting, revolutionary events—disruptions, today’s disruptors like to say—but it’s a fair bet that ordinary people, when we look back, are fondest of unremarkable times. A new book of photographs revisits a year within living memory that now seems enviable in that way: 1981 Simone Kappeler, a Swiss photographer, then 29 years old and fresh out of art school, spent three months traveling from New York City to Los Angeles in a used Gran Torino station wagon with a friend and a suitcase full of cameras. Her book, Simone Kappeler—America 1981, published by Scheidegger and Spiess, is a captivating album of horizons glimpsed and encounters chanced across a vast, open, easygoing country that you might have some trouble recognizing right now. Her visit happened to take place during a…

7 min.
beyond the ballot

THE 19TH AMENDMENT, ratified in August 1920, paved the way for American women to vote, but the educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune knew the work had only just begun: The amendment alone would not guarantee political power to black women. Thanks to Bethune’s work that year to register and mobilize black voters in her hometown of Daytona, Florida, new black voters soon outnumbered new white voters in the city. But a reign of terror followed. That fall, the Ku Klux Klan marched on Bethune’s boarding school for black girls; two years later, ahead of the 1922 elections, the Klan paid another threatening visit, as over 100 robed figures carrying banners emblazoned with the words “white supremacy” marched on the school in retaliation against Bethune’s continued efforts to get black…