Spring 2022

Honoring the Vanished

A Note from the Editors

We follow in their footsteps. Pass along their memories. Salute their accomplishments. 

Their legacies stem from their dreams of the impossible. Our commitment is to honor them as best we can. 

In the spring 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories honoring the vanished — whether ancestors, armies, strangers, or friends.

We begin amidst the cornfields of northwestern Alabama, where journalist Rebecca Deurlein discovers a hand-built monument to a Yuchi woman who, violently displaced along the Trail of Tears, was intended to disappear. This poignant Time Travel story shows a different path, not only for the heroic Te-lah-nay but for those who, drawn to preserve her memory, find that Only the Stones Remain.

Historic figures also leave their mark — in the form of wagon ruts — in our Human and Nature feature. Called to learn about 1800s-era emigrants headed West, journalist Shoshi Parks makes her way along the Oregon Trail in reverse. But as she sets out to learn about the hardships of the past, she finds that Enduring the Promised Land is also a challenge of our future.

For writer Melinda Misuraca, the Quest to track down a captivating young woman from a 1930s photo album leads her to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo. Featuring contemporary photographs and historical restorations by Misuraca’s husband, photographer Russell Porcas, the Photo Feature Finding Valentina takes us back a century. A host of questions await us there, including whether we’ll find who we’re looking for. Or, if we do, at what benefit — and what cost.

Sometimes, those we seek to honor remain nameless. For many of the individuals photographed by conflict reporter Wesley Morgan in our second Photo Feature and Chasing Demons story, we may never know their names — or their fate. In Portraits of a Vanished Army, Morgan presents images from his reporting trips to Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017 — and challenges a simplified narrative of the Afghan National Army’s collapse.

Finally, in a journey of grief and memory along Alaska’s Inside Passage, journalist Amanda Castleman pays homage to her late brother-by-choice, the renowned and ridiculous travel writer Edward Readicker-Henderson. This bittersweet Portrait explores the memorial necessity of an 11-day, 1,600-mile journey to stage a Viking-style funeral — and ultimately to go Beyond the Lid of the World.

Until the next voyage,


Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

Jeremy Berlin, Editorial Director