Oct 18th, 2017 • 39:34
Aaron Burr's daughter was incredibly smart and very well educated. She also vanished without a trace as an adult.
Sep 4th, 2017 • 28:40
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.
After Aaron Burr slew Alexander Hamilton in the duel of 1804, his legislative career was over. In March of 1805, Burr left the political sphere and moved west -- but his story doesn't end there. Tune in more about Burr's later adventures in this podcast.
Dec 10th • 41:24
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.
Dec 8th • 28:28
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 New France in the 1600s.
Dec 5th • 38:16
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, complicated.
Dec 3rd • 32:17
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?
Dec 1st • 35:47
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 business in in a patent suit.
Nov 28th • 33:53
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 meal you may be served today.
Nov 26th • 38:03
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.
Nov 24th • 31:16
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 unintended side effects.
Nov 21st • 28:58
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 novel “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez.
Nov 19th • 45:44
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.
Nov 17th • 23:42
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 Atlantic coast of North America.
Nov 14th • 40:53
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 specifically.
Nov 12th • 35:41
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.
Nov 10th • 32:43
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 months. Between 20 and 40 percent of people who caught the disease died.
Nov 7th • 36:48
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.
Nov 5th • 37:17
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.
Nov 3rd • 34:28
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 most destructive storms, including the Tri-state Tornado of 1925 and the Great Hurricane of 1780.
Oct 31st • 59:20
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 they wouldn't end up interred before their time.
Oct 29th • 34:56
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 has a scientific explanation; the other has a fantastical and colorful story that persists and has spread far beyond her origins.
Oct 27th • 27:46
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 the modern spiritualist movement. But was it all a hoax?
Oct 24th • 42:41
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 horrifying. According to some people, he is now a ghost.
Oct 22nd • 32:19
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.
Oct 20th • 27:08
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?
Oct 17th • 38:59
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.
Oct 15th • 36:28
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.
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 as we know it today.
Oct 10th • 31:35
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?
Oct 8th • 37:25
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.
Oct 6th • 43:21
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.
Oct 3rd • 35:51
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.
Oct 1st • 39:38
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.
Sep 29th • 23:05
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 contributions to paleontology, so why didn't she always get credit for her work?
Sep 26th • 48:56
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 Disney Studios that forever changed the company.
Sep 24th • 42:31
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.
Sep 22nd • 32:01
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 recount the life of the first woman to run for U.S. president.
Sep 19th • 38:17
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.
Sep 17th • 49:44
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 jobs.
Sep 15th • 26:16
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 corporation, and faced a campaign of misinformation.
Sep 12th • 33:00
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 horses.
Sep 10th • 32:10
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.
Sep 8th • 26:50
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.
Sep 5th • 31:04
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 biographer of King Charles V of France and wrote the only popular piece in praise of Joan of Arc that was penned during her lifetime.
Sep 3rd • 45:23
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.
Sep 1st • 26:09
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?
Aug 29th • 36:43
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.
Aug 27th • 25:36
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 Americans.
Aug 25th • 27:39
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, lunar beavers and even bat people.
Aug 22nd • 35:31
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.
Aug 20th • 48:41
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.
Aug 18th • 29:18
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-American woman in the world to earn a pilot's license.
Aug 15th • 36:01
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 deeply held Quaker beliefs.
Aug 13th • 37:39
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.
Aug 11th • 23:03
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 inventor.
Aug 8th • 46:45
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.
Aug 6th • 29:24
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.
Aug 4th • 32:26
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 explore the Cardiff Giant, Clever Hans, the Cottingley Fairies, Mary Toft's bunny births and David Wyrick and the the Newark Holy Stones.
Aug 1st • 44:13
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 presidency.
Jul 30th • 35:43
Continuing the 2018 mid-year edition of unearthed goodies, this episode will cover shipwrecks, exhumations, repatriations, and edibles and potables.
Jul 28th • 22:15
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 took about 10 minutes to wash away Johnstown. But was nature solely to blame?
Jul 25th • 37:54
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 unearthed in their own collections, along with books and letters, beads, and some other things.
Jul 23rd • 59:29
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.
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 helping found modern Iraq?
Jul 18th • 31:30
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 been free by a jury in 1850.
Jul 16th • 33:15
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 their lives were like before petitioning for their freedom in 1846.
Jul 14th • 22:11
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 on numerous exploratory treks. But would it last in a time of war?
Jul 11th • 37:10
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 equal.
Jul 9th • 34:56
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.
Jul 7th • 27:50
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. Needless to say, this didn't go over well in New York.
Jul 4th • 32:27
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 you know at least some of that work.
Jul 2nd • 32:58
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.
Jun 30th • 32:25
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 on their own is the Apgar score.
Jun 27th • 32:04
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 for the time.
Jun 25th • 32:32
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 citizens.
Jun 23rd • 25:32
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.
Jun 20th • 42:16
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.
Jun 18th • 30:24
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.
Jun 16th • 23:18
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 homosexual by the British government.
Jun 13th • 35:32
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.
Jun 11th • 40:52
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.
Jun 9th • 46:17
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 became the basis for her spiritual autobiography.
Jun 6th • 38:52
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 stature.
Jun 4th • 39:56
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.
Jun 2nd • 32:38
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 together to fill the need for a frosty treat.
May 30th • 34:28
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.
May 28th • 35:57
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.
May 26th • 25:18
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 simple, but they paved the way for the robots of today.
May 23rd • 37:11
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.
May 21st • 36:55
“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.
May 19th • 32:24
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.
May 16th • 35:21
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.
May 14th • 39:29
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.
May 12th • 31:23
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 imaginary worlds.
May 9th • 39:12
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 trials.
May 7th • 33:16
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.
May 5th • 17:57
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 it wasn't until 2005 that Congress honored his work.
May 2nd • 40:06
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.
Apr 30th • 30:59
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 ruins.
Apr 28th • 31:10
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.
Apr 25th • 40:56
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.
Apr 23rd • 30:51
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.
Apr 18th • 33:10
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.
Apr 16th • 29:32
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.
Apr 14th • 24:36
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.
Apr 11th • 34:17
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.
Apr 9th • 32:30
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.
Apr 7th • 25:53
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, America's original stunt journalist.
Apr 5th • 37:25
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.
Apr 2nd • 33:27
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.
Mar 31st • 38:55
Today we're revisiting a talk with fashion historian April Calahan about the surprising ways that women of France protested German occupation during WWII.
Mar 28th • 40:45
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.
Mar 26th • 43:43
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.
Mar 24th • 34:04
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.
Mar 21st • 39:30
Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century.
Mar 19th • 39:44
Born to a wealthy Protestant family, Constance Markievicz made a somewhat surprising transition to become a leader in the Irish Nationalist movement.
Mar 17th • 28:38
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.
Mar 14th • 33:27
Cassie Chadwick committed fraud on a massive level, and convinced banks that she was the illegitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie.
Mar 12th • 29:12
Leeuwenhoek is credited with discovering microscopic life in a variety of forms, using lenses he ground himself.
Mar 10th • 28:58
This classic revisits the Luddite uprising -- protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories.
Mar 7th • 34:16
Vasari was an artist and architect in 16th-century Italy. But what really made him famous was his writing.
Mar 5th • 38:42
Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century.
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.
Feb 26th • 35:55
Sadako Sasaki developed A-bomb disease as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima, and the origami crane became a symbol of her story.
Feb 24th • 26:30
The Lone Ranger has traditionally been portrayed by white actors, but many believe this character is based on a former slave named Bass Reeves.
Feb 21st • 32:49
On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Feb 19th • 33:03
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?
Feb 17th • 41:27
In 1912, a small Iowa town was the scene of a chilling and brutal crime.
Feb 14th • 38:33
Stein is an icon of modernist literature. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but that short changes her story.
Feb 12th • 30:01
A woman named Pauline Sabin is often credited as being one of the major activists behind Prohibition’s repeal.
Feb 10th • 29:56
This episode revisits the tragic love story of poet, philosopher and theologian Abelard, and his student Heloise.
Feb 7th • 37:09
A sanitation strike that lasted for nine weeks brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated.
Feb 5th • 28:56
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.
Armistead was a slave in Virginia, but got his master's approval to enlist when the Revolutionary War came. Armistead worked as a spy.
Jan 31st • 36:42
Mary-Russel Ferrell Colton was a painter, author and educator. But she's most famous for co-founding of the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Jan 27th • 23:03
Today's classic revisits philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, who found himself struggling with his faith as he searched for evidence of the human soul.
Jan 24th • 31:46
For centuries, a forged document granted a large amount of Roman Empire land and power to Pope Sylvester I and his successors.
Jan 22nd • 35:09
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.
Jan 20th • 34:48
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?
Jan 17th • 45:20
In 1898, a mob of armed white men enacted a violent plan against Wilmington, North Carolina’s black community and elected government.
Jan 15th • 34:39
Open racism and hotly contested elections led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in late 19th-century Wilmington, North Carolina.
Jan 13th • 20:04
This classic episode revisits the Phoenicians, most known for developing the alphabet that many modern alphabets are descended from.
Jan 10th • 31:45
Microbiologist and author Kathryn Lougheed joins Holly for a discussion of the long history of tuberculosis and its place in the modern age.
Jan 8th • 35:43
Mary Breckinridge advanced the medical field and found new ways to treat underserved communities, but there are problematic elements to her story.
Jan 6th • 25:49
Lavoisier was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But he's most often referred to as the father of modern chemistry.
Jan 3rd • 44:08
This wrap up of 2017's historical discoveries and updates includes exhumations, repatriations, and a lot of prehistory.
Jan 1st • 37:50
In our annual recap, we walk through what's been literally and figuratively unearthed in 2017.
Dec 30th, 2017 • 25:50
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.
Dec 27th, 2017 • 36:15
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.
Dec 25th, 2017 • 38:12
The story that circulates about how NORAD started tracking Santa is pretty heart-warming, but doesn’t completely hold up.
Dec 23rd, 2017 • 30:06
During the first Christmas of World War I, British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and celebrated the holiday together.
Dec 20th, 2017 • 35:50
The exploits of the Special Operations Executive are the stuff of legend.
Dec 18th, 2017 • 30:10
After the Germans invaded France in 1940, an idea sprouted in the highest levels of Great Britain's leadership, and the SOE was born.
Dec 16th, 2017 • 31:04
A revisit to an episode on fairly recent history, the 1988 protests at Gallaudet University sparked by the appointment of a hearing president.
Dec 13th, 2017 • 34:35
Tasty treats associated with winter holidays have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their histories was eaten.
Dec 11th, 2017 • 40:24
This episode features three unique women, all of whom are notable in their own way, and all of whom had the name Belle.
Dec 9th, 2017 • 35:33
Today, we're revisiting an episode about the results of English settlers bringing animals and plants to Australia, including rabbits.
Dec 6th, 2017 • 33:26
This small island off the west coast of Ireland recently became a film star, but Skellig Michael has a rich history all its own.
Dec 4th, 2017 • 38:33
This installation of Six Impossible Episodes is a bit of a hodge podge, with several oft-requested topics.
Dec 2nd, 2017 • 29:27
Today, we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts: the Halifax explosion, which was one of history's worst man-made, non-nuclear explosions.
Nov 29th, 2017 • 31:03
Despite the huge impact the Lumières made with their multi-function motion picture camera, they didn't stay in the movie business.
Nov 27th, 2017 • 32:56
The Lumières are often associated with early film technology, but that wasn't the only area where they innovated.
Nov 25th, 2017 • 31:36
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
Nov 22nd, 2017 • 38:36
In 1966, a mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales, killed 144 people. It was a completely preventable tragedy and 116 of the victims were children.
Nov 20th, 2017 • 33:17
Great Britain’s efforts to control southern Africa eventually led to war with the Zulu Kingdom.
Nov 18th, 2017 • 39:01
We're revisiting a classic episode, all about early strides in treating smallpox, which has been around longer than recorded history.
Nov 15th, 2017 • 36:46
In 1904, the Fort Shaw Indian School women’s basketball team spent four months playing and performing at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Nov 13th, 2017 • 39:30
The Fort Shaw Indian School was part of a boarding school system designed to make Native American students conform to white culture.
Nov 11th, 2017 • 32:54
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.
Nov 8th, 2017 • 38:39
In November 1917, guards at the Occoquan Workhouse assaulted and terrorized 33 women from the National Woman’s Party.
Nov 6th, 2017 • 48:43
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.
Nov 4th, 2017 • 21:04
During World War II, the Nazi party did not tolerate dissent, but some Germans did attempt to resist Hitler's government.
Nov 1st, 2017 • 40:05
Katharina von Bora, Marguerite d’Angoulême and Jeanne d’Albret all left their mark on the Reformation, but all in different ways.
Oct 30th, 2017 • 39:34
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.
Oct 28th, 2017 • 41:23
Starting in the late 1700s, small rural communities in New England were sometimes stricken with fear that the dead were feeding off the living.
Oct 25th, 2017 • 38:57
Based just on his art, you might imagine Edward Gorey as a dour Englishman whose childhood was marked with a series of tragic deaths.
Oct 23rd, 2017 • 42:31
In the 1870s in Amherst, Nova Scotia, strange things began happening around Esther Cox after a traumatic event.
Oct 21st, 2017 • 19:26
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.
Oct 16th, 2017 • 46:38
Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher inadvertently invented the first sequential art comics in the Western world.
Oct 14th, 2017 • 35:40
We're revisiting the second installment in the story of the Haunted Mansion.
Oct 11th, 2017 • 37:59
In the 12th century, two children, green in color, appeared in Suffolk, England.
Oct 9th, 2017 • 39:08
Not only was he a star as an actor, he was famed for his use of makeup, completely transforming himself for each role.
Oct 7th, 2017 • 29:33
This classic episode dives into one of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion.
Oct 4th, 2017 • 32:28
The loss of the U.S.S. Akron was the biggest single tragedy in aviation history at the time that it happened.
Oct 2nd, 2017 • 34:59
In February 1855, mysterious prints that looked like hoof marks appeared all over the English seaside county of Devon.
Sep 30th, 2017 • 40:05
The image of Johnny Appleseed walking around in rags, barefooted with a bindle, planting apple trees and moving on is actually pretty accurate.
Sep 27th, 2017 • 42:34
Civil rights case Hernandez v. Texas was the first case to be argued before the Supreme Court by Mexican American attorneys.
Sep 25th, 2017 • 34:38
For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States were watching train wrecks for fun.
Sep 23rd, 2017 • 31:01
In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the adventures of Livingstone and Henry Stanley, the journalist who found Livingstone in Africa.
Sep 20th, 2017 • 35:40
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.
Sep 18th, 2017 • 37:28
Emin Pasha's story connects to so many other historical things, particularly in the context of both the Ottoman Empire and African history.
Sep 16th, 2017 • 30:33
New theories have emerged that make it the right time to once again go back to an old favorite, the Voynich Manuscript.
Sep 13th, 2017 • 40:29
While many have admired heiress Casati over the years for her life led entirely based on her aesthetics, she was also entirely self-serving.
Sep 11th, 2017 • 41:28
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.
Sep 9th, 2017 • 30:29
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.
Sep 6th, 2017 • 31:12
As Louis XVI's time as king grew less stable, Léonard stepped away from the royal family and into his own business ventures.
Sep 2nd, 2017 • 28:09
We're revisiting the story of large numbers of emus making their way through Australia, severely damaging wheat farms.
Aug 30th, 2017 • 36:26
The story of the H.L. Hunley really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Aug 28th, 2017 • 40:55
For more than 45 years after Emmett Till's murder, his mother continually worked to make sure he did not die in vain.
Aug 26th, 2017 • 29:25
This episode revisits the biggest shipping disaster in Cayman Islands history, in which 10 ships went down together one night in 1794.
Aug 23rd, 2017 • 37:10
One man and his incredible intellect affected so many different disciplines from game theory to computers to the Manhattan Project.
Aug 21st, 2017 • 31:47
Today, we're walking through some of the famous eclipses in history, all while wearing proper eye shielding.
Aug 19th, 2017 • 42:18
We're revisiting our 2013 episode on the invention of the sewing machine and the epic patent battle associated with it.
Aug 16th, 2017 • 44:13
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.
Aug 14th, 2017 • 33:50
France’s mad king Charles VI reigned in the middle of the Hundred Years War between England and France.
Aug 12th, 2017 • 38:45
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?
Aug 7th, 2017 • 34:26
The Sepoy Rebellion was the result of many, many influences and stressors on the cultures of India living under British rule.
Aug 5th, 2017 • 37:06
We're revisiting a classic episode, all about the Count of Saint Germain. His story features teleportation, alchemy and even rumors of immortality.
Aug 2nd, 2017 • 35:33
Ibn Battuta's 14th-century travels were extensive. He traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and territory, becoming the traveler of the age.
Jul 31st, 2017 • 40:08
Frederick Douglass was an orator, writer, statesman and social reformer who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage.
Jul 29th, 2017 • 40:46
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.
Jul 26th, 2017 • 35:26
After her initial bar smashings, Carry A. Nation became a full-time activist, traveling from town to town to destroy saloons and preach temperance.
Jul 24th, 2017 • 31:44
Several events in Carry Nation's early life catalyzed her temperance activism.
Jul 19th, 2017 • 31:02
With a huge number of British Expeditionary Force troops stranded in one location, a massive evacuation operation was undertaken.
Jul 17th, 2017 • 32:30
Retellings of the Dunkirk rescue often leave out how a huge part of the British Expeditionary Force ended up stranded.
Jul 12th, 2017 • 41:45
The NASA space program likely wouldn't be what it is today without the work Hugh Dryden did before NASA even existed.
Jul 10th, 2017 • 34:06
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.
Jul 5th, 2017 • 39:03
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.
Jul 3rd, 2017 • 36:09
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.
Jun 28th, 2017 • 33:35
The Eastland disaster was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in American history. In this case, safety regulations actually made things worse.
Jun 26th, 2017 • 40:14
This much-beloved flower predates mankind, and it's a little difficult to track our early relationship with cultivating it.
Jun 21st, 2017 • 39:00
Animals and humans have been living together for centuries, but standardized veterinary care developed over a long period of time.
Jun 19th, 2017 • 33:24
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, not for the first time, but for the last time.
Jun 14th, 2017 • 38:20
The extinction of the wren is often attributed to a single cat, but there's more to the story.
Jun 12th, 2017 • 47:08
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.
Jun 7th, 2017 • 34:30
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.
Jun 5th, 2017 • 36:59
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.
May 31st, 2017 • 32:00
As a naturalist illustrator, Maria Sibylla Merian helped dispel many entomological myths and improved the scientific study of insects and plants.
May 29th, 2017 • 35:38
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.
May 24th, 2017 • 37:44
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.
May 22nd, 2017 • 34:34
Over the course of several days in 1934, Adolf Hitler eliminated all of his political enemies, enabling him to declare himself Fuhrer.
May 17th, 2017 • 34:07
In addition to being an astronomer, Copernicus was also a mathematician, a doctor, and wrote a manuscript on devaluation of currency.
May 15th, 2017 • 36:15
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.
May 10th, 2017 • 37:34
In his most brazen prank, Cole schemed to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends to pretend they were Abyssinian royalty.
May 8th, 2017 • 39:02
After a protracted, contentious relationship with Philadelphia police, the MOVE organization's home was bombed in 1985.
May 3rd, 2017 • 32:41
Since its inception, the Derby has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.
May 1st, 2017 • 31:04
In response to the problems urbanization and mechanization brought to Great Britain, a radical group plotted to kill the Prime Minister's cabinet.
Apr 26th, 2017 • 41:07
Abbott and Costello made it big in Hollywood during WWII, but the later part of their career together was beset by tragedy and problems.
Apr 24th, 2017 • 32:23
The comedy team of Abbott and Costello created some of the most memorable sketches in history. Part 1 covers their rise to fame.
Apr 19th, 2017 • 43:10
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the modern world's most infamous incidents of unethical medical research.
Apr 12th, 2017 • 40:40
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.
Apr 10th, 2017 • 32:19
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.
Apr 5th, 2017 • 54:51
In our second episode about Brooklyn's 150-year-old public park, we interview three guests about the park's history and restoration.
Apr 3rd, 2017 • 32:26
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.
Mar 29th, 2017 • 53:25
Writer H.P. Lovecraft created worlds and stories that continue to be influential more than 80 years after his death.
Mar 27th, 2017 • 37:00
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.
Mar 22nd, 2017 • 30:17
Khutulun's story is a little bit cloudy. It's many hundreds of years old, and accounts of her life involve both propaganda and an outsider’s view.
Mar 20th, 2017 • 29:59
Jules Cotard was the first psychiatrist to write about the cluster of symptoms that would come to be called “Walking Corpse Syndrome.” But his work was unfinished, and left a great deal of room for debate about it among his colleagues.
Mar 15th, 2017 • 34:09
This was one of the worst disasters in Texas history, the worst school disaster in U.S. history.
Mar 13th, 2017 • 41:18
The practice of the monarch laying on hands to cure sick people lasted from the medieval period all the way to the 18th century in Britain and France.
Mar 8th, 2017 • 39:33
Holly interviews Auschwitz survivor Michael Bornstein and his daughter Debbie Bornstein Holinstat about their book 'Survivors Club.'
Mar 6th, 2017 • 36:19
For a very short time between Edward VI and Mary I, Lady Jane was, at least nominally, Queen of England and Ireland.
Feb 27th, 2017 • 31:03
From his start as an apprentice to a nurseryman in London, John Kidwell would go on to catalyze the establishment of Hawaii’s pineapple industry.
Feb 27th, 2017 • 45:35
Dr. Gates joins Holly to talk about history's impact on our future, Black History Month, and his upcoming PBS series 'Africa's Great Civilizations.'
Feb 22nd, 2017 • 38:43
Maroons are Africans and people of African ancestry who escaped enslavement and established communities in the Caribbean and parts of the Americas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica's Maroon communities clashed with British colonial government.
Feb 20th, 2017 • 34:57
Rabbi Jacob Rothschild was a vocal activist who spoke out for civil rights despite the danger in doing so.
Feb 15th, 2017 • 45:42
After Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, people were incarcerated in inadequate and dehumanizing camps.
Feb 13th, 2017 • 39:16
Roughly 122,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens were removed from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated for much of the U.S. involvement in WWII.
Feb 8th, 2017 • 34:50
In 1789, a group of protesters -- mostly women -- marched from Paris to Versailles to pressure King Louis XVI to address France's food shortage.
Feb 6th, 2017 • 33:47
He was one of the first Americans to achieve fame as a Shakespearean actor, and the first black man to do so.
Feb 1st, 2017 • 32:23
Lucille Ball was known for comedy, but worked in modeling, radio and film, as well as television.
Jan 25th, 2017 • 30:31
When Prince Pedro of Portugal was married off in the 1300s, he only had eyes for his new wife's lady in waiting.
Jan 23rd, 2017 • 45:25
Holly is joined in the studio by Carol Thompson, the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art at the High Museum of Art.
Jan 18th, 2017 • 33:12
Great Zimbabwe was a massive stone city in southeastern Africa that was a thriving trade center from the 11th to 15th centuries.
Jan 16th, 2017 • 46:39
While she's mostly associated with education, Maria Montessori worked in several fields.
Jan 11th, 2017 • 34:23
The American sculptor was a celebrated artist in her day, but she receded from the spotlight; her final years remained a mystery for quite some time.
Jan 9th, 2017 • 32:12
After witnessing the brutality of a battle first-hand, Swiss-born Dunant dedicated his life to easing the suffering brought by war.
Jan 4th, 2017 • 37:03
Tracy is joined by Erik Lars Myers, founder, CEO and head brewer at Mystery Brewing Company to talk about the history of beer.
Jan 2nd, 2017 • 40:40
Part two of our annual roundup of unearthed news is a bit of a hodgepodg, including edible finds, art and letters and exhumations.
Dec 28th, 2016 • 38:04
It's time to talk about all the things that were unearthed in 2016, recurrent things, things that are actually older than we thought, and shipwrecks.
Dec 26th, 2016 • 39:11
The Piltdown Man is one of the world’s most infamous instances of scientific fraud, and it derailed the study of evolution for decades.
Dec 21st, 2016 • 30:56
The uprising of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire during the Hellenistic period is an integral part of the Hanukkah story.
Dec 19th, 2016 • 35:16
Last year's episodes on non-Santa holiday figures were so popular that this year, we're featuring Frau Perchta, Olentzero, Mari Lwyd and Ded Moroz.
Dec 14th, 2016 • 30:45
After she became a free woman, Belinda Sutton successfully petitioned for compensation for her years of enslaved labor.
Dec 12th, 2016 • 1:15:18
Jerry joins Holly in the studio to talk about the historical significance of the building where HowStuffWorks is headquartered.
Dec 7th, 2016 • 34:35
After WWI, thousands of immigrants in the U.S. were rounded up, many without cause or warrant, and kept in horrifying conditions.
Dec 5th, 2016 • 34:35
After WWI, there was a great deal of fear that Communist revolutionaries would try to take over the country.
Nov 30th, 2016 • 37:26
Wallace was one of the most prominent voices against the Civil Rights Movement and its objectives.
Nov 28th, 2016 • 49:12
Author and illustrator Jason Porath joins Tracy and Holly in the studio to talk about women from history featured in his new book.
Nov 23rd, 2016 • 37:28
In 1862, murder led to war between the Dakota and the United States. What followed was a campaign of retribution against multiple indigenous peoples.
Nov 21st, 2016 • 43:24
People are often surprised to learn that the namesake for the James Webb Space Telescope wasn't a scientist or engineer, but a lawyer and bureaucrat.
Nov 9th, 2016 • 38:31
Establishing a submarine telegraph cable to connect North America and Europe took ingenuity, but more than anything else, it required tenacity.
Nov 7th, 2016 • 39:32
We often get requests for topics that are so similar to existing episodes that they would sound like repeats.
Nov 2nd, 2016 • 51:02
In the summer of 1791, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds began an affair that would lead to blackmail, political rumors, a 98-page confessional document ... and eventually a song in a hit Broadway musical.
Oct 31st, 2016 • 35:36
In 1943, a skeleton was found in a tree near Birmingham, England, launching a murder investigation which has never been conclusively solved.
Oct 26th, 2016 • 32:05
There have been numerous instances of ships found adrift with no one on board. Four such ghost ships are featured here.
Oct 24th, 2016 • 1:00:11
If you only know of Vincent Price from his films, you may be surprised by his rich life story, as shared by his daughter Victoria Price.
Oct 19th, 2016 • 55:14
Baking expert Anne Byrn joins Holly to talk about the place of cake in U.S. history, from the early colonies right up to the modern era.
Oct 17th, 2016 • 34:51
From 1897 to 1962, a small theater in Paris gave became famous for its grisly, terrifying plays.
Oct 12th, 2016 • 33:26
In January of 1700, a tsunami struck the coast of Japan. It took a while -- a long while -- to figure out where the catalyzing earthquake had been.
Oct 10th, 2016 • 32:19
At the height of Europe's witch trials, the northern coast of Norway had a disproportionate number of executions for sorcery.
Oct 5th, 2016 • 45:59
In the early 1800s, a family in Tennessee allegedly experienced what seemed to be a haunting on their family farm.
Oct 3rd, 2016 • 41:09
A fishing territory dispute between Iceland and the U.K. started off with a cordial tone, but escalated into a serious conflict.
Sep 28th, 2016 • 48:54
Robber's Roost was a safe haven for outlaws, including Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. Learn about Robber's Roost from Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Sep 26th, 2016 • 49:35
In July 1900, an interaction between New Orleans police and two black men set off a chain of horrific events.
Sep 21st, 2016 • 47:41
Tracy and Holly with authors Bryan Young, E.B. Wheeler and Brian McClellan at SLCC about how they weave historical inspiration into their work.
Sep 19th, 2016 • 45:33
Molly was born on Indian Island, Maine, and she turned to dance to help her family make ends meet. But because audiences and companies in the U.S. pushed her toward stereotypical depictions of Native Americans, she eventually took her dancing to France.
Sep 14th, 2016 • 1:00:13
Coubertin's vision to unite the world through sport launched the modern Olympic Games. But those first few times out, things weren't always smooth.
Sep 12th, 2016 • 36:37
John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, set out to create an armed revolution of emancipated slaves. Instead, it became a tipping point leading to the U.S. Civil War.
Sep 7th, 2016 • 39:42
As man was looking to the skies and yearning to fly, two inventive brothers came up with an idea to set humans aloft.
Sep 5th, 2016 • 41:54
The London Match Girls Strike of 1888 was an important labor rights event, when factory workers protested hazardous and unfair working conditions.
Aug 31st, 2016 • 41:27
Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. discusses the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
Aug 29th, 2016 • 47:14
Thomas Day decided that the only way to have a perfect wife was to create one. So he adopted two orphans and attempted to train them.
Aug 24th, 2016 • 38:57
Even though Edward Jones served two prison sentences for his intrusions into Buckingham palace, it seems that the authorities were willing to do almost anything to keep him away from London.
Aug 22nd, 2016 • 36:32
Not long after young Victoria became queen, a young man got into Buckingham Palace, wandered around, and attempted to steal several items. It was merely the first of many visits to the palace he would make.
Aug 17th, 2016 • 37:09
During the French and Indian War, a clash between Cherokee tribes and the British -- who had been allies -- slowly escalated on the southern end of the larger conflict.
Aug 15th, 2016 • 37:01
Famed lady pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read are often requested as a topic by listeners. but telling their story requires navigating some rather suspect historical accounts.
Aug 10th, 2016 • 31:13
Because he saw himself as Yosemite's ambassador, Hutchings was surprised when the state of California told him his land claim was invalid. He fought the state for many years, and though he ultimately lost the battle, it didn't sever his ties to Yosemite.
Aug 8th, 2016 • 32:04
Once Yosemite had been seen by white men, it became the focus of a great deal of attention, both for its natural wonders and for the potential money to be made there. James Hutchings spent the majority of his life writing and speaking about Yosemite.
Aug 3rd, 2016 • 42:58
For parts of the 20th century, the U.S. and Mexico had agreements in place allowing, and even encouraging, Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. to perform agricultural work and other labor in the American Southwest.
Aug 1st, 2016 • 47:43
Industries and governments had a really weird preoccupation with protecting people from margarine way before it was made with the hydrogenated oils that led to its unhealthy reputation in more recent years. There's even bootlegging involved.
Jul 27th, 2016 • 45:27
While his name is most strongly associated with the sewing machine, Isaac Singer's life is a tale far beyond the story of mechanized stitching. A philanderer and cut throat businessman, Singer managed to accrue huge sums of wealth in his later life.
Jul 25th, 2016 • 30:58
Doss was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, though he's not the only one. Two other men, Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr. also showed tremendous valor and received the same award, though posthumously.
Jul 20th, 2016 • 39:12
When three escaped slaves showed up at a Union position during the U.S. Civil War, the decision of how to handle the situation fell to Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler. His actions led to a situation for which the government was simply not prepared.
Jul 18th, 2016 • 40:41
We're halfway through the year, and we have SO MANY unearthed items already! So, after polling listeners, we're adding a mid-year edition of our Unearthed! series.
Jul 13th, 2016 • 38:14
Miss Bland was a jockey, a sports photographer, a journalist, a car dealer and a pioneer farmer. She also built Ireland's first powered airplane, entirely by hand, and successfully piloted it.
Jul 11th, 2016 • 43:49
She was a black Canadian-American who became the first woman in North America to publish and edit a newspaper. She advocated against slavery, for better lives for free black people, and for women’s rights.
Jul 6th, 2016 • 41:22
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many cities were facing the same problem: so much horse manure, they couldn't keep up with it. It created unhygienic conditions, and very real problems.
Jul 4th, 2016 • 41:59
Portrayals of this piece of Scottish and English history are often simultaneously romanticized and oversimplified. It's a great deal more complicated than any one event, and is instead the result of many contributing factors.
Jun 29th, 2016 • 34:51
For a long time, astronomers believed that there must have been a planet lurking in the gap between Mars and Jupiter. What they found was Ceres, and this object's story is one of scientific cattiness and our ever-evolving understanding of space.
Jun 27th, 2016 • 35:20
The Achaemenid Empire was founded by Cyrus II in the 6th century BCE, and it became an empire unlike any the world had seen up to that point.
Jun 22nd, 2016 • 41:49
Because of his previous ties to the Communist Party, his race, and his sexual orientation, the McCarthy era was extremely dangerous for Rustin. This was one of many reasons why his activism focused on other countries in the 1950s.
Jun 20th, 2016 • 37:30
Bayard Rustin was an openly gay black man born in 1912. He spent his life working tirelessly for equal rights, peace, democracy, and economic equality, including being one of the primary planners of the 1963 March on Washington.
Jun 15th, 2016 • 40:12
There was a whole lot more to Harriet Tubman’s life and work than her time as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. During the United States Civil War, she worked as a Union spy, eventually earning the nickname "General."
Jun 13th, 2016 • 39:11
Most people are familiar with her involvement with the Underground Railroad, but Harriet Tubman was also a spy for the Union during the Civil War, among many other things. Untangling the truth from the myth is the trickiest part of her story.
Jun 8th, 2016 • 42:55
British hair guru Raymond Bessone became the first celebrity hair stylist by leveraging the post-war desire for glamor and his own innate skill at marketing. His larger-than-life persona and skill with shears made his coiffures the pinnacle of style.
Jun 6th, 2016 • 36:28
She's sometimes called the patron saint of cats, and the story of Gertrude's religious devotion starts when she was just a young child. Her family's history is important, because they formed the roots of the Carolingian dynasty.
Jun 1st, 2016 • 43:12
In 1973, after a series of earthquakes, a fissure was opened up on the eastern side of the Icelandic island of Heimaey. As the eruption developed over time, it became more dangerous, and a variety of measures were undertaken to stop the flow of lava.
May 30th, 2016 • 34:38
While the Bauhaus school is well known, and its original manifesto proclaimed an environment of equality, most of the women who went to the school were ushered into specific courses, rather than given their choice of studies.
May 25th, 2016 • 48:11
Fashion historian April Calahan joined Holly for a talk about the surprising ways that women of France protested German occupation during WWII.
May 23rd, 2016 • 36:57
Insatiable hunger completely dominated every aspect of this French man in the 18th century. His life took a series of twists and turns, but his condition was never truly diagnosed or cured.
May 18th, 2016 • 43:05
No starving artist, Vigée Le Brun was the first woman to ever become a court painter in France when she was commissioned to paint Marie Antoinette. She painted royalty and nobility throughout Europe, even as her personal life had its ups and downs.
May 16th, 2016 • 44:56
We get a lot of requests for topics that are very interesting, but for which there's very little information. In some cases, those people or events may have never existed. Here's a collection of six such tales.
May 11th, 2016 • 36:19
After years of protesting and resisting British rule in New York, Mulligan passed important information on to George Washington, possibly saving his life. How did that one-time act of happenstance blossomed into a career as a full-time spy?
May 9th, 2016 • 31:53
Hercules Mulligan was indeed a real person who passed intelligence to George Washington, mostly through two means — one was an enslaved man named Cato, and the other was the Culper Spy Ring.
May 4th, 2016 • 31:38
Women have been part of mail delivery in the U.S. since colonial times, but it took centuries for women postal workers to become commonplace. Even through times when certain USPS jobs were off limits to them, women were still vital to the postal service.
May 2nd, 2016 • 39:30
It’s fairly common knowledge that the Nazis were prolific looters and that there was occult interest among the officers of the organization. How weird did things actually get, and how close are the Indiana Jones movies to what really happened?
Apr 27th, 2016 • 45:06
You may not know that Salt Lake City has been home to some key moments in film history. Guest host Bryan Young joins Holly to talk about everything from Charlie Chaplin to recent movies.
Apr 25th, 2016 • 41:02
"Have you ever wondered why so many of today's weddings feature white dresses, tiered cakes and registries for silver and dishes? Queen Victoria (and the rest of her era) get a lot of the credit. "
Apr 20th, 2016 • 34:14
The Easter Rising is considered to be one of the most pivotal events in modern Irish history, and it was a precursor to a number of other events that have happened since then, both within and outside of Ireland.
Apr 18th, 2016 • 57:39
Pizza-like foods go way, way back in history, long before we associated the delicious dish with Italy. How did pizza's pedigree develop, and how did it get to its second home in the U.S.?
Apr 13th, 2016 • 36:32
After his parents' home burned down under mysterious circumstances, Oliver Haugh was put on trial for murder. Haugh did little to help his own case, and hoped to be found insane so he could serve a shorter time in an asylum.
Apr 11th, 2016 • 38:19
In his early career Dr. Haugh claimed to be working on the next step in human evolution. But he was really a man enslaved by his addiction to cocaine and morphine.
Apr 6th, 2016 • 33:18
By the early 18th century, it was not un common for people in Martha’s Vineyard to be deaf from birth. This had a profound effect on the culture of Martha’s Vineyard — and one that went on to influence Deaf culture in the United States as a whole.
Apr 4th, 2016 • 45:28
Writer Kali Nicole Gross joins Tracy to discuss a murder in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1887. The details of the investigation and trial offer insight into the culture of the the post-Reconstruction era, particularly in regards to race.
Mar 30th, 2016 • 38:45
Zheng He led expeditionary voyages from China in the 15th century. While there are many tall tales about his accomplishments, his actual life was pretty spectacular without them.
Mar 28th, 2016 • 37:39
The Tupac Amaru rebellion was a conflict between Spain and its colonies in South America which took place from 1780 to 1783.
Mar 23rd, 2016 • 52:00
The duties of the women of the WASP evolved over time, and some of them were quite dangerous. And once the program ended, there were -- and still are -- controversies over whether the women involved should be recognized as military veterans.
Mar 21st, 2016 • 42:46
The Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII was formed to see if women could fly military aircraft, and potentially free up male noncombat pilots to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Our expert guest reveals that there's so much more to the story, though.
Mar 16th, 2016 • 44:31
Because of its functionality in providing needed clothing for humans, knitting has been around for a long time. Exactly how long isn’t entirely clear, but we do know a good bit about how knitting has traveled with us humans through time.
Mar 14th, 2016 • 36:39
The beginning of Denmark's monarchy more than a thousand years ago is linked to two large rune stones at Jelling. Is it possible that the stones were part of an effort on Harald Blåtand's part to revise the history of his parents, Gorm and Thyre?
Mar 9th, 2016 • 34:43
Eureka Springs, Arkansas is home to a beautiful Victorian hotel with a long and winding history. A colorful part of that history involves a man who claimed that doctors couldn't be trusted, and that he had the cure for cancer.
Mar 7th, 2016 • 32:24
Hildegard was a Christian mystic of medieval Europe who was way, way ahead of her time. If she had lived a few hundred years later, and been male, people probably would have called her a renaissance man.
Mar 2nd, 2016 • 34:13
When Hansen’s disease, was introduced to Hawaii, businessmen, especially from the U.S., were having an increasing influence on the Hawaiian government. That influence directly affected how Hawaii handled the disease.
Feb 29th, 2016 • 35:42
Language is alive. It shifts and changes; pronunciations and spellings morph throughout time. English is no exception.
Feb 24th, 2016 • 31:06
After the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, the punishment that Japanese forces doled out in China for their part in helping the U.S. was brutal and devastating. From terror occupations to biological warfare, many of China's towns were systematically destroyed.
Feb 22nd, 2016 • 35:24
It's now a childhood classic, but the modern Crayola crayon has roots in the same company where carbon black was made for car tires at the turn of the 20th century. But people were creating art with colored implements before Binney and Smith made theirs.
Feb 17th, 2016 • 36:08
After his daring and impressive escape from slavery, Smalls was considered to be contraband, which was a term used for formerly enslaved people who joined the Union. But this was just the beginning of an impressive career as a free man.
Feb 15th, 2016 • 32:42
Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1839. He escaped from enslavement during the U.S. Civil War, in a particularly dramatic fashion.
Feb 10th, 2016 • 33:10
The Doolittle Raid was an attack on Japan launched by the U.S. in retaliation for Pearl Harbor. But the leader of the mission was a legend long before his daring efforts in WWII.
Feb 8th, 2016 • 40:15
While Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding the deceased body of Christ is the most famous depiction of that moment in art, that scene has been the focus of many works. And once, the famous version took a trip across the ocean.
Feb 3rd, 2016 • 38:23
On May 30, 1948, a flood destroyed Vanport, Oregon. What really makes the story more than a historical footnote is how it tied in to the racial makeup of both Portland and Oregon at the time.
Feb 1st, 2016 • 35:02
In early modern London, there was a tradition of sorts where apprentices would amass on holidays and physically destroy brothels. One of the largest such riot took place during Easter week in 1668, and it was a complicated event.
Jan 27th, 2016 • 32:52
Queen Victoria reigned for more than six decades, but her early years as ruler were peppered with a number of disastrous missteps. By participating in a horrible rumor campaign about her mother’s lady-in-waiting, she ended up damaging her own reputation.
Jan 25th, 2016 • 37:37
the Honey War wasn't really about honey. It was a dispute over state lines. There are some bee trees in the mix, as well as some truly sub-par surveying work. It’s a story full of silliness, pride, and bureaucracy.
Jan 20th, 2016 • 36:52
One of the worst mining tragedies in history, the explosion that sent fire through the Courrières mine tunnels claimed more than a thousand lives. It also created awareness of dangerous issues in mines that hadn't received much focus up to that point.
Jan 18th, 2016 • 39:38
In 1888, a blizzard so sudden and severe hit the American Midwest and claimed the lives of hundreds, some of whom died just outside the safety of shelter. Weather prediction of the fast-moving storm simply didn't reach people in time to prepare them.
Jan 13th, 2016 • 37:47
The second part of our episode on the Australian diva focuses on her career in the early 1900s, her charity work and her belief that singers had to work -- and work hard -- to be constantly perfecting their technique.
Jan 11th, 2016 • 29:00
Born Helen Porter Mitchell in Melbourne, Australia in 1861, Nellie Melba would rise to fame as a singer. Her life was everything you'd expect from a diva: foods named for her, command performances and a scandalous royal affair.
Jan 6th, 2016 • 50:33
April has two books out about fashion history, one featuring historical fashion plates, and another on the pochoir technique used to create fashion illustrations in the early 20th century.
Jan 4th, 2016 • 42:10
More of the 2015 news items of historical significance! The second part of this topic includes firearms, letters, blackboards, sculpture and of course, mass graves and exhumations.
Dec 30th, 2015 • 42:06
As has become an annual tradition on the show, we’re capping off 2015 slash starting 2016 with a roundup of things that have been unearthed, either figuratively or literally, over the year.
Dec 28th, 2015 • 40:41
Resistance to excise taxes levied against U.S. whiskey distilleries in the 1790s led to violence and rebellion. Tensions finally came to a head on Christmas day in 1794.
Dec 23rd, 2015 • 36:32
In addition to the characters we talked about on our last episode, there are even more colorful holiday traditions that may be a bit surprising to people who didn't grow up with them. That includes the ogress of Iceland and the Catalan pooping log.
Dec 21st, 2015 • 44:49
Krampus has become really popular in recent years, but there are many holiday characters from various cultures around the world that all have fascinating histories. For example, Italy's La Befana and the Netherlands version of St. Nick, Sinterklaas.
Dec 16th, 2015 • 36:08
The Sodder family's West Virginia home caught fire on Christmas Eve, 1945. Five of the children were never seen again, though their bodies weren’t recovered from the rubble.
Dec 14th, 2015 • 44:09
We often get episode requests, but because there are so many episodes in the back catalog, some of the most common requests have already been covered. So in today’s podcast we’re going to hit the highlights on the episodes people ask for again and again.
Dec 9th, 2015 • 38:05
Katherine McCormick made her mark in two different areas: She was a big part of the movement for women’s suffrage in the U.S. And, she was a huge — and for a while, almost entirely forgotten — part of the development of oral contraceptives.
Dec 7th, 2015 • 51:05
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met in London in 1840 and bonded instantly over a shared anger at injustices against women. Their friendship led to the creation the Women's Rights Convention in 1848, and the signing of a pivotal document.
Dec 2nd, 2015 • 35:06
Humans have always longed to explore underwater, but the need to breathe air has been an obstacle. From as far back as the 4th century B.C.E., clever inventors have been designing technology to give us face time with the creatures of the sea.
Nov 30th, 2015 • 34:56
One of the most infamous aspects of World War I was its long, brutal stalemate along the enormous system of trenches known as the Western Front. The powers involved all expected the war to be over quickly, but it reached an impasse almost immediately.
Nov 25th, 2015 • 36:42
Sophia Duleep Singh's education was focused on turning her into a proper lady, in line with her status as a princess. But she also became deeply involved in the Women's Social and Political Union, a radical arm of the women's suffrage movement in Britain.
Nov 23rd, 2015 • 32:31
A princess of the Sikh empire, Sophia Duleep Singh grew up in Great Britain, and was Queen Victoria's god daughter. But her childhood was not exactly a charmed one, and her family, caught between two worlds, experienced great upheaval and tragedy.
Nov 18th, 2015 • 33:52
In 1791, a confederation of Native American tribes destroyed about half of the American army. The catalyst for that conflict was a lengthy period in which unfair treaties, biased against native peoples, were all too common.
Nov 16th, 2015 • 34:23
In 1932, a speakeasy owner and several friends planned to commit a murder to cash in fraudulent insurance policies. But carrying out their plot was much more difficult than they anticipated.
Nov 11th, 2015 • 44:33
Part two of our live show is the Q&A portion of the evening. Our audience asked such amazing and insightful questions that it resulted in some great discussion about assassinations.
Nov 9th, 2015 • 49:13
In October, we went to New York Super Week for our first live show! Joining us was author Bryan Young, who wrote a book about presidential assassinations (and attempts) ... for children. It's just as delightful as you think it is.
Nov 4th, 2015 • 45:00
You may know the apple/gravity story, but Isaac Newton's life was so much more than that. Not only did he contribute huge concepts to physics, mathematics and astronomy, he also busted counterfeiters.
Nov 2nd, 2015 • 33:35
In WWI, a black U.S. Army unit became one of the most decorated of the war. When these soldiers returned home, they were greeted as heroes, but were still targets of segregation, discrimination and oppression.
Oct 28th, 2015 • 30:23
Sixteenth-century France had a serious case of werewolf panic. Did Garnier really transform into lupine form and attack and eat humans? Or were the gruesome deaths of several children merely the work of wild animals?
Oct 26th, 2015 • 34:50
People have fermented foods to make alcohol for much of human history. For this episode, when we refer to “moonshine,” we’re talking specifically about illegal liquor North America.
Oct 21st, 2015 • 39:54
Two troubling tales from the 1920s share the stage in this episode. First, newlyweds that vanished on what would have been a historic boating trip. Second, a family murdered by someone who may have been hiding in their house for weeks or months.
Oct 19th, 2015 • 58:40
To celebrate the Halloween season with a little Disney flair, Holly chatted with the author of "The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic" about the beloved theme park attraction and balancing history and innovation.
Oct 14th, 2015 • 40:35
Hazzard had no medical training but called herself a doctor. Her patients often signed over all their money to her, gave her their jewelry, and made her their legal guardian, even as she starved them to death in a “sanitarium” in rural Washington.
Oct 12th, 2015 • 39:51
Christopher Lee wasn’t just a film star – he was, by any account, an amazing man. He spoke multiple languages, was an incredible singer and had fantastic fencing skills. He also had ties to many important historical events and people.
Oct 7th, 2015 • 33:32
Part two of this discussion of redlining explores the language that assessors used when making color-coded maps of neighborhoods in segregated cities. These maps were used to determine whether mortgage lending in those neighborhoods was desirable
Oct 5th, 2015 • 32:41
Redlining is a word used to describe a lot of different patterns of economic discrimination. But during the Great Depression, real estate-related discrimination included systemized grading of neighborhoods based on the races that lived there.
Sep 30th, 2015 • 59:10
Jason Merrill of Blackbird Finery joins Holly in the studio to talk about adopting the styles and accessories of yesteryear into modern wardrobes.
Sep 28th, 2015 • 35:25
Macario Garcia was a Mexican-born soldier who served in the U.S. military in WWII, earning a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. But after his homecoming as a hero, he was involved in an incident which launched a debate about racial discrimination.
Sep 23rd, 2015 • 54:48
Author Rinker Buck's new book details the trip he and his brother Nick made along the Oregon Trail. Holly chatted with Buck about his journey, his writing and his love of history.
Sep 21st, 2015 • 40:41
Franz Liszt was a pianist, a composer and a conductor, and 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 strings) to carry with them.
Sep 16th, 2015 • 41:24
These are six (more) subjects frequently requested by listeners, but that aren't really workable as stand-alone episodes for one reason or another. From Sybil Ludington to Elizabeth Bathory, you'll get a little about each of these six popular topics.
Sep 14th, 2015 • 36:28
In 1756, after a skirmish between the British East India Company and the nawab of Bengal, dozens of captives were put into a holding cell intended for only a few people overnight. Most of them didn't make it out alive.
Sep 9th, 2015 • 50:26
It's easy to think of globalization as a new invention, but it really has its roots in the 16th century. Museum of Fine Arts Boston curator Dennis Carr talks to us about Asian influences on art in the colonial Americas thanks to this global trade.
Sep 7th, 2015 • 35:23
In the early 20th century in Germany, Emmy Noether pursued a career in mathematics, despite many obstacles in her path. She became one of the most respected members of her field, and developed mathematical theory that's still important today.
Sep 2nd, 2015 • 34:07
We love to talk about shipwrecks, but Violet Jessop was a shipwreck survivor -- several times over. She traveled the world aboard some of the most famous ocean liners of all time.
Aug 31st, 2015 • 31:27
In fall of 1778, British forces shifted their efforts in the American Revolutionary War to the southern states. Major General Nathaniel Greene and his troops went up against Charles Cornwallis in a battle that was won on a technicality.
Aug 26th, 2015 • 32:59
When a French pastry chef complained to King Louis-Phillippe that his shop in Mexico was destroyed in a riot, it catalyzed a conflict between the two nations. But the military action of the Pastry War was really about a trade agreements and unpaid debts.
Aug 24th, 2015 • 36:38
There was a time when Popsicle and Good Humor couldn’t stop suing one another about frozen treats on sticks. Many legal battles were fought over milk fat, the shapes of the desserts and the definition of the word "sherbet."
Aug 19th, 2015 • 46:57
As Carstair's speedboat racing career faltered, the heiress traveled the world and found other diversions, until she decided to purchase an island in the Bahamas. Then she turned Whale Cay into a kingdom of her own design.
Aug 17th, 2015 • 38:00
Marion Carstairs, who preferred the name Joe, was an early 20th-century heiress who bucked traditional gender roles and for a time, hid her wealth from even her closest friends. She also became a very successful speadboat racer.
Aug 12th, 2015 • 50:29
During the Cold War, the CIA and KGB were in a constant game of cat and mouse to steal each other's secrets. David E. Hoffman talks with us about the work of one incredibly important spy, who is the subject of his latest book.
Aug 10th, 2015 • 32:14
In 1918, a U.S. Navy collier vanished without a trace after leaving Barbados. The ultimate fate of the Cyclops remains a mystery almost 100 years later, but there are certainly plenty of theories about what happened.
Aug 5th, 2015 • 30:30
The kingdom of Dahomey may have had the world’s first full-time, all-female combat fighting force. How did these women rise to become some of history’s fiercest warriors, and what happened to them?
Aug 3rd, 2015 • 37:25
Like other artifacts that defy deciphering, this clay disk, found on Crete in the early 1900s, has puzzled researchers and stirred up controversy for decades. Is it a religious incantation, a calendar, a spell? Or is it all a pictogram hoax?
Jul 29th, 2015 • 46:09
In the mid-1800s, Mary Ann Cotton is believed to have poisoned as many as 21 people with arsenic, many of them her own children. She left a trail of bodies behind her everywhere she went, but it was her cavalier remarks that finally drew suspicion.
Jul 27th, 2015 • 33:23
Calamity Jane is one of those historical figures whose reputation has in many ways eclipsed the real story. But she was, without a doubt, a unique character who in many ways lived outside the social norms of her time.
Jul 22nd, 2015 • 38:23
The Royal Palaces of Abomey are a series of earthen palaces in what is now Benin. The complex is culturally and historically important to West Africa, but the source of much of the wealth that built those palaces was the Atlantic slave trade.
Jul 20th, 2015 • 30:45
Diogenes of Sinope lived was the father of the Cynicism school of philosophy. He was also an incredibly eccentric figure who spoke out against pretense, and he used humor to convey his ideals.
Jul 15th, 2015 • 37:02
In the 1888, Cecil Rhodes and John Smith Moffat duped the king of the Ndebele people into a treaty which led to the expansion of British territory in Africa. From then until the late 1900s, Rhodesia was governed by a white minority.
Jul 13th, 2015 • 44:51
Peanut butter got its name in the 18th century, but it's been around in some form for hundreds and hundreds of years. The more modern history of the spread features changes to the recipe and even a little litigation with the FDA.
Jul 8th, 2015 • 31:43
In the 19th and 20th centuries, 150,000 child migrants were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Rhodesia. Many of these children ended up in far worse conditions than they left behind.
Jul 6th, 2015 • 36:35
When babies are born, one of the tools doctors use to measure whether they’re thriving on their own is the Apgar score. Dr. Virginia Apgar broke new ground in the fields of obstetrics and anesthesiology in the middle of the 20th century.
Jul 1st, 2015 • 33:19
The deceptively simple harmonica has roots as far back as ancient China, though it really came into its own in Europe in the 1800s.
Jun 29th, 2015 • 39:24
In 1851, Olive Oatman's family was attacked while traveling near the Gila River in Arizona. Olive was taken by her attackers, and lived for five years with Native Americans before being ransomed by the U.S. government.
Jun 24th, 2015 • 56:49
Holly chats with archaeologists Patricia Capone and Diana Loren about Harvard’s Indian College, the school’s importance to Colonial history and the ongoing archaeology of Harvard Yard.
Jun 22nd, 2015 • 34:20
In the 1920s, the Society for Human Rights was founded in Chicago with the intent to decriminalize homosexuality. The society's founder was inspired by Germany's homosexual emancipation movement.
Jun 17th, 2015 • 33:07
In 1966, a restaurant in San Francisco's Tenderloin district was the site of a violent incident in LGBT history. After the riot, a grassroots effort grew to improve relationships between police and Tenderloin's transgender commnity.
Jun 15th, 2015 • 37:48
Hokusai lived during a time when there was not a lot of contact between Japan and the West. But even so, he drew some influence form Western art, and Western art was greatly influenced by his own work.
Jun 10th, 2015 • 50:23
Tracy and Holly talk with fellow podcaster Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace about his research and writing process. You'll also get to listen to two of Nate's episodes along the way!
Jun 8th, 2015 • 34:17
Much like many of the other mad royals that have been discussed on the podcast through the years, Charles IX of France was prone to fits of rage so intense that people at court feared for their lives.
Jun 3rd, 2015 • 31:18
Once the effort to import hippos to the U.S. got the backing of a politician, two men with wild and intertwined histories, Frederick Russel Burnham and Fritz Duquesne, were brought on board to serve as experts and advocates.
Jun 1st, 2015 • 30:48
In 1910, the U.S. had a meat shortage and a water hyacinth overgrowth problem. The obvious solution to the double dilemma: Import hippos from Africa.
May 27th, 2015 • 48:03
Dr. Elizabeth P. Archibald of Ask the Past has delved deep into old manuscripts to find pertinent and impertinent advice from the past. In this interview, she discusses the history of how-tos and her new book.
May 25th, 2015 • 36:48
People feel very strongly about time capsules, even though the contents are often a little underwhelming. What actually qualifies as a time capsule, and what are some of the most notable ones?
May 20th, 2015 • 37:10
Once Manning became a professional dancer and choreographer, his work took him all over the world. After WWII derailed his swing dancing, he had a hard time returning to a world where musical tastes had changed.
May 18th, 2015 • 29:13
Frankie Manning grew up loving dance, learning and practicing in ballrooms and private parties in New York. His innovations in creating new moves for the Lindy hop led him from dancing as a hobby to a career as a performer.
May 13th, 2015 • 51:35
David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, talks about his research and discoveries about the Wright brothers, their extreme determination, their family, and the many, many people who played parts in their great success as innovators.
May 11th, 2015 • 32:18
Until the 1830s, the dominant industry on St. Kitts was sugar, and the majority of the people living there were enslaved Africans who kept that industry going. When the act that was supposed to free them fell short of doing so, the slaves rebelled.
May 6th, 2015 • 32:59
The famed Battle of the Alamo was toward the end of the Texas Revolution — a sort of pivot just before the last battle. But at the revolution’s beginning, the siege of Béxar played out in almost the opposite way.
May 4th, 2015 • 39:22
The eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt was a firebrand who never shied away from the public eye. She was nicknamed “the Second Washington Monument” because of her social power, which she parlayed into political influence.
Apr 29th, 2015 • 36:27
Louisa was not the only notable Alcott. Her father, Bronson Alcott, made a name for himself as a philosopher and a teacher. And her youngest sister, May Alcott, was an artist, who was really growing in prominence when she died at a sadly early age.
Apr 27th, 2015 • 36:42
Once you examine Louisa May Alcott's life story, the inspirations for her writing become clear. Her parents were idealists who struggled to make ends meet, but above all, they prioritized their family.
Apr 22nd, 2015 • 40:23
In the late 1800s, seven sisters with musical talent and incredibly long hair made waves in the circus and on the stage. They made millions as performers and haircare product moguls, but their personal lives were plagued with eccentricity.
Apr 20th, 2015 • 28:51
It was half performance for the British troops, and half actual sham, and it led to an attack on Dover by the Pennacook tribe in 1689.
Apr 15th, 2015 • 47:52
Andrée hoped to succeed in reaching the North Pole where others had failed by doing it by air. With a seemingly endless positivity, he and two other men hoped to earn bragging rights for Sweden by reaching the pole.
Apr 13th, 2015 • 29:10
Saponification is the process of turning to soap, and in certain conditions, cadavers do it. The Soap Lady is one of the most famous cases of an adipocere-covered corpse, but there are many like her.
Apr 8th, 2015 • 35:19
The second half of our interview with Dr. Annie Polland from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum focuses on specific figures in the building's history and ongoing research and expansion projects.
Apr 6th, 2015 • 39:47
The U.S. is, at its heart, a nation of immigrants. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum works to preserve the history of many famillies who left their home countries to start lives in New York.
Apr 1st, 2015 • 36:29
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?
Mar 30th, 2015 • 32:49
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, lunar beavers and even bat people.
Mar 25th, 2015 • 34:43
Until 1975, children with disabilities in the U.S. weren’t guaranteed the right to a public education. The ruling in Brown v. Board sparked a series of cases related to children who had been segregated or restricted from schools based on disabilities.
Mar 23rd, 2015 • 34:29
Carousels are part of childhood, but they were originally billed as an entertainment for adults and children alike. And even further back than that, it's believed that they were used to train horsemen.
Mar 18th, 2015 • 35:04
Dr. Peters helped revolutionize the treatment of both breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But, at the time, her work was largely dismissed.
Mar 16th, 2015 • 32:59
The pyramids at Giza are iconic Egyptian landmarks, but they weren't the first to appear. Djoser and his vizier Imhotep are credited with starting the pyramid trend.
Mar 11th, 2015 • 33:03
In 1944, one of the most disastrous fires in U.S. history broke out during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance. Dozens of lives were lost and hundreds of people were injured as the largest big top in the country was consumed by flames.
Mar 9th, 2015 • 35:30
The Night Witches were an all-female bombing regiment in the Soviet Air Force. Flying biplanes meant for dusting crops and training new recruits, they dropped 23,000 tons of bombs on German forces in WWII.
Mar 4th, 2015 • 37:17
She's often called the greatest female painter of the Baroque period, though there were only a few to compare her to. Her work is extraordinary, and reflects the influences of her father Orazio Gentileschi and Caravaggio.
Mar 2nd, 2015 • 34:17
This massive medieval manuscript, nicknamed “The Devil’s Bible,” contains multiple lengthy entries, a few shorter pieces, and several illustrations. Written by a single scribe, the Codex Gigas is often sensationalized in stories about its creation.
Feb 25th, 2015 • 37:33
Though the Brown v. Board ruling overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, it didn't suddenly solve the segregation problem and end racism in the United States.
Feb 23rd, 2015 • 37:41
It would be next to impossible to have ever had a class on American history or the American Civil Rights Movement and not heard about Brown v. Board. But the case is much more complicated than just one child in one segregated school system.
Feb 18th, 2015 • 31:49
Dr. Leo Baekeland, the inventor of the first synthetic plastic, was a wealthy man at a young age thanks to his innovation in photograph developing. But it was his work with phenol and formaldehyde that would help usher in the age of plastics.
Feb 16th, 2015 • 30:46
The ruling in this infamous Supreme Court case stated that segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities were equal. But most people are more familiar with the name of the case than with the actual events that transpired around it.
Feb 11th, 2015 • 31:43
Once several cases of narcolepsy were documented in the late 1880s, study of the condition became more common. But it was well into the 20th century before sleep scientists really began to unlock some of the secrets of narcolepsy.
Feb 9th, 2015 • 34:59
People were experiencing sleep disorders long before they were studied to the degree they are now. The first European account of narcolepsy appeared in the 1600s, but it would be well into the 19th century before the condition was researched.
Feb 4th, 2015 • 36:19
A handful of our most-requested podcast topics that don't have enough solid research for a whole show: Stagecoach Mary, Edward Mordrake, Robert the Haunted Doll, the London Beer Flood, the Lost Army of Cambyses and La Maupin all get time in the spotlight.
Feb 2nd, 2015 • 33:11
An international jailbreak! In the 1860s, a crew from the United States mounted a mission to Western Australia to rescue imprisoned members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who had been imprisoned by Great Britain.
Jan 28th, 2015 • 39:01
During WWII, the U.S. Army formed a top-secret military unit with one goal: Use artistic and theatrical skills to confuse the enemy. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops turned their creativity into incredible strategic trickery.
Jan 26th, 2015 • 38:20
From an early age, Katie Sandwina wowed crowds, 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 of a perfectly feminine powerhouse.
Jan 21st, 2015 • 38:52
"Once Gaudi's work was displayed at the 1878 Paris World's Fair, his career took off. Through his connections to industrialist Eusebi Güell and architect Joan Martorell, Gaudi was given opportunities to work on impressive projects that are now his legacy."
Jan 19th, 2015 • 27:12
You probably know Gaudi’s work, even if you don’t recognize his name. His distinctive architecture is featured throughout Barcelona. But his life started humbly, as the son of a Reus coppersmith.
Jan 14th, 2015 • 41:43
Despite all the fun cartoons on the packaging featuring tiny humanoid sea creatures having wacky fun and wearing clothes, Sea Monkeys are just brine shrimp. But the story of Sea Monkeys and their inventor is actually pretty surprising -- and quite dark.
Jan 12th, 2015 • 37:07
In 1816, a volcano eruption in Sumbawa, Indonesia, along with several other factors, created an unusual -- and catastrophic -- series of weather events.
Jan 7th, 2015 • 33:59
More of the 2014 history news roundup! This time out: We’ve got several assorted things that didn’t really fit any other category, followed by medical unearthings, food and drinks, literature and letters, and, everyone’s favorite category, EXHUMATIONS.
Jan 5th, 2015 • 38:35
It’s time to look at some of the stuff that was literally or figuratively dug up in 2014. This episode includes: connections to past episodes, some extreme serendipity, shipwrecks, a couple of Holocaust-related unearthings, and lots of Oldest Things Ever.
Dec 31st, 2014 • 31:20
When news about new findings at the Stonehenge site broke late in 2014, it seemed like time to update the original Stonhenge episode. But then it turned out, there wasn't an existing episode about this famous ruin.
Dec 29th, 2014 • 30:45
On September 1, 2014, a team of searchers discovered artifacts from the Franklin Expedition. Over the course of seven dives, additional artifacts from the Erebus were recovered.
Dec 24th, 2014 • 36:19
In 1826, liquor was forbidden at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Cadets smuggled alcohol into the barracks anyway, and a defiant Christmas party turned into a riot when two officers attempted to break up the festivities.
Dec 22nd, 2014 • 30:00
It’s a Christmas episode, a shipwreck and a ghost story rolled into one! It’s the story of the the Rouse Simmons, which sank in Lake Michigan while hauling a load of Christmas trees to Chicago.
Dec 17th, 2014 • 40:35
In 1925, a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska put a community in grave danger -- without the proper supplies to fight the disease. A daring sled-dog relay was mounted to deliver needed medicine to small community and their only doctor.
Dec 15th, 2014 • 33:21
For most of India’s recorded history, salt has been both abundant and subject to taxation. This continued to be the case after the British East India Company’s arrival in India, and eventually led to the cultivation of a hedge to prevent salt smuggling.
Dec 10th, 2014 • 30:50
The story of the Ninth Legion is a favorite among history fans who love a good mystery. But is there really any mystery here, or is the story of their fate more mundane?
Dec 8th, 2014 • 35:01
In 1903, Chicago’s newly-opened Iroquois Theater burned, killing at least 600 people. The horrible, incredibly tragic incident was the result of multiple code violations and wrongdoings.
Dec 3rd, 2014 • 34:23
This episode picks up in the middle of Hudson's thrid voyage, as the Half Moon is making its way down North America's east coast. As Hudson doggedly pursues the idea of a northern sea route from Europe to Asia, he makes a number of poor decisions.
Dec 1st, 2014 • 31:02
Henry Hudson's voyages have all the makings of a juicy episode: maritime exploration, horrible treatment of indigenous peoples, treacherous waters, treacherous shipmen, a mercenary switch in loyalties to countries, mutiny -- even a mermaid sighting.
Nov 26th, 2014 • 41:18
1920, the S-5 left the Boston Navy Yard on its first mission, with a crew of 36 officers and enlisted men. While performing a crash dive as part of a performance evaluation, the crew found themselves on a sinking vessel.
Nov 24th, 2014 • 46:41
Jules Verreaux and his two brothers collected an impressive array of flora and fauna specimens from around the world for placement with museums and collectors. They also did some really unsavory things that had long-term ramifications.
Nov 19th, 2014 • 44:22
Aimee Semple McPherson was an extraordinary figure in the early 20th-century religious landscape. As an evangelist, she rose to incredible popularity in the 1920s … and then vanished.
Nov 17th, 2014 • 33:48
Poverty Point is a collection of earthwork mounds and ridges situated next to Bayou Maçon in Louisiana. It has features that make it unique among Native American sites, and there are still many questions surrounding its purpose and construction.
Nov 12th, 2014 • 41:03
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 as we know it today.
Nov 10th, 2014 • 37:57
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and Isabella, queen of Castile expelled the Jews from Spain. The reasoning for this move hasn't even been entirely clear.
Nov 5th, 2014 • 36:03
Reed did truly groundbreaking work into the causes and prevention of yellow fever, building on a foundation of other doctors and researchers. His work impacted public health and the American military’s ability to work in tropical locations.
Nov 3rd, 2014 • 33:42
This Native American dancer was the first grand ballerina of the United States. Through her partnership with famed choreographer George Balanchine, she helped shape ballet in America and served as an inspiration for artists from all backgrounds.
Oct 29th, 2014 • 40:30
Candy and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but when did candy become the standard for trick-or-treating, and who invented the holiday's most famous sweet treats like candy corn?
Oct 27th, 2014 • 48:59
In 1912, a small Iowa town was the scene of a chilling and brutal crime. Eight people were murdered in their beds by an assailant who has never been identified.
Oct 22nd, 2014 • 39:31
Attacks on women and children of Gevaudan in the 1760s sparked a huge effort to hunt and kill the mystery beast behind them. While efforts to track the animal struggled, France was gripped in terror.
Oct 20th, 2014 • 44:38
Christina was a smart, learned woman, but not a particularly good ruler. Her entire life was marked by being kind of a contradictory, restless character – starting basically from the moment she was born.
Oct 15th, 2014 • 35:54
While his name instantly conjures an image of the dashing, sophisticated vampire that helped spark an entire horror film genre, Lugosi really lost more than he gained from playing the role.
Oct 13th, 2014 • 31:30
While he’s mostly associated with the role of Dracula, Bela Lugosi's early life was significantly affected by WWI, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the transition from silent film to talkies.
Oct 8th, 2014 • 38:54
Transgender activist Sylvia Rivera is often compared to Rosa Parks. She became famous, in part, for participating in the Stonewall Riots, and she spent her life campaigning bravely, stridently and vocally for the rights of gay and transgender people.
Oct 6th, 2014 • 45:20
In 1959, nine students ventured into the Ural mountains for a ski hiking trip, and never returned. While much speculation has swirled for more than half a century, no one knows for certain what caused them to abandon their camp to die in the cold.
Oct 1st, 2014 • 27:19
Allen's later years were marred by some unwise political alliances he made in his effort to gain independence for Vermont. After his political work cooled, he turned instead to writing, though he wasn't a hugely popular author.
Sep 29th, 2014 • 30:11
Ethan Allen was a huge personality, a founder of Vermont, and an important figure in the Revolutionary War. His story also includes some fascinating side-notes, and some missteps which may account for his hazy spot in historical lore.
Sep 24th, 2014 • 36:23
This famous Hormel Foods product was invented in the 1930s to make use of a surplus of shoulder meat from pigs. Not only was it an instant hit in the U.S., it also played a huge role in WWII and shaped the cuisines of many Pacific Island nations.
Sep 22nd, 2014 • 42:35
Great Britain didn't only send criminals to Australia as punishment; they also wanted to colonize the continent. But to do that, they had to send women in addition to men. This plan involved some unsettling facts, and had some unexpected consequences.
Sep 17th, 2014 • 31:58
In 1969, the tone and direction of the Cultural Revolution shifted dramatically. For the next seven years, until Mao Zedong's death, he tried to remake the government, and the country, after his own vision.
Sep 15th, 2014 • 30:00
Mao’s plan to once again put China on the path to modernization was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966. The first phase was a very aggressive, radical series of purges and arrests that went from 1966 to 1968.
Sep 10th, 2014 • 36:25
Fritz Zwicky is often described as a genius, but also as a caustic figure. His insights into astrophysics are downright baffling, but his prickly interactions with peers were problematic to his career and his place in history.
Sep 8th, 2014 • 38:49
In the wake of the Great Leap Forward, issues with supply and demand, variables of weather and labor and a series of poor decisions resulted in a devastating famine. For three years, China struggled, far removed from the utopia Mao had envisioned.
Sep 3rd, 2014 • 33:08
British Royal Navy lieutenant and artist Norman Wilkinson is usually credited with the idea of disruptive camouflage. But, another man, naturalist John Graham Kerr, claimed that he had the idea three years earlier.
Sep 1st, 2014 • 31:00
In the mid-20th century, Chairman Mao Zedong launched an ambitious plan to revolutionize Chinese agriculture and industry, build up the economy and turn China into a communist utopia.
Aug 27th, 2014 • 36:38
She was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., skilled when it came to amassing wealth. But her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a less-than-flaterring nickname.
Aug 25th, 2014 • 33:56
The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their newfound religion.
Aug 20th, 2014 • 40:21
As the second part of the story picks up, James Andrews and 22 men have commandeered a northbound train in Big Shanty, Georgia. Its conductor, William Fuller, has begun chasing them on foot with two other men in a valiant effort to thwart their plot.
Aug 18th, 2014 • 27:14
The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring – but very failed – plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southeastern U.S.
Aug 13th, 2014 • 37:46
People have known how to find their north-south position even before we had the idea of “latitude."" But once people lost sight of land, they didn’t have reliable way of figuring out how far east or west they’d gone – how to measure their longitude.
Aug 11th, 2014 • 33:10
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy’s crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub.
Aug 6th, 2014 • 31:38
He's most famous for selling an iconic structure he didn't own, but Robert Miller, known better by his alias Count Victor Lustig, led a life of spectacular cons, daring escapes, smooth talking and counterfeiting.
Aug 4th, 2014 • 31:59
Pigments and dyes have come from all manner of animals, vegetables and minerals. From ochre to cochineal red to the rarest of purples, color has been an important part of human life for centuries.
Jul 30th, 2014 • 29:54
In the mid-20th century, one ad company had a wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. How did they manage it? And was the land worth anything?
Jul 28th, 2014 • 36:37
“Black Wall Street” was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in a race riot in 1921. And while Greenwood’s destruction was definitely the product of racial tensions, the event was much more one-sided.
Jul 23rd, 2014 • 32:55
In 1921, coal miners fed up with unfair labor practices and exploitation took up arms against their employers. The resulting conflict lasted five days and has been called the biggest armed uprising on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
Jul 21st, 2014 • 34:12
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 New France in the 1600s. How did this play out?
Jul 16th, 2014 • 33:05
In the late 1700s, medical colleges needed cadavers for educational dissection, but there were no legal means for obtaining them. This led to some unorthodox dealings in the acquiring of bodies, and brought New York to a fever pitch in 1788.
Jul 14th, 2014 • 36:12
Makeup 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 unintended side effects.
Jul 9th, 2014 • 37:58
The Battle of Mons was one of World War I’s earliest battles. In the months after the battle, stories spread that a supernatural presence had covered the British army, preventing it from being destroyed.
Jul 7th, 2014 • 34:49
The Ottoman Empire’s Suleiman the Magnificent was a head of state, a poet, a reformer of the military and a goldsmith. His reign had a significant impact on the law, literature and art of the Ottoman Empire.
Jul 2nd, 2014 • 23:43
London is no stranger to smog, which is why when the Great London Smog descended in December of 1952, nobody quite realized anything unusual was going on. At its largest, it extended 30 kilometers around London, and it killed thousands of people.
Jun 30th, 2014 • 33:42
Herschel 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 dedication to her work.
Jun 25th, 2014 • 33:36
The Asante-British war of 1900 capped about 100 years of war between Great Britain and the Asante Empire, which occupied part of what is now Ghana.
Jun 23rd, 2014 • 33:14
On Sept. 19, 1356, one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years War took place in France. It was the first major battle after almost a decade of relative quiet, and it stacked a small English army against a French military three times its size.
Jun 18th, 2014 • 36:46
Edna St. Vincent Millay was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was one of the Guggenheim Foundation’s judges for its poetry fellowships. And she managed to make a great deal of money as a poet in the middle of the Great Depression.
Jun 16th, 2014 • 37:17
Known as Vincent to family and friends, Edna St. Vincent Millay grew up poor, caring for the household and her sisters while her mother worked. From an early age, she showed incredible talent and sowed the seeds of a life of passion and impressive poetry.
Jun 11th, 2014 • 29:07
Because the Sultana sank the day after John Wilkes Booth was captured and killed for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, it didn't make headline news. But it's considered the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.
Jun 9th, 2014 • 43:12
In the 1930s a New York socialite had a dream. She wanted to be the first person to capture a panda from Asia and return to the western world with it. Her quest had a significant impact on the way the Western world viewed wild animals.
Jun 4th, 2014 • 36:55
This document -- a treaty between the British the Maori -- established New Zealand as a nation. The spirit of the agreement was to see to the best interests of both the Maori and the Crown, but a hurried translation of the document led to some confusion.
Jun 2nd, 2014 • 33:33
Sept. 1, 1923 changed Japan forever when a devastating earthquake obliterated Yokohama and much of Tokyo, killing more than 140,000.
May 28th, 2014 • 37:32
This episode breaks the rule of thumb about covering fairly recent history. In 1988, the appointment of a hearing president at Gallaudet University sparked a protest that changed the course of both the school and deaf culture in America.
May 26th, 2014 • 34:01
In 1883, a mysterious beast was spotted in Arizona and trampled a woman. First described a a demon, the creature turned out to be a camel. But what was it doing in the American Southwest in the first place?
May 21st, 2014 • 29:38
Joseph Oller was an entrepreneur with an incredible head for business. He revolutionized gambling practices as a young man, and also opened the most famous burlesque house of all time -- The Moulin Rouge.
May 19th, 2014 • 38:18
Between 1854 and 1929, about 250,000 children were taken to new families by train. Except … they weren’t called “orphan trains” at the time, the children weren’t all orphans, and “family” didn’t always factor into it.
May 14th, 2014 • 34:01
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. Her most notable contribution to the field came in the form of tiny homicide dioramas.
May 12th, 2014 • 41:33
The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed somewhere between 20 million and 50 million people, started just as World War I was winding down. Nobody cured it, or really successfully treated it. A fifth of the people in the world got the flu during the pandemic.
May 7th, 2014 • 32:56
Our ongoing update series covers a more recent topic: Even though our Voynich Manuscript episode was just a little more than a year ago, the inscrutable book has been in the news a lot since. What are the latest theories?
May 5th, 2014 • 28:00
Since the 2009 episode on Blackbeard, a lot of new information has come to light about the life of the infamous pirate. We'll catch you up on the latest, then listen to the original episode for review.
Apr 30th, 2014 • 31:01
Just about a year ago, the FBI informed the press about new developments in the case of the massive art theft in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that took place on March 18, 1990. We'll cover the updates, then hear the original episode on the theft.
Apr 28th, 2014 • 30:03
Algebra doesn’t have one single origin point -- it developed over time and in multiple places, with many mathematicians contributing. One of those contributors was an 8th-century scholar from Baghdad named Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.
Apr 23rd, 2014 • 27:29
While most of the survivors of the Batavia were scattered on a few tiny islands off the coast of Australia, a small group went all the way to Indonesia to get help.Meanwhile, a gruesome scenario was playing out among those they left behind.
Apr 21st, 2014 • 33:43
The story of the Batavia is a perfect storm of nautical carnage: There's a shipwreck, a mutiny and a massacre. This first of two parts deals with the the first part of the voyage, the shipwreck and the rescue mission.
Apr 16th, 2014 • 36:04
It was the biggest shipping disaster in Cayman Islands history -- 10 ships went down together one night in 1794. Why would so many ships be traveling so closely to one another, and how did they all end up in peril?
Apr 14th, 2014 • 40:41
Accounts of teleportation, alchemy and even immortality swirl around the legend of Count of Saint-Germain. Was he a spy? A concealed royal? A skilled con man? Or just a compulsive liar?
Apr 9th, 2014 • 37:09
In 1859, the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over an issue that seems more likely to spark a feud between Hatfields and McCoys: an American settler shot a Canadian pig that was rooting around his garden.
Apr 7th, 2014 • 39:45
A handsome playboy who once courted Queen Elizabeth I, Eric started his time as king with focus and ambition. But his paranoia and led him to alienate the aristocracy, fall into violent rages and stab a captive noble to death.
Apr 2nd, 2014 • 26:16
While the crucifixion of Jesus is the most most well-known instance of this type of execution, crucifixion was a practice that was both common and taboo all over the Greco-Roman world for almost 1,000 years.
Mar 31st, 2014 • 46:29
The legendary wardrobe of Marie-Antoinette has been criticized, envied and discussed to no end. But 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 queen.
Mar 26th, 2014 • 35:53
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.
Mar 24th, 2014 • 40:12
It's not a story of a person with a childhood dream of pursuing a career that wasn’t available to them. Dr. Blackwell had no interest in medicine as a child. But she paved the way for women who came after her, and changed the face of medicine in the U.S.
Mar 19th, 2014 • 39:21
Foot binding was practiced in China for more than 1,000 years -- far longer than can be attributed to a mere cultural or fashion fad. Why did such an extreme type of body modification become such an ingrained part of the culture for so long?
Mar 17th, 2014 • 32:55
“No taxation without representation” is often thought of as the cause of main beef that led to the American Revolution, but it was only one of many moving parts in the bigger picture.
Mar 12th, 2014 • 29:59
After WWII ended, efforts were resumed to conquer Everest, but it took many, many teams and missions to reach the summit. Eventually, a bee keeper and a Sherpa achieved that loftiest of goals. But what's happened on Everest since then?
Mar 10th, 2014 • 37:27
Once a British survey effort identified Peak XV of the Himalayan range as the highest point on Earth, a committee was formed with one goal: Get to the top. Early expeditions gathered data and made runs up the mountain, until WWII put a halt to things.
Mar 5th, 2014 • 42:19
She was not a shy spinster who wrote some little books mostly to amuse her own family. She also was not a real-life Elizabeth Bennett. Jane Austen's life was very different from any of her heroines.
Mar 3rd, 2014 • 36:00
In the 1880s, James Reavis launched one of the most ambitious fraud schemes of all time when he claimed a huge part of the Arizona Territory as his own. He forged and planted evidence to back up his claim and came to be called the Baron of Arizona.
Feb 26th, 2014 • 37:04
The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters became the first African-American labor union to be recognized by the American Federation of Labor. What started as a campaign for more money and better treatment became an important force for social change.
Feb 24th, 2014 • 35:57
The 1930 vanishing of Joseph Force Crater is considered one of the largest missing person cases in U.S. history, and has fueled decades of speculation about what exactly happened to the New York State Supreme Court justice.
Feb 19th, 2014 • 28:49
While Duplessis had ingratiated himself to voters as a man of the people, he was not exactly viewed as a saint. He’s often described as a man who wanted to be both loved and feared, and numerous controversies are associated with him.
Feb 17th, 2014 • 27:16
Maurice Duplessis is described as everything from a lovable rogue to a political beast. He served as Premier of Quebec for longer than any other politician in the 20th century;his time in office is known as "The Great Darkness."
Feb 12th, 2014 • 33:36
Abelard was a poet, philosopher and theologian; Heloise was one of his students. This is a tragic love story, complete with lovers forced apart, a secret marriage, a castration and repeated exhumations. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Feb 10th, 2014 • 45:14
Casanova led a life so full of sex and adventure that today we call any particularly charismatic and successful lover by his name. But he was also. smart and witty, traveled and wrote extensively, and had a hand in all kinds of aristocratic intrigue.
Feb 5th, 2014 • 26:20
Rosa's arrest for breaking bus segregation laws catalyzed the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the keystones in the American Civil Rights Movement. It was widely covered in the national media, which brought more attention to the struggle for equal rights.
Feb 3rd, 2014 • 30:30
Anyone who has ever heard about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States is sure to know that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus. But that's but a tiny sliver of her life story.
Jan 29th, 2014 • 39:17
Crown Prince Sado of Korea -- sometimes called Korea's "Coffin King" -- has been described as insane, depraved and sadistic, but when you examine his short life, it’s more complicated than a list of acts of savagery (though there are plenty of those).
Jan 27th, 2014 • 33:53
History is written by the victors. But one big exception to that conventional wisdom is the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, in which Native Americans rose up against Spanish colonists and missionaries at the turn of the 17th century.
Jan 22nd, 2014 • 33:31
You may never have heard of him, but Avicenna was one of the first, and probably the most influential, Islamic philosopher-scientists. He’s listed among the great philosophers in Dante’s Inferno and is mentioned in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales.
Jan 20th, 2014 • 34:16
So how did Ancient Egyptians actually embalm their dead? Thanks in large part to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, we have some great descriptions of what happened to the deceased.
Jan 15th, 2014 • 33:45
When the S.S. Arctic joined the Collins line fleet in the 1850s, it was by all accounts a glorious ship. But in 1854, the steamer collided with another ship in a fog, and the resulting panic led to the deaths of most of the passengers.
Jan 13th, 2014 • 36:25
The Battle of Hastings 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 brief description really doesn’t do the event justice.
Jan 8th, 2014 • 30:36
Antoine-Laurent Levoisier was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But at the end of the day, he’s most often referred to as the father of modern chemistry. He also was smack dab in the middle of the French Revolution.
Jan 6th, 2014 • 34:32
Time for something completely different! There are a few questions that we get asked over and over. Today, we answer four of the most-common queries posed to us in our listener mail.
Jan 1st, 2014 • 28:26
The second part of 2013's historical finds includes items unearthed by animals, amateurs and ultra-modern science. Lead coffins, rare torpedoes and mass graves are featured. And of course, there's discussion of everyone's favorite topic: exhumations.
Dec 30th, 2013 • 30:09
What historical revelations revealed themselves in 2013? So many, we need two episodes to cover them all. From Viking jewelry to lost Doctor Who episodes and -- of course -- bodies in car parks, history showed up in some surprising places this year.
Dec 25th, 2013 • 26:09
During the terrible winter of 1880 and 1881, which was immortalized in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter.” Laura, both real and fictional, was going on fourteen. And the winter she wrote about was a real event.
Dec 23rd, 2013 • 41:31
For many people, Laura Ingalls Wilder is the primary source of information of what life was like for white people on the American frontier. But she had a whole life as a novelist beyond the youth that unfolded in the books.
Dec 18th, 2013 • 29:44
Why did lions in the Tsavo region start to attack humans in the first place? Modern behavioral and scientific research has given us some surprising insights into the causes of the 1898 attacks as well as modern lion attacks in the same area.
Dec 16th, 2013 • 37:25
In 1898, two male lions killed and ate dozens of people in Tsavo and shut down construction of the Uganda Railroad. Lt. Col. John H. Patterson, a civil engineer working on the project, made it his personal mission to stop the feline scourge.
Dec 11th, 2013 • 31:39
The second half of the Axman story involves his famous letter to the New Orleans Times-Picayune warning that he would descend on the city, but would spare anyone with a live jazz band playing in their house. But had the Axman been murdering before 1918?
Dec 9th, 2013 • 26:45
In 1918 and 1919, a rash of attacks had all of New Orleans on edge. While the Axman has turned up in modern storytelling, no fiction could top the real story of late-night break-ins and assaults by a mystery assailant who was never caught.
Dec 4th, 2013 • 40:56
Thanks to the pillow book of lady-in-waiting Sei Shonagon, we have a first-person account of court life in Heian Japan. It’s part diary, part commonplace book, part essay collection, and thoroughly fascinating.
Dec 2nd, 2013 • 31:46
The name ""Boston Massacre"" sounds as though it was the slaughter of a bunch of innocents in colonial Boston. The reality is much smaller – and not nearly so one-sided. But there’s a reason why we call it a massacre. And that reason is propaganda.
Nov 27th, 2013 • 33:17
Our focus today is on a woman who was actually covered in the podcast several years ago. But she's a figure so mythic and with so many variations to her story that we wanted to give her another look and a little more time.
Nov 25th, 2013 • 46:46
If you've only seen the Hessians referenced in movies or TV, you probably don't have a clear picture of who these very capable soldiers actually were. Hessian troops were skilled, disciplined armies for hire, and a huge economic boon for their homeland.
Nov 20th, 2013 • 46:19
Smallpox has been around longer than recorded history. It killed royalty, shifted the tides of battles, and was so terrifying that many religions have gods, saints and martyrs associated with it. And Edward Jenner gets the credit for changing all that.
Nov 18th, 2013 • 41:59
Despite all the publicity surrounding the shooting of John F. Kennedy, the identity of one witness has remained elusive for decades. Beverly Oliver has claimed to be the "babushka lady," but there’s still no concrete evidence to prove her assertion.
Nov 13th, 2013 • 32:02
He was an art patron. He loved science. He spoke many languages. He was also known for a dark temper and instability, and his poor decisions as a ruler are credited with leading to the Thirty years War.
Nov 11th, 2013 • 26:07
There are many amazing, heroic stories of people who risked everything to protect Jews and other people at risk before and during the holocaust. A few turned to particularly ingenious, unexpected or daring plans to save people.
Nov 6th, 2013 • 39:24
In addition to being a poet, Audre was a teacher, speaker, wife and mother, and become an influential presence in the feminist movement. She also wrote candidly about her battle with cancer in her groundbreaking work, “The Cancer Journals.”
Nov 4th, 2013 • 31:37
Audre Lorde called herself a “black feminist lesbian mother poet warrior,” but for a lot of people, she’s best known for the “poet” part. She was way ahead of her time on a lot of social fronts, including feminism, gay rights, and the sexual revolution.
Oct 30th, 2013 • 31:42
From timid girl to trailblazer, Sophie Blanchard became famous in the early 1800s as the first woman to become a career balloonist.
Oct 28th, 2013 • 38:07
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 months. Between 20 and 40 percent of people who caught the disease died.
Oct 23rd, 2013 • 41:25
The second installment in the story of the Haunted Mansion going from concept to fully-realized theme park attraction covers the reboot the team went through after the World's Fair and the loss of their leader.
Oct 21st, 2013 • 32:47
One of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion -- had a development process that was anything but smooth. Budget and scheduling issues and creative differences dogged the project for almost two decades.
Oct 16th, 2013 • 37:36
After her unconventional upbringing, Elsa's career as a performer began to take off in the late 1920s, around the same time she met her husband. But the role that would define her image came in 1935.
Oct 14th, 2013 • 32:14
You may not know her name, but her image is famous. As the love interest for Dr. Frankenstein’s monster in “The Bride of Frankenstein,” Elsa Lanchester became a film icon, but her life story is as interesting as any cinema fiction.
Oct 9th, 2013 • 34:24
Alan L. Hart was a doctor, writer, and prominent figure in the fields of radiology and tuberculosis control. He was also one of the first people in the U.S. to have surgery in an effort to transition to a different gender than the one he had been born to.
Oct 7th, 2013 • 36:19
Sweeney Todd is a well-known fictional character, a murderous barber who colludes with a cook to bake his victims into pies. There are many instances of the demon barber story being touted as a tale based in real-life events, but how true is that?
Oct 2nd, 2013 • 52:11
Like any grand old hotel, the Grove Park Inn has quite a history, involving real medicine, patent medicine, famous writers and inventors, several wars, and even a ghost story. The luxury spa exists thanks largely to two diseases: malaria and tuberculosis.
Sep 30th, 2013 • 42:11
Starting in the late 1700s and running for a century, small rural communities in New England were sometimes stricken with a panicked fear that the dead were somehow feeding off the living, and many graves were exhumed in the hopes of ending the attacks.
Sep 25th, 2013 • 36:00
The second part of the Luis Alvarez episode covers his time as part of the Manhattan Project designing detonators for atomic bombs. Beyond his controversial work, Alvarez also contributed to particle physics, mystery solving and paleontology.
Sep 23rd, 2013 • 31:48
Luis Alvarez was a physicist whose broad interests connected him to some of the 20th century’s most influential moments, including the bombing of Hiroshima and the assassination of JFK. His diverse work led to the nickname “the wild idea man of physics.”
Sep 18th, 2013 • 40:39
Phylo T. Farnsworth is 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 business in in a patent suit.
Sep 16th, 2013 • 51:21
Mendez v. Westminster fought the segregation of Mexican-American students in the state of California in the 1940s -- and it went on pave the way for the much more famous Brown v. Topeka Board of Education.
Sep 11th, 2013 • 39:21
In 1848, Phineas Gage experienced a catastrophic brain injury and survived -- though altered -- for more than 11 years. Over time, he morphed into one of the world’s most famous case studies in how damage to the brain can affect behavior.
Sep 9th, 2013 • 36:01
Marie Taglioni is considered THE ballerina of the Romantic era. She’s often credited with revolutionizing, restyling and redefining dance, though her father was a significant part of those achievements.
Sep 4th, 2013 • 44:08
Chester was the first African American war correspondent working for a major daily paper, covering the U.S. Civil War. He also had a troubled relationship with the colonization movement, and spent years striving for equal rights for African Americans
Sep 2nd, 2013 • 40:41
About 200 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, there are lines etched into the desert. The glyphs have remained intact for centuries, and have been avidly studied since their discovery in the late 1920s.
Aug 28th, 2013 • 28:45
Jane Addams was a leader and advocate, especially for the working poor – but her work really boiled down to a better quality of life for everyone. Part two covers her life beyond Hull House, controversial war stance, Nobel Prize and legacy.
Aug 26th, 2013 • 31:55
Jane Addams was one of the foremost women in America’s Progressive Era. She co founded the social settlement Hull House, spoke and wrote on social issues, and had a hand in the founding of many social organizations, including the NAACP and ACLU.
Aug 21st, 2013 • 39:10
Sir Joseph Paxton was a 19th-century botanist who became instantly famous for the hall he designed for the Great Expo of 1851. After the expo, the Crystal Palace moved to a new location and became the centerpiece of the world's first theme park.
Aug 19th, 2013 • 31:34
In the years after the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War, the oyster supply became so scarce that people turned to oyster piracy. The bloodshed peaked in the late 1800s, but the strife went on for almost 100 years.
Aug 14th, 2013 • 27:44
The Hope Diamond is well traveled, but is it cursed? Does it have mystical powers? Why does it glow red after exposure to UV light? Analysis of the curse stories and chemical composition of the gem yield interesting results.
Aug 12th, 2013 • 28:18
The Hope Diamond has traveled across continents, been stolen in revolutions, and was even the signature accessory of a wealthy heiress for nearly four decades. The first part of the discussion covers the stone's history up to the modern era.
Aug 7th, 2013 • 30:16
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 unfinished meal and a mystery that's never been conclusively solved.
Aug 5th, 2013 • 33:20
Hypatia was one of the earliest female mathematicians and astronomers -- though she wasn’t the very first, she was among the greatest. At the time of her murder, she was the foremost mathematician and astronomer in the West – possibly in the world.
Jul 31st, 2013 • 26:33
Charley Parkhurst was a stagecoach whip who spent almost 20 years handling teams of horses over treacherous terrain at high speeds. After his death in 1879, his friends who came to lay out his body discovered that Charley was anatomically female.
Jul 29th, 2013 • 30:32
In 1900, a shipwreck was discovered near the island of Antikythera, including an assortment of luxury goods: statues, silver coins, vases ... and what turned out to be an amazing 2,000-year-old mechanism.
Jul 24th, 2013 • 36:40
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 together to fill the need for a frosty treat.
Jul 22nd, 2013 • 29:31
It was the only planet to have been discovered by an American, but it's no longer classified as a planet. Who found Pluto, and how did astronomers even know to look for the so-called Planet X on the edge of our solar system?
Jul 17th, 2013 • 30:16
An accomplished bacteriologist, Selman Waksman and his students and colleagues isolated many new antibiotics in the 1940s, including streptomycin and neomycin, earning him the nickname Father of Antibiotics.
Jul 15th, 2013 • 28:18
Boudica was a queen of the Iceni who staged either a successful rebellion against the Romans or a massacre, depending on who’s talking.
Jul 10th, 2013 • 24:43
A member of the South Australian Mounted Police, George "Poddy" Aiston was a friend to and advocate for Aboriginal peoples, a fairly accomplished photographer, and the owner of a fully-stocked store in the middle of nowhere.
Jul 8th, 2013 • 24:48
Felicia the ferret, who helped Fermilab in the early '70s, has been popping up in online stories and social media lately. How did she come to work in a particle physics facility, and what other animals made their homes there?
Jul 3rd, 2013 • 32:56
The Luddite uprising was a series of protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories. This wasn’t the first organized violence against mechanization, but Luddites are the most infamous of all the machine-breakers.
Jul 1st, 2013 • 37:55
While his last name is famous for breakfast cereal, John Harvey Kellogg was a 19th-century doctor with some unique (and groundbreaking) beliefs about health and wellness.His Battle Creek Sanitarium was home to anything but treatment as usual.
Jun 26th, 2013 • 31:01
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 simple, but they paved the way for the robots of today.
Jun 24th, 2013 • 27:21
She’s often referred to as a cursed ghost ship. The history of the Mary Celeste features one unfortunate incident after another. While this vessel is most famous for an incident involving a disappearing crew, there's much more to the life of this brig.
Jun 19th, 2013 • 26:29
In the mid-1800s, the poorest people in Ireland ate almost nothing but potatoes. Other crops were for selling. So when a blight cut a swath through the potato crop, the impact was severe, and politics played a significant role in the tragedy.
Jun 17th, 2013 • 25:53
The history lesson kids often get on the Irish Potato Famine could be summed up as “a blight destroyed the potato crops, and a lot of people starved or moved away.” Most kids ask, “Why didn’t they eat something else?” Good question.
Jun 11th, 2013 • 35:48
French designer Paul Poiret's work, which was often avante-garde, changed the fashion world in significant ways. He got rid of corsets, introduced the concept of lifestyle branding, and used draping rather that tailoring to create his dramatic designs.
Jun 10th, 2013 • 28:26
Despite having almost no official schooling and being a man of color in Colonial America, Benjamin Banneker turned out to be such an accomplished scholar that schools and professorships are named after him today.
Jun 5th, 2013 • 27:43
Robin Hood-style characters have been showing up in literature since the 14th century. Historians disagree about whether there was any truth to the legend, and we're wondering: Was Robin Hood real, and if so, who was he?
Jun 3rd, 2013 • 25:50
The Phoenicians were great ship-builders, sailors and textile experts. But they're most known for developing the alphabet that many modern alphabets are descended from. What drove a merchant culture to switch from cuneiform to a new writing system?
May 28th, 2013 • 32:51
"It was a culture clash of epic proportions. The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising, was a gruesome, violent slaughter of Chinese Christians and foreigners – followed by a gruesome, violent slaughter of the Boxers. "
May 27th, 2013 • 36:18
In the 1840s, Boston’s West Roxbury suburb -- which was completely rural at the time -- was home to an experiment in transcendentalist utopian living: the Brook Farm community. The idea was to create an environment of balance and equality.
May 22nd, 2013 • 25:58
"Vladimir I is often credited with bringing Christianity to Russia, though he actually embraced paganism first as Grand Prince of Kievan Rus. Wishing to unite Russia under one religion, Vladimir changed the spiritual path of his country forever. "
May 20th, 2013 • 31:07
Though it's most famous for its rats, the story of this temple starts with Hindu goddess Durga and Karni Mata, a 15th-century mystic believed to be her incarnation. The reason for the rats in Karni Mata's temple is a combination of legend and devotion.
May 15th, 2013 • 26:55
After becoming a concubine for Emperor Xianfeng at the age of 16, Cixi rose to power when he died and her young son inherited the throne. She governed China from behind a screen for more than 45 years, and eventually sealed the fate of the Qing Dynasty.
May 13th, 2013 • 27:45
On May 1, 2013, forensic evidence confirmed what survivors had reported: Colonists at Jamestown resorted to cannibalism during the winter of 1609-1610, known as the Starving Time. But the colony of Jamestown was troubled from the start.
May 8th, 2013 • 30:56
The human culture shift to an agricultural lifestyle started the domestication of animals. Cats naturally moved in to help with rodents. Today, there are 600 million cats living with humans, and another estimated 600 million living independent of people.
May 6th, 2013 • 39:10
The Hindenburg tragedy is one of the world’s most infamous air disasters, but the dirigible had many successful flights prior to its final voyage, including 10 round trips between Germany and the U.S. Tune in to learn more.
May 1st, 2013 • 28:27
In 1717, Stede Bonnet left his family 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 Atlantic coast of North America.
Apr 29th, 2013 • 34:48
Though she was Canadian, Sarah Emma Edmonds fought for the Union during the Civil War. She adopted the name Franklin Thompson while traveling. Disguised as a man, she enlisted and began a career as a nurse, courier and spy (if you believe her memoir).
Apr 24th, 2013 • 27:06
Princess Alexandra Amelie of Bavaria was part of the House of Wittelsbach. The princess was frail, and she exhibited unusual behavior. She told her parents that she had swallowed a glass piano as a child, and was afraid that she would shatter.
Apr 22nd, 2013 • 27:39
In 1725, Beringer was the University of Würzburg's chair of natural history and chief physician to the prince bishop. He was also unpopular, and some of his colleagues sought to discredit him. There are two versions of the story -- but which is true?
Apr 17th, 2013 • 41:55
Mildred and Richard Loving's relationship went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when they were arrested for breaking Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. On June 20, 1963, Mildred wrote a letter to the ACLU asking for help. Tune in to learn more.
Apr 15th, 2013 • 26:57
Mildred and Richard Loving's relationship went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when they were arrested for breaking Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. On June 20, 1963, Mildred wrote a letter to the ACLU asking for help. Tune in to learn more.
Apr 10th, 2013 • 33:15
When teachers Mildred and Patty Hill's song “Good Morning to All” was published in 1893, there was no public performance right for songs. After the tune was paired with the birthday lyrics, its popularity soared and sparked a tremendous copyright battle.
Apr 8th, 2013 • 44:07
Cheese has been around for more than 9,000 years. But how did humans learn to make it? Journey with Tracy and Holly to ancient Anatolia, where, people had begun to store milk in pottery and take other steps that set the stage for this delicious invention.
Apr 3rd, 2013 • 34:24
On Oct. 27, 1845 Mary Ann Bickford’s body was found in her Boston boardinghouse room. Her paramour Albert J. Tirrell was eventually charged with murder. Tirrell hired Rufus Choate to defend him, and Choate claimed his client had episodes of somnambulism.
Apr 1st, 2013 • 23:10
Many English settlers brought animals and plants to Australia, including rabbits. The rabbit population exploded, and rabbit-controlling fences were started by the 1880s. Work on the State Barrier Fence began in 1901, and it's still maintained today.
Mar 29th, 2013 • 30:15
After World War I, Australian and British soldiers moved to rural Australia. In 1932, about 20,000 emus began making their way through Campion and Walgoolan, severely damaging wheat farms. The military tried to help, but may have just made things worse.
Mar 27th, 2013 • 45:10
The mechanization of stitching happened by way a series of inventions, several of which finally came together. Though Elias Howe is often credited with inventing the sewing machine, his invention had more to do with the combination of existing ideas.
Mar 25th, 2013 • 45:20
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. Goody Garlick had hearings in two towns, during which she was accused of other bewitchings.
Mar 20th, 2013 • 45:00
The Suquamish chief 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 completely fabricated). Tune in to learn.
Mar 18th, 2013 • 41:49
The image of Johnny Appleseed walking around in rags, barefooted with a bindle, planting apple trees and moving on is actually pretty accurate. Join Holly and Tracy to learn how John Chapman struck out for the frontier and became an American legend.
Mar 13th, 2013 • 29:46
The Voynich manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in 1912 from a Jesuit library. There are many theories as to what this book from the 1400s contains, but no one knows whether it’s a cypher text, a lost language or gibberish.
Mar 11th, 2013 • 51:06
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 became the basis for her spiritual autobiography,
Mar 6th, 2013 • 43:14
While Al Swearengen's notoriety comes from his famous saloon, his early experiences all informed his later life. Join Tracy and Holly as they examine the life and times of Al Swearengen in the second part of this series.
Mar 4th, 2013 • 40:27
Al Swearengen has become a widely-recognized figure in the time of the Black Hills gold rush. While his notoriety comes from his famous saloon, his early experiences as a pioneer child, 100-days man and apprentice barkeep all informed his later life.
Feb 27th, 2013 • 1:00:05
In 2013, experts identified the remains of King Richard III, one of England's most notorious rulers. Shakespeare wrote the king as a nephew-killing, hunchbacked villain, but Richard's real life was a complicated mixture of ambition, ruthlessness and fear.
Feb 25th, 2013 • 45:12
Long before Benedict XVI’s resignation, Benedict IX resigned. Benedict IX was one of the youngest (and most notorious) men ever to become pope, and his abuse of power was legendary. He became pope three times and sold the title at one point.
Feb 20th, 2013 • 43:50
The Victorian age offered few opportunities for Black-Britons, making Pablo Fanque's circus all the more impressive. Born William Darby, he was a talented equestrian performer, acrobat and show-runner. In fact, one Fanque's playbills inspired John Lennon.
Feb 18th, 2013 • 38:35
Okichi's story is filled with embellishment and hazy details. Sent to serve Townsend Harris, the first U.S. Consul to Japan, she was shunned after Harris left. Yet Okichi is now honored with an annual festival and has become a national symbol.
Feb 13th, 2013 • 46:00
By the time he was 19, Potter had preserved and mounted 98 birds. In 1880, his work had grown to a point where it had to be moved to a building, which became his museum. Potter’s museum collection continues to enthrall collectors and enthusiasts.
Feb 11th, 2013 • 58:05
A week after releasing his debut novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald married Southern Belle Zelda Sayre. But Fitzgerald's drinking and Zelda's mental state led to fights, debt and writers' block. Join Sarah and Holly as they trace the lives of F. Scott and Zelda.
Feb 6th, 2013 • 32:17
By 1887, Nikola Tesla secured seven patents for components of his alternating current system. In 1888, George Westinghouse offered to hire Tesla to develop the AC system, and that’s when the Current War really got underway.
Feb 4th, 2013 • 21:18
In 1857 Nikola Tesla began work on direct current motor issues. In 1884, he approached Thomas Edison with ideas about alternating current, but Edison championed direct current. Their disagreement led to one of history's most famous scientific rivalries.
Jan 30th, 2013 • 32:23
Most people know the story of President Lincoln's assassination, but what happened afterward? In this podcast, we cover John Wilkes Booth’s escape, his co-conspirators' attacks against other officials and the strange connections between Booth and Lincoln.
Jan 28th, 2013 • 23:23
In 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305. He received a ransom of $200,000 -- and then jumped out in midair. Over the years, the FBI has searched for Cooper with little luck. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 23rd, 2013 • 31:28
Dogs have been used in war for a long time and are still used today. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina look at five war dogs known for their strength, loyalty and intelligence. Tune in to learn more about war dogs from World War I through Vietnam.
Jan 21st, 2013 • 24:16
Ned Kelly's cropped up in the news again, but who was he? The bushranger Ned Kelly became an outlaw in 1878, and his gang successfully conducted several raids. Tune in to learn why many Australians think of him as a folk hero in this classic episode.
Jan 16th, 2013 • 36:48
Historical hoaxes are surprisingly common. 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 explore history's most successful hoaxes.
Jan 14th, 2013 • 33:12
By the 1840s, London faced a sanitation crisis. One summer the stench of the Thames drove Parliament to soak their curtains in lime, an experience that led to funding for a modern sewer system. Tune in to learn about modern toilets, germ theory and more.
Jan 9th, 2013 • 34:51
In Part 2 of this podcast, we examine the tactics rival paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh used in their battle to achieve preeminence. Ultimately, the men took their war to D.C. and the press. In the end, did either win?
Jan 7th, 2013 • 27:06
James Armistead was a slave in Virginia, but got his master's approval to enlist when the Revolutionary War came. Armistead worked as a spy, and his story is one of many free and enslaved African-Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Jan 2nd, 2013 • 23:39
In the second part of this annual episode, we cover historical discoveries made in 2012, from evidence of vampire burials in Bulgaria to discoveries of ancient temples and more. Tune in to learn more about the exciting archaeological discoveries of 2012.
Dec 31st, 2012 • 24:16
In this two-part podcast, we explore the rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Marsh was a farmer's son and Cope grew up in a wealthy household. The two started out as friends, but their friendship soon soured.
Dec 26th, 2012 • 26:05
In this episode, we look back on some of the biggest historical news of 2012s. Tune in to learn how researchers revealed new theories regarding mercury’s involvement in Tycho Brahe’s death, and startling insights into the Great Wall of China.
Dec 21st, 2012 • 23:28
King Wenceslas is best known as a Christmas carol, but he was a real 10th-century Bohemian prince. Wenceslas was known for his kindness to children and promotion of Christianity, but he was murdered at only 22. Listen in to learn more about the Good King.
Dec 19th, 2012 • 38:52
In this second part of our series, Juana has become her mother’s unlikely heir. Just a few years after inheriting Castile, she is declared insane and imprisoned. But was she actually mad? And why didn’t her son free her when he came to power?
Dec 17th, 2012 • 34:01
In this episode, Sarah and Deblina take a world tour of some of the world's most ancient, mysterious and historically influential underground cities. Listen in to learn more about subterranean cities around the globe.
Dec 12th, 2012 • 30:17
Juana of Castile has gone down in history as “Juana la Loca." But Juana’s mental state was likely not as bad as it seemed. Was she instead the victim of conniving relatives? In this episode, we discuss Juana’s youth, her marriage and more.
Dec 10th, 2012 • 26:11
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 took about 10 minutes to wash away Johnstown. But was nature solely to blame?
Dec 5th, 2012 • 32:32
In this episode, we tell the story of Cynthia Ann Parker's son, the Comanche war chief Quanah Parker. Quanah led Comanche forces until his defeat at Adobe Walls. He then encouraged his people to settle on the reservation, refusing to sacrifice his culture.
Dec 3rd, 2012 • 36:37
In an update to this podcast about the mutiny that took place aboard the HMS Bounty in 1789, we discuss the fate of the replica Bounty made in 1962. During Hurricane Sandy, the Bounty was headed from Connecticut to Florida. But what happened next?
Nov 28th, 2012 • 29:15
A Comanche raiding party kidnapped Cynthia Ann when she was 9 years old. She lived with Comanche parents, marrying a war chief and having children. But her family never stopped searching for her. As word of her story spread, her son Quanah rose to power.
Nov 26th, 2012 • 30:00
Part 2 of this series 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 helping found modern Iraq? Tune in to learn more.
Nov 26th, 2012 • 32:01
Upset with the prospect of a demotion, the Chevalier d'Eon published his diplomatic correspondence. Worried that d'Eon might reveal the King's Secret, Louis XV desperately negotiated d'Eon's return -- with one catch: the Chevalier had to become a woman.
Nov 19th, 2012 • 26:07
Gertrude Bell was 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 on numerous exploratory treks. But would it last in a time of war?
Nov 14th, 2012 • 23:27
Recently, London's National Portrait Gallery acquired a portrait of the Chevalier d'Eon, the first oil painting in its collection to feature a man in women's clothing. Learn how Louis XV's underground foreign policy led d'Eon to acquire a female identity.
Nov 12th, 2012 • 33:09
Johann Konrad Dippel was born in 1673 at Frankenstein Castle. Originally a theology student, Dippel began dabbling in chemistry, medicine and alchemy. Today he's remembered for creating a panacea that was used on a variety of ailments. How did he do it?
Nov 7th, 2012 • 31:52
During World War II, Allied troops often listened to Japanese propaganda, and they nick-named the English-speaking, female broadcasters "Tokyo Rose." After the war, the hunt to find them was on -- and Iva d'Aquino found herself on trial for treason.
Nov 5th, 2012 • 28:29
In December of 1926, Agatha Christie left her home and vanished: Police found her car crashed and abandoned. An 11-day manhunt commenced and speculation ran rampant -- but when she was finally found – alive – there were more questions than answers.
Oct 31st, 2012 • 29:14
In the winter of 1873, Alferd Packer led gold prospectors into the Rockies, but harsh conditions soon set them off course. Packer was the only survivor, and he looked oddly well-fed. He claimed he'd killed in self-defense. But was he guilty of murder?
Oct 29th, 2012 • 30:07
In the early 1760s, the so-called Cock Lane Ghost haunted a London home, communicating through knocks. The ghost accused her former partner of poisoning her. However, as more details emerged people wondered if the haunting was an act of earthly revenge.
Oct 24th, 2012 • 34:18
In 1692, girls in Salem Village experienced fevers, pains and strange behavior. A doctor deemed the affliction supernatural, and the girls pinned the blame on several people. These accusations led to a witch hunt -- but what was really to blame?
Oct 22nd, 2012 • 38:12
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the tragic histories behind some homes are enough to send a chill down your spine. In this episode, we look into the real stories behind five historic houses that are believed to be haunted. Tune in to learn more.
Oct 17th, 2012 • 39:12
When Mary Frances Creighton was arrested for poisoning her brother, the tabloids went crazy, comparing her to Lucrezia Borgia. Mary was also accused of poisoning her mother-in-law and her work caught up with her when she struck again, years later.
Oct 15th, 2012 • 45:13
In 1834 a fire broke out at the Lalaurie house in New Orleans. Firefighters found mistreated slaves inside, and the family was banished. Wild rumors spread afterward, and now it's known as the most haunted house in America -- but are the rumors true?
Oct 10th, 2012 • 43:18
Jim Bowie is known as a hero of the Alamo, but he made his name in a duel-gone-wrong: He came away with several wounds, but also with a reputation as fearsome knife-fighter. So how did he become a Texan legend? And what's the story behind the Bowie knife?
Oct 8th, 2012 • 37:18
Before children went door-to-door, Celts kept out evil spirits during the festival of Samhain. Halloween evolved over time, but trick-or-treating didn't emerge until the 20th century. Join Sarah and guest host Cristen as they trace Halloween's history.
Oct 3rd, 2012 • 52:40
In this episode, PopStuff co-host Holly Frey joins in to discuss undergarments through the ages, from the utilitarian shirt to the body-changing corset, split bloomers and more. We also talk about a recent discovery that's shaken up costume historians.
Oct 1st, 2012 • 44:52
In this second episode with CarStuff’s Scott Benjamin, we pick up at the height of Ford’s success: The Model T is revolutionizing America. But he also obsessively controls his employees, becomes a noted anti-Semite and capitalizes on wartime contracts.
Sep 26th, 2012 • 46:44
Senator McCarthy's celebrity skyrocketed after he made his name denouncing spies. Fear and intimidation kept many from speaking out against him, but public opinion soon turned. Join Sarah and Ben as they discuss McCarthyism and the Hollywood Blacklist.
Sep 24th, 2012 • 30:51
In this episode, CarStuff’s Scott Benjamin joins the show for a discussion of Henry Ford's early years, inventions and innovations. Yet as Ford's success grew, his willingness to change did not – and ultimately a darker side of his personality emerged.
Sep 19th, 2012 • 24:54
Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy had a lackluster career – at least, that is, until he claimed the U.S. government was riddled with conspiratorial Communists. In this episode, Sarah and guest host Ben explore the hysteria-fueled rise of Joseph McCarthy.
Sep 17th, 2012 • 32:57
In 1938 Orson Welles produced a series of radio dramas, including one based on “War of the Worlds." The broadcast caused a mass panic, since many believed it was a real news program. In this episode, we discuss why so many mistook the show as real.
Sep 12th, 2012 • 51:08
In this episode co-hosted by TechStuff’s Jonathan Strickland, the focus is on the codes and cryptologists of World War II. Tune in to learn more about the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, Code Talkers and more in the conclusion of this two-part episode.
Sep 10th, 2012 • 24:14
Alan Turing 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 homosexual by the British government. Tune in to learn more.
Sep 5th, 2012 • 50:14
In this special episode co-hosted by TechStuff’s Jonathan Strickland, the focus is on the codes, cipher machines, and cryptologists of World War II. Tune in to learn more about the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, Code Talkers and more.
Sep 3rd, 2012 • 34:49
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 corporation, and faced a campaign of misinformation.
Aug 29th, 2012 • 23:03
In this classic episode, former hosts Candace and Jane explain how the Mayan long count calendar works. We also discuss some other doomsday prophesies from 1666 and 1910, when people feared Halley’s Comet would poison them with gasses from its tail.
Aug 27th, 2012 • 36:57
Catastrophic storms are almost historical characters in their own right, leaving indelible marks on the places they affect. Here, we cover five of history's most destructive storms, including the Tri-state Tornado of 1925 and the Great Hurricane of 1780.
Aug 22nd, 2012 • 33:22
In this episode, we revisit theories about the statues of Easter Island: the Moai. New evidence suggests that fewer than 20 people “walked” the Moai to their positions. This idea shakes up existing theories about the destruction of the island's resources.
Aug 20th, 2012 • 27:51
Pretty Boy Floyd started out doing farm work, but in his late teens he ran off to try his hand at crime. He earned a Robin Hood-like reputation, and became famous for his supposed involvement in the Kansas City Massacre. But did he deserve the credit?
Aug 15th, 2012 • 37:51
In 1892, a Massachusetts couple was brutally murdered; the only serious suspect was their daughter, Lizzie Borden. Borden was acquitted, but people have speculated about the crime ever since. Tune in to learn how new evidence might shed light on her case.
Aug 13th, 2012 • 30:43
The Bender clan settled in Kansas in 1870, building a combined store and inn. They weren't popular. Only the comely Kate Bender drew admirers. When people began disappearing, the Benders weren't suspects ‑‑ until a doctor vanished after visiting the inn.
Aug 8th, 2012 • 33:42
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. In our own memorial to the Titanic’s sinking, we revisit a classic episode from Candace and Jane, in which they explore the ship’s tragic history. We’ll also explore some recent Titanic research.
Aug 6th, 2012 • 24:31
Marguerite-Louise d'Orléans was the grandchild of the King of France, cousin of Louis XIV and eventually betrothed to Cosimo III de Medici. Her marriage was (to say the least) unstable. But how did she finally find herself back in France?
Aug 1st, 2012 • 30:25
Most people associate the 1936 Berlin Olympics with African-American sprinter Jesse Owens. Yet the games were successful in terms of Nazi propaganda: More nations than ever participated, and the Olympic torch was used for the first time.
Jul 30th, 2012 • 28:52
After the Nazis invaded Kiev, a bakery owner asked some Ukrainian soccer players to form a team. Their team was pitted against occupying powers. Many say their crucial victory over the Germans led to their deaths. But how much of the story is true?
Jul 25th, 2012 • 28:22
In 1900 Paris Olympics are considered some of the strangest. Some sport historians don’t even consider them true Olympic Games. Many of the events were so under-promoted, the athletes competing in them didn’t know they were even in the Olympics.
Jul 23rd, 2012 • 13:25
In this episode, we revisit a podcast on the first Olympics. The first Olympics featured familiar events, but also some lethal exhibitions. Married women were barred from watching the games, but victors could sometimes expect to receive meals for life.
Jul 18th, 2012 • 24:58
In a recent episode on George Arents, we asked listeners what kind of book collections they keep. We heard from people with interests ranging from mixology books to a library dedicated to Disney. We also learned about what these collections inspired.
Jul 16th, 2012 • 36:43
In this classic episode, former hosts Candace and Katie explore the events surrounding Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance in 1937, and possible theories as to what could have happened. We also cover new developments in this 75-year-old mystery.
Jul 11th, 2012 • 30:42
Of all the mysteries we've covered, the lost colony at Roanoke is one of the strangest. In this classic episode, former hosts Candace and Josh recount Roanoke's story -- and there's a new development, one that may finally reveal the fate of the colonists.
Jul 9th, 2012 • 36:54
Sophia Dorothea of Celle married her cousin, George I of Great Britain. Sophia had an affair with a Swedish count, and her in-laws decided to stop the couple from running away together. The ensuing events became known as the Königsmarck Affair.
Jul 4th, 2012 • 28:30
After a night of shelling in the War of 1812, Baltimore was unsure if its fort had survived. At dawn, observers saw an American flag over the fort. Francis Scott Key composed a poem about the night -- and that poem eventually became the national anthem.
Jul 2nd, 2012 • 32:40
During the Gangster Era, many believed Ma Barker led the Barker Gang. In the late 1800s, Barker had four sons, two of whom joined the infamous Barker gang. But was Ma really the mastermind behind their criminal activities?
Jun 27th, 2012 • 45:05
In this episode, Sarah and Deblina visit the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Interviews with musician Luca Callo and TechStuff’s Jonathan Strickland give us an understanding of processes they use to recreate Renaissance characters, music and culture.
Jun 25th, 2012 • 33:54
After John James Audubon finished his book, he sought out a publisher. While his image turned off Philadelphia's intellectuals, he charmed Great Britain. In this episode, curator Michael Inman joins us to explain the publication of Birds of America.
Jun 20th, 2012 • 25:29
2012-06-20-symhc-pink-triangle.mp3 21:59 http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/podcasts.howstuffworks.com/hsw/podcasts/symhc/2012-06-20-symhc-pink-triangle.mp3 When Hitler came to power in Germany, gays and lesbians were continually persecuted. Soon, homosexual men also faced prison time. Thousands were eventually arrested, and many wound up in concentration camps, where they were labeled with pink triangles.
Jun 18th, 2012 • 25:24
Though John James Audubon was the son of a French planter, he cultivated the image of an American frontiersman. In this episode, New York Public Library curator Michael Inman joins us for a discussion of Audubon’s early life.
Jun 13th, 2012 • 35:26
In 1849, Edgar Allan Poe disappeared for five days before he was found semi-conscious outside of a saloon. He died four days later, presumably from alcohol abuse. Over the years, many alternate cause-of-death theories have emerged. Which is most likely?
Jun 11th, 2012 • 27:10
William Kidd had settled down by 1695, but privateering was still in his blood. He struck up a plan to attack pirates plaguing English ships and enlisted investors to back his efforts. Eventually he was declared a pirate. But did he deserve the label?
Jun 6th, 2012 • 30:43
By 1887, Nikola Tesla secured seven patents for components of his alternating current system. In 1888, George Westinghouse offered to hire Tesla to develop the AC system, and that’s when the Current War really got underway.
Jun 4th, 2012 • 30:23
Laura Bridgman was 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, including Charles Dickens, who wrote about her in his "American Travels."
May 30th, 2012 • 20:06
In 1857 Nikola Tesla began work on direct current motor issues. In 1884, he approached Thomas Edison with ideas about alternating current, but Edison championed direct current. Their disagreement led to one of history's most famous scientific rivalries.
May 28th, 2012 • 30:26
P.T. Barnum worked with many performers. Perhaps the most famous was the diminutive General Tom Thumb. Barnum also promoted Swedish singer Jenny Lind, but his biggest act was Jumbo the Elephant, an African elephant he bought from the London Zoo.
May 23rd, 2012 • 32:14
Operation Mincemeat aimed to relay false information to the Nazis by dropping a corpse where they would find it, along with fake documents. The British agents gave their corpse a backstory to make it more believable. But was the story too good to be true?
May 21st, 2012 • 29:53
The Pulitzer-winning play “Clybourne Park” took inspiration from Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin the Sun.” In this episode, we talk to Clybourne Park’s Tony-nominated director Pam MacKinnon about the work and historical research that went into the play.
May 16th, 2012 • 24:32
P.T. Barnum is best known as a circus man, but he spent most of his career running a curiosity museum and staging freak shows. Barnum attracted people to his American Museum through shrewd advertising, or “humbug.” He also wasn’t afraid of a hoax.
May 14th, 2012 • 29:50
Once the Allies invaded North Africa, the Nazis began planning. Both sides knew Sicily was the obvious choice for the next Allied invasion, so the Allies needed some subterfuge. Luckily, the British had an idea -- and all they needed was a dead body.
May 9th, 2012 • 31:45
After a childhood spent roaming Europe, Freya Stark began saving money to take Arabic lessons. Once fluent, she traveled into areas few outsiders had ever been, documenting her travels in best-selling books. Listen in to learn more about Freya of Arabia.
May 7th, 2012 • 26:02
After the Japanese ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, regents and bureaucrats scrambled for power. The rivals Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari rallied supporters to face off in Sekigahara. Tokugawa emerged victorious. But what happened next?
May 2nd, 2012 • 32:46
When Adam Worth stole a portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, he fell in love with the painting. But a botched theft in Belgium landed him in prison, where the story of his life reached Arthur Conan Doyle and inspired the character of Professor Moriarty.
Apr 30th, 2012 • 32:34
Dentist Horace Wells set up shop in Hartford in 1836, before the discovery of anasthesia. At an exhibition in 1844 he became certain that nitrous oxide could revolutionize medicine. He tried to demonstrate his findings... but things didn’t go as planned.
Apr 25th, 2012 • 27:41
Professor Moriarty was based on a real man: Adam Worth. After being falsely reported as dead during the Civil War, Worth began a life of crime. When Worth moved to London he began his Moriarty phase, but his peculiar criminal quirks led to his near ruin.
Apr 23rd, 2012 • 32:56
Amelia Earhart is the most well-known female aviator, but there were several notable female aviation pioneers. Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to earn a pilot's license, and Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
Apr 18th, 2012 • 29:08
Ferdinand Demara took on several bogus personas throughout his imposter career -- everything from a professor to a monk. Demara stole the identities of regular people, and often performed their job duties. Tune in to learn more about the Great Imposter.
Apr 16th, 2012 • 30:41
Although Lucas and Spielberg claim Indiana Jones was only inspired by adventure movies and pulp fiction, people have still suggested real-life inspirations. Tune in to learn more about several contenders, including Roy Chapman Andrews and Otto Rahn.
Apr 11th, 2012 • 37:13
Beryl Markham was Africa's first female licensed racehorse trainer, but by the 1920s she'd found a new passion: flying. She went on to become Kenya’s first female commercial pilot, and by 1936 she was ready to fly solo across the Atlantic. Or was she?
Apr 9th, 2012 • 29:55
When gold mine heiress Louise Boyd staged her first Arctic expedition in the 1920s, she hunted polar bears with aristocrats. Yet she also met other explorers who encouraged her in more scientific pursuits. Listen in and learn more about her expeditions.
Apr 4th, 2012 • 35:42
How did advice from his great uncle inspire tobacco businessman George Arents to become one of the great contemporary bibliophiles? Listen in as Sarah and Deblina interview Michael Inman, the curator of the New York Public Library Rare Books Division.
Apr 2nd, 2012 • 33:39
After Jim Reed’s death, Belle eventually married Sam Starr. Rumors circulated: Was Belle a barfly or a mom? In 1883, Belle and Sam served 9 months in prison for stealing horses. Tune in to learn how the Bandit Queen set out to turn her reputation around.
Mar 28th, 2012 • 30:33
Charles 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 U.S. and Canada with his wife, Dickens found many American customs repugnant. Tune in to learn more.
Mar 26th, 2012 • 21:53
Belle Starr is often remembered as a notorious outlaw who spent her free time carousing in saloons. But new accounts suggest that, while she wasn't a saint, she also wasn’t the “female Jesse James” some biographers made her out to be. So what’s the truth?
Mar 21st, 2012 • 27:05
Roger Casement was an Irish-born British diplomat. He eventually became an Irish nationalist. After his arrest, he was sentenced to die. To stifle support for Casement, the government also released the "Black Diaries" which outed Casement as gay.
Mar 19th, 2012 • 30:43
Frida Kahlo took pride in caring for her husband Diego. In 1930, the couple went to the United States. When they returned to Mexico, their rocky relationship affected Frida’s health. As her marriage worsened, Frida's star in the art world gradually rose.
Mar 14th, 2012 • 35:06
The Brontë sisters quickly rose from obscurity to notoriety after their three novels were published under the Bell pseudonym. Join Sarah and Deblina as they discuss the sisters' rise to fame and the scandalous suggestions about their lives and morals.
Mar 12th, 2012 • 24:23
Frida Kahlo contracted polio at the age of 6. Undeterred, she went on to have an active childhood and adolescence. After a tragic accident left her bedridden for more than three months, she began to pursue painting and politics.
Mar 7th, 2012 • 35:32
The Brontë sisters are 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 imaginary worlds.
Mar 5th, 2012 • 24:25
Mary Anning 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 contributions to paleontology, so why didn’t she always get credit for her work?
Feb 29th, 2012 • 30:34
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 he wrote the Seyahatname, one of history's important travel narratives.
Feb 27th, 2012 • 31:48
Hans Christian Andersen is often considered the father of the modern fairy tale, but his life was not the quiet existence depicted in his photos. His personal life is fairly bizarre, and he is sometimes compared to his own outcast fairy tale figures.
Feb 22nd, 2012 • 29:39
Bessie Coleman knew that becoming a pilot was her dream. Because she was a black woman, no American flight schools would admit her. Despite the obstacles, Bessie managed to become the first African-American woman in the world to earn a pilot's license.
Feb 20th, 2012 • 30:27
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 until the heroism of black soldiers won the attention of the nation.
Feb 15th, 2012 • 29:49
Robert Browning’s early work wasn’t as well-received as Elizabeth Barrett's poetry. Yet Barrett mentioned his work in one of her poems, and they started a correspondence that blossomed into love. However, Elizabeth's father remained an obstacle.
Feb 13th, 2012 • 28:38
The Lone Ranger has traditionally been portrayed by white actors, but many believe this character is based on an African-American named Bass Reeves. A former slave, Reeves became one of the most successful lawmen in U.S. history. Tune in to learn more.
Feb 8th, 2012 • 31:25
Most people know the story of President Lincoln's assassination, but what happened afterward? In this podcast, we cover John Wilkes Booth’s escape, his co-conspirators' attacks against other officials and the strange connections between Booth and Lincoln.
Feb 6th, 2012 • 32:27
During Jack Johnson's time, the heavyweight championship was unofficially a whites-only title. Despite discrimination, he fought title-holder Tommy Burns in 1908. Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion, but some questioned his legitimacy.
Feb 1st, 2012 • 33:04
By the early 19th century, the Dutch controlled of most of the East Indies. Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles fought to oust the Dutch from the area. He also tried to enact radical reforms in Java, but he was fired by British East India Company. Why?
Jan 30th, 2012 • 24:49
The warrior queen Nzinga used wily tactics to maintain her kingdom’s independence during colonization. Born in the Ndongo Kingdom, Nzinga staged a coup, harbored runaway slaves, and kept a harem of men. Tune in to learn more about queen Nzinga.
Jan 25th, 2012 • 39:28
In the first part of this episode, Deblina and Sarah covered Herman K. Mudgett's early life, including how he first became known as H.H. Holmes. But how did Holmes manage to complete his murder castle? What happened to him afterwards? Tune in to find out.
Jan 23rd, 2012 • 27:48
As a student, Herman K. Mudgett used corpses to commit insurance fraud. In 1886, he moved to Chicago under the alias H.H. Holmes. In 1888, Holmes started constructing a building with secret passageways and an airtight vault. So, what was it for?
Jan 18th, 2012 • 31:29
Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen was an expert skier, zoologist and artist: By combining these skills, he became one of Norway's earliest heroes. Listen in as Deblina and Sarah look at the life and times of Fridtjof Nansen in the second part of this episode.
Jan 16th, 2012 • 27:56
Fridtjof Nansen was an artist, skier, zoologist and one of Norway's earliest heroes. The first part of this episode covers his early adventures, while part two covers his humanitarian career. Tune in to learn more about his first major expeditions.
Jan 11th, 2012 • 30:57
When we last left the story of W.C. Minor, he'd fatally shot a man in London. In the conclusion of this episode, Sarah and Deblina look at the events that led Minor to become one of the Oxford English Dictionary's most prolific contributors.
Jan 9th, 2012 • 30:25
For every Al Capone, there was a cast of lesser-known men who were often just as dangerous. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina explore the lives of gangsters such as "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn and Roger "The Terrible" Touhy. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 4th, 2012 • 26:45
In 1991, two hikers in the Alps found a mysterious body. The frozen mummy turned out to be a 5,300-year-old man -- a discovery that's given researchers an unprecedented peek into the Copper Age. Tune in to learn more about the Iceman.
Jan 2nd, 2012 • 21:57
In the first part of this episode, we look at the early days of William Chester Minor. Minor originally studied medicine and served and practiced surgery in the Union Army. Eventually he was committed to a hospital for the insane. But what happened next?
Dec 28th, 2011 • 34:46
In part two of this episode, we continue to uncover some of the most interesting historical discoveries of 2011, from the world's oldest winery to France's oldest brewery. Tune in to learn more about the biggest historical discoveries of 2011.
Dec 26th, 2011 • 32:33
In this two-part episode, we take a look at some of the most interesting historical finds of 2011, from one of Captain Henry Morgan's pirate ships to a rare portrait of Jane Austen discovered by British author Dr. Paula Byrne. Listen in to learn more.
Dec 21st, 2011 • 28:48
During the first Christmas of World War I, British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and celebrated the holiday together. They sang carols, traded insignia and buried their dead. How did the truce start, and why didn't it happen again?
Dec 19th, 2011 • 28:13
The Halifax Explosion was one of history's worst man-made, non-nuclear explosions. The disaster killed about 2,000 people, and part of the city was completely leveled. So how and when did Halifax begin to rebuild? Tune in to find out.
Dec 14th, 2011 • 30:40
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 the best DNA image available at the time, and the Nobel winners used it without her knowledge.
Dec 12th, 2011 • 27:24
Fritz Haber has a mixed legacy. The Nobel-Prize-winning Father of Chemical Warfare was responsible for fertilizers that fed billions, as well as poisonous gasses used during World War I. Tune in to learn more about Fritz's complicated life and work.
Dec 7th, 2011 • 33:18
Women weren’t initially welcome in the Civil War armies, but thousands eventually ended up serving as nurses. We feature five here. Listen in to learn about nurses like Sally Louisa Tompkins, whose hospital became one of the most successful of the war.
Dec 5th, 2011 • 26:14
John Dillinger robbery career began when he was paroled in 1933. Several escaped inmates joined Dillinger, and they were arrested in 1934. Dillinger escaped, but was gunned down in July. To this day, conspiracy theories abound about his death.
Nov 30th, 2011 • 33:34
Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi, is often considered the public’s “favorite” member of the Habsburgs. She only reluctantly carried out her duties, but her murder created an outcry across Europe -- and the story doesn't end there.
Nov 28th, 2011 • 26:37
In the 19th century, Alphonse Bertillon standardized the mug shot and came up with a system of organizing police records; he also conceived a new way of identifying people. Tune in to learn more about the rise -- and fall -- of Bertillon’s system.
Nov 23rd, 2011 • 25:42
As a Confederate surgeon, Dr. MacGuire's first assignment was under the command of Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, who became his most famous patient. Tune in to learn what McGuire’s writings reveal about Stonewall's last days.
Nov 21st, 2011 • 29:59
Polio was a terrifying threat in the early 20th century: It often left victims paralyzed or dead. Yet two vaccines caused an immediate drop in polio cases and today they’ve nearly eradicated the disease. But what exactly happened? Tune in to find out.
Nov 16th, 2011 • 33:01
Today, Vincent van Gogh has come to fit our idea of the tortured artist. Aside from his art, he's best known for cutting off his ear and committing suicide. Yet new research debates both of these van Gogh moments. Listen in to learn more about van Gogh.
Nov 14th, 2011 • 26:33
For a time, Mexico was ruled by a Habsburg prince: Ferdinand Maximilian. While Maximilian was unwelcome, he upheld liberal reforms and modernized the government. As his support dwindled, Mexico’s rightful president worked to take back the country.
Nov 9th, 2011 • 25:27
In Part 2 of The Gunpowder Plot, we discuss how a group of English Catholics attempted to carry out their plan. Yet the Plot was discovered days before the event. Were the conspirators betrayed by someone within their own ranks? Tune in to learn more.
Nov 7th, 2011 • 36:56
In part two of this interview series, Dr. Holly Tucker discusses the research methods behind her new book, "Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution." Listen in to learn more about the controversial history of transfusions.
Nov 2nd, 2011 • 18:23
Under Queen Elizabeth I, English Catholics were subject to discriminatory laws. When King James I took the throne, Catholics unsuccessfully petitioned him for toleration. Tune in to learn how this led a group of Catholics to attempt regicide.
Oct 31st, 2011 • 37:53
In part one of a special author interview, Dr. Holly Tucker talks about her new book, "Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution." Tune in to learn more about the startling history of blood transfusion.
Oct 26th, 2011 • 24:21
When the Civil War began, Mary Edwards Walker sought work as a surgeon. When the Union refused to give her an appointment, she worked as a volunteer. She became the first woman to win a Medal of Honor. Tune in to learn more about Mary Edwards Walker.
Oct 24th, 2011 • 28:30
Many think of alchemy as a fool’s pursuit, but alchemy has a rich history closely tied to medicine and metallurgy. Additionally, techniques developed by alchemists strongly influenced chemistry. So how come we don’t call chemistry alchemy?
Oct 19th, 2011 • 26:02
It's no secret that Mary Shelley's infamous novel has influenced generations of writers, but is completely based on fiction, or was Shelley inspired by real-life events? Tune in to learn more about the real Dr. Frankenstein.
Oct 17th, 2011 • 23:18
In 897, Pope Stephen VI had his deceased predecessor Formosus exhumed and put on trial. The corpse was found guilty, but this desecration disgusted Romans and made them rebel. Tune in to learn more about the period known as the Papal Pornocracy.
Oct 12th, 2011 • 30:55
In 1848, the Fox family began hearing strange noises, and sisters Maggie and Kate started communicating with spirits. They built a career as mediums, and today they're credited with launching the modern spiritualist movement. But was it all a hoax?
Oct 10th, 2011 • 29:20
When Japan invaded Korea in 1592, the Korean forces were unprepared for Japan's troops. The Korean navy, however, was a different story. Commanding Admiral Yi Sun-sin repeatedly defeated the Japanese. But was it enough to end the war? Tune in to find out.
Oct 5th, 2011 • 29:59
Born in 1527 to a Welsh family, John Dee grew to become one of Queen Elizabeth's most memorable advisors. Join Sarah and Deblina as they delve into the life and times of this scholar, statesman and sorcerer.
Oct 3rd, 2011 • 22:20
In 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305. He received a ransom of $200,000 -- and then jumped out in midair. Over the years, the FBI has searched for Cooper with little luck. Tune in to learn more.
Sep 28th, 2011 • 24:25
In 1908, a fire leveled the Indiana home of Belle Gunness. Four bodies were found in the cellar, and it seemed possible that Gunnes might have escaped. When about a dozen more bodies were found, Gunness was revealed as a serial killer.
Sep 26th, 2011 • 25:04
The final part of this series takes place in Australia, where students were inspired by the Freedom Rides and protested discrimination against Aborigines. Tune in to learn how the group tried to break down racial barriers and empower local Aborigines.
Sep 21st, 2011 • 20:23
After 1853, many bushrangers were native-born. Ben Hall seemed on track for a peaceful life until two wrongful arrests put him on different path. And then there's “Mad” Dan Morgan. who was known for meaningless murders, cruelty and violence.
Sep 19th, 2011 • 21:25
When Nashville college students picked up where CORE riders stopped, they were eventually incarcerated in Mississippi. Yet more riders kept coming. Tune in to learn more about this major victory for the Civil Rights movement in this follow-up episode.
Sep 14th, 2011 • 25:04
While Ned Kelly may be the most famous bushranger, he's certainly not the only one. Join Deblina and Sarah as they explore the lives of early bush rangers in this podcast.
Sep 12th, 2011 • 21:07
In 1961, buses and terminals in the South were illegally segregated. The Civil Rights group CORE sent riders to test the law, riding from D.C., to New Orleans. However, no one was prepared for the violence that waited in Alabama. Tune in to learn more.
Sep 7th, 2011 • 33:41
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 corporation, and faced a campaign of misinformation.
Sep 5th, 2011 • 30:28
Dogs have been used in war for a long time and are still used today. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina look at five war dogs known for their strength, loyalty and intelligence. Tune in to learn more about war dogs from World War I through Vietnam.
Aug 31st, 2011 • 21:14
The second episode of this two-part podcast covers historic alcohol that’s still (mostly) drinkable. Tune in to learn more about the world’s oldest Champagne, a bottle of beer from the Hindenburg, and whisky from the failed Endurance expedition.
Aug 29th, 2011 • 25:56
Timur the Lame (that's Tamerlane to the Westerners) conquered areas from Persia to Russia throughout the late 1300s. His last great battle was in Ankara against Sultan Bayezid I. But how exactly did he gain the upper hand? Tune in to find out.
Aug 24th, 2011 • 25:10
Ancient alcohol can tell us a lot about a society. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina cover millennia-old residues left behind in Chinese pottery, Egyptian jars and more. They also explore the science behind identifying the ingredients of these brews.
Aug 22nd, 2011 • 27:24
In 1120, the heir to the throne, three of the king’s other children, and many of the kingdom's youths drowned at sea. This left a woman named Matilda as heir. Yet her cousin Stephen seized the prize, triggering 19 years of battle called “The Anarchy."
Aug 17th, 2011 • 35:33
Historical hoaxes are surprisingly common. 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 explore history's most successful hoaxes.
Aug 15th, 2011 • 32:57
In 1938 Orson Welles produced a series of radio dramas, including one based on “War of the Worlds.” The broadcast aired the night before Halloween and caused a mass panic. But why did so many listeners believe the show was real? Tune in to find out.
Aug 10th, 2011 • 25:22
Nikolai Vavilov traveled to 64 countries gathering seeds and plants and established the first seed bank. Stalin had the botanist sentenced to death, but his seed bank endured: Other scientists guarded the stores from rats, starving Russians and the Nazis.
Aug 8th, 2011 • 29:06
In the second portion of their interview with author David McCullough, Sarah and Deblina, focus specifically on their favorite parts of his new book "The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris." Tune in to learn more about McCullough's research process.
Aug 3rd, 2011 • 26:13
In 1913, 13-year-old Atlanta factory worker Mary Phagan stopped in for her pay -- and was never seen alive again. Authorities charged Jewish superintendent Leo M. Frank with murder. But did Frank kill Mary Phagan, or was he framed? Tune in to learn more.
Aug 1st, 2011 • 33:56
An acclaimed African-American contralto, Marian Anderson was barred from singing in Constitution Hall in 1939. She sang at the Lincoln Memorial instead. The concert was broadcast around the country -- and also heard by a young Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jul 27th, 2011 • 24:51
The Bayeux Tapestry is considered the one of the most important images of the Medieval Age. It’s a stunning piece of art, and it covers a crucial event in Western history: The Norman Conquest of Britain. Tune in to learn more about the Bayeux Tapestry.
Jul 25th, 2011 • 24:28
The false Dmitriy was actually one of three imposters claiming to be the son of Ivan the Terrible. So what made his story seem more believable to the Russian populace? Join Sarah and Deblina as they examine the curious tale of the False Dmitriy.
Jul 20th, 2011 • 27:31
Carthage was a trading hub of the ancient world, challenging the budding Roman Republic. In 264 B.C., Rome and Carthage began the Punic Wars, which continued for more than a century. Tune in to learn more about the rise -- and fall -- of Carthage.
Jul 18th, 2011 • 22:02
In the 1830s, James Brooke sailed toward the Malay Archipelago and ended up becoming the Rajah of Sarawak. Brooke governed Sarawak until the 1860s and made several beneficial reforms. But what happened next? Join Sarah and Deblina to learn more.
Jul 13th, 2011 • 23:27
After her father died, Elizabeth Van Lew freed the family slaves, including a girl named Mary. When the Civil War began, sources say Mary became an agent in Van Lew’s “Richmond Ring." Join Sarah and Deblina to learn more about Civil War spies.
Jul 11th, 2011 • 25:43
In the late 1600s, a financier tried to start a Scottish colony in Panama. Despite English roadblocks, the Scots successfully raised funding. But the expedition faced disease, death and poor trade, taking down the settlers -- and, ultimately, Scotland.
Jul 6th, 2011 • 31:13
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 to her cousin Albert changed the way she lived and ruled.
Jul 4th, 2011 • 24:05
Belle Boyd got her start as a spy in Martinsburg, Virginia, at the age of 17. In 1862, the "Cleopatra of the Succession" obtained – and risked her life to deliver -- information that may have been pivotal to the outcome of the Battle of Front Royal.
Jun 29th, 2011 • 27:12
Riots are a distressingly common part of human history, and the strangest events can trigger widespread violence. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah take a closer look at one of history's strangest riots. Tune in to learn more.
Jun 27th, 2011 • 24:03
Allan Pinkerton fell into detective work when he discovered a gang of counterfeiters in Illinois. In 1861, he helped thwart a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, which may have led Lincoln to later tap Pinkerton to organize the first Union espionage.
Jun 22nd, 2011 • 24:12
Alan Turing, 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 homosexual by the British government. Tune in to learn more.
Jun 20th, 2011 • 23:06
Bushrangers, a type of bandit, troubled Australia until the late 1800s. Ned Kelly, the most famous bushranger, became an outlaw in 1878, and his gang successfully conducted several raids. Tune in to learn why many Australians think of him as a folk hero.
Jun 15th, 2011 • 23:52
Recently deceased heiress Huguette Clark was reclusive -- she hadn't been photographed since 1930. Her father was the wealthy William Andrews Clark, whose political battles started the War of the Copper Kings. Tune in to learn more about the Clark family.
Jun 13th, 2011 • 21:13
In 1850, James Strang was crowned king of Michigan's Beaver Island. He got the opportunity to lead after meeting Joseph Smith and converting to Mormonism. After Smith’s death, Strang tried to step in as his successor. Tune in to learn what happened next.
Jun 8th, 2011 • 20:28
Most people have heard of great South and Central American empires, but Mississippian civilizations are more obscure. At its peak, the Mississippian city known as Cahokia was bigger than London. So how did it get so big -- and why was it abandoned?
Jun 6th, 2011 • 22:18
Bobby Fischer called Paul Morphy “the greatest chess genius in history,” By age 20, he earned recognition as America’s best player after winning the nation’s first chess championship tournament in 1857. So why did his career end after only two years?
Jun 1st, 2011 • 20:53
When a mysterious woman sporting a turban showed up in England, people took her for a foreign beggar. But she claimed to be a princess who had been kidnapped by pirates! Eventually, however, the truth proved stranger than fiction. Tune in to learn more.
May 30th, 2011 • 31:28
After covering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Deblina and Sarah return to the topic of disastrous fires in history. Listen in as they recount some of history's most famous fires, comparing and contrasting the factors leading to these catastrophes.
May 25th, 2011 • 27:15
In this episode, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough discusses his book "The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris," which follows the experiences of American expats in the French capital. Tune in to learn more about McCullough's work.
May 23rd, 2011 • 21:56
Queen Victoria loved two men: Prince Albert, and after his death, her servant, John Brown. Late in life, the Queen had a third partner, a Muslim man named Abdul Karim. So why did Victoria’s children want the records of this relationship destroyed?
May 18th, 2011 • 22:00
In the early 1900s, New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist factory was one of the largest blouse factories in the city. It was also incredibly unsafe. Learn how a fire at this factory triggered a national change in attitudes surrounding workplace safety.
May 16th, 2011 • 22:02
The German battleship Bismarck was the most feared warship in the world – a powerful complement to U-boats. But when she sank the pride of the British fleet, the battle cruiser Hood, in a matter of minutes, her fate was sealed. Tune in to learn more.
May 11th, 2011 • 23:08
In the late 1800s, no one really monitored food additives. After Congress refused to regulate food safety, Harvey Wiley had groups of healthy men ingest poisons for six months. Tune in to learn how these "Poison Squads" shed new light on Wiley’s cause.
May 9th, 2011 • 23:40
It's the three-hundredth episode of your favorite history podcast, and what better way to celebrate than to take a closer look at real story behind the blockbuster film 300? Listen in and learn more in this episode.
May 4th, 2011 • 37:44
In this all-listener-suggested episode, Deblina and Sarah take a look at why four different warships from around the world went down, and why they were built In the first place. Tune in to learn if your suggestion made it on the airwaves.
May 2nd, 2011 • 21:57
Jimmy Winkfield won the Kentucky Derby twice, and he was also the last African-American jockey to win the race. Winkfield moved abroad in 1904 to continue his career, but it wasn't until 2005 that Congress honored his work. Tune in to learn more.
Apr 27th, 2011 • 35:03
From the sinking of Black Sam's Wydah to the Medusa's disastrous accident off the African coast, history is rife with tales of shipwrecks. Listen in as Sarah and Deblina as they recount the stories of five shipwrecks that have made their mark on history
Apr 25th, 2011 • 32:45
Although Madame Tussaud's museum is world-famous, the story of Marie Tussaud herself is less well-known. So who exactly was she, and how did she create one of the world's most popular museums? Tune in and learn more in this episode.
Apr 20th, 2011 • 20:05
This year, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be getting married at Westminster Abbey. Listen in to learn more about royal weddings as Sarah and Deblina travel through the centuries to look at the Abbey’s connections to the crown and to the Windsors.
Apr 18th, 2011 • 25:57
On March 1, 1932, 20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindberg Jr. disappeared. The kidnappers left several clues at the crime scene, authorities eventually made an arrest and a trial ensued -- but some still wonder whether the right person was convicted.
Apr 13th, 2011 • 31:23
In 1695, Alexander Selkirk ran away and joined a band of buccaneers. In 1704, after a fight with his captain, Selkirk was put ashore on an uninhabited island about 400 miles west of Valparaiso. Tune in to learn more about the real-life Robinson Crusoe.
Apr 11th, 2011 • 28:14
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. Needless to say, this didn't go over well in New York. Tune in to learn more.
Apr 6th, 2011 • 26:51
In 1839, Africans held captive by slavers revolted and ordered the Amistad's crew to return to Africa. However, the ship was captured in Long Island and the slaves were put on trial -- but that's not the end of the story. Tune in to learn more.
Apr 4th, 2011 • 27:40
In 1848, a preacher named John Humphrey Noyse founded the Oneida community. 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.
Mar 30th, 2011 • 45:56
Amazons are a well-known element of mythology, but are there any historical figures that could be considered real-life Amazons? Listen in as Deblina and Sarah traverse the globe to find five examples of historical Amazons.
Mar 28th, 2011 • 33:35
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 recount the life of the first woman to run for U.S. president.
Mar 23rd, 2011 • 31:54
David Livingstone was a missionary working in Africa, and for six years he lost contact with the western world. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the adventures of Livingstone and Henry Stanley, the journalist who found Livingstone in Africa.
Mar 21st, 2011 • 30:58
Lakshmi Bai was born into wealthy family in 1830, but she was far from the typical aristocrat. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the life and work of Lakshmi Bai, from her youth to her instrumental role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Mar 16th, 2011 • 31:04
Lambert Simnel was born into a humble position, but over the course of his life he became both a pretender to the throne and an imposter. Tune in to learn how this young man was used as a pawn in this story of classic royal intrigue.
Mar 14th, 2011 • 28:08
Since its publication in 1934, The Little Prince has become one of the world's most well-known children's books -- and the story of its author is almost as extraordinary. Tune in to learn more about the life -- and disappearance -- of this author.
Mar 9th, 2011 • 31:38
When people think of pirates, they usually picture male, western scoundrels flouting the law throughout the Caribbean. However, piracy is not a solely western pursuit. Listen in as Deblina and Sarah recount the exploits of pirates in the South China Sea.
Mar 7th, 2011 • 28:05
Michelangelo da Caravaggio may not be as well-known as Leonardo da Vinci, but this amazing painter has been receiving more and more attention in recent times. Why? Listen in as Deblina and Sarah explore the controversial life of Caravaggio.
Mar 2nd, 2011 • 27:23
Mardi Gras has been a legal holiday in New Orleans since 1875, and the annual Fat Tuesday celebration has become a legendary part of the city's culture. But which Mardi Gras celebration was the best? Listen in as Deblina and Sarah explore Mardi Gras.
Feb 28th, 2011 • 26:19
Sarah Breedlove Walker was born in 1867 and grew up in a shack in a Louisiana. She began working as a washerwoman, but continually worked her way up to become the owner of her own manufacturing company. Listen in to learn more about Madam CJ Walker.
Feb 23rd, 2011 • 29:29
In September of 1739, a slave rebellion shook the foundations of the colony in South Carolina. But how did it happen? Tune in to learn more about the factors leading to the Stono rebellion, as well as its long-term effects.
Feb 21st, 2011 • 38:27
Some historians think Phillip V of Spain was mad, but why? Listen in as Sarah and Deblina recount the strange rule of Phillip V, who abdicated the throne for several months in 1724.
Feb 16th, 2011 • 32:41
When Ellen and her husband William made their escape from a life of slavery in Georgia, they traversed over 1,000 miles to reach freedom. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the astonishing journey of the Craft family. Tune in and learn more.
Feb 14th, 2011 • 32:21
During Prohibition, the US was awash in booze-fueled crime. Gangsters feuded savagely to control their turf, especially in Chicago. On Feb. 14th, 1929, these rivalries culminated in one of America's most notorious unsolved crimes. Tune in to learn more.
Feb 9th, 2011 • 33:24
The story of the House of Bourbon is pretty complicated. Luckily, Deblina and Sarah are here to examine the web of people and events leading to the fall of the House. Tune in and learn more about Henri, comte de Chambord, the last French Bourbon.
Feb 7th, 2011 • 38:50
A funny thing happened to the Dutch during the 17th century: They went nuts for tulips, paying exorbitant amounts for a single bulb. But what exactly triggered this commodity bubble? And what do revisionist historians have to say? Tune in and find out.
Feb 2nd, 2011 • 36:24
Haile Selassie wasn't just the last emperor of Ethiopia -- he is also hailed as a messiah. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah explore the astonishing life of Haile Selassie. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 31st, 2011 • 38:05
From Marlon Brando to Harry Houdini, it's common knowledge that performers are uniquely gifted -- but several have also gained reputations as gifted inventors. Tune in to learn more about five of history's most unlikely inventors.
Jan 26th, 2011 • 38:00
Madame de Pompadour was born in Paris in 1721, and eventually became the mistress of King Louis XV. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah describe Madame de Pompadour's rise to power. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 24th, 2011 • 23:13
Also known as the Northern War, Hone Heke's Rebellion took place between in New Zealand over the course of 1845 and 1846. In this podcast, Sarah and Deblina recount the events leading up to the war -- as well as the consequences of Heke's actions.
Jan 19th, 2011 • 28:20
From hemlock to cyanide, poison has unfortunately played an integral part in many of history's great sagas, But in 17th-century France, the scandal over poisoning reached an unprecedented level. Tune in and learn more.
Jan 17th, 2011 • 21:30
Driven by visions of unimaginable riches, Spanish explorers subjugated the cultures of South America and exploit the resources for their masters in Europe. Chief among these visions was the hallowed El Dorado, or the City of Gold. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 12th, 2011 • 23:22
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 inventor. Tune in to learn more about Hedy Lamarr.
Jan 10th, 2011 • 23:42
Cardinal Richelieu wielded tremendous political power, but he also made more than a few enemies. Would they seek revenge in his later years? In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the last years of Cardinal Richelieu
Jan 5th, 2011 • 29:46
As one of the most influential writers in the English language, Shakespeare is typically associated with cultural sophistication rather than violent bouts of near-anarchy. But this wasn't the case during the Astor Place Riot. Tune in to learn more.
Jan 3rd, 2011 • 27:02
A man of many appellations -- Henry the Great, the Green Gallant -- King Henry IV was a very popular French royal . In this episode, Sarah and Deblina explore the controversial life and reign of Henry of Bourbon, including the surprising fate of his head.
Dec 29th, 2010 • 29:35
Over the past 12 months, experts have been hard at work hunting down hard evidence of times, places and people lost in the course of history. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina recount 5 of the most important historical finds of 2010.
Dec 28th, 2010 • 27:57
Talk about making an impression: 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. Tune in and learn more about Musa and Timbuktu in this podcast.
Dec 22nd, 2010 • 22:10
Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, military leader and powerful politician in the 17th-century Parliament, but nowadays he's also known as an inveterate grinch. How did he get this reputation -- and, more importantly, did he deserve it? Tune in to learn more.
Dec 20th, 2010 • 25:14
During the Tong Dynasty, Chinese women were often treated as second-class citizens. This made the rise of Empress Wu even more extraordinary. But did her work have a lasting effect? Learn more about how -- or if -- Empress Wu permanently changed China.
Dec 15th, 2010 • 21:44
Although most people are familiar with gladiators, movies have skewed popular understanding of these fighters. So how can we separate the fact from the fiction? Tune in to learn how gladiator graveyards have changed the way we regard gladiators today.
Dec 13th, 2010 • 21:23
The study of the heavens is one of humanity's oldest pursuits, and it's still a work in progress. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah explore the details of five amazing astronomical discoveries, beginning with the work of Copernicus.
Dec 8th, 2010 • 24:54
In 2008, the Aurora Trust began a survey around an island named Ventotone, off the coast of Naples. They found an astonishing group of Roman shipwrecks, and they also found a mystery. How did all these ships sink so close together? Tune in to find out.
Dec 6th, 2010 • 27:32
Tycho Brahe is hailed as an influential astronomer, but why? Tune in and learn how this groundbreaking astronomer lost his nose, built the world's first observatory and met with an untimely demise in this podcast.
Dec 1st, 2010 • 26:48
Christopher Marlowe was one of the most talented writers of the Elizabethan era, but his career was cut short when he was stabbed to death at the age of 29. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah take a closer look at the mystery surrounding Marlowe's death.
Nov 29th, 2010 • 26:58
Exile is never a pleasant experience, and meting it out on a family member is positively brutal. So what could drive Augustus to exile his own daughter? Tune in and find out -- the answer might surprise you.
Nov 24th, 2010 • 27:53
Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't the first person to write a mystery novel, but his focus on scientific methods and brilliant protagonist made the stories of Sherlock Holmes world-famous. Yet is Sherlock Holmes based on a real person? Tune in to find out.
Nov 22nd, 2010 • 32:19
In addition to being the first Asian Nobel laureate, the multitalented Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was known for his political influence. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina trace the life of Tagore through his childhood to knighthood and beyond.
Nov 17th, 2010 • 41:46
With four acres of floor space and over thirty bedrooms, the opulent Biltmore Estate occupies a unique place in the history of the United States. In this episode, Candace and Sarah trace the history of the Vanderbilt family and their magnificent estate.
Nov 15th, 2010 • 40:34
The hit show "Lost" is replete with historical name-dropping, but who are all these people mentioned in the show? In this episode, our resident history buffs crack the case and track down some of the historical names used in "Lost."
Nov 10th, 2010 • 46:08
History is full of astonishing events, and the history of marriage is no exception. Listen in as Sarah and our special guest, Candace, explore five of the most show-stopping, opulent weddings in history.
Nov 8th, 2010 • 18:39
During the golden age of Caribbean piracy, people from all walks of life set sail in search of gold. Yet you may be surprised to hear that some of the pirates were Sephardic Jews. Tune in and learn more about the lives of Jewish pirates.
Nov 3rd, 2010 • 24:16
Roxelana has one of the strangest rags-to-riches stories in history. As a slave who entered Suleyman's harem and rose through the ranks to become the wife of the Sultan, Roxelana became a symbol of the Ottoman empire. Tune in to learn more about Roxelana.
Nov 1st, 2010 • 25:03
In the early 8th century, Moors occupied most of the Iberian peninsula. During the Reconquista, Christians rallied to conquer the land. Listen in and learn more about this epic conflict, which spans some of the most formative times in Spanish history.
Oct 27th, 2010 • 27:33
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? Listen in as Sarah and Katie explore the strange theories of Franz Mesmer.
Oct 25th, 2010 • 20:47
Did Tycho Brahe really own a moose with a drinking problem? Did a U.S. President keep a pet alligator? Tune in as Katie and Sarah take a look at some of history's strangest pets (and their equally bizarre owners).
Oct 20th, 2010 • 26:13
Nowadays marathons are a popular pastime for health buffs across the world, but how did they get started? The origins of the marathon date back to the fifth century B.C., when Greeks depended on messengers to carry news. Tune in to learn more.
Oct 18th, 2010 • 26:37
Most people are familiar with Jack the Ripper, but Victorian England was also plagued by an odd character named Spring-Heeled Jack. Were reports of this bounding scoundrel a symptom of mass hysteria, or something factual? Tune in to learn more.
Oct 13th, 2010 • 25:17
History is full of astonishing stories, and not all of them revolve around humans. In the first part of this two-part series, Katie and Sarah cover five of history's most memorable animals. Listen in to learn more about historical animals.
Oct 11th, 2010 • 23:40
Some actors believe it's bad luck to say 'Macbeth' in the theater unless the play is being performed -- but why? In this episode, Katie and Sarah explore the origins of the Macbeth curse and the life of the historical Macbeth.
Oct 6th, 2010 • 22:39
Nowadays chocolate is popular across the world, but it got its start thousands of years ago in Mesoamerica, where it was much more than a mere sweet or ingredient in desserts. Learn more about the history of chocolate in this podcast.
Oct 4th, 2010 • 29:29
In 1892, Abby Borden was brutally murdered in her home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter her husband Andrew Borden was also murdered, and his daughter Lizzie Borden was the primary suspect. But why was she acquitted? Tune in and learn more.
Sep 29th, 2010 • 26:49
When Dante wrote The Divine Comedy, he consigned several of his real-life enemies to hell. In this podcast, Katie and Sarah examine Dante's habit of putting his enemies in his fiction, focusing on five people the average Florentine would have known.
Sep 27th, 2010 • 24:08
Although Herman Melville's opus is a work of fiction, it was inspired by real-life events. In this episode, Katie and Sarah explore the story of the real-life Moby Dick -- and the unfortunate vessel that encountered it in the Pacific.
Sep 22nd, 2010 • 25:37
When Scott and Amundsen launched rival expeditions to the South Pole, they knew that only one group could be the first to reach the pole. Each believed his strategy would prevail, but which explorer won? Tune in and learn more in this podcast.
Sep 20th, 2010 • 23:12
The Koh-i-noor diamond has a long, storied history -- and a reputation for bringing trouble to its (male) owners. In this episode, Katie and Sarah trace the adventures of the infamous diamond, from its Indian origins to its final resting place in Britain.
Sep 15th, 2010 • 19:34
When Egyptologists studied King Tutankhamen's DNA, they learned some surprising things: In addition to being disabled, the king was inbred. And this is just the beginning. Learn more about the real King Tut -- and where he came from -- in this podcast.
Sep 13th, 2010 • 18:02
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in December of 1791, bringing his profound career to an untimely end. But how exactly did he die? Join Katie and Sarah as they examine the life of Mozart -- and the questions surrounding his death -- in this podcast.
Sep 8th, 2010 • 20:24
Sir Roger Mortimer is known as the "greatest traitor," but why? Sarah and Katie explore the life and times of Sir Mortimer in this episode, from his early conflicts, his successful rebellion against Edward II, and his ignominious end.
Sep 6th, 2010 • 18:58
During the Middle Ages, thousands of faithful Catholics believed in the story of a female pope named Joan. But is there any evidence for this story -- not to mention the other stories that grew from the original tale? Listen in and learn more.
Sep 1st, 2010 • 33:04
When Napoleon planned a secret mission to Egypt, he authorized three men to create a Commission of Sciences and Arts. However, the commission's 151 members soon learned the mission wasn't what they'd expected. Tune in and learn more in this podcast.
Aug 30th, 2010 • 16:21
The Trung sisters were daughters of a Vietnamese lord in the first century, when Vietnam was occupied by the Han Dynasty. Listen in and learn how these remarkable leaders fought to free their kingdom and why they remain highly revered in Vietnam today.
Aug 25th, 2010 • 23:07
Today, Richard I -- better known as Richard the Lionheart -- is an iconic, legendary figure in European history. But how did he become "the Lionheart" in the first place? Tune in and learn more about Richard I in this podcast.
Aug 23rd, 2010 • 25:05
It gets lonely at the top, and even larger-than-life monarchs like Catherine the Great needed a bit of romance now and then. Tune in and learn more about Catherine's lovers -- and if she ever found the true love she was looking for -- in this podcast.
Aug 18th, 2010 • 28:51
In 1798 Napoleon decided to launch an expedition to Egypt instead of leading a direct attack on England -- but why? In this episode, Katie and Sarah explore the Battle of the Pyramids (Napoleon himself came up with the title). Tune in and learn more.
Aug 16th, 2010 • 28:51
It didn't take long for America to romanticize cowboys. Even after most cowboys gave up their spurs, Wild West shows captivated audiences across the country. Tune in and learn more about the stars of Wild West shows, from Buffalo Bill to Annie Oakley.
Aug 11th, 2010 • 25:50
Katie and Sarah highlight some of the details of Catherine the Great's reign, from wars and rebellions to her Enlightenment ideals and desire to further Westernize Russia, in their continuing series on the influential female ruler.
Aug 9th, 2010 • 24:51
Catherine the Great remains one of the most influential female figures in European history, but how did she get her start? In the first segment of this two-part series, Sarah and Katie explore Catherine the Great's rise to power.
Aug 4th, 2010 • 19:51
Centuries after the fall of their line, the Medici remain one of history's most powerful -- and notorious -- families. In this episode, Sarah and Katie trace the unfortunate and mysterious deaths of Medici family members.
Aug 2nd, 2010 • 19:51
Of all the Crusades, the Fourth Crusade was the least successful: It created a permanent divide between Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. But what exactly went wrong? Tune in and learn more in this podcast.
Jul 28th, 2010 • 21:34
During World War II, the Nazi totalitarian party did not tolerate dissent. Despite the risks involved, some Germans did attempt to resist Hitler's government. In this episode, Katie and Sarah explore the story of the White Rose, a secret resistance group.
Jul 26th, 2010 • 16:58
Ivan IV was still an infant when he was proclaimed the Emperor of Russia. In this episode, Katie and Sarah explain how this strange ascension occurred -- and how Anna Leopoldovna became the power behind the throne.
Jul 21st, 2010 • 26:39
Anxious to control his own rubber company, Henry Ford built a utopian community in the midst of the Amazon. In this episode, Katie and Sarah explore the construction of Fordlandia, the life of its inhabitants and what eventually went wrong.
Jul 19th, 2010 • 21:09
From 1827 to 1828, Burke and Hare were accused of killing fifteen people and selling their bodies to medical students. But were they really resurrectionists? Tune in to learn the truth about Burke and Hare in this podcast.
Jul 14th, 2010 • 29:28
From his opulent, solitary dinners to the amazing Neuschwanstein Castle, it's no surprise that King Ludwig II was known as an eccentric. In fact, people thought he was mad. But why? Tune in and learn more about Mad King Ludwig in this podcast.
Jul 12th, 2010 • 21:29
Born in 1838, Lili'uokalani became the queen of Hawaii in 1891. Unfortunately, she was destined to be Hawaii's last monarch. Listen in and learn how Hawaii became a state in this podcast.
Jul 7th, 2010 • 22:06
Born shortly after the appearance of Halley's comet over Hawai'i in 1758, Kamehameha was hailed as the king who would unite the Hawai'ian islands. But how did he turn this prophecy into reality, and what happened to him in the end? Tune in and learn more.
Jul 5th, 2010 • 19:23
In 1972 the tension between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republican Army rose to a fever pitch as the British Army and Irish protestors clashed. Learn more about the contentious partition of Ireland -- and Bloody Sunday -- in this podcast.
Jun 30th, 2010 • 20:27
Mata Hari was an exotic dancer and a courtesan, but today she's known more for her work as a spy. In this podcast, Katie and Sarah take a look at the extraordinary life of Mata Hari -- and whether the French intelligence community used her as a scapegoat.
Jun 23rd, 2010 • 29:56
The larger-than-life poet and novelist Oscar Wilde remains one of Ireland's most well-known authors, but his life wasn't all accolades and praise. Join Katie and Sarah as they explore the struggles and triumphs of Oscar Wilde in this podcast.
Jun 21st, 2010 • 20:38
Amid the anti-Semitic and hostile environment of Hungary, the poet Hannah Szenes joined with resistance forces, risking her life to save Jewish communities. Tune in and learn why Hannah Szenes is known as the "Joan of Arc of Israel" in this podcast.
Jun 16th, 2010 • 28:43
The mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty has been popularized in film, but how accurate is this depiction? In this podcast, Sarah and Katie take a closer look at this legendary mutiny -- and figure out whether William Bligh deserves his terrible reputation.
Jun 14th, 2010 • 25:10
Born in 1768, Tecumseh was a leader of the Shawnee tribe who united several Native American tribes in opposition against the expansionist U.S. forces. But who was this legendary leader? Tune in and learn more about the real Tecumseh in this podcast.
Jun 9th, 2010 • 24:54
Years after the American Revolution, Britain and the United States were still locked in conflict. Listen in as Katie and Sarah explore the British bombardment of Baltimore in 1814 -- and how it inspired a lawyer named Francis Scott Key -- in this podcast.
Jun 7th, 2010 • 19:25
In her time, Lillie Langtry was known as the most beautiful woman in the world. But how did she get her start? Listen in and learn how The Jersey Lily became an international celebrity in this podcast.
Jun 2nd, 2010 • 17:58
The Pony Express used a system of riders and horses to safely deliver mail between Missouri and Sacramento -- a distance of over 1900 miles. But how did it work? Join Katie and Sarah as they trace the rise and fall of the Pony Express in this podcast.
May 31st, 2010 • 21:56
When Joshua Norton returned to San Francisco following a disastrous business deal, he was a little bit loopy. Norton went to the newspapers and declared himself emperor of the United States. Here's the crazy part: it worked. Tune in and learn more.
May 26th, 2010 • 22:58
According to most popular accounts, Caligula was an insane, cruel and bizarre emperor. But how reliable are those stories? Join Katie and Sarah as they take a look at Caligula's life -- and try to separate the facts from the rumors -- in this podcast.
May 24th, 2010 • 19:35
Today historians know very little about Nefertiti, but during her time as Egypt's queen she was revered as a goddess. In this episode, Sarah and Katie explore the reign of Nefertiti, and why her controversial husband Akhenaton was considered a heretic.
May 19th, 2010 • 25:23
When a relief mission left Plymouth in 1609 to assist the troubled colony of Jamestown, an intense storm separated one vessel from the rest of the fleet. Learn how this shipwreck may have saved Jamestown -- and inspired Shakespeare -- in this podcast.
May 17th, 2010 • 20:03
Born in 1783, Simon Bolivar grew to become known as the George Washington of South America. But how did this happen? Listen in and learn how Simon Bolivar left a life of luxury to pursue liberation from Spain in this podcast.
May 12th, 2010 • 14:43
Fairy tales weren't always safe fodder for the latest Disney film. In fact, some were downright macabre. Learn more about the original versions of fairy tales -- and the eccentric brothers responsible for popularizing them -- in this podcast.
May 10th, 2010 • 21:16
Historically, the samurai were Japanese warriors famous for their loyalty to their feudal lords and adherence to a strict code of honor. Tune in to learn more about the samurai and the legendary tale of the 47 Ronin.
May 5th, 2010 • 22:31
From cat burglars to immoral, obsessed collectors, we've all heard stories of notorious art thieves. But in terms of loot, which of history's outrageous art heists was the most successful? Listen in and learn more in this podcast.
May 3rd, 2010 • 21:26
Charlie Chaplin is perhaps best known for his portrayal of 'The Tramp,' a character with raggedy clothes and a heart of gold. But who was the real Charlie Chaplin? Learn more about one of the most influential actors of silent film in this podcast.
Apr 28th, 2010 • 29:15
In this episode of the continuing 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 in this podcast.
Apr 26th, 2010 • 17:54
In 1795, a farm boy named Daniel McGinnis found a strange depression in the ground on an island in Nova Scotia's Mahone Bay. As he and his friends began to dig, they realized they'd stumbled on much more than an ordinary hole. Tune in and learn more.
Apr 21st, 2010 • 27:21
Catherine de' Medici remains the most famous female member of the Medici clan. Orphaned at a young age, Catherine survived struggles with childhood illness and eventually became the Queen consort of France. Tune in and learn what happened next.
Apr 19th, 2010 • 28:38
In a follow-up to the earlier episode on the history of vaudeville, Katie and Sarah take a closer look at some of the most memorable vaudevillians. Listen in and learn more about everyone from the Marx brothers to Winsor McCay in this episode.
Apr 14th, 2010 • 21:50
When the philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg sought mechanical explanations for nature, he found himself struggling with his faith as he searched for evidence of the human soul. But what happened next? Tune in and learn more in this podcast.
Apr 12th, 2010 • 30:06
As a painter and a sculptor, Michelangelo became famous within his own lifetime. But who exactly was this artist, and what compelled him to create his masterpieces? Listen in as Katie and Sarah explore the life of Michelangelo in this podcast.
Apr 7th, 2010 • 18:18
Vaudeville flourished from the late 19th century into the Depression era. It was one of America's most famous forms of entertainment at the time. Tune in as Katie and Sarah take a look at this family-friendly variety show from America's bygone days.
Apr 5th, 2010 • 25:22
Girolamo Savonarola wasn't the typical Dominican friar. He began protesting moral corruption in the clergy at a young age. Eventually he came to Florence, the dominion of the powerful and decadent Medici clan. Tune in and learn what happened next.
Mar 31st, 2010 • 24:58
When the Pazzi family became entangled in a plot to assassinate Lorenzo and Giuliano de'Medici, the conspiracy grew until it reached the steps of the Vatican itself. Learn more about this coup attempt -- and its ultimate result -- in this episode.
Mar 29th, 2010 • 17:38
Born Simon ben Kosiba, Simon bar Kokhba led the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman empire. The revolt succeeded momentarily, and the Romans were expelled from Judea -- but the conflict was far from over. Tune in and learn what happened next.
Mar 24th, 2010 • 26:21
Born in 1864, Nellie Bly wasn't your average journalist -- in fact, 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, America's original stunt journalist.
Mar 22nd, 2010 • 27:03
Created around 800 AD, the Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript held at Trinity College in Ireland. Listen in to learn more about the Book of Kells -- and how it survived for so long -- in this podcast.
Mar 17th, 2010 • 17:26
As High King of Ireland, Brian Boru fought against -- and ultimately ended -- the rule of Niall Noigiallach's descendents. Tune in as Katie and Sarah take a closer look at the life of Brian Boru in this podcast.
Mar 15th, 2010 • 21:52
Often hailed as "the eighth wonder of the world," the Amber Room is an opulent room adorned with gold and precious amber. History buffs would love to see the room for themselves, but there's one problem: it's missing. Learn more in this episode.
Mar 10th, 2010 • 22:31
The House of Romanov ruled Russia from 1613 until 1917, when Nicholas II abdicated the throne. But what actually happened to the royal family? Tune in as Katie and Sarah get to the bottom of the mysterious demise of the Romanovs in this episode.
Mar 8th, 2010 • 16:09
With a career spanning five decades, Josephine Baker was a star of stage and screen. However, she was also a spy for the French resistance during World War II. Tune in and learn more about Josephine Baker in this podcast.
Mar 3rd, 2010 • 22:36
Giuseppe Garibaldi led the ultimate underdogs in an expedition to overthrow the Bourbon family ruling Sicily in 1860. Tune in and learn how this ragged band of roughly 1,000 people forced the royal army of 20,000 men to surrender in this podcast.
Mar 1st, 2010 • 18:59
Born in 1941 in Trinidad, Stokely Carmichael moved to the US at the age of 11. Once he arrived he set upon a path that permanently changed American society. Listen in and learn how he became the leader of the Black Power movement in this episode.
Feb 24th, 2010 • 21:28
When Mary Seacole was born, racism was rife and no formal nursing institutions existed. Tune in to learn how Mary Seacole overcame these obstacles and became one of the world's most recognizable nurses in this episode.
Feb 22nd, 2010 • 17:02
Some authors have described Zenobia, a queen of Palmyra, as a second Cleopatra. Listen in as Sarah and Katie explore the history of Palmyra and Zenobia in this episode.
Feb 17th, 2010 • 27:02
Born in Alabama in 1906, Satchel Paige rose through the ranks to become one of the most popular baseball players in the Negro Leagues. Tune in as Sarah and Katie explore the career of one of baseball's greatest pitchers.
Feb 16th, 2010 • 19:18
On July 6th, 1934, Charles Bedaux set off on an expedition from Edmonton to British Columbia. This was no ordinary trek -- the travelers moved in style, bringing along every imaginable luxury. Tune in and learn what happened next in this episode.
Feb 10th, 2010 • 16:24
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mogul ruler Shah Jahan as a memorial to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In this episode, Sarah and Katie delve into the stories of one of the world's most opulent mausoleums.
Feb 8th, 2010 • 18:39
"Bluebeard" is one of Charles Perrault's most disturbing and grisly stories -- but could it be true? Join Sarah and Katie as they explore the depraved life and crimes of Gilles de Rais, the real-life basis for Perrault's Bluebeard.
Feb 3rd, 2010 • 23:46
Tune in to this episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class to learn more about the life and philosophy of Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist leader known as "Black Moses."
Feb 1st, 2010 • 24:12
Although prehistoric societies hunted horses for food, they quickly realized the animals were more useful as a means of transportation. Tune in as Katie and Sarah explore one of the most specialized types of horses -- battle steeds -- throughout history.
Jan 27th, 2010 • 22:34
When the Haitian revolution broke out, Toussaint L'Ouverture did not originally take part in the violence -- at least, that is, until the British became involved. Learn more about Toussaint L'Ouverture and the Haitian revolution in this podcast.
Jan 25th, 2010 • 26:17
When John O'Hara Burke and William John Wills attempted to traverse Australia, the inland area of the continent was terra incognita known as the "ghastly blank." Learn what the expedition discovered in this episode.