The Nation magazine, the oldest news magazine in the United States, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The first issue was published on July 6, 1865 — just weeks after the end of the Civil War and three months after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Over the years, The Nation has published many of the nation’s leading dissidents, academics and activists. We broadcast an excerpt from the new documentary, "Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation," and speak with the magazine’s editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel. The Nation is celebrating its anniversary with a quintuple-length, blockbuster edition.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, The Nation magazine is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. It is the country’s oldest news magazine. The first issue was published on July 6, 1865, just weeks after the end of the Civil War and three months after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Over the years, it has published many of the nations leading dissidents, academics, and that activists. This is an excerpt from the new documentary "Hot Type: 150 Years of the Nation."
INTERVIEWEE: Everybody’s kind of written for the The Nation. Pat Buchanan wrote for The Nation, Hunter Thompson wrote for The Nation .
NARRATOR: Theodore Dreiser, H.L. Mencken, John Dos Passos, James Agee, Sinclaire Lewis.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: Tony Kushner, Toni Morrison, Emma Goldman, Henry James, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Willa Cather, Kurt Vonnegut, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal.
INTERVIEWEE: — was the first to publish James Baldwin.
AMY GOODMAN: "[Hot] Type" was produced by Barbara Kopple. In a minute, we will be joined by The Nation's editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, but first, this is another clip from "Hot Type: 150 Years of the Nation" in which Katrina talks about the magazine's early history with contributing writer D.D. Guttenplan. The piece ends with the reading of a story that appeared in The Nation in 1932.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: This is the essay I was telling you about, it’s about The Nation future. It’s 1955, but, it says The Nation must change, as it has changed in the past. Within the last 40 years, and think about how this could be written today, within the last 40 years one-third of our daily newspapers and more than 3,000 weeklies have ceased publication.
D.D. GUTTENPLAN: Wow, now it’s like —
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: And This is 1955, because we do sit here and think, you know, what is The Nation 's role in this media landscape. And that's
D.D. GUTTENPLAN: Where do we fit —
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: And then speaks —- he goes on to speak -—
D.D. GUTTENPLAN: And also, how does it survive? I mean, in 1955, they were worried about being strangled by the Red Scare, and by McCarthyism. People were afraid to get The Nation, and if you got The Nation, the FBI probably —
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: Knew about you.
D.D. GUTTENPLAN: Yeah, they probably put you on a list.
D.D. GUTTENPLAN: The Nation grew out of the Civil War. It was started by Republican abolitionists who were concerned about the state of the freed men. We like to gloss over the first 50 years in a way, because The Nation was in mesh with the Republican Party, it was against workers right, it was worried about inundation by foreigners and immigrants. It didn’t really break free of the Republican Party until World War I. We think of it now as kind of version of the left of the Democratic Party. I mean, I hope it’s much more than that, but you could caricature it that way and some circles.
But, The Nation that we know now really took off in the 1930’s. That is because of the New Deal, which really was one of the, I think, the apogees of The Nation ’s, not just its influence, but also its flowering, its flourishing and its power.
SAM WATERSTON: We give thanks that the economic disaster which confronts us has made men and women think, has made multitudes realize that our institutions are not perfect, that there is something radically wrong with the situation under which even at the height of prosperity, many are on the ragged edge of starvation, while others literally roll in wealth. We believe the Republic to be in jeopardy, but we have not lost faith that it can be rescued and set upon the right path to meet the needs of the situation.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Sam Waterston reading a Nation editorial from 1932. And before that, Katrina vanden Heuvel speaking with D.D. Guttenplan who co-edited, together with Katrina, The Nation 's 150th anniversary edition, which is more than 260 pages. That excerpt from "[Hot] Type: 150 Years of the Nation." We are joined now by Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine. Again, The Nation is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a quintuple-length, blockbuster edition of the magazine. Welcome to Democracy Now!. Read on...
Here's to hoping they stick around for at least another 150.