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American Icons: Buffalo Bill's Wild West

William F. Cody’s stage show presented a new creation myth for America, bringing cowboys, Indians, settlers, and sharpshooters to audiences.

More American Icons

American Icons: "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today it stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race.

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American Icons: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ken Kesey had worked in a mental hospital, but his first novel was really a parable of what happens when you stand up to the Man — a counterculture fable that doesn’t end well.

Comments [9]

American Icons: "Spoon River Anthology"

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A landmark in American poetry, Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” shocked readers when it came out in 1915 by tackling subjects like suicide and sex.

Comments [2]

American Icons: The Lincoln Memorial

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Lincoln Memorial is now one of the most treasured landmarks of Washington, D.C. But for decades people fought over every aspect of it — and even whether it should be built at all.

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American Icons: Native Son

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The story of a young man in the ghetto who turns to murder was an overnight sensation. But some think "Native Son" exploited the worst stereotypes of black youth. 

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American Icons: “Spoon River Anthology”

Thursday, May 07, 2015

A landmark in American poetry, Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” shocked readers when it came out in 1915 by tackling subjects like suicide and sex.

Comments [5]

American Icons: Nirvana’s “Nevermind”

Thursday, April 30, 2015

How did “Nevermind” come to define 90s rock — and make Nirvana the last universally acclaimed rock band?

Comments [5]

John Henry

Thursday, February 19, 2015

John Henry wins a race against the machine that threatens to take his job, but then he dies of exhaustion. Some victory.

Comments [1]

"Uncle Tom's Cabin"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More than any other novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped promote the abolitionist cause. So how did “Uncle Tom” become a name for someone who betrays his race?

Comments [21]

American Icons: Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Thursday, January 29, 2015

William F. Cody’s stage show presented a new creation myth for America, bringing cowboys, Indians, settlers, and sharpshooters to audiences.

Comments [7]

American Icons: “Mad Magazine”

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Along with serving up a generous helping of dirtyish jokes and goofy parodies, “Mad Magazine” changed the way we consume pop culture and how we talk about world affairs.

Comments [19]

American Icons: The Tramp

Thursday, December 25, 2014

With just a pair of baggy pants, a derby hat, mustache, floppy shoes, and his own physical genius, Charlie Chaplin created silent film's most memorable character — the Tramp.

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American Icons: The Disney Parks

Friday, November 28, 2014

Walt Disney didn't just want a theme park — he wanted to create a scale model of a uniquely American utopia. 

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American Icons: "Migrant Mother"

Friday, November 14, 2014

Before it became the all-purpose image of hardship, Dorothea Lange’s famous portrait was just one of hundreds she shot to document poverty in the Depression.

Comments [1]

American Icons: Fiddler on the Roof

Friday, October 10, 2014

How a milkman from a Russian shtetl became a Broadway star and a hero of postwar American culture.

Comments [9]

American Icons: Mad Magazine

Friday, July 25, 2014

From David Letterman to the writers of The Simpsons, generations of comedians and writers have grown up reading Mad Magazine. It changed the way we consume pop culture and the way we ...

Comments [46]

American Icons: The Tramp

Friday, June 27, 2014

With just a pair of baggy pants, a derby hat, mustache, floppy shoes, and his own physical genius, Charlie Chaplin created silent film's most memorable character — the Tramp. Video: ...

Comments [4]

American Icons: Anything Goes

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cole Porter was out of the musical theater game during the 1930s, as American mores grew looser and more risqué. But instead of getting stodgy, he wrote the classic celebration of bad...

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American Icons: The Scarlet Letter

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel about forbidden love among the Puritans captured our admiration for independence — and our craving for scandal. How much has changed in the 150 years since...

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American Icons: Untitled Film Stills

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cindy Sherman launched her career by placing herself in photos that look like movie stills for imaginary movies. With Untitled Film Stills, she also created some of the most recogniza...

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