Stuff You Missed in History Class


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Join Holly and Tracy as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class in this podcast by HowStuffWorks.com.

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The Kallikaks and the Eugenicists

42:03 | Aug 9th, 2017

The eugenics movement in the U.S. focused on identifying, sequestering and even sterilizing people who were deemed to be 'unfit.'

Sadako Sasaki’s 1000 Cranes, Part 2

32:41 | Feb 28th, 2018

The show's 1000th episode continues the story of Sadako Sasaki and the peace movement that was catalyzed by her death.

Anne Lister

42:06 | Jan 29th, 2018

At a time when many women sought husbands to ensure financial stability, Anne Lister was looking for a wife.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Theodosia Burr Alston

39:34 | Oct 18th, 2017

Aaron Burr's daughter was incredibly smart and very well educated. She also vanished without a trace as an adult.

Léonard Autié: Hair, Grandeur and Revolution, Pt. 1

28:40 | Sep 4th, 2017

Marie Antoinette's hairdresser set the styles of France during King Louis XVI's reign. But when he first arrived in Paris, he had almost nothing.

Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

36:53 | Apr 17th, 2017

Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a journalist. And his poetry career didn't start out particularly well.

Ed Roberts and the Independent Living Movement

33:31 | Jan 30th, 2017

Ed Roberts was a disability rights activist, known as the father of the Independent Living movement.

The Attica Prison Uprising (Part 2)

46:58 | Nov 16th, 2016

The riot at Attica Correctional Facility in September 1971 remains a significant moment in the history of the U.S. prison system.

Life at Attica, 1971 (Part 1)

39:12 | Nov 14th, 2016

In 1971, conditions at Attica were at a point where they were humiliating, dehumanizing and counterproductive to rehabilitation.

Bacon's Rebellion, Part 2

32:01 | Apr 17th

Last time, we talked about the many reasons Virginia colonists were frustrated by the 1670s, including the price of tobacco, taxation, and disparities between the richest colonists and everyone else. But another issue actually sparked the rebellion. ...Show More

Bacon’s Rebellion, Part 1

31:11 | Apr 15th

For a long time Bacon’s Rebellion was primarily interpreted as a precursor to the Revolutionary War, with patriotic colonists rising up against the tyranny of the British colonial government. But there are a lot more moving parts than that. This firs...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Rosalind Franklin, DNA's Dark Lady

27:55 | Apr 13th

We're reaching back to 2011 for an episode from Sarah and Deblina about a woman scientist. The men who are usually credited with discerning DNA's structure won the Nobel Prize in 1962, but they used Rosalind Franklin's research. In 1952, she captured...Show More

Stop-motion Animation History With LAIKA Studios

1:15:29 | Apr 10th

Holly recently got to visit the set of LAIKA's new film "Missing Link," and the production team there agreed to be part of an episode about the history of stop-motion animation. This made for a supersized episode with a regular discussion of the topi...Show More

Baron Franz Nopcsa

31:36 | Apr 8th

Nopcsa lived an adventurous, scholarly life, funded entirely by his family money. He identified dinosaurs, inserted himself into Albanian politics, and wrote volumes and volumes of books and papers. But his life was not entirely charmed.  Learn more ...Show More

SYMHC Classics: The Battle of Hastings

31:13 | Apr 6th

Today we're traveling back to a episode from 2014 about the Battle of Hastings, which is often boiled it down to a sentence: The Normans invaded Britain in 1066, and their victory ended the Anglo-Saxon phase of English history. But of course, that br...Show More

Juliette Gordon Low

40:32 | Apr 3rd

The, founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America had an early life that’s somewhat surprising. But she was deeply interested in helping other from an early age, and when she learned about the scouting movement, she dedicated her life t...Show More

The Tiara of Saitaphernes

33:47 | Apr 1st

Our April Fool’s Day story is the tale of an elaborate hoax. It starts with the Scythians and how their artifacts became highly prized in 19th century Europe, and ends with an artist who came into fame as a result of his part in a forgery.  Learn mor...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Laura Bridgman's Education

27:22 | Mar 30th

Today we're revisiting the 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina on Laura Bridgman, the first deafblind person to be educated -- a feat accomplished by Samuel Gridley Howe in the 1830s. People from around the world came to see her, inclu...Show More

The Life and Disappearance of Ettore Majorana

33:42 | Mar 27th

Had his life had taken a different course, he may have become as widely known as Albert Einstein. In the 1930s, Majorana contributed to the field of quantum mechanics in ways that fundamentally shaped the field. And then he vanished. Learn more about...Show More

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

39:52 | Mar 25th

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was part of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. The 6888th was the only battalion of black women from the U.S. to serve in Europe during World War II. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://n...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Emmy Noether, Mathematics Trailblazer

30:01 | Mar 23rd

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about Emmy Noether pursued a career in mathematics in the early 20th century in Germany, despite many obstacles in her path. She became one of the most respected members of her field, and developed mathematical theory ...Show More

Fanny Brice, Part 2

36:55 | Mar 20th

Comedian Fanny Brice's personal life was often a mess even though her onstage personas were all about laughter. Even as her beloved, Nick Arnstein, was in deep legal trouble, she supported him, started a family, and kept her career going.  Learn more...Show More

Fanny Brice, Part 1

34:23 | Mar 18th

Fanny made a space for herself on stage as a comedian because she felt she could never be pretty enough to be an actress. And her personal life was a complete roller coaster. But she remains the original funny girl, making awkward her brand from the ...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Caroline Herschel, Astronomy's Cinderella

31:36 | Mar 16th

Today we revisit a 2014 episode about Caroline Herschel, who managed to break the barrier of women in scientific fields far earlier than you might suspect, in part because of her association with her brother, and in equal measure due to her steadfast...Show More


37:53 | Mar 13th

Sappho is described as the greatest female poet of ancient Greece. Or, the greatest Greek lyric poet, period. Her reputation as one of the world’s finest poets has persisted for more than 2500 years, but the overwhelming majority of her work has not....Show More

Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention

38:56 | Mar 11th

Dr. Raphael Lemkin is often described as the person who coined the term “genocide.” And he did do that – but was also the driving force behind the existence of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Learn more ...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Evliya Çelebi, World Traveler and Companion to Mankind

28:12 | Mar 9th

Today we revisit a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. Evliya Çelebi grew up in 17th century Istanbul as the "boon companion" of Sultan Murad IV. In his 20s, Evliya had a prophetic dream and spent decades traveling. During his travels...Show More

Transatlantic Cruising Before the Titanic

35:10 | Mar 6th

Ships were of course carrying cargo for centuries before the idea of carrying passengers in any sort of vacation sense existed. But once the Black Ball line decided to prioritize passenger comfort, the development of the cruise industry began.  Learn...Show More

Olga of Kiev

34:30 | Mar 4th

Most of what we know about Olga comes from the Russian Primary Chronicle, also known as the Chronicle of Nestor or the Tale of Bygone Years. Some elements of the story may borrow more from legend than from history – it involves an elaborate, gruesome...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Katie Sandwina, the Glamorous Strongwoman

29:56 | Mar 2nd

We're revisiting a 2015 episode about Katie Sandwina, who wowed crowds from an early age, first as a wrestling act and then exclusively as professional strongwoman. During a time when women's suffrage was a hot button issue, she cultivated an image o...Show More

Alexandre Dumas Père

40:07 | Feb 27th

Alexandre Dumas wrote such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, and both those books’ sequels, eight Marie Antoinette romances, and a BUNCH of other novels and plays. And essays. And travel books. And memoirs. And a diction...Show More

General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas

34:47 | Feb 25th

General Dumas sounds like a character out of one of his son’s books. Because he pretty much was. His life is a series of dramatic and daring adventures, including an impressive rise up through the ranks of the French military.

SYMHC Classics: John Snow and Mary Seacole

36:12 | Feb 23rd

Today's classic is a double feature! First, Katie and Sarah's look at Dr. John Snow's famous "ghost map" in 2009, and then the related work of nurse Mary Seacole in an episode from 2010.

The Rabbit Test

33:15 | Feb 20th

After the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, new methods of pregnancy testing were developed. Some of these involved animal use, but how did the rabbit test work, and when did it get replaced?

A Brief History of Vodka

35:44 | Feb 18th

The story of vodka is one that’s closely tied to cultural identity for several countries, but where did it originate, and how did it evolve over time? We’ll talk a bit about how vodka is made, where it came from, and how it’s expanded to a global mar...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Rose Bertin, the First Fashion Designer

36:36 | Feb 16th

We're revisiting an episode from 2014, where we discuss the legendary wardrobe of Marie-Antoinette. Where did all those glorious clothes come from? In large part, they were the work of Rose Bertin, a milliner who found herself the stylist to the quee...Show More

Paul Julius Reuter

38:52 | Feb 13th

Paul Julius Reuter had a knack for filling in the gaps in communication systems, and make a lot of money doing so. And eventually, he managed to to turn Reuters - which he had named himself after - into the largest international news service in the w...Show More

Mary Winston Jackson, NASA Engineer

36:47 | Feb 11th

Jackson is most well known as the first black woman to become an engineer at NASA. But she also worked to clear the way for other underrepresented people at NASA, in particular black women.

SYMHC Classics: Victoria and Albert

29:15 | Feb 9th

We're looking back at an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. She's one of Britain's best-loved queens, but Victoria's parentage made her an unlikely heir. When she became queen at 18, she rebelled from her upbringing. But an early marriage...Show More

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 2

35:55 | Feb 6th

The second part of our look at Gustave Eiffel's life picks up just after he closed down all business interests in South America, and leads into some of his most famous work, including the Statue of Liberty and the Parisian tower that bears his name. 

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 1

29:00 | Feb 4th

Gustave Eiffel’s expertise in iron work was sought for projects throughout Europe and South America, and he worked on one of the most iconic structures in the U.S. His career is mostly an impressive series of successes, save one colossal scandal.

SYMHC Classics: Leading the Charge - The Massachusetts 54th

29:53 | Feb 2nd

This episode revisits a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. A 1792 law prevented African Americans from taking up arms in the Civil War. As attitudes against blacks serving changed, black regiments were formed. But prejudices remained...Show More

The Perdicaris Incident

34:24 | Jan 30th

The Perdicaris kidnapping happened in Morocco in the early 20th century, but impacted American history significantly. It has been fictionalized in writing and film, but it is plenty dramatic all on its own. 

The Regulator War

41:56 | Jan 28th

This episode was inspired by the TV series "Outlander." The Regulator War, aka the War of the Regulation, aka the Regulator Movement, was a North Carolina event which arose in response to unfair taxes, poor representation and corruption.

SYMHC Classics: The Flannan Isles Disappearance

26:12 | Jan 26th

This 2013 episode delves into a maritime history mystery. The Flannan Islands have been rumored for centuries to be haunted or have some supernatural darkness. In 1900, three men vanished from the lighthouse on Eilean Mor, leaving behind an unfinishe...Show More

Sushruta, Father of Plastic Surgery

28:50 | Jan 23rd

Sushruta’s Compendium is one of the foundational texts of Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine. He’s also known as the father of plastic surgery, and was writing about medicine and surgery at least 200 years before Hippocrates.

Teresa Carreño

30:16 | Jan 21st

Not only was Teresa Carreño the most famous pianist of her day, she is considered to be Venezuela’s first international super star. And her personal life was just as compelling as her public persona. 

SYMHC Classics: Lisztomania

29:44 | Jan 19th

This 2015 episode is all about pianist, composer and conductor Franz Liszt. He was basically the first rock star who drove fans into fits of swooning and screaming. Some fans even stole the detritus of his life (unfinished coffee, broken piano string...Show More

Sojourner Truth, Pt. 2

40:44 | Jan 16th

Last time, we talked about Sojourner Truth's enslavement and how a religious vision after she was free led her to moving to New York City. Today, we’re picking up with another vision, which marked a huge shift in how she lived her life.

Sojourner Truth, Pt. 1

32:57 | Jan 14th

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist in the 19th century. But because a speech most famously associated with Truth is a version rewritten by someone else, she’s commonly imagined as a different person from who she actually ...Show More

SYMHC Classics: The Famous Speech Chief Seattle Never Made

42:03 | Jan 12th

Today we're revising a 2013 episode about the Suquamish chief who is best remembered for a speech he gave upon discovering that Governor Stevens wanted land to build a railroad. However, the speech's origins are nebulous (and in some quotations compl...Show More

A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 2

34:38 | Jan 9th

In the first part of this two-parter, we covered ballet’s origins and early evolution. We left off with the founding of the Academie Royale de Musique, and the ways Jean-Baptiste Lully worked to ensure that his academy had as much prestige as possibl...Show More

A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 1

28:04 | Jan 7th

For a long time, there was no formalized dance in western culture. Eventually, court performers in Europe were asked to also teach their audiences how to dance, blending the worlds of performance and social dancing, and creating a new art form.

SYMHC Classics: Catherine de' Medici and the Scarlet Nuptials

28:25 | Jan 5th

In this classic 2010 episode of the Medici super series, Katie and Sarah follow up on the further adventures of Catherine de'Medici. Listen in and learn how the St. Bartholomew Day's massacre contributed to Catherine's notorious reputation.

Unearthed! in 2018! Part 2

45:17 | Jan 2nd

Wrapping up coverage of things found, discovered and dug up in 2018, this second in our two-part Unearthed! episode includes a little potpourri, edibles and potables, shipwrecks, exhumations and repatriations.  

Unearthed! in 2018! Part 1

42:06 | Dec 31st, 2018

It's time for Unearthed 2018, where we talk about the historical things discovered or dug up in the past year. Part one includes a bunch of research into human migration patterns, mummies, mass graves, and human sacrifices, among other things. 

SYMHC Classics: Catherine de' Medici, Italian Orphan

26:47 | Dec 29th, 2018

Today we're revisiting a 2010 episode from Katie and Sarah about Catherine de' Medici, who remains the most famous female member of the Medici clan. Orphaned at a young age, Catherine survived struggles with childhood illness and eventually became th...Show More

Unearthed: Francisco Franco

39:29 | Dec 26th, 2018

We’re taking a look at Francisco Franco and the Spanish Civil War. We've talked about Spain’s parliament voting to exhume the remains of dictator Francisco Franco and relocate them to a state-funded mausoleum, and we’re giving that entire situation m...Show More

Christmas Triple-Feature: Stille Nacht, St. Nick & Scrooge

40:48 | Dec 24th, 2018

We're taking a look at three creative works that have become staples of the Christmas season. All three of them have played a huge part in how people observe and celebrate Christmas in parts of the world, and they all have milestone birthdays this ye...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Charles Dickens Takes America

27:23 | Dec 22nd, 2018

This episode revisits the story of Charles Dickens on tour, featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. Dickens is best known for chronicling life in London, but he also wrote about the United States - and not in a flattering light. When touring the ...Show More

Buddy Bolden and the Birth of Jazz

34:42 | Dec 19th, 2018

Bolden is often referred to as the first jazz performer, and his playing is legendary. But his life story, cluttered by lack of documentation and misinformation, played out tragically after his ascension to the apex of the New Orleans music scene. 

The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots

37:37 | Dec 17th, 2018

Mary Stuart is one of history’s most memorable figures, with myriad compelling chapters in her life. The Babington Plot was a convoluted bit of intrigue that she’s tied to, and it ultimately led to her execution.

SYMHC Classics: Rival Queens -- Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I

32:37 | Dec 15th, 2018

Today we revisit an episode from 2009 in preparation for a new episode coming this week about the Babington Plot. Although they were cousins, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart had little in the way of familial affection. Previous hosts Katie and Sarah take...Show More

Interview: Hayley Milliman of Museum Hack

35:05 | Dec 12th, 2018

Museum Hack writer Hayley Milliman joins Holly to talk about the company's irreverent approach to getting people excited about history, and discusses the new book "Museum Hack's Guide To History's Fiercest Females."

Six Impossible Episodes: Deja Vu in the U.S. and Canada

41:24 | Dec 10th, 2018

Several times over the past few years, we’ve done an episode on something from U.S. history, and afterward we’ve gotten notes from listeners about the same thing happening in Canada – although this episode starts with one that’s the reverse. 

SYMHC Classics: Les Filles du Roi

28:28 | Dec 8th, 2018

We're revisiting an episode from 2014: the Filles du Roi, or King's Daughters. While the building of a population in a new colony seems like a tricky endeavor, France's King Louis XIV launched a scheme to do just that by shipping eligible ladies to N...Show More

Nell Donnelly Reed

38:16 | Dec 5th, 2018

Nell Donnelly Reed built a successful business starting before women even had the right to vote in the U.S. Her story combines fashion, education, workers’ health and safety, kidnapping, and marital scandal. She is, like any historical figure, compli...Show More

The Rise of the Straw Hat and the Riot of 1922

32:17 | Dec 3rd, 2018

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is a strange piece of history, and it all centered around the boater hat. How did how the boater become so important to men’s fashion in the early 20th century? And how did that lead to a very bizarre conflict in the 1920s?

SYMHC Classics: Philo T. Farnsworth

35:47 | Dec 1st, 2018

Today we're revisiting the life of Phylo T. Farnsworth, often called the "Father of Television." His initial idea for electronic television came to him as a teen. He's also become something of an icon representing the little guy -- he battled big bus...Show More

Auguste Escoffier

33:53 | Nov 28th, 2018

Any chefs in our listening audience undoubtedly know about Auguste Escoffier, but people who haven’t studied cuisine may not realize that this one man revolutionized food preparation and restaurant dining in ways that are still part of almost any mea...Show More

Friedel Klussmann and San Francisco's Cable Cars

38:03 | Nov 26th, 2018

San Francisco’s cable cars are the last working system of their kind. The reason they haven’t been completely replaced by more modern modes of transportation is largely the advocacy of a woman named Friedel Klussmann.

SYMHC Classics: Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

31:16 | Nov 24th, 2018

We're revisiting an episode from 2014 about makeup, which has a rich and lengthy history that spans the globe and crosses cultures. From 10,000 B.C.E. to the 20th century, people have been using cosmetics to enhance their looks -- sometimes with unin...Show More

The Mirabal Sisters

28:58 | Nov 21st, 2018

There were four Mirabal sisters -- Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and Dede. The sisters are national heroes in the Dominican Republic, but they weren’t very well-known elsewhere until 20 or so years ago when they became the subject of the historical ...Show More

SYMHC Live: The USO and Bob Hope

45:44 | Nov 19th, 2018

This show, performed live at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, covers a brief overview of USO history, and then delves into Bob Hope's involvement with the organization, which started in the early 1940s and continued for 50 years. 

SYMHC Classics: Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate

23:42 | Nov 17th, 2018

Today we revisit our 2013 episode on Stede Bonnet, who left his family in 1717 and became a pirate. Despite having no seafaring experience, Bonnet's brief career as a pirate was eventful, including a stint aboard Blackbeard's ship and raids along the...Show More

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

40:53 | Nov 14th, 2018

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. She lived at a time when a lot of change was happening in the United States as a whole, and among Native Americans and the Omaha tribe she was part of specific...Show More

Dwight Frye

35:41 | Nov 12th, 2018

If you don’t know Dwight Frye by name, you’ve probably seen one or two of his performances. He was one of the lesser-known horror actors that helped make the genre Universal’s great success of the 1930s, but he also had a successful Broadway career. 

SYMHC Classics: Encephalitis Lethargica

32:43 | Nov 10th, 2018

Today we're revisiting one of our scariest episodes of all time, from 2013. From 1916 to about 1927, a strange epidemic spread around the world. It caused unusual symptoms, from drastic behavior changes to a deep, prolonged sleep that could last for ...Show More


36:48 | Nov 7th, 2018

Kristallnacht was a massive act of antisemitic violence that was named for the shards of glass left littering the streets in more than a thousand cities and towns in the German Reich. NOTE: This episode is not appropriate for young history buffs. 

Shirley Chisholm

37:17 | Nov 5th, 2018

From her college years, Chisolm was politically active. Her drive and desire to make positive change led her to many political firsts, including being the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

SYMHC Classics: 5 Historical Storms

34:28 | Nov 3rd, 2018

We're traveling back to a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina about catastrophic storms, which are almost historical characters in their own right, leaving indelible marks on the places they affect. Here, we cover five of history's mos...Show More

SYMHC Live: Not Dead Yet - Safety Coffins and Waiting Mortuaries

59:20 | Oct 31st, 2018

For the west coast tour, Holly and Tracy talked about the fear of being buried, which reached a fever pitch in Europe and the U.S. from the 18th to the early 20th century. That fear led to some very interesting inventions as humans tried to ensure th...Show More

Pisadiera & Baba Yaga

34:56 | Oct 29th, 2018

These are two entities with a number of similarities: They’re both women, often described as crones or hags, and there’s no clear origin point for either of them. But they’re very different as well. They come from different parts of the world. One ha...Show More

SYMHC Classics: The Sisters Fox - They Talked to Dead People

27:46 | Oct 27th, 2018

This 2011 episode from Sarah and Deblina features the Fox family, which began hearing strange noises in 1848, and sisters Maggie and Kate started communicating with spirits. They built a career as mediums, and today they're credited with launching th...Show More

The Beheading of Sir Walter Raleigh

42:41 | Oct 24th, 2018

Among other things, Sir Walter Raleigh was a courtier, an explorer, a historian, a Member of Parliament and a soldier. He was part of England’s defense against the Spanish armada, as well the Tudor conquest of Ireland, some of which was truly horrify...Show More

Charles Addam, Part 2

32:19 | Oct 22nd, 2018

After TV producer David Levy adapted the cartoons of Charles Addams into "The Addams Family," Charlie's life changed in a number of ways. As Addams aged, he sort of settled down, but as with everything, he did so in his own unique way. 

SYMHC Classics: He Was Killed by Mesmerism

27:08 | Oct 20th, 2018

We're revisiting a 2010 Halloween episode from Sarah and Katie. Today, Franz Mesmer is hailed as the father of hypnosis. His original pursuit was called mesmerism, but what exactly was it? How did it (supposedly) work?

Charles Addams, Part 1

38:59 | Oct 17th, 2018

Charles Addams was a compelling figure. He visited cemeteries for fun, he raced cars, he collected crossbows. But Addams surprised a lot of people in not being a an elusive proto-goth. He was a dapper, sociable, irreverent delight.

The Sinking of the SS Princess Sophia

36:28 | Oct 15th, 2018

The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia was a massive tragedy for both Canada and the United States. But it was also really overshadowed by the end of World War I and the flu pandemic, so it’s been nicknamed the unknown Titanic of the West Coast.

SYMHC Classics: The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture

33:32 | Oct 13th, 2018

Today we revisit an episode from 2014. Before Charles Worth, the idea of ready made clothes for purchase didn't really exist. Neither did the idea of a design house that showed seasonal collections. This one man's vision invented the fashion industry...Show More

The Allegedly Haunted Island of Poveglia

31:35 | Oct 10th, 2018

This uninhabited Italian island that has come to be called all manner of scary things, including, “plague island,” “island of ghosts,” and “the Venetian island of no return,” among others. What's the real story on Poveglia?

Vernon Lee

37:25 | Oct 8th, 2018

Violet Paget, more often known by her pen name Vernon Lee, was a historian and an art and literary critic, and she wrote on myriad subjects including music, travel, aesthetics, psychology and economics. And she was well known for her ghost stories.

SYMHC Classics: The Trial of Goody Garlick

43:21 | Oct 6th, 2018

We're revisiting a 2013 tale of a witch trial. Decades before the Salem trials, an East Hampton woman was tried for witchcraft. Before Lion Gardiner's daughter died, she accused Goody Garlick of bewitching her. 

Alvin York

35:51 | Oct 3rd, 2018

We’re coming up on the centennial of the act of heroism that earned Alvin York the Medal of Honor. His name is known thanks to the 1941 film “Sergeant York,” but it takes a lot of liberties, and omits what he believed was his greatest accomplishment....Show More

Peg Entwistle, Ghost of Hollywood

39:38 | Oct 1st, 2018

Her story is often told in a sort of sloppy shorthand: She went to Los Angeles to become an actress, failed, and then became desperate. But that isn’t a really accurate picture of Peg Entwistle at all. 

SYMHC Classics: Mary Anning, Princess of Paleontology

23:05 | Sep 29th, 2018

Today we're revisiting an episodefrom Sarah and Deblina about Mary Anning. She started hunting for fossils in Lyme Regis in the early 1800s. Around 1811, she uncovered the complete skeleton of an ichthyosaurus. She made several significant contributi...Show More

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 2

48:56 | Sep 26th, 2018

In part two of this interview, Mindy busts some myths about women and their work in the Walt Disney Studio, and shares some stories of how new techniques were developed by color animators. The topic also turns to the  1941 labor strike at the Walt Di...Show More

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 1

42:31 | Sep 24th, 2018

Mindy Johnson has spent years tracking down the stories of the women who shaped Walt Disney's life, and the success of the Walt Disney Studios. She contextualizes the lives and contributions of these women in the larger historical picture. 

SYMHC Classics: Victoria Woodhull, Little Queen for President

32:01 | Sep 22nd, 2018

Today we revisit a Sarah and Deblina episode from 2011. In 1872, the Equal Rights Party nominated Victoria Woodhull for president, but her radical views and an personal scandal caused her to lose many supporters. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina re...Show More

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science

38:17 | Sep 19th, 2018

Magnus Hirschfeld was a groundbreaking researcher into gender and sexuality in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was dedicated to scientific study with the hope of dispelling stigma around homosexuality. 

SYMHC Live: Anne Royall

49:44 | Sep 17th, 2018

Today we've got our live show from our recent East Coast tour, all about Anne Royall. She was a travel writer and a muckraking journalist way before Theodore Roosevelt coined that term, at a time when there were very few women doing either of those j...Show More

SYMHC Classics: The Radium Girls

26:16 | Sep 15th, 2018

Today we revisit an episode from prior hosts Sarah and Deblina. Between in 1917, hundreds of women got jobs applying radium-treated paint to various products. Many experienced severe health problems. Five former workers decided to sue the U.S. Radium...Show More

Lady Anne Blunt, Part 2

33:00 | Sep 12th, 2018

As Anne matured and her marriage fell apart, she continued to travel between the Arabian desert and England, always working to improve her horse breeding program. Eventually, she and Wilfrid separated, and her final years were devoted entirely to her...Show More

Lady Anne Blunt, Part 1

32:10 | Sep 10th, 2018

Anne was the daughter of Ada Lovelace (and the granddaughter of Lord Byron). While she was born into England’s aristocracy in the 19th century, her work breeding horses is what gives her life historical significance. 

SYMHC Classics: The Oneida Utopia

26:50 | Sep 8th, 2018

Today's episode revisits preacher John Humphrey Noyes founding the Oneida community in 1848. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the rise and fall of the Oneida community -- including its focus on shared labor, gender equality and free love.

Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies

31:04 | Sep 5th, 2018

Christine de Pizan is often described as a late-Medieval writer. But just “writer” does not really sum up everything she did. She wrote  verse, military manuals, and treatises on war, peace and the just governance of a nation. She was the official bi...Show More

Interview: Anne Byrn's 'American Cookie'

45:23 | Sep 3rd, 2018

We're delighted to have Anne Byrn back on the show to talk about her latest book, "American Cookie." Anne shares her vast knowledge of historical baking and how it fits into the cultural history of the U.S. in the form of small, portable treats. 

SYMHC Classics: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 2

26:09 | Sep 1st, 2018

We're revisiting part two of the Great Moon Hoax! As the New York Sun's series of astonishing moon discoveries concluded, most people recognized that it was a hoax. But what made people buy into the tall tale in the first place?

A Condensed History of Air Conditioning

36:43 | Aug 29th, 2018

From hand fans to today’s high-end air conditioning technology, people have always found ways to deal with heat and humidity. And as mechanical cooling became more ubiquitous, some of the cultural practices for keeping cool were made obsolete. 

The Georgia Gold Rush

25:36 | Aug 27th, 2018

In the late 1820s, north Georgia became the site of the first gold rush in the United States, predating the more famous California gold rush by two decades. It's also tied to some of the darkest parts of U.S. history regarding the treatment of Native...Show More

SYMHC Classics: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 1

27:39 | Aug 25th, 2018

We're revisiting a silly two-parter from 2015. In August 1835, the New York Sun ran a series about some utterly mind-blowing discoveries made by Sir John Herschel about the lunar surface. The serial had everything: moon poppies, goat-like unicorns, l...Show More

The Battle of Ambos Nogales

35:31 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Two cities, both named Nogales, were established, one on each side of the U.S.-Mexico border, after the Gadsden Purchase but before Arizona’s statehood. In the summer of 1918, ongoing tension led to a battle at the border between the two.

Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal on the 'Lady Astronaut' Duology

48:41 | Aug 20th, 2018

Mary Robinette Kowal’s work has inspired several episodes of the podcast. She has just written a pair of books that are called the Lady Astronaut duology, and Tracy got the chance to speak with Mary about her work and its historical settings.  

SYMHC Classics: Bessie Coleman, Daredevil Aviatrix

29:18 | Aug 18th, 2018

Today revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina about Bessie Coleman, who dreamed of becoming a pilot. Because she was a black woman, no American flight schools would admit her. Despite the obstacles, Bessie managed to become the first African-Ameri...Show More

Lucretia Mott

36:01 | Aug 15th, 2018

This is the studio version of our live show from this years Seneca Falls Convention Days at Women's Rights National Historical Park. Lucretia Mott was small of stature, but made a huge impact as an abolition and women's rights activist, guided by her...Show More

Zoot Suit Riots

37:39 | Aug 13th, 2018

The word “riot” here is really a misnomer. This conflict wasn’t so much about property damage as it was about attacking people. It also wasn’t really about the zoot suits – although they had come to symbolize A LOT in Los Angeles when this happened. 

SYMHC: Hedy Lamarr and Wireless Technology

23:03 | Aug 11th, 2018

Today's classic revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina. Hedy Lamarr was an extraordinarily beautiful film star, but she wasn't just another pretty face. In this podcast, Sarah and Deblina recount Hedy's biography and her little-known career as an...Show More

Levi Strauss

46:45 | Aug 8th, 2018

Levi’s story is historically interesting because it touches on a lot of important moments in U.S. history. His business was tied to the California Gold Rush, the U.S. Civil War and American clothing culture.

Battle of Amiens

29:24 | Aug 6th, 2018

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens, near the end of World War I. Amiens was the start of what came to be known as the 100 Days Offensive, which was the Allies’ final push to win the war. 

SYMHC Classics: 5 Historical Hoaxes

32:26 | Aug 4th, 2018

Today's episode revisits a Sarah and Deblina episode about historical hoaxes. For example, a N.Y. cigar maker once commissioned a gypsum skeleton to pass off as a 10-foot-tall petrified man called the Cardiff Giant. Join Deblina and Sarah as they exp...Show More

John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams Abroad

44:13 | Aug 1st, 2018

John Quincy Adams probably comes to mind as the son of second U.S. President John Adams, and the 6th president of the U.S. But he and his wife, Louisa Catharine Johnson Adams worked in the realm of international diplomacy for years before his preside...Show More

Unearthed! in July, 2018, Part 2

35:43 | Jul 30th, 2018

Continuing the 2018 mid-year edition of unearthed goodies, this episode will cover shipwrecks, exhumations, repatriations, and edibles and potables. 

SYMHC Classics: The Johnstown Flood

22:15 | Jul 28th, 2018

Today's show revisits a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. On May 31, 1889, the South Fork dam gave way, sending 20 million tons of water rushing toward Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The water swept up everything in its path, and it only ...Show More

Unearthed! in July, 2018, Part 1

37:54 | Jul 25th, 2018

The July edition of Unearthed! is a two-parter this year. We’re breaking with tradition and starting with a few things that happened at the very end of 2017 but missed the cutoff for our 2017 episodes. We’ve also got some finds that institutions unea...Show More

Author Jason Porath: Tough Mothers

59:29 | Jul 23rd, 2018

Jason is back to talk about his follow-up to his book "Rejected Princesses." This one is called "Tough Mothers" and it's all about feisty, smart and surprising nurturers.

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Bell, The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq, Part 2

25:42 | Jul 21st, 2018

The second installment of this Sarah and Deblina classic two-parter follows Gertrude Bell on her adventures after World War I begins. The British army asked her to help them retain their influence in the Middle East. But how did she get from there to...Show More

Dred Scott vs. Sandford part 2

31:30 | Jul 18th, 2018

When Dred Scott v. Sandford was decided in 1857, the court decision ruled that enslaved Africans and their descendants weren’t and could never be citizens of the United States, whether they were free or not. But before that, Scott and his family had ...Show More

Dred Scott vs. Sandford part 1

33:15 | Jul 16th, 2018

Dred Scott v. Sandford is one of the most notorious Supreme Court cases of all time. It wasn’t just about Dred Scott. It was also about his wife Harriet and their daughters Eliza and Lizzy. This episode covers Dred and Harriet, how they met, and what...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Bell, The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq

22:11 | Jul 14th, 2018

This classic revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina, talking about Gertrude Bell, the first woman to graduate with a First in Modern History from Oxford. Instead of marrying young, she went to Persia. Inspired, she traveled across the Middle East...Show More

Libertalia: Legendary Pirate Utopia

37:10 | Jul 11th, 2018

Libertalia, which, in truth, may be completely fictional, is called a pirate settlement, though the man who spearheaded it claimed he wasn't actually a pirate. And it was set up as a sort of utopia, where men governed themselves, and every man was eq...Show More

Annie Edson Taylor, Niagara Daredevil

34:56 | Jul 9th, 2018

Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor’s whole barrel trip was part of a much bigger story of daredevils at this natural wonder, which is tied to its industrialization and commercialization.

SYMHC Classics: How the New York Draft Riots Worked

27:50 | Jul 7th, 2018

We're revisiting an episode from 2011 featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. To recruit troops for the U.S. Civil War, the Federal Congress passed the Union Conscription Act in 1863, which drafted able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45. N...Show More

Emma Lazarus

32:27 | Jul 4th, 2018

Emma Lazarus became one of the United States’ first successful Jewish American writers, moving in the New York literary scene of the late 1800s. She also wrote one of the most famous poems of ALL TIME, and even if you don’t know her name, odds are yo...Show More

Victorian Orchidelirium

32:58 | Jul 2nd, 2018

Orchids date back millions of years. But in the 1800s, the plants became a status symbol and the cornerstone of a high-dollar industry. Collecting the plants involved adventure and excitement -- and a high death rate. 

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Virginia Apgar

32:25 | Jun 30th, 2018

This episode revisits the life of Dr. Virginia Apgar, who broke new ground in the fields of obstetrics and anesthesiology in the middle of the 20th century. When babies are born today, one of the tools doctors use to measure whether they're thriving ...Show More

Great Train Wreck of 1918

32:04 | Jun 27th, 2018

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of one of the worst train wrecks in United States history. More than 100 people died. And even though it’s usually noted as the worst train wreck in American history, it was kind of a run-of-the-mill accident ...Show More

Elizabeth Jennings Graham

32:32 | Jun 25th, 2018

Today’s topic is a person who is sometimes called a 19th-century Rosa Parks. When Elizabeth boarded a horse-drawn streetcar in Manhattan in 1854, a chain of events began which became an important moment in the civil rights of New York's black citizen...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Mansa Musa and the City of Gold

25:32 | Jun 23rd, 2018

Today's episode revisits a Sarah and Deblina episode that revisits a tale of incredible wealth. When emperor Mansa Musa went on a pilgramage from Timbuktu to Mecca, he gave away so much gold that he crashed the gold market in Cairo.

Six Impossible Episodes: Evacuating Children

42:16 | Jun 20th, 2018

All six of today’s topics are mass evacuations of children and youth because of a war or other unrest, and include Kindertransport, Operation Pedro Pan, and Operation Babylift. 

The Tunguska Event

30:24 | Jun 18th, 2018

On June 30, 1908 at approximately 7:15am, the sky over Siberia lit up with what was described by witnesses as a massive fireball, or the sky engulfed in fire. For the last century, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly what happened. 

SYMHC Classics: Alan Turing, Codebreaker

23:18 | Jun 16th, 2018

This is a revisit of a Sarah and Deblina episode on Alan Turing, who conceived of computers decades before anyone was building one. He also acted as a top-secret code breaker during World War II. Despite his accomplishments, he was prosecuted as a ho...Show More

Hurricane San Ciriaco

35:32 | Jun 13th, 2018

Hurricane San Ciriaco struck Puerto Rico at a precarious point in its history. The United States had just taken possession of the island, and the 40 or so years leading up to the Spanish-American War had also been particularly tumultuous. 

Julian Eltinge, Greatest of All Impersonators of Women

40:52 | Jun 11th, 2018

Eltinge was one of the highest-paid and most famous actors of the early 20th century, and acted alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino. What made him famous was his skill at female impersonation.

SYMHC Classics: The Mystic Margery Kempe

46:17 | Jun 9th, 2018

We're traveling back to a 2013 episode about Margery Kempe. Born in the 1300s, Margery had 14 children with her husband before dedicating her life to God. In her 40s, she began a vision-inspired pilgrimage to visit holy sites, and these travels becam...Show More

The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

38:52 | Jun 6th, 2018

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. She was luminous on camera and an excellent singer, with a personality much larger than her small stat...Show More

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

39:56 | Jun 4th, 2018

Ida B. Wells-Barnett connects to a lot of episodes in our archive. She fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn’t common at all for a woman, especially a woman of color, to become such a prominent journalist and a speaker.

SYMHC Classics: We All Scream for Ice Cream

32:38 | Jun 2nd, 2018

We're revisiting a yummy topic from 2013! There is actually some disagreement about the actual origin point of ice cream, but almost everyone agrees it's delicious. The real origin story is a culmination of many cultures and ingredients coming togeth...Show More

Winsor McCay, Part 2

34:28 | May 30th, 2018

Even as his career in comics was at its zenith, Winsor McCay continued to explore other business ventures for his art. He added vaudeville performances to his busy schedule, and then became an animation pioneer. 

Winsor McCay, Part 1

35:57 | May 28th, 2018

McCay is credited as a pioneer in early animation. But before he made drawings come to life, he worked as a billboard artist, an artist-journalist, and then a comics creator for newspapers. 

SYMHC Classics: Five Historical Robots

25:18 | May 26th, 2018

Today we revisit an episode on the technology of yesteryear. Long before Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the term "robot" in his 1920 play "R.U.R.," mechanized creations - automata - were being created without electronics or computers. Many were ...Show More

James Whale

37:11 | May 23rd, 2018

James Whale created iconic films in the early half of the 20th century. He's one of the main reasons that Universal Pictures became synonymous with the horror genre. But his interests as a creator were far wider than creating gothic spook stories.

The Defenestrations of Prague

36:55 | May 21st, 2018

“Defenestrate” just means “to throw out of a window.” And apart from sounding like the punch line to a joke about Daleks … there has been a surprising amount of defenestration in Czech history. And almost all of it has been connected religious wars.

SYMHC Classics: From Brontë to Bell and Back Again

32:24 | May 19th, 2018

We're revisiting another episode from Sarah and Deblina., in which they talk about how the Brontë sisters quickly rose from obscurity to notoriety after their three novels were published under the Bell pseudonym. 

Frank Lenz, the Cyclist Who Vanished

35:21 | May 16th, 2018

In the 1890s, Frank Lenz started a bicycle tour around the world. He never finished, and his ultimate fate remains uncertain, though there are pretty solid clues indicating how he met his end. 

Nisei in World War II: The MIS, 100th and 442nd

39:29 | May 14th, 2018

The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were segregated units for soldiers of Japanese descent that were created during WWII. The story of these units is closely intertwined with the Military Intelligence Service as well. 

SYMHC Classics: Growing Up Brontë

31:23 | May 12th, 2018

This classic revisits the Brontë sisters. They're considered some of the best writers of the 19th century but their past may surprise you. Join Sarah and Deblina as they discuss the sisters' childhood tragedies, unconventional educations and their im...Show More

Henry Every, Successful Pyrate

39:12 | May 9th, 2018

Every carried out what’s been described as the most profitable and brutal pirate raid in history. It became a massive international incident, and Britain tried to repair its relationship with the Mughal Empire through a highly publicized series of tr...Show More

Lotte Reiniger's Shadow Animation

33:16 | May 7th, 2018

Lotte was interested in silhouettes and paper cutting from the time she was a child. And she developed that interest into animation, and created the first feature-length animated film in the 1920s.

SYMHC Classics: Jimmy Winkfield, Derby Pioneer

17:57 | May 5th, 2018

Today's episode revisits the story of Jimmy Winkfield, who won the Kentucky Derby twice. When this podcast was published originally, he was the last African-American jockey to win the race. Winkfield moved abroad in 1904 to continue his career, but i...Show More

The Bisbee Deportation

40:06 | May 2nd, 2018

The 1917 Bisbee Deportation has elements of a labor strike, a wartime hysteria, a vigilante mob, and a mass propaganda effort, all rolled into one. It took place in Bisbee, Arizona, southeast of Tucson and close to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Mohenjo Daro

30:59 | Apr 30th, 2018

Mohenjo Daro is in the Indus river valley in present-day southern Pakistan. This ancient city has a unique identity in that we don’t know a lot about the people who lived there; most of the ideas of the cultural identity come from analysis of its rui...Show More

SYMHC Classics: Ambrose Bierce

31:10 | Apr 28th, 2018

Ambrose Bierce was a soldier, a journalist, an editor, a satirist and a philosopher. He was a complicated man with an unwavering moral code and a life of experiences both fantastic and horrific, which informed his writing. 

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 2

40:56 | Apr 25th, 2018

Scott eventually managed to break into NASCAR racing, becoming the first black driver to do so. His career was a constant struggle, as he paid his own way and often had to be his own pit crew while competing against sponsored drivers. 

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 1

30:51 | Apr 23rd, 2018

Wendell Scott was a black driver from the early days of NASCAR. After driving a taxi, working as a mechanic, and hauling moonshine, he started racing in the Dixie Circuit and other non-NASCAR races in Virginia.

The First Celebrity Chef: Marie-Antoine Carême

33:10 | Apr 18th, 2018

Today, there is an entire industry around celebrity chefs. But the first celebrity chef in the western world's history was born in late 18th-century France.

The Ancient City of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

29:32 | Apr 16th, 2018

The city of Ephesus fell under many different rulers throughout its history, as wars and shifting politics changed Asia Minor. For centuries, it endured, became a successful trade port, and was home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. 

SYMHC Classics: Here, Kitty Kitty, the Domestication of the Cat

24:36 | Apr 14th, 2018

Today, we're going back to  an episode about kitties in history! The human culture shift to an agricultural lifestyle started the domestication of animals. Cats naturally moved in to help with rodents. 

Elbridge Gerry’s Monstrous Salamander

34:17 | Apr 11th, 2018

Elbridge Gerry signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. Gerrymandering is the drawing of political districts to give a particular party or group an advantage or disadvantage, and it's named after him.

The Life and Magic of Henry 'Box' Brown

32:30 | Apr 9th, 2018

Brown was born into slavery and escaped in an astonishing way. His story of gaining his freedom was so sensational that he basically spent the rest of his life making a living talking about it in one form or another.

SYMHC Classics: Nellie Bly & Stunt Journalism

25:53 | Apr 7th, 2018

Today we're revisiting an episode from Sarah and Katie. Born in 1864, Nellie Bly wasn't your average journalist. She feigned insanity to gain entry into a mental institution. Join Sarah and Katie as they take a closer look at the life of Nellie Bly, ...Show More

Cajamarca and the End of the Inka Empire

37:25 | Apr 5th, 2018

The Battle of Cajamarca, also known as the Massacre of Cajamarca, ultimately led to the end of the Inka Empire. But it might have gone much differently had the Inka not just been through a massive epidemic and a civil war. 

The East India Company's Theft of China’s Tea Secrets

33:27 | Apr 2nd, 2018

Great Britain's relationship with tea is part of its cultural identity. But before the mid-1800s, China was the only source of tea, which was a problem in the eyes of the East India Company. 

SYMHC Classics: April Calahan on France's Fashionable Resistance

38:55 | Mar 31st, 2018

Today we're revisiting a talk with fashion historian April Calahan about the surprising ways that women of France protested German occupation during WWII.

The Highland Clearances

40:45 | Mar 28th, 2018

The Highland Clearances were a long, complicated, messy series of evictions in the Highlands and western Islands of Scotland, when tenant farmers were forced from their homes to make way for sheep pastures.

Andrew Carnegie

43:43 | Mar 26th, 2018

Carnegie was a child of poverty who became one of the richest men on Earth. But his life, while largely charmed, had a massive scar of bad judgment on it. He also decided that the most important thing he could do with his money was to give it away.

SYMHC Classics: Marian Anderson

34:04 | Mar 24th, 2018

Today's show revisits the topic of acclaimed contralto Marian Anderson, who was barred from singing at Constitution Hall in 1939 because of her race.

Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing

39:30 | Mar 21st, 2018

Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century.

Constance Markievicz

39:44 | Mar 19th, 2018

Born to a wealthy Protestant family, Constance Markievicz made a somewhat surprising transition to become a leader in the Irish Nationalist movement.

SYMHC Classics: The Easter Rising of 1916

28:38 | Mar 17th, 2018

Today's show revisits one of the most pivotal events in modern Irish history, a precursor to a number of other events that have happened since then.

The Daring Imposter Cassie Chadwick

33:27 | Mar 14th, 2018

Cassie Chadwick committed fraud on a massive level, and convinced banks that she was the illegitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie.

The Minuscule Science of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek

29:12 | Mar 12th, 2018

Leeuwenhoek is credited with discovering microscopic life in a variety of forms, using lenses he ground himself.

SYMHC Classics: The Luddites

28:58 | Mar 10th, 2018

This classic revisits the Luddite uprising -- protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories.

Giorgio Vasari

34:16 | Mar 7th, 2018

Vasari was an artist and architect in 16th-century Italy. But what really made him famous was his writing.

Phillis Wheatley

38:42 | Mar 5th, 2018

Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century.

SYMHC Classics: The Red Ghost of Arizona and the U.S. Camel Corps

29:48 | Mar 3rd, 2018

We're revisiting the story of a a mysterious beast that trampled a woman in Arizona in 1883. The creature turned out to be a camel.

Sadako Sasaki’s 1000 Cranes, Part 1

35:55 | Feb 26th, 2018

Sadako Sasaki developed A-bomb disease as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima, and the origami crane became a symbol of her story.

SYMHC Classics: Who was the real Lone Ranger?

26:30 | Feb 24th, 2018

The Lone Ranger has traditionally been portrayed by white actors, but many believe this character is based on a former slave named Bass Reeves.

The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

32:49 | Feb 21st, 2018

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Hawaii's Legend of the Menehune

33:03 | Feb 19th, 2018

The story of the Menehune is one that's been handed down through oral history for generations. What are the real-world roots of this mythology?

SYMHC Classics: Villisca Ax Murders

41:27 | Feb 17th, 2018

In 1912, a small Iowa town was the scene of a chilling and brutal crime.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

38:33 | Feb 14th, 2018

Stein is an icon of modernist literature. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but that short changes her story.

Pauline Sabin

30:01 | Feb 12th, 2018

A woman named Pauline Sabin is often credited as being one of the major activists behind Prohibition’s repeal.

SYMHC Classics: Abelard and Heloise

29:56 | Feb 10th, 2018

This episode revisits the tragic love story of poet, philosopher and theologian Abelard, and his student Heloise.

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

37:09 | Feb 7th, 2018

A sanitation strike that lasted for nine weeks brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated.

Aspasia and Pericles

28:56 | Feb 5th, 2018

This is often held up as one of history’s great love stories, but their high-profile relationship was central to a key period in Greek history.

SYMHC Classics: Double Agent James Armistead and the American Revolution

23:43 | Feb 3rd, 2018

Armistead was a slave in Virginia, but got his master's approval to enlist when the Revolutionary War came. Armistead worked as a spy.

Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton

36:42 | Jan 31st, 2018

Mary-Russel Ferrell Colton was a painter, author and educator. But she's most famous for co-founding of the Museum of Northern Arizona.

SYMHC Classics: Who was Emanuel Swedenborg?

23:03 | Jan 27th, 2018

Today's classic revisits philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, who found himself struggling with his faith as he searched for evidence of the human soul.

The Donation of Constantine

31:46 | Jan 24th, 2018

For centuries, a forged document granted a large amount of Roman Empire land and power to Pope Sylvester I and his successors.

Rufus Wilmot Griswold

35:09 | Jan 22nd, 2018

Griswold is most commonly known as Edgar Allan Poe's rival, and for creating negative characterizations of Poe that have endured more than a century.

SYMHC Classics: How Lord Byron Worked

34:48 | Jan 20th, 2018

Coming up on January 22, 2018 is the 230th birthday of Lord Byron. Who was he, and why is he associated with so many historical figures?

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 2

45:20 | Jan 17th, 2018

In 1898, a mob of armed white men enacted a violent plan against Wilmington, North Carolina’s black community and elected government.

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 1

34:39 | Jan 15th, 2018

Open racism and hotly contested elections led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in late 19th-century Wilmington, North Carolina.

SYMHC Classics: The Phoenician Alphabet

20:04 | Jan 13th, 2018

This classic episode revisits the Phoenicians, most known for developing the alphabet that many modern alphabets are descended from.

Author Interview: Kathryn Lougheed on Tuberculosis

31:45 | Jan 10th, 2018

Microbiologist and author Kathryn Lougheed joins Holly for a discussion of the long history of tuberculosis and its place in the modern age.

Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service

35:43 | Jan 8th, 2018

Mary Breckinridge advanced the medical field and found new ways to treat underserved communities, but there are problematic elements to her story.

SYMHC Classics: The Explosive Career of Antoine Lavoisier

25:49 | Jan 6th, 2018

Lavoisier was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But he's most often referred to as the father of modern chemistry.

Unearthed! in 2017, Part 2

44:08 | Jan 3rd, 2018

This wrap up of 2017's historical discoveries and updates includes exhumations, repatriations, and a lot of prehistory.

Unearthed! in 2017, Part 1

37:50 | Jan 1st, 2018

In our annual recap, we walk through what's been literally and figuratively unearthed in 2017.

SYMHC Classics: Sophie Blanchard and Balloonomania

25:50 | Dec 30th, 2017

Today's classic episode revisits Sophie Blanchard a trailblazer who became famous in the early 1800s as the first woman to become a career balloonist.

Unearthed!: The USS Indianapolis

36:15 | Dec 27th, 2017

Today, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is known for its crew’s wait for rescue after being torpedoed. But the ship’s history goes back much farther than that.

NORAD Tracking Santa: A Cold War History

38:12 | Dec 25th, 2017

The story that circulates about how NORAD started tracking Santa is pretty heart-warming, but doesn’t completely hold up.

SYMHC Classics: The Christmas Truce

30:06 | Dec 23rd, 2017

During the first Christmas of World War I, British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and celebrated the holiday together.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 2

35:50 | Dec 20th, 2017

The exploits of the Special Operations Executive are the stuff of legend.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 1

30:10 | Dec 18th, 2017

After the Germans invaded France in 1940, an idea sprouted in the highest levels of Great Britain's leadership, and the SOE was born.

SYMHC Classics: Deaf President Now

31:04 | Dec 16th, 2017

A revisit to an episode on fairly recent history, the 1988 protests at Gallaudet University sparked by the appointment of a hearing president.

The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

34:35 | Dec 13th, 2017

Tasty treats associated with winter holidays have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their histories was eaten.

Three Astonishing Belles

40:24 | Dec 11th, 2017

This episode features three unique women, all of whom are notable in their own way, and all of whom had the name Belle.

SYMHC Classics: Rabbit-proof Fence

35:33 | Dec 9th, 2017

Today, we're revisiting an episode about the results of English settlers bringing animals and plants to Australia, including rabbits.

Skellig Michael

33:26 | Dec 6th, 2017

This small island off the west coast of Ireland recently became a film star, but Skellig Michael has a rich history all its own.

Six Impossible Episodes by Request

38:33 | Dec 4th, 2017

This installation of Six Impossible Episodes is a bit of a hodge podge, with several oft-requested topics.

SYMHC Classics: The Halifax Explosion

29:27 | Dec 2nd, 2017

Today, we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts: the Halifax explosion, which was one of history's worst man-made, non-nuclear explosions.

The Lumière Brothers, Part 2

31:03 | Nov 29th, 2017

Despite the huge impact the Lumières made with their multi-function motion picture camera, they didn't stay in the movie business.

The Lumière Brothers, Part 1

32:56 | Nov 27th, 2017

The Lumières are often associated with early film technology, but that wasn't the only area where they innovated.

SYMHC Classics: Sei Shonagon and the Heian Court

31:36 | Nov 25th, 2017

We're revisiting a bit of Japanese history. Thanks to the pillow book of Sei Shonagon, we have a first-person account of court life in Heian Japan

The Aberfan Disaster

38:36 | Nov 22nd, 2017

In 1966, a mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales, killed 144 people. It was a completely preventable tragedy and 116 of the victims were children.

The War Between Great Britain and the Zulu Kingdom

33:17 | Nov 20th, 2017

Great Britain’s efforts to control southern Africa eventually led to war with the Zulu Kingdom.

SYMHC Classics: Edward Jenner, Father of Vaccines

39:01 | Nov 18th, 2017

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about early strides in treating smallpox, which has been around longer than recorded history.

Fort Shaw Indian School: Basketball Champions (pt. 2)

36:46 | Nov 15th, 2017

In 1904, the Fort Shaw Indian School women’s basketball team spent four months playing and performing at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Basketball Comes to Fort Shaw Indian School (pt. 1)

39:30 | Nov 13th, 2017

The Fort Shaw Indian School was part of a boarding school system designed to make Native American students conform to white culture.

SYMHC Classics: Frances Glessner Lee and Tiny Forensics

32:54 | Nov 11th, 2017

Many forensic investigation standards of today have roots in the work of a Chicago heiress who was more interested in crime scenes than high society.

Suffragists’ Night of Terror at the Occoquan Workhouse

38:39 | Nov 8th, 2017

In November 1917, guards at the Occoquan Workhouse assaulted and terrorized 33 women from the National Woman’s Party.

The Murder of William Desmond Taylor

48:43 | Nov 6th, 2017

Even in its youth, Hollywood's rapidly growing film industry had a reputation for debauchery. A high-profile director's murder added to that image.

SYMHC Classics: The White Rose and Nazi Germany

21:04 | Nov 4th, 2017

During World War II, the Nazi party did not tolerate dissent, but some Germans did attempt to resist Hitler's government.

3 Reformation Women: Katharina, Marguerite & Jeanne

40:05 | Nov 1st, 2017

Katharina von Bora, Marguerite d’Angoulême and Jeanne d’Albret all left their mark on the Reformation, but all in different ways.

Carl Tanzler's Corpse Bride

39:34 | Oct 30th, 2017

Carl Tanzler loved a woman, and his love for her continued long after her death. But whether she loved him back is a matter of dispute.

SYMHC Classics: New England Vampire Panic

41:23 | Oct 28th, 2017

Starting in the late 1700s, small rural communities in New England were sometimes stricken with fear that the dead were feeding off the living.

Edward Gorey

38:57 | Oct 25th, 2017

Based just on his art, you might imagine Edward Gorey as a dour Englishman whose childhood was marked with a series of tragic deaths.

Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery

42:31 | Oct 23rd, 2017

In the 1870s in Amherst, Nova Scotia, strange things began happening around Esther Cox after a traumatic event.

SYMHC Classics: A Conspiracy Starring Aaron Burr

19:26 | Oct 21st, 2017

We're revisiting an episode from previous hosts! In March of 1805, Burr left the political sphere and moved west, but his story doesn't end there.

SYMHC Live at NYCC: Rodolphe Töpffer and the First Comic Book

46:38 | Oct 16th, 2017

Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher inadvertently invented the first sequential art comics in the Western world.

SYMHC Classics: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 2

35:40 | Oct 14th, 2017

We're revisiting the second installment in the story of the Haunted Mansion.

The Green Children of Woolpit

37:59 | Oct 11th, 2017

In the 12th century, two children, green in color, appeared in Suffolk, England.

SYMHC Live at SLCC: Lon Chaney, Man of a Thousand Faces

39:08 | Oct 9th, 2017

Not only was he a star as an actor, he was famed for his use of makeup, completely transforming himself for each role.

SYMHC Classics: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 1

29:33 | Oct 7th, 2017

This classic episode dives into one of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion.

U.S.S. Akron

32:28 | Oct 4th, 2017

The loss of the U.S.S. Akron was the biggest single tragedy in aviation history at the time that it happened.

The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints

34:59 | Oct 2nd, 2017

In February 1855, mysterious prints that looked like hoof marks appeared all over the English seaside county of Devon.

SYMHC Classics: The Life of Johnny Appleseed

40:05 | Sep 30th, 2017

The image of Johnny Appleseed walking around in rags, barefooted with a bindle, planting apple trees and moving on is actually pretty accurate.

Hernandez v. Texas

42:34 | Sep 27th, 2017

Civil rights case Hernandez v. Texas was the first case to be argued before the Supreme Court by Mexican American attorneys.

The Crash at Crush and Other Train Wreck Spectacles

34:38 | Sep 25th, 2017

For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States were watching train wrecks for fun.

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Livingstone, I Presume

31:01 | Sep 23rd, 2017

In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the adventures of Livingstone and Henry Stanley, the journalist who found Livingstone in Africa.

Emin Pasha, I Presume? (Part 2)

35:40 | Sep 20th, 2017

When we left off in part one, Emin Pasha had become governor of Equatoria in what's now South Sudan. But things took a dramatic turn in the 1880s.

Emin Pasha, né Eduard Schnitzer (Part 1)

37:28 | Sep 18th, 2017

Emin Pasha's story connects to so many other historical things, particularly in the context of both the Ottoman Empire and African history.

SYMHC Classics: Voynich Manuscript Update

30:33 | Sep 16th, 2017

New theories have emerged that make it the right time to once again go back to an old favorite, the Voynich Manuscript.

Marchesa Luisa Casati

40:29 | Sep 13th, 2017

While many have admired heiress Casati over the years for her life led entirely based on her aesthetics, she was also entirely self-serving.

Five First Flights

41:28 | Sep 11th, 2017

When people say the Wrights were first to fly, they're talking about a very particular set of circumstances. There are other contenders to the title.

SYMHC Classics: Albert J. Tirrell, the First Sleepwalking Killer

30:29 | Sep 9th, 2017

We're revisiting the murder of Mary Ann Bickford on Oct. 27, 1845. Albert J. Tirrell was charged with murder, and his defense was somnambulism.

Léonard Autié: Hair, Grandeur and Revolution, Pt. 2

31:12 | Sep 6th, 2017

As Louis XVI's time as king grew less stable, Léonard stepped away from the royal family and into his own business ventures.

SYMHC Classics: Emu War of 1932

28:09 | Sep 2nd, 2017

We're revisiting the story of large numbers of emus making their way through Australia, severely damaging wheat farms.

The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

36:26 | Aug 30th, 2017

The story of the H.L. Hunley really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The Motherhood of Mamie Till-Mobley

40:55 | Aug 28th, 2017

For more than 45 years after Emmett Till's murder, his mother continually worked to make sure he did not die in vain.

SYMHC Classics: Wreck of the Ten Sail

29:25 | Aug 26th, 2017

This episode revisits the biggest shipping disaster in Cayman Islands history, in which 10 ships went down together one night in 1794.

John von Neumann

37:10 | Aug 23rd, 2017

One man and his incredible intellect affected so many different disciplines from game theory to computers to the Manhattan Project.

A Handful of Eclipses in History

31:47 | Aug 21st, 2017

Today, we're walking through some of the famous eclipses in history, all while wearing proper eye shielding.

SYMHC Classics: The Contentious Invention of the Sewing Machine

42:18 | Aug 19th, 2017

We're revisiting our 2013 episode on the invention of the sewing machine and the epic patent battle associated with it.

Frederic Tudor, the Ice King

44:13 | Aug 16th, 2017

Tudor hatched a clever plan: In cold weather, he would harvest ice for cheap, and then sell it all around the world when it was hot.

Charles VI of France: The Mad King

33:50 | Aug 14th, 2017

France’s mad king Charles VI reigned in the middle of the Hundred Years War between England and France.

SYMHC Classics: The Origin of Cheeses

38:45 | Aug 12th, 2017

We're revisiting a classic episode, about cheese! It's been around for more than 9,000 years. But how did humans learn to make it?

The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857

34:26 | Aug 7th, 2017

The Sepoy Rebellion was the result of many, many influences and stressors on the cultures of India living under British rule.

SYMHC Classics: The Count of St. Germain

37:06 | Aug 5th, 2017

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about the Count of Saint Germain. His story features teleportation, alchemy and even rumors of immortality.

Ibn Battuta, the Traveler of Islam

35:33 | Aug 2nd, 2017

Ibn Battuta's 14th-century travels were extensive. He traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and territory, becoming the traveler of the age.

Frederick Douglass

40:08 | Jul 31st, 2017

Frederick Douglass was an orator, writer, statesman and social reformer who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage.

SYMHC Classics: Jane Austen

40:46 | Jul 29th, 2017

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about Jane Austen. She was not a shy spinster nor a real-life version of any of her heroines.

Carry A. Nation, Part 2

35:26 | Jul 26th, 2017

After her initial bar smashings, Carry A. Nation became a full-time activist, traveling from town to town to destroy saloons and preach temperance.

Carry A. Nation, Part 1

31:44 | Jul 24th, 2017

Several events in Carry Nation's early life catalyzed her temperance activism.

The Evacuation of Dunkirk

31:02 | Jul 19th, 2017

With a huge number of British Expeditionary Force troops stranded in one location, a massive evacuation operation was undertaken.

The Battle of France and the Flight to Dunkirk

32:30 | Jul 17th, 2017

Retellings of the Dunkirk rescue often leave out how a huge part of the British Expeditionary Force ended up stranded.

NASA History: Chief Historian Bill Barry on Hugh Dryden

41:45 | Jul 12th, 2017

The NASA space program likely wouldn't be what it is today without the work Hugh Dryden did before NASA even existed.

Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun

34:06 | Jul 10th, 2017

Despite growing up in a convent and coming very close to taking religious vows as a nun, Catalina de Erauso wound up living a life of danger and adventure.

William Hogarth

39:03 | Jul 5th, 2017

In the early 18th century, an engraver-turned-artist made his mark on the art world by producing satirical prints in series that commented on morality and society. And some of his work is used today as a teaching tool.

Unearthed! in July 2017!

36:09 | Jul 3rd, 2017

It's time for another mid-year edition of Unearthed! The show covers new information about the Lions of Tsavo, H.H. Holmes and Ötzi.

The Eastland Disaster

33:35 | Jun 28th, 2017

The Eastland disaster was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in American history. In this case, safety regulations actually made things worse.

Roses Through Time

40:14 | Jun 26th, 2017

This much-beloved flower predates mankind, and it's a little difficult to track our early relationship with cultivating it.

A Brief History of Veterinary Medicine

39:00 | Jun 21st, 2017

Animals and humans have been living together for centuries, but standardized veterinary care developed over a long period of time.

The Cuyahoga River's Last Fires

33:24 | Jun 19th, 2017

In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, not for the first time, but for the last time.

The Extinction of the Stephens Island Wren

38:20 | Jun 14th, 2017

The extinction of the wren is often attributed to a single cat, but there's more to the story.

William Moulton Marston & the Creation of Wonder Woman

47:08 | Jun 12th, 2017

Most people know Wonder Woman as an embodiment of truth and justice, but don't know much about the comic's earlier years or its creator.

Louis Riel

34:30 | Jun 7th, 2017

Riel was labeled both a traitor and a hero in his time. His leadership in the Red River Rebellion led to the establishment of Manitoba.

Annette Kellerman

36:59 | Jun 5th, 2017

Australian Kellerman gets a lot of the credit for developing the women's one-piece bathing suit, but she was also a competitive swimmer and film star.

Maria Sibylla Merian

32:00 | May 31st, 2017

As a naturalist illustrator, Maria Sibylla Merian helped dispel many entomological myths and improved the scientific study of insects and plants.

The Ladies of Llangollen

35:38 | May 29th, 2017

In the late 18th century, Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, abandoned their life in Irish society and made a home for themselves in Wales.

The Scopes Trial

37:44 | May 24th, 2017

The Scopes Trial played out in Dayton, Tennessee, in the summer of 1925. It all stemmed from a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution.

Hitler’s Early Rise and the Night of the Long Knives

34:34 | May 22nd, 2017

Over the course of several days in 1934, Adolf Hitler eliminated all of his political enemies, enabling him to declare himself Fuhrer.


34:07 | May 17th, 2017

In addition to being an astronomer, Copernicus was also a mathematician, a doctor, and wrote a manuscript on devaluation of currency.

Six Impossible Episodes: Soldiers, Snipers and Spies

36:15 | May 15th, 2017

This installment of our impossible episodes series features a set of stories that are all about front-line heroism. Most of them are listener requests.

Horace de Vere Cole and the Dreadnought Hoax

37:34 | May 10th, 2017

In his most brazen prank, Cole schemed to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends to pretend they were Abyssinian royalty.

The Philadelphia MOVE Bombing

39:02 | May 8th, 2017

After a protracted, contentious relationship with Philadelphia police, the MOVE organization's home was bombed in 1985.

The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

32:41 | May 3rd, 2017

Since its inception, the Derby has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.

The Cato Street Conspiracy

31:04 | May 1st, 2017

In response to the problems urbanization and mechanization brought to Great Britain, a radical group plotted to kill the Prime Minister's cabinet.

Abbott and Costello, Part 2

41:07 | Apr 26th, 2017

Abbott and Costello made it big in Hollywood during WWII, but the later part of their career together was beset by tragedy and problems.

Abbott and Costello, Part 1

32:23 | Apr 24th, 2017

The comedy team of Abbott and Costello created some of the most memorable sketches in history. Part 1 covers their rise to fame.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

43:10 | Apr 19th, 2017

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the modern world's most infamous incidents of unethical medical research.

A Brief History of Foreign Food in the U.S.

40:40 | Apr 12th, 2017

One of the most diverse things about the U.S. is its food industry. But foods brought to the U.S. via immigration were initially viewed suspiciously.

Three Nuclear Close Calls

32:19 | Apr 10th, 2017

There have been many moments in history when the world came perilously close to a full-scale nuclear war, due to false alarms or miscommunication.

Prospect Park, Part 2

54:51 | Apr 5th, 2017

In our second episode about Brooklyn's 150-year-old public park, we interview three guests about the park's history and restoration.

Prospect Park, Part 1

32:26 | Apr 3rd, 2017

Brooklyn's massive public green space tells the historical story of its community. From an undeveloped tract of land, the space was developed to become an Olmstead and Vaux masterpiece.

Live From Salt Lake Comic Con FanX: H.P. Lovecraft

53:25 | Mar 29th, 2017

Writer H.P. Lovecraft created worlds and stories that continue to be influential more than 80 years after his death.

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

37:00 | Mar 27th, 2017

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who was the first woman in English literature to have made her living writing.