"A Magazine of Literature, Art and Politics"
March 2, 2018 10:23 AM   Subscribe

For their 160th anniversary, the Atlantic has highlighted some unique articles, stories and essays from their magazine archive and launched a Life Timeline. Enter your birthday and it will tell you how the world has changed in your lifetime.

* November 2017: On Turning 160

* February 1859: Ought Women to Learn the Alphabet?

* April 1864: Among the Mormons. "A nineteenth-century writer [Fitz-Hugh Ludlow] meets Brigham Young and explores the 'City of Saints.'"

* February 1866: The Freedman’s Story. "An escaped slave [William Parker] tells his story—including his account of his violent showdown with slave-catchers in Pennsylvania."

* January 1867: An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage by Frederick Douglass. “Statesmen, beware what you do. The destiny of unborn and unnumbered generations is in your hands.”

* January 1868: George Silverman’s Explanation, A short story by Charles Dickens. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

* April 1870: The English Governess at the Siamese Court by Anna Leonowens. ("The author recounts her adventures with the King of Siam.") [Note from the OP: Leonowens' memoirs would eventually be adapted into a fictional book: Margaret Landon's 1944 best-selling novel Anna and the King of Siam which would then itself be adapted into Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1951 hit musical The King and I, a television series and the film, Anna and the King.]

* August 1873: The Art of Being President. "Gathered from the experiences of Thomas Jefferson"

* June - December 1874: A Rebel's Recollections. ("A confederate soldier from a plantation-owning family offers the Southern point of view on the Civil War.")
A seven part series: [June 1874, July 1874, August 1874, September 1874, October 1874, November 1874, December 1874]

* April 1877: A Century of Congress by James A. Garfield, long-time member of the House of Representatives and future president of the United States

* May 1895: Mars. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

* September 1896: The Awakening of the Negro by Booker T. Washington

* August 1897: Strivings of the Negro People, by W.E.B. DuBois

* May 1898: The Dreyfus and Zola Trials

* August 1899: The Yosemite National Park by John Muir

* April 1904: An American Primer by Walt Whitman

* August 1908: What it Means to be an Enfranchised Woman by Ellis Meredith

* August 1911: Why I Came to America

* January 1913: A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

* january 1919: The Idea of a League of Nations

* January 1923: In China, Too by Pearl S. Buck

* April 1924: The Modern View of Evolution

* August 1932: Put your Husband in the Kitchen by Helen Keller

* February 1935: Swastika

* May 1936: Letters from the Dust Bowl

* February 1937: Hitler Looks Eastward
posted by zarq (12 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I always liked The Atlantic Monthly, and whenever I go through a phase of subscribing to magazines, this is the one I get.

I don't always agree with their politics or their writers, but there's usually good stuff in each issue -- and sometimes they hit it out of the park (e.g., Ta-Nahisi Coates).
posted by wenestvedt at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2018

My life is divided evenly between the time before the web, and the time after. Which oddly feels subjectively right.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:31 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Your life can be divided into two halves: before and after Game Boys.

Ah. the grand sweep of history.
posted by briank at 11:53 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

This travelogue of Pittsburg[h] by James Fallows in the January 1868 issue of The Atlantic first gave my fair city the immortal description of "hell with the lid taken off". It makes for a revealing peek into the victorian mindset when you realize that he meant it as a complement.
There is one evening scene in Pittsburg which no visitor should miss. Owing to the abruptness of the hill behind the town, there is a street along the edge of a bluff, from which you can look directly down upon all that part of the city which lies low, near the level of the rivers. On the evening of this dark day, we were conducted to the edge of the abyss, and looked over the iron railing upon the most striking spectacle we ever beheld. The entire space lying between the hills was filled with blackest smoke, from out of which the hidden chimneys sent forth tongues of flame, while from the depths of the abyss came up the noise of hundreds of steam-hammers. There would be moments when no flames were visible; but soon the wind would force the smoky curtains aside, and the whole black expanse would be dimly lighted with dull wreaths of fire. It is an unprofitable business, view-hunting; but if any one would enjoy a spectacle as striking as Niagara, he may do so by simply walking up a long hill to Cliff Street in Pittsburg, and looking over into—hell with the lid taken off.
posted by octothorpe at 1:46 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

This should be fun, cause I liked the AM back before they started sucking (when Bradley took over). surely there will be some gems from those days.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:57 PM on March 2, 2018

"Enter your birthday and it will tell you how the world has changed in your lifetime."

Oh god, I can't.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:44 PM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

We need a browser plugin to summon a security consultant - when you see a site asking for identifying information needlessly, one click will alert the expert who, if it's called for, can go explain to the site why asking people to type in their birthdate is a bad idea.
[Internet billionaire] can keep the consultant on retainer.

The historical lookback is indeed wonderful.
posted by Baeria at 7:03 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

This link forgot to remind me how optimistic I was as a teenager in the 1960s.

African-Americans seemed to have made great strides towards equality at that time. The tide against the War in Vietnam had spread beyond the hippies into public opinion at-large. The disabled (now: differently-abled) and the non-heterosexuals had begun to achieve recognition, and even rights. 2nd wave feminism flowered. The U.N. was a strong international force (my family flew the U.N. flag parallel to the U.S. flag; James S. McDonnell, the aerospace pioneer, gave his employees a day off on U.N. Day). Those of us involved in psychedelic culture had ridiculously utopian visions.

And here we are. I did not expect to be so disappointed. Especially, I did not expect Black people to have to say, out loud, that their Lives Matter.
posted by kozad at 7:20 PM on March 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Wow that article by Helen Keller is fantastic, and very current in its concerns. Hard to believe it's from the 1930s.

The tldr version: she argues that automation of labour should lead to more leisure instead of more productivity for productivity's sake. (And suggests that women have known this all along, but men aren't listening.)
posted by lollusc at 8:07 PM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Enter your birthday and it will tell you how the world has changed in your lifetime.

That reminds me of what the BBC did before, only with actual relevance.

And those novelty birthday cards in tacky gift shops with CDs of hit songs of the year you were born.

We are well into 2018...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:40 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are there better (= more detailed?) timeline sites like this out there? This one seems kind of thin to me. Maybe that's already the story of my life...
posted by sneebler at 10:21 AM on March 3, 2018

I was born in 1989. It did a couple of things for '89 and then skipped to 2001, so apparently nothing worthwhile happened in the 90's...
posted by gucci mane at 6:09 PM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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