What were you doing in 1954, the year American Heritage began publishing?

Richard Reeves, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "President Kennedy: Profile of Power" and other books, recalls that America looked good to a high school senior. Nonetheless, there were plenty of shadows along with the sunshine.Reeves recalls, "With only 6 percent of the world's population, we had 60 percent of all the automobiles on the planet, 54 percent of the telephones, 45 percent of the radios. And 29 million American homes already had television sets."

TV viewers watched "I Love Lucy," "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "Dragnet." But they continued to listen to the congenial redhead, Arthur Godfrey, on the radio.

In Worcester, Mass., three foundation researchers announced they had developed an experimental oral contraceptive, a "birth control pill."

At Harvard University, doctors transplanted a kidney from one human being to another.

Texas Instruments in Dallas announced it had developed a "silicon transistor."

The United States Information Service ordered that Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" be removed from its libraries in U.S. embassies around the world because it was, according to USIS, "downright socialistic."

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a unanimous decision in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education. (The "separate but equal" doctrine was destroyed, and schools were to be integrated "with all deliberate speed.")

The first Thunderbird was produced - and the new 1955 Chevy V-8 made life sparkle for auto lovers.

President Eisenhower modifed the Pledge of Allegiance, adding two words, under God.

On CBS's "See It Now," Edward R. Murrow, America's most respected newsman, exposed Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the communist hunter, as a zealot without scruples.

Jonas Salk led the team that developed a polio vaccine.

In March 1954, the United States exploded its second hydrogen bomb. It was small enough to be used, big enough to vaporize Pittsburgh.

And in New Jersey, Bell Laboratories was one of 20 purchasers of thinking machines called computers.