Skip to main content

Robin W. Winks

June 2024
1min read


Randolph W. Townsend, Jr. Professor of History, Yale University

Most overrated:

Nearly any of the Presidents (a group by whom we tend to organize our textbooks, as though their four years somehow defined time for us) who actually did virtually nothing. Even to discuss Chester Arthur or Millard Fillmore is to overrate them.

Most underrated:

The inventors of machines that truly change the way we live, inventors who nonetheless often are missing from any standard text: people like Howard Aiken and team, inventors of the computer, or William Shockley and others, responsible for the transistor.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate