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Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine September 2019

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

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United States
Smithsonian Institute
11 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

FROM THE EDITORS “VERY RARELY am I compelled to read a magazine cover-to-cover,” a reader named Dave Jemo said of our July-August issue. “But the wide spectrum of well-written articles found me doing just that.” How inspiring of the author William T. Vollmann to retrace Herman Melville’s steps in the South Pacific, Jerry Loeffelbein said: “With new insight I will once again read Moby-Dick and likely his other books.” The image of Smokey Bear by the illustrator Corey Schumann prompted speculation he had gone too far in mirroring artwork by Charley Harper. Schumann, though, says he was paying homage to Harper. Our cover story about Holy Land tours led by both Israeli and Palestinian guides provoked the greatest response, stirring passions on all sides of the Mideast conflict. Some readers grumbled…

4 min.
life of pie

How did a humble dessert become a recipe for democracy? IN THE EARLY 1900S, the United States was at war—over pie. On one side were the traditionalists, who saw pie as “an article of necessity in every household as much as the bed and cook stove,” according to a Chicago Daily Tribune report in 1899. On the other side were the food reformers, who wanted to break this unhealthy and corrupting habit. “Pie really is an American evil,” Kate Masterson wrote in the New York Times in 1902. It is an “unmoral food,” she warned, offering advice for spotting pie eaters: They have “sallow complexions” and “lusterless or unnaturally bright eyes” and, of course, they “are all dyspeptic.” “No great man,” she wrote, “was ever fond of pie.” Those were fighting words.…

2 min.
red alert

C. 1884 The apple that will come to dominate and disappoint 20thcentury taste arises accidentally on Jesse Hiatt’s farm in Peru, Iowa. He calls the elongated red-and-yellowstriped fruit the “Hawkeye.” 1893 The Hawkeye wins a competition run by Stark Brothers Nursery of Missouri to replace the pretty and not very tasty Ben Davis apple. “My! This apple is delicious,” says the president of the nursery, which buys the rights to the apple. He names it “Delicious.” 1904 Stark Brothers exhibits the Delicious at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. It’s part of a $750,000 marketing campaign that includes giving away eight million trees by 1918. (It won’t become Red Delicious until Stark introduces Golden Delicious in 1914.) 1923 A limb of a Red Delicious tree in New Jersey produces apples with a deeper crimson color. Stark…

1 min.
breathing rooms

WHEN ADRIEN BROOM first visited the former Long Island home of Jackson Pollock and his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, she was transfixed by the splattered floorboards in Pollock’s studio, a relic of the modernist’s signature technique. “You see the borders of some of the most famous works to come out of America,” Broom says, “and they all merge together to create something so special that is only in this one place.” Conjuring such moments for her photography series Holding Space, Broom recruits actors to imagine life in richly suggestive historic dwellings, such as those of Mark Twain, the arts patron Florence Griswold and the photographer Alice Austen. Seeing their quotidian belongings humanizes their one-time occupants. “These people have become legendary—godlike,” she says. “But here is a bedroom with a…

2 min.
there’s always more to explore in taiwan

When most people think of traveling to Taiwan, images of breathtaking Sun Moon Lake or the towering Taipei 101 skyscraper come to mind. While these destinations are iconic for a reason, there is so much more to discover on the island. In particular, Taiwan is home to a myriad of museums that offer a window into its diverse cultures, rich history and natural heritage. Whether exploring the world’s largest collection of Chinese artifacts in Taipei City or discovering a lesser-known craft museum in the countryside, Taiwan’s museum network has something for every traveler. City Attractions Begin your cultural journey in Taipei City with a tour of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. Built in the architectural style of a Chinese palace, the museum houses more than 600,000 artifacts spanning several thousand years of Chinese…

10 min.
the nation’s unsettled account

ON APRIL 17, 1878, twelve white jurors entered a federal courtroom in Cincinnati, Ohio, to deliver the verdict in a now-forgotten lawsuit about American slavery. The plaintiff was Henrietta Wood, described by a reporter at the time as “a spectacled negro woman, apparently sixty years old.” The defendant was Zebulon Ward, a white man who had enslaved Wood 25 years before. She was suing him for $20,000 in reparations. Two days earlier, the jury had watched as Wood took the stand; her son, Arthur, who lived in Chicago, was in the courtroom. Born into bondage in Kentucky, Wood testified, she had been granted her freedom in Cincinnati in 1848, but five years later she was kidnapped by Ward, who sold her, and she ended up enslaved on a Texas plantation…