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History

Retropod

The Washington Post

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Retropod is a show for history lovers, featuring stories about the past, rediscovered. Reporter Mike Rosenwald introduces you to history’s most colorful characters - forgotten heroes, overlooked villains, dreamers, explorers, world changers. Availabl...Show More
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04:27 | Feb 7th

A full year after the King James Bible was printed in 1631, people discovered an error.

05:15 | Sep 13th

Freddie Oversteegen was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance.
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03:32 | Sep 12th

Thomas Blood had somewhat of a shady past. According to Ireland’s History magazine, he had a reputation for espionage and conducting terrorist campaigns — though many of his plans were foiled just in time.

05:08 | Sep 11th

Heather Penney was among the first female combat pilots in the country. On Sept. 11, 2001, she got a mission: Bring down the fourth hijacked plane hurtling towards Washington.

04:19 | Sep 10th

Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln wrote poetry. But only one had a way with words.

04:20 | Sep 9th

A mysterious stone memorial was found in 2006 in Washington, D.C. But who placed a memorial to Nazi spies on government property? And why?

04:23 | Sep 6th

According to James Madison’s Virginia mansion Montpelier, Paul Jennings’ account reveals, “how the racial and gender hierarchies of the time complicate the way we understand roles in historic events.”

04:27 | Sep 4th

A group of poor women in Puerto Rico were the first test subjects for the birth control pill. Were they guinea pigs or pioneers?

03:59 | Sep 3rd

Was the Duke of Windsor a Nazi sympathizer? Did he plot to dethrone his brother, King George VI? Did he really suggest more German bombings of Britain might end World War II?

03:45 | Sep 2nd

In October 1967, antiwar protesters announced that they would march en masse to the front steps of the Pentagon. and levitate it. And then they would try to levitate it.

05:02 | Aug 30th

Besides President Trump, whom do scholars scorn the most?

04:17 | Aug 29th

In 1935, the Florida Keys ignored the threat of a looming hurricane. When the Category 5 storm made landfall, it left a wake of death and destruction.

04:38 | Aug 28th

At the Naval Academy, McCain was in a group called the “Bad Bunch” as he rebelled against his father’s expectations.

05:04 | Aug 27th

By 1968, things were going badly for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Morale around the Vietnam War was sinking, and in Washington, political sharks were circling.

03:41 | Aug 26th

All over the country, couples rushed to Las Vegas to get married. The demand for quickie weddings was at a fever pitch. But it wasn't Cupid's arrow causing the frenzy. It was the Vietnam War.

04:30 | Aug 23rd

In 1927, the world watched as two French aviators attempted the world’s first transatlantic flight.

05:23 | Aug 22nd

Lewis Hine posed as a Bible salesman or machinery photographer to expose the hardships of child labor.

04:52 | Aug 21st

In a year of extraordinary, chaotic moments this was a hopeful one - a beat-up country music star recording an album live at a troubled maximum security prison in California.

04:57 | Aug 20th

Ski jumping involves flying more than 800 feet in the air and then landing on two feet, without dying. Where on earth did this sport come from?

04:52 | Aug 19th

Samuel Cutler Ward, also known as the “King of the Lobby,” is credited with shaping the craft of lobbying. And like lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, he also had some seriously expensive tastes.

04:35 | Aug 16th

"The Birth of a Nation" depicted life after the Civil War in a way that glorified Klansmen. The film and its cultural impact led one man to conclude that the time was right to bring back the Klu Klux Klan.

03:21 | Aug 15th

It’s World War II, and you’re King George VI of England. You fear a Nazi invasion of England could come at any moment. How do you protect the crown jewels? Not even Queen Elizabeth II knew how her dad did it - until recently.

04:28 | Aug 14th

An American in the 1940s would not recognize the woman from the “We Can Do It!” poster as Rosie the Riveter.

03:40 | Aug 13th

When President Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” it was not seen as a historic moment. It took the actual fall of the wall to resurrect the speech and drill the quote into the nation's political consciousness.

05:10 | Aug 12th

The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild family date all the way back to The Battle of Waterloo.

05:24 | Aug 9th

In April 1917, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, faced an agonizing choice: should she, or should she not, vote for the United States to enter World War I?

05:24 | Aug 8th

In 1925, 30,000 Klansmen descended on Washington, D.C. The city cheered their arrival.

04:58 | Aug 7th

William Liebenow rescued John F. Kennedy from an island filled with coconuts.

04:02 | Aug 6th

Ivanka Trump might be the only first daughter in American history to score a West Wing office, but she’s not the first presidential daughter to wield power in the White House.

04:29 | Aug 2nd

The most recent British royal wedding puts all eyes on the Windsor family. But perhaps no royal is as controversial as Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip.

05:23 | Aug 1st

Millions of British children were evacuated from London and other cities to escape the horrors of war. But the family separations seemed to impart long-term trauma that was in many cases as severe as if they had stayed behind and faced the bombs.

03:55 | Jul 31st

In 1971, Stephen Burns was 18 years old and a newly minted voter. He was so jazzed to be a part of the Democratic process.

04:32 | Jul 30th

People have long been fascinated by the books presidents choose to read. But how much do reading habits actually reveal about a president?

04:47 | Jul 29th

For over 50 years, the phrase “under God” was not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. One sermon changed that.

06:13 | Jul 26th

When Harry Truman became president in 1945, Southern members of Congress were delighted. They thought he’d be sympathetic to segregationists. He proved them wrong.

04:30 | Jul 25th

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is a horrific piece of American history.

04:27 | Jul 24th

For the past 100 years, Mata Hari has been revered as the quintessential glamorous spy. But the real Mata Hari was much more complicated.

04:59 | Jul 23rd

A hungry congressman didn’t get the breakfast he ordered. So he shot the waiter.

04:28 | Jul 22nd

The movement organized by survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is not the first time that kids have taken a stand. H

05:03 | Jul 19th

Host Lillian Cunningham's next podcast explores the real story of why we went to the moon -- a darker, but truer story than the one you've heard before. Listen to this trailer, and subscribe on your favorite podcast app or at washingtonpost.com/moonr...Show More

05:11 | Jul 18th

Back in 1941, a get-together that should have been fraught with uneasiness didn't turn out that way, which is surprising given the participants: President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.

04:33 | Jul 17th

Katherine Graham's leadership in the decision to release the Pentagon Papers was the subject of the Stephen Spielberg film "The Post." But it was her leadership during the pressman's strike in 1975 that is perhaps the most gripping moment of her life...Show More

04:30 | Jul 16th

The Alderson Federal Prison Camp has a history filled with powerful women. Some pushed for the prison to be built. Others served time there.

04:17 | Jul 15th

In a largely forgotten experiment, a group of students from Gallaudet University spent years helping NASA understand the mechanisms of motion sickness and how to prevent it.

04:25 | Jul 12th

For most of American history, no one was scared of sharks. One week--and one shark--changed people's opinions of the marine creatures.

06:03 | Jul 11th

Charles Asbury’s digitized songs serve as a time capsule to the music of the 19th century.

03:47 | Jul 10th

Raw questions of complicity versus compulsion have surrounded the 1941 murders of a Polish village's Jewish residents.

04:37 | Jul 9th

On display in Washington, D.C. are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and another document that details a fundamental institution in American life: baseball.

06:32 | Jul 8th

Benjamin Lay wrote one of the first treatises against slavery in Colonial America, a time when many prosperous Pennsylvania Quakers were slave owners. But the Quakers disowned Lay for speaking out.

03:57 | Jul 5th

Sixty years after Congress welcomed its first woman, it welcomed its first baby.

03:15 | Jul 4th

Somehow, in the depths of his personal misery towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson once again found his powerful way with words.

03:47 | Jul 3rd

George Washington and his fellow partiers racked up a hefty bill--$15,000 in today’s currency--celebrating the completion of the Constitution.

03:22 | Jul 2nd

In 1998, the world briefly panicked over an asteroid that seemed headed straight for Earth.

03:08 | Jul 1st

Suzanne Lenglen was physically ferocious, always fashionable and a disrupter of convention.

03:28 | Jun 28th

The very first pride parade was held in 1964 and was a bit calmer than what we think of today.

04:41 | Jun 27th

In 1868, Ellicott City, Md. flooded. The lack of rain made the natural disaster totally bizarre and unexpected.

04:23 | Jun 26th

Eleanor Roosevelt held news conferences just for female reporters. The men were not impressed.

03:58 | Jun 25th

Linda Brown and her father Oliver Brown are heroes of the civil rights movement. The backstory of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education is more complicated than what you learned in school.

04:26 | Jun 24th

When the NRA was founded in 1871, its primary concern was not gun rights or the Second Amendment.

04:27 | Jun 21st

Designer Louis Réard left automotive engineering to work in his mother’s lingerie business. He decided to compete with another design to create the world’s smallest swimsuit.

04:33 | Jun 20th

Andrew Higgins wasn't in the Army. He wasn't a paratrooper. He was a wild and wily genius, a tough, crafty, businessman. And he built the built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

04:53 | Jun 19th

Oregon’s original constitution banned black people from the state, and the law stayed in the constitution for well over 100 years.

03:55 | Jun 18th

'A Wrinkle in Time' author Madeleine L'Engle said she received 26 rejection letters from publishers.

03:14 | Jun 17th

The man who called the police on the Watergate burglars never received the credit he deserved.

04:14 | Jun 14th

When the White House was built over 200 years ago, it lacked certain modern conveniences. A hodgepodge of improvements have been added over the years.

04:37 | Jun 13th

The Boy Scout movement began 110 years ago on a tiny island just off the southern coast of England.

04:56 | Jun 12th

At a White House luncheon, actress Eartha Kitt would not let the president or the first lady avoid the issue of the Vietnam War. She paid a heavy price for her boldness.

04:11 | Jun 11th

If you love gossip, drama and D.C. politics -- this story is the gift that keeps on giving.

04:22 | Jun 10th

On the day before D-Day, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the troops that totally masked how nervous he actually was.

10:11 | Jun 7th

The spy business is all about masking the truth. One CIA agent’s deceptions and sham identities were so enterprising that he earned the nickname “Master of Disguise.”

09:25 | Jun 6th

Joseph Stalin wanted his political rival dead. When bullets didn’t do the job, his intelligence service tried something even more gruesome.

09:12 | Jun 5th

When a Russian sub sank at the height of the Cold War, the CIA got help from Howard Hughes and created a fictitious mining operation to snag the vessel at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

05:34 | Jun 4th

During World War II, U.S. intelligence operatives devised a plan to airdrop one-shot handguns, nicknamed the Liberator pistol, to allies in Europe in hopes of ending the war quickly.

07:10 | Jun 3rd

In the first of a weeklong series of episodes about spies, subterfuge and intelligence, a look at how the CIA used dead rats to send secret messages in the former Soviet Union.

06:41 | May 31st

In the 1950s, Dr. Virginia Apgar created a quick test that nurses have since performed on millions of babies just after birth. She is considered one of the most important figures in modern medicine — a world that almost pushed her away.

08:29 | May 30th

When author Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961, the political strain between the United States and Cuba was escalating. In the midst of that struggle, Hemingway's widow scrambled to recover the author's work from his beloved home in Cuba.

09:49 | May 29th

In 1939, an unknown copy editor from Washington, D.C., begged famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design his family a home. The result was a modern house that stood decades ahead of its time.

04:50 | May 28th

The world watched Notre Dame as it burned in April. But the cathedral has endured a lot in its 856 years.

07:14 | May 24th

Beginning in the earliest days of baseball, fans, journalists and even physicists disputed whether or not pitchers could make a ball curve.

05:49 | May 23rd

While on a research trip to the Arctic in the early 20th century, scientist Clarence Birdseye — a name you might recognize from the frozen food aisle — made an observation that would go on to change the way we eat.

05:07 | May 22nd

In the 1950s, millions of people suffered from measles every year. David Edmonston, an 11-year-old student, became the cure.

06:41 | May 21st

The nurse who founded the American Red Cross had no formal training in medicine. She tended to countless wounded soldiers.

04:04 | May 20th

Every year, freshmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis take part in an annual tradition where they must climb a 21 foot high obelisk covered in vegetable shortening and place a hat at the very top.

05:41 | May 17th

More than a decade ago, bestselling historian David McCullough stumbled upon an important name from the past that even he’d never come across before. What he discovered was the story of pioneering American idealists.

06:16 | May 16th

In the 1950s, Charles Van Doren, a quiet professor in New York City, became wrapped up in one of the biggest television quiz show scandals in history.

05:27 | May 15th

Paint-by-number was a national phenomenon. And then, the paint-sets disappeared from the shelves.

06:03 | May 14th

Jazz singer Ethel Ennis’s voice wowed audiences and won praise from critics. But when she was faced with the opportunity to become a superstar, Ennis chose a different path.

06:12 | May 13th

Serving as special counsel is probably only the third hardest job Robert Mueller has held. His life in public service started when he just 23 years old, as a Marine lieutenant in the Vietnam War.

03:45 | May 9th

Abolitionist John Brown made a prophecy before he was executed.

04:11 | May 8th

People have long been fascinated by the books presidents choose to read. But how much do reading habits actually reveal about a president?

04:28 | May 7th

The original manuscript was auctioned off for $2.4 million to an NFL owner, after almost a year of legal wrangling.

03:35 | May 6th

Weevils, a voracious beetle found in fields and orchards, were the original target of sarin gas.

05:05 | May 3rd

Mark Hamill, the actor known for playing Luke Skywalker, shares stories from Star Wars history.

03:18 | May 2nd

While President Grant had an impressive resume on the battlefield, he was known to be a patsy when it came to helping job hunters. People used to walk right into the White House and ask the president to find them a job.

03:25 | May 1st

At the beginning of the television age, “Meet the Press” dented the dominance of newspapers and thrilled news junkies with the power of live broadcasting.

04:28 | Apr 30th

George and his mother had an unusual relationship for the 1700s.

03:41 | Apr 29th

Five brothers fought and died together on the same ship during World War II. Their final resting place was discovered in 2018.

03:34 | Apr 26th

Elaine Brown's takeover in 1974 was a pivotal moment for a woman in the black power movement. Although women had been a dynamic force for social and racial justice, they had often been overshadowed by men.

02:44 | Apr 25th

Mike is joined by a special guest to talk about how Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day began.

04:02 | Apr 24th

We dug through The Washington Post's archives and consulted the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring you a rundown of the best presidential ballers.

04:38 | Apr 23rd

Area 51's secrets may not be alien in nature, but that doesn't make it any less mysterious.

04:45 | Apr 22nd

Walter Cronkite's calm but authoritative voice carried so much weight that in 1968 one single news report helped persuade the American public that we weren't winning the war in Vietnam.

03:52 | Apr 19th

One day a year, the White House grounds are turned over to kids for the Easter Egg Roll.

03:37 | Apr 18th

The town of Chillicothe, Missouri, discovered they have a surprising claim to history: the creation of sliced bread.

02:57 | Apr 17th

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, one of the most iconic moments of that chaotic year unfolded on television screens around the world.

03:45 | Apr 16th

The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.” Here’s why you think they did.

03:36 | Apr 12th

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln was in a financial bind. Also, he was in a war. To raise money, he pushed for and won passage of an income tax and, a year or so later, established the Internal Revenue Bureau to collect what was owed.

05:54 | Apr 12th

Martha Mitchell was the wife of President Nixon's attorney general. Nixon blamed Mitchell for Watergate.

05:54 | Apr 11th

On March 25, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were a few days into their marriage when they invited the press to join them at their honeymoon suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

06:39 | Apr 10th

Growing up in Somalia, a country where stories are handed down through generations, one of the first tales that children are told is about an ancient queen who fought to give women power by castrating men.

06:58 | Apr 9th

It was April of 1934. The multi-state crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde came to an end in an ambush on a winding country road in Louisiana. The man who finally hunted them down was Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a legendary lawman from the Wild West.

05:56 | Apr 5th

Once a party drug, ketamine has found its way into modern medicine.

06:22 | Apr 5th

Over one million people attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival each year. But the cherry blossom trees, and Japanese culture, were not always embraced in the United States.

06:50 | Apr 4th

Disasters don’t just happen. Like anything in life, there’s usually a buildup. In the case of the Chernobyl disaster, the series of failures stretched back more than a decade. But what happened the day before the explosion?

06:21 | Apr 3rd

After the Civil War, formerly enslaved people placed notices in black-owned newspapers across the country to find their loved ones.

04:49 | Apr 2nd

On Christmas Eve in 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts captured an image that symbolizes hope and inspired environmentalism.

05:46 | Apr 1st

He thought being drafted into the National Football League was so unlikely that he signed with an African American league team. Then, the NFL called.

05:26 | Mar 29th

Four years before Amelia Earhart ever got into a plane, Ruth Law was already making a name for herself in the skies.

06:38 | Mar 28th

During the American Civil War, a former slave smuggled secrets from the Confederate President to help the North to victory. Her name was Mary Bowser.

04:16 | Mar 27th

During World War I, British nurse Flora Sandes put down her nurses bag to fight with the Serbian Army.

04:56 | Mar 26th

During World War II, around 80 Russian women took to the skies and risked their lives to fight against the Germans.

07:12 | Mar 25th

On August 6, 1862, a shy young man from Belvidere, Illinois, signed up to fight for the North in the Civil War. His name was Albert Cashier.

05:49 | Mar 22nd

Hiram Rhodes Revels came to the Senate after the Civil War in a shining moment of triumph — a black man taking over the seat once held by Jefferson Davis. It didn’t last.

06:03 | Mar 21st

It is one of the worst expressions of racism in American history. And there’s no federal law to prevent it.

06:05 | Mar 20th

The history of subpoenas, and the fiery congressional hearings that have captivated Americans for centuries began with a Founding Father raising his hand to say, “Investigate me!”

05:01 | Mar 19th

Sexual harassment has been existed in showbiz as long as there have been bright lights.

05:44 | Mar 18th

In the 19th century, publications both reputable and scandalous routinely blackmailed society figures caught in compromising circumstances.

04:06 | Mar 15th

Some 50 million people are projected to fill out a March Madness bracket this year. As you finish filling out yours, you might want to tip your pencil and say thanks to the late and loud Staten Island bar owner Jody Haggerty.

04:19 | Mar 14th

Harper Lee's classic novel has been causing controversy for as long as its been in print. Here's a look at the history of banning "To Kill a Mockingbird."

03:05 | Mar 13th

North Korea has long been a superpower when it comes verbal attacks.

02:46 | Mar 12th

There’s one thing that you can’t have delivered anymore that was totally normal to send by mail in the early 1900s.

03:46 | Mar 11th

Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court, took the constitutional oath of office from Hugo Black, a white associate justice who had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

03:37 | Mar 8th

In 1978, Marilyn Loden gave new meaning to an image women have fought for decades.

04:10 | Mar 7th

Edythe Eyde, also known by her pen name Lisa Ben, was a visionary who fought to make lesbians visible in pop culture decades before most others had the guts to do the same.

03:51 | Mar 6th

The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history wasn’t in California.

04:20 | Mar 5th

President Abraham Lincoln had to worry about the first lady being a leaker, and it was quite a scandal.

03:34 | Mar 4th

If the order for a nuclear attack is issued, the soldiers operating the launch machine have no choice but to fire. Or do they?

02:52 | Mar 1st

In 1926, the United States received a birthday card signed by 5.5 million Polish people.

03:13 | Feb 28th

Buildings that stand as symbols of American democracy - the White House, Mount Vernon and Monticello, to name a few - were erected with the labor of those who were not free.

03:47 | Feb 27th

A dog and a cadaver deserve credit for their contributions to the invention of the telephone.

04:15 | Feb 26th

Jesse James, the most famous outlaw in history, was eventually foiled by a picture hanging crooked on a wall.

03:42 | Feb 25th

President Trump made history when he nominated a woman to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But while a woman leading the CIA was once unthinkable, female spies have made enormous, overlooked contributions in espionage.

05:09 | Feb 22nd

Oscars night is probably the one moment around the world when people become really interested in envelopes.

04:06 | Feb 21st

The history of social media began in 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse sent a message from Washington to Baltimore. It said, "What hath God wrought?"

04:52 | Feb 20th

Sonja Henie won three Olympic gold medals and 10 world championships, and turned her star power into as career as one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars. Meet figure skating's first megastar.

03:47 | Feb 19th

To understand the gruesome history of the death penalty, it is essential to comprehend how badly Thomas Edison wanted to zap George Westinghouse.

03:38 | Feb 18th

Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.

04:09 | Feb 15th

Historians and national security analysts have been re-examining one particular forgotten moment in the history of U.S. and North Korea conflict.

03:50 | Feb 14th

The Kinneys married in Washington, D.C., in 1874. Then, they were arrested back home in Virginia for violating the state’s laws. They fought the ruling in higher and higher courts but never won the right to stay married in their home state.

04:32 | Feb 13th

Dr. Spock - not the guy from Star Trek - was at one time America's most beloved pediatrician. A whole generation of children was raised on his medical advice. But not even his popularity could save him from being indicted by the federal government.

03:03 | Feb 12th

During World War I, the Marines Corps needed help on the home front while men were fighting overseas. Opha May Johnson was the first woman in line.

03:35 | Feb 11th

In 1812, Philadelphia was outfitted with the latest in plumbing technology - a network of wooden pipes to carry water throughout the city.

05:15 | Feb 8th

Back in the 1830s, Jim Crow wasn't yet a symbol of inequality. He was a fictional character in minstrel shows who, to entertain his audiences, performed in blackface.

06:00 | Feb 6th

The president's State of the Union started as a simple report on the condition on the nation; overtime, the address became a moment to rally Congress and the public.

03:28 | Feb 5th

The woman who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress had to fight to be taken seriously — and often failed.

04:58 | Feb 4th

In 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, trusted his gut and averted a global nuclear catastrophe.

06:15 | Feb 1st

A few days before his team took the field as huge underdogs in Super Bowl III, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath made what was seen as an insane prediction at the time: "The Jets will win Sunday," he said. "I guarantee it."

05:44 | Jan 31st

If you work in an office without offices, with just about everyone working in a large spare space full of stylish desks, straight lines and papers stored in a credenza, then you have met Florence Knoll Bassett.

07:03 | Jan 30th

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, John Surratt traveled across three continents, wore disguises and used fake names for nearly two years to escape authorities.

03:34 | Jan 29th

If you’re like most Americans, you probably visit a grocery store once or twice a week. But you probably don’t know that one single grocery item is responsible for the rise of supermarkets as we know them.

04:15 | Jan 28th

Over the past seven decades, the Doomsday Clock has served as a metaphorical measure of humankind’s proximity to global catastrophe. Every year, scientists and nuclear experts set the clock's time after grappling over the state of geopolitical affair...Show More

05:48 | Jan 25th

Pinball was once so vilified that it was banned in cities across the United States.

05:29 | Jan 24th

In the 1950s, Lester Wunderman became the king of direct mail advertising — the ancestor of today’s online targeted ads.

05:59 | Jan 23rd

In the early days of the House, some congresspeople thought hats had no place atop the heads of representatives debating the great issues of the day. Hats, they argued, weren’t dignified.

04:41 | Jan 22nd

When Eugene Cernan walked on the moon, he didn’t know he’d be the last astronaut to make the journey.

06:23 | Jan 21st

The name on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth certificate was not Martin. Nor did the document include the middle name Luther.

06:53 | Jan 18th

When Alexander Hamilton argued in favor of lifetime tenures for Supreme Court justices, he probably didn’t foresee them living past their prime.

06:11 | Jan 17th

More than a century ago, Carry Amelia Nation — hatchet in hand — chopped the country toward temperance.

05:08 | Jan 16th

Once upon a time, people walked between the U.S. and Canada over a frozen Niagara Falls. But one day, that all changed forever.

04:52 | Jan 15th

Adolf Hitler's mother may be the only person he genuinely cared for.

06:44 | Jan 14th

For decades, the boundary between Mexico and the United States was little more than an imaginary line in the sand.

06:47 | Jan 11th

When a steel industry strike threatened military production during the Korean War, and Congress couldn’t come to an agreement, President Truman had a solution — declare a national emergency.

06:32 | Jan 10th

Lego started as a company that made wooden toys, and grew into an empire of plastic building blocks.

05:30 | Jan 9th

It doesn't seem like a big deal today, but 1930s America lived in fear of the male nipple.

06:49 | Jan 8th

John Calhoun’s rodent experiments revolutionized the way we think about social behavior and the impact of growing populations.

05:55 | Jan 7th

Nancy Grace Roman was one of NASA’s first female astronomers and was a key figure in the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

05:03 | Jan 4th

At 112-years-old, Richard Overton was the oldest living World War II veteran.

05:37 | Jan 3rd

Throughout American history, speakers of the House have pounded their gavels so hard in search of order that they wind up smashing the gavel itself into smithereens.

06:33 | Jan 2nd

Dorothy Kenyon was an early leader in the legal fight for women's rights.

06:26 | Jan 1st

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, we look back on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

06:32 | Dec 31st, 2018

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, an episode co-hosted by Madeline Daly, who won our Retropod trivia contest at the 2018 National Book Festival.

07:46 | Dec 28th, 2018

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, our episode marking the date Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, 50 years ago this April.

04:01 | Dec 27th, 2018

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, doughnuts. They aren’t just delicious. They also helped America win a war.

06:39 | Dec 26th, 2018

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, Ida B. Wells, who was an investigative journalist, an anti-lynching activist, a suffragette and a teacher.

06:43 | Dec 25th, 2018

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, the story of Caroll Spinney and his iconic character Big Bird.

06:10 | Dec 24th, 2018

In the 1950s, a child trying to call Santa Claus accidentally called NORAD and changed Christmas Eve forever.

05:47 | Dec 21st, 2018

During the first Christmas of World War I, a miracle took place all along the Europe’s Western Front.

05:48 | Dec 20th, 2018

A new punctuation mark called the interrobang found its way onto some typewriters in the 1960s, but it never caught on.

06:28 | Dec 19th, 2018

In 1875, Ulysses S. Grant hired a special prosecutor to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. Furious with his findings, Grant had him fired.

05:22 | Dec 18th, 2018

Before 1913, the presidential press conference didn’t exist. But a president who liked reporters changed that.

05:42 | Dec 17th, 2018

After being fired from his job for being gay, Frank Kameny took his battle for equality to the nation’s highest court.

06:16 | Dec 14th, 2018

After receiving complaints about carriages driving too fast, Washington D.C. policeman William H. West arrested a presidential speed demon.

04:58 | Dec 13th, 2018

In 1859, the House went to war over Rep. John Sherman’s bid for leadership.

05:45 | Dec 12th, 2018

In Houston, Ray Hill was a colossal character. He even adopted "citizen provocateur" as a formal title.

05:54 | Dec 11th, 2018

Fritz Kuhn was the leader of the pro-Nazi group known as the German American Bund. He was a hero to his audience, and a scourge on the world to most others.

06:15 | Dec 10th, 2018

Weeks before Thanksgiving, 1959, cranberries were declared unsafe to eat. The race was on to save America’s favorite holiday side dish.

06:09 | Dec 7th, 2018

Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus had no idea how big the toy industry would become.

06:17 | Dec 6th, 2018

Augustus Tolton’s miraculous life took him from slavery to the brink of sainthood.

05:59 | Dec 5th, 2018

News traveled so slowly in 1826 that the former president was buried days before his son, sitting president John Quincy Adams, got word of his death.

06:09 | Dec 4th, 2018

Bush, who died last week, is being fondly remembered for his cool demeanor and a boundless sense of humor.

05:12 | Dec 1st, 2018

George H.W. Bush had a lot of humility. So much that he developed a friendship with the comedian who impersonated him on SNL, Dana Carvey.

04:39 | Nov 30th, 2018

White House maid Elizabeth Jaffray not only cleaned up after presidents, she had an amazing insight into their appetites.

04:27 | Nov 29th, 2018

One of the grandest events the president presides over every year is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

02:57 | Nov 28th, 2018

Cats have endured some really mean stuff throughout history. Dogs should be thankful.

04:32 | Nov 27th, 2018

Martin Niemoller's simple and haunting words are often quoted in moments of intolerance. The story behind them is much more complicated.

05:39 | Nov 26th, 2018

Presidents throughout history have visited battlefields to better grasp conditions, reverse public doubt and signal that the country took war efforts seriously.

05:56 | Nov 21st, 2018

Benjamin Franklin, the most colorful of America's Founding Fathers, had a misunderstood, electrical and ultimately homicidal relationship with turkeys.

05:01 | Nov 20th, 2018

In the 1930s, traveling the nation's highways while black was fraught with peril. One postal worker, Victor Green, wrote a guidebook for African Americans after he faced discrimination on a road trip.

06:08 | Nov 19th, 2018

The story of how the anonymous soldier came to rest inside the famous tomb is almost as unknown as his identity.

05:41 | Nov 16th, 2018

Mark Twain first laid eyes on a “newfangled typing machine,” as he called it, sometime in the early 1870s.

06:06 | Nov 15th, 2018

The idea of food stamps was born out of a complicated paradox.

05:27 | Nov 13th, 2018

Julia Grant didn't a have particularly good experience in the world of publishing. In fact, her memoir wasn’t even published in her lifetime.

05:02 | Nov 12th, 2018

Ronneberg started speaking about his experience in history in recent years.

04:55 | Nov 9th, 2018

Along with staggering death tolls, the "Great War" generated memorable literature, geopolitical upheaval, hope, disillusion, the Russian Revolution and the seeds of World War II.

06:25 | Nov 8th, 2018

In 1895, the United States tried to deny an American citizen entry to the country even though he was born on U.S. soil.