• Glimpses

    The Postcards That Captured America’s Love for the Open Road

    From Mid-Century Until Today, “Greetings From” Postcards Have Combined a ‘Fantastical View’ of the Country With Car Culture Obsession

    By Anne Peck-Davis and Diane Lapis

    The most prolific producer of the iconic 20th-century American travel postcard was a German-born printer, a man named Curt Teich, who immigrated ...

  • Essay

    Why the ‘New Nationalism’ Can Only Flourish in Conflict

    Built on Hatred, and the Need for an Adversary, It Thrives on Contempt for Other Cultures, Religions, and Even Languages

    By Anthony Pagden

    Nationalism as we know it today—a global movement of states led by strongmen decrying globalization—is a recent invention. But a brief and broad history ...

New at Zócalo

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN

The Pioneering Cornell Anatomist Who Sought to Bring 'Honor' and 'Duty' to College Life

At the Turn of the 20th Century, Burton Green Wilder Railed Against Frivolous Activities and Thought Privileged Students Should Hold Each Other to Higher Standards

By Richard M. Reid

    In 1901, Cornell University students created a new holiday on campus, called “Spring Day.”
    Many faculty members objected to the holiday, but few were as visible and vocal as professor Burt Green Wilder, who would go on to become a defining, if little-known, figure in American higher education.
    Spring Day built upon a relatively new tradition: During the 1890s students began holding a dance and fundraiser, the Navy Ball, prior to major fall regattas. Not surprisingly, on the day of the regatta, class attendance was low. But attendance became even more abysmal in 1901, when the students moved the Navy Ball to March and reorganized it as a “circus parade” and noontime concert to benefit the Cornell ...

Essay

The Midwest Farmers Movement That Challenged Gilded Age Capitalism

In the 19th Century, the Grange Was an Agricultural Brotherhood That Sought to Foster Mutual Self-Reliance and Free Themselves From Middlemen and Monopolies

By Jenny Bourne

    Perhaps you’ve seen them on a leisurely weekend drive through the countryside—small white structures with the sign “Grange Hall.” Although the Grange is now a mere shadow of its former self, its legacy looms large in American history. As one of the largest grassroots movements in 19th-century America, the Grange left a broad imprint, including laws that still undergird modern governmental regulation of private enterprise.
    Minnesotan Oliver Hudson Kelley, along with several colleagues, formed the Grange shortly after the Civil War to give farmers a powerful collective voice at a time when Gilded Age capitalists were amassing huge fortunes. At its peak in the mid-1870s, the organization boasted nearly a million members. Subordinates ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews

Poetry

  • By Francesca Bell

    Although he stinks,
    I love to hold his small
    brokenness on my lap,
    reeking teeth worn down
    on a metal cage to almost ...

  • By Josh Honn

    I.
    I ate
    this morning
    a clementine
    ate ...

  • By Benjamin Garcia

    To be a traitor is to trade—
    Take, for example, the blue macaw
    of my childhood, traded
    for two rocks of ...