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FISHING FROM THE DARKHOUSE

For centuries, Native Americans fed their families in winter by spearing fish through lake ice from small, darkened tents. In the 1800s, Europeans adapted the survival skill as a sport that persists today around the Great Lakes.

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COLLECTING FISH DECOYS

Older than faux ducks, fish decoys first carved in bone and ivory by Native Americans enticed curious fish to the darkhouse. While modern decoys boast masterful carving and decoration to entice collectors, few are meant for their original purpose.

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AT HOME IN THE ACCIDENTAL WILDERNESS

Finding the perfect Massachusetts sanctuary surrounded by acres of protected woodland convinced Barbara Metzger to yield her dream of a historic home to an exceptionally faithful replica of Nantucket’s 1686 Jethro Coffin House.

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THE ORIGINS OF DENIM

Although working-class Americans made the fabric for sturdy cotton jackets and trousers their own long before Levi Strauss riveted the pockets of his jeans, it originated in Europe. A textile expert explores the fabric’s murky history and enduring popularity.

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PLYMOUTH: 400 YEARS

America marks the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620 with archaeology projects, commemorations, exhibitions, festivals, musical programs, tours, and the return of the Mayflower II to her Massachusetts home port. Events began last fall and continue throughout the year.

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GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE

Fred Grote grew up visiting his grandmother’s house in Illinois, an 1842 brick mansion built by his great-grandfather William A. Grimshaw, who counted fellow lawyer Abraham Lincoln among his visitors and friends. Today Fred and wife Pam preserve that family legacy.

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THE CHOICEST COLLECTION OF BOOKS

When the British invaded Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812, they set fire to the Capitol, kindling it with the Congress’s books. To rebuild the library, Thomas Jefferson sold his own—6,500 volumes—as replacements, the foundation of what we now call the Library of Congress.

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ON VALENTINE'S DAY...

Receipts for meringues, puddings, sweetmeats, and tarts bring a taste of history to your table, inviting family and friends to savor the past.

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LIGHTING THE PAST

A Directory of Traditional American Crafts tinsmith demonstrates the art, skill, and tools of bending and soldering tinned iron sheets into a decorative lantern for lighting your period home.

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THE MANY FACES OF GEORGE WASHINGTON

The leader of our fight for independence and fledgling government, George Washington stood as the quintessential hero to most Americans, who honored him with his likeness in their homes during his life and long after his death. We sample the interpretations of his likeness and character through the eyes of well-known portraitists.

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POOR FELLOW! WHAT A PITY HE IS CRAZY!

Were he not a wild-eyed eccentric, John Fitch would rank among our greatest inventors. Long before Robert Fulton, this Connecticut Yankee created the first successful steamboat, one that paddled past the Constitutional Convention. Given the chance, he might have built the world’s first self-propelled steam locomotive from his designs.

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Issue highlights

in every issue


WELCOME

Beginnings

Jeanmarie Andrews

PEOPLE

Making History Museums Modern

PLACES

Texas Site Celebrates its Hispanic Roots

EVENTS

Laura Amick

STYLE

Tell Me

Tess Rosch

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