April 6, 2015

The Nation celebrates 150th anniversary


TheNationHow does one of the nation’s leading magazines celebrate 150 years of publication? With appropriate pomp and circumstance.

The Nation, the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, is one of the country’s most influential publications and has launched and nurtured so many great writers that a list would be impossible to compile. Well, not impossible—and indeed, The Nation has probably compiled that list—but difficult. Let’s just say that we’re talking about many, many great writers.

For its 150th anniversary, the magazine is celebrating itself and its many notable contributors. The centerpiece of the celebration is a quintuple-length special issue, which can be downloaded for free, but should be purchased, because The Nation should be supported! Here’s how The Nation’s editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, describes it:

This issue, which I co-edited with D.D. Guttenplan, our London correspondent, weaves together voices from The Nation’s rich history with contributors writing about the current cultural and political moment. In a rich series archival excerpts, we reprint some of the best that was thought and said in our pages—much of it inspiring and eerily prescient, some of it shocking. We have also included a few selections that turned out to be less than prophetic.

The list of writers whose pieces appear in the anniversary issue is really quite spectacular. This, for example, is merely a partial list of contributors whose last names start with M:

H.L. Mencken
Ed Miliband
Arthur Miller
Jessica Mitford

Marianne Moore
Michael Moore
Toni Morrison

Again, that’s a partial list.

In addition to the issue, throughout the year, The Nation has will be posting special content on its website and hosting a number of events across the country.

And—lest the New York Review of Books think that it’s the only liberal magazine to be commemorated in a documentaryThe Nation is also the subject of a documentary by the brilliant Harlan County U.S.A director Barbara Kopple. The film, Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation, premiered at MoMA in February and will be screened at some of the aforementioned events. Kopple told Indiewire that the film is, in part, about interns:

Another big element of the film is the interns. Everybody at The Nation, practically all the writers, everybody has been an intern, including Katrina. I filmed meetings which include everybody and every voice is heard. They’re not just having meetings to say, “What should we put in this issue?” They’re having meetings about what’s topical, what’s interesting, what’s happening in our country.

Happy anniversary, The Nation! Here’s to another 150.


Mark Krotov is senior editor at Melville House.