Pages from the Past: History and Memory in American Magazines / Edition 1

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American popular magazines play a role in our culture similar to that of public historians, Carolyn Kitch contends. Drawing on evidence from the pages of more than sixty magazines, including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Black Enterprise, Ladies' Home Journal, and Reader's Digest, Kitch examines the role of journalism in creating collective memory and identity for Americans.

Editorial perspectives, visual and narrative content, and the tangibility and keepsake qualities of magazines make them key repositories of American memory, Kitch argues. She discusses anniversary celebrations that assess the passage of time; the role of race in counter-memory; the lasting meaning of celebrities who are mourned in the media; cyclical representations of generational identity, from the Greatest Generation to Generation X; and anticipated memory in commemoration after crisis events such as those of September 11, 2001.

Bringing a critically neglected form of journalism to the forefront, Kitch demonstrates that magazines play a special role in creating narratives of the past that reflect and inform who we are now.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
Pages from the Past is an insightful study that explores a wide range of American magazines . . . and the 'collective memories' they establish.—Journal of American Studies

Through narrative and rhetorical analysis, this book converses with photographic history, American studies, public history, media history, linguistics, anthropology, pop culture, gerontology, and more.—American Journalism

Kitch demonstrates how, for decades, leading journals such as Life and Time have provided readers with an extensive account of recent American history that has mostly affirmed the worthiness of the American nation and some of its values. She makes the important point that this narrative of national life worked assiduously to connect private lives to a larger national consciousness. Pages from the Past is a significant contribution to the study of journalism, the media, memory, and nationalism.—John Bodnar, Indiana University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807856499
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Kitch is associate professor of journalism at Temple University and author of The Girl on the Magazine Cover: The Origins of Visual Stereotypes in American Mass Media.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1. How We Lived: Summing Up the Twentieth Century

Chapter 2. A Working-Class Hero Is Something to Be: The Lasting Story of September 11th

Chapter 3. A News of Feeling as well as Fact: Public Mourning for the Dead Celebrity

Chapter 4. The Voices of the Past Speak to Us, Calling Us by Name: Counter-Memory and Living History in Magazines for African Americans

Chapter 5. The Celebrated Tribe: Generational Memory and the Reinterpretation of Youth

Chapter 6. Once upon a Time in America: Nostalgia Magazines and Reader Recollections

Chapter 7. Snapshots in a Family Album: Anniversary Celebrations of a Shared Past

Epilogue: The Present and Future of Media Memory





1.1. Life cover, January 2, 1950

1.2. Time cover, June 14, 1999

2.1. Newsweek cover, September 24, 2001

2.2. My Generation cover, December 2001

2.3. Men's Journal cover, November 2001

2.4. ESPN The Magazine cover, October 1, 2001

2.5. Newsweek cover, September 11, 2002

3.1. People Weekly cover, September 15, 1997

3.2. Rolling Stone cover, October 16, 2003

3.3. Rolling Stone cover, September 22, 1977

3.4. U.S. News & World Report cover, August 2, 1999

4.1. American Legacy cover, Fall 2001

4.2. American Legacy cover, Winter 2004

4.3. Eleanor Roosevelt with Marian Anderson

5.1. Newsweek cover, April 3, 2000

5.2. Time cover, June 9, 1997

5.3. Newsweek cover, January 11, 1993

6.1. Good Old Days cover, February 2001

6.2. Good Old Days cover, May 2001

6.3. Reminisce cover, July-August 1996

7.1. Esquire cover, June 1983

7.2. National Geographic cover, September 1988

7.3. Vibe cover, September 2003

7.4. Newsweek cover, Spring 1983

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