Just as this issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE went to press we had bad news from Michigan: our distinguished senior editor Bruce Cation, who was intimately associated with the magazine from its beginning, died there near his boyhood home on August 28. Worldwide fame as a Civil War historian never affected the unassuming friendliness Bruce exercised toward his editorial colleagues, or his down-to-earth judgments on manuscripts, or the consummate ease with which he edited articles for publication. He will be missed enormously in this office. We are planning a fuller tribute to him in a forthcoming issue; meanwhile we want to quote, in memoriam, a paragraph from an essay Bruce Cation wrote for the first issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE in 1954, and which we still think of as the quintessence of our editorial credo.
The fabric of American life is a seamless web. Everything fits in somewhere. History is a continuous process; it extends far back into the past, and it will go on—in spite of today’s uneasy qualms—far into the future. As editors of this magazine we can think of no more eternally fascinating task than that of examining this continuous process on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes we shall talk about great men and what they did, and sometimes we shall talk about the doings of wholly obscure people who made the great men possible. But always we intend to deal with that great, unfinished, and illogically inspiring story of the American people doing and being and becoming. Our American heritage is greater than any one of us. It can express itself in very homely truths; in the end, it can lift up our eyes beyond the glow in the sunset skies.