Footnoting History

Footnoting History

From Neanderthals to Napoleon's sister, Footnoting History's team of academics share their favorite stories from across history. New episodes every other Saturday.
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The Woman Who Signed the Declaration of Independence

0:00 | May 4th

(Lesley) The Declaration of Independence has many well-known men's names on it, especially that of John Hancock. But what of the woman whose name appears on the printed version of this auspicious document? In this episode, Lesley explores the life an...Show More
King John and His Dogs

0:00 | Apr 20th

(Kristin) King John is often remembered as one of England’s most inept and disliked rulers. By the time he was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, John lost authority, territory, and a lot of friends. Some, however, did remain loyal. In this week...Show More
Henry II and Thomas Becket, Part II: Rivals

0:00 | Mar 23rd

(Christine) Not all friendships are meant to last, but some go the extra mile and turn into bitter rivalries. Picking up where we left off at the end of Part I, this episode follows the relationship between King Henry II and Archbishop Thomas Becket ...Show More
Henry II and Thomas Becket, Part I: Friends

0:00 | Mar 9th

(Christine) Being King of England isn't an easy task, but Henry II was aided by his good friend, Thomas Becket, serving as Chancellor. Then, Henry saw an opportunity to place Thomas in the highest position of power in the English church. What could g...Show More
King Henry I of England and the White Ship

0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2018

(Christine) In 1120, just when King Henry I of England thought he had achieved a much-needed peace, tragedy struck. What happened to the White Ship that broke the king's heart and changed the trajectory of the English monarchy? Find out on this episo...Show More
Special Edition: The Marriage of John Quincy and Louisa Adams

0:00 | May 19th, 2018

(Christine and Elizabeth) This weekend Britain celebrates the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, and we at Footnoting History are thrilled. Join us as we mark the occasion by discussing another cross-Atlantic union: the marri...Show More
Purgatory is Not the Medium Place

0:00 | Jul 13th

(Nathan) The landscape of the Christian afterlife has never been static, and over the last 2,000 years, the theology of what the hereafter looks like has evolved drastically. In this episode, we trace the origins and medieval development of one of th...Show More
Jessie Pope, (In)Famous Poet of World War One

0:00 | May 18th

(Elizabeth) One of the most famous poets of WWI is largely unknown today. In this episode, Elizabeth reviews the life and poems of Jessie Pope to determine who she was, why Wilfred Owen hated her so, and why we don't know more about her today.
Harlem Renaissance Man: James Weldon Johnson

0:00 | Apr 6th

(Lucy) Diplomat and hymn-writer, Broadway lyricist, activist, and historian, James Weldon Johnson was an early figurehead of the NAACP. This week's episode explores his life and multifaceted legacy.
The History of Grading

0:00 | Feb 24th

(Nathan) B-, 3.85, 16/20, upper second--modern methods of gauging a student's performance in a class can vary widely from country to country. But most of these systems are shockingly recent developments, and for much of human history "grades" as such...Show More
The End is Nigh! The Apocalypse in the Renaissance

0:00 | Feb 10th

(Lucy) At the dawn of the 1500s, Europe was enjoying more wealth than ever before. Consumption was conspicuous, luxury was accessible… and sin was rife. Preachers like Savonarola foretold the end of the world, and people listened. In this episode of ...Show More
American Indian Prisoners of War ​

0:00 | Jan 26th

(Elizabeth) Wars between British colonizers and American Indians were a constant part of life in Colonial America. In this episode, Elizabeth explains the myriad ways American Indians became prisoners of war as well as how they were treated, includin...Show More
Mao and His Mango

0:00 | Jan 12th

(Lesley) In 1968, an act of diplomacy between the Government of Pakistan and China’s Chairman Mao set off a series of actions that would create a cult around the mango fruit. Chairman Mao did not taste this fruit. Instead, he passed it on to workers ...Show More
Potosí: The Silver Mine that Changed the World

0:00 | Nov 17th, 2018

(Nathan) In 1545, a new Spanish mining town was founded in the Andes mountains of modern-day Bolivia, and for next 250 years, the mines of Potosí would fund the Spanish crown and its imperial ambitions. But what the Spanish did not know is that havin...Show More
History for Halloween V

0:00 | Oct 20th, 2018

(Christine, Lucy, Elizabeth) It's that time of year again! Hauntings, mayhem, and spooky happenings abound and we are here to feed your dark side with some creepy bits plucked from history.
How to Make a Fortune in Fictional Poyais

0:00 | Oct 6th, 2018

(Lesley) While the brave, the curious, and the outlawed began new lives in New World colonies, industrialists in Europe began searching for investment opportunities. The realities of travel, however, meant that leaps of faith were common for investor...Show More
The Legend of Pope Joan

0:00 | Sep 22nd, 2018

(Nathan) One of the most famous stories about the medieval papacy is that, supposedly sometime in the 9th or 11th century, there was a woman named Joan who disguised herself as a man and became Pope John. While it might sound like a modern, anti-Cath...Show More
Escape from Slavery: The Story of Mary and Emily Edmonson

0:00 | Sep 8th, 2018

(Elizabeth) Mary and Emily Edmonson were two of the youngest passengers who attempted to escape slavery on the ill-fated Pearl voyage in 1848. Join Elizabeth as she and a descendant of the Edmonson family discuss the role of these young women in not ...Show More
Beyond the Trenches: Other Fronts of WWI

0:00 | Aug 25th, 2018

(Lucy) In popular memory and on the big screen, the First World War was fought in the mud of northern France — or maybe in the skies above it. But what about the war beyond the irreverently-nicknamed trenches? This episode will explore the war as it ...Show More
How to Avoid Serving in Napoleon's Army

0:00 | Aug 11th, 2018

(Christine) Napoleon Bonaparte built his career and maintained his empire with soldiers at his back. Often, the fate of the France seemed to hinge on his military success, but that did not mean every man in the country was eager to join the fight. In...Show More
Who Was Bass Reeves?

0:00 | Jul 28th, 2018

(Samantha) Bass Reeves was born a slave but escaped from his master and lived as an outlaw in the Indian Territory until the Emancipation Proclamation officially made him a free man. He went on to use the knowledge he gained during his time in hiding...Show More
Ancient Authoritative Animals

0:00 | Jul 14th, 2018

(Lesley) Today's modern economy allows those with resources to lavish love and attention on their pets. In 2017, the pet industry represented $96 billion in sales in the US alone. Countless hours are spent calming our anxiety by watching cute cat vid...Show More
The Blazing World of Lady Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

0:00 | May 5th, 2018

(Nathan) Poet, playwright, philosopher, science theorist, and science fiction author--just a few of the occupations held by the 17th-century noblewoman, Lady Margaret Cavendish. One of the towering intellects of her day, Cavendish was a prodigious wr...Show More
Yolande Du Bois and the Weight of W.E.B. Du Bois's Dreams

0:00 | Apr 22nd, 2018

(Elizabeth) In the 20th Century, W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the leading intellectuals of the movement to gain equality for African-Americans. His daughter, Yolande Du Bois, found much of her life shaped by her father's desire for his daughter to be th...Show More
Ambition, Anxiety, and the Unseen Universe: Science and Victorian Fiction

0:00 | Apr 7th, 2018

(Lucy) It’s a truism to say that the Victorian age was a period of rapid technological and social change. It was also a period when science, increasingly, posited proofs for the unseen, from bacteria to mental illness to sexual orientation. Scientifi...Show More
Evacuating the Loyalists

0:00 | Mar 24th, 2018

(Christine) During the American Revolution, not everyone living in the rebellious colonies wanted to separate from Great Britain. In this episode, find out how loyalists (those still devoted to King George III) coped with the war ending and the colon...Show More
Hoelun the Stolen Bride

0:00 | Mar 10th, 2018

(Samantha) Some time before 1162, a Mongol girl named Hoelun was kidnapped and taken as a bride. A short time later she gave birth to a future emperor. Although the details of her story are shrouded in mystery, the tales that are told of her reveal a...Show More
The Papal Pornocracy

0:00 | Feb 24th, 2018

(Nathan) When popes are elected today, the cardinals of the Catholic Church meet in secret conclave. But it wasn't always so. In the 9th through 11th centuries, control of the Chair of St. Peter was fiercely contested between several Roman families, ...Show More
Censorship in Reformation England

0:00 | Feb 10th, 2018

(Lesley) The arrival of the printing press on the scene of early modern Europe helped to spread seditious ideas that became the Protestant Reformation. Monarchs across Europe and beyond had to establish new policies governing regarding the publicatio...Show More
Jewish Fighters of Medieval Europe

0:00 | Jan 27th, 2018

(Elizabeth) When we think of medieval Europe, knights, jousting, and sword fights come to mind. New light has been shed on fighting practices in medieval Europe, however, by the discovery of treatises, some of which describe the techniques employed a...Show More
How to Be a Beguine

0:00 | Jan 13th, 2018

(Lucy) In late medieval Europe, groups of women called beguines assembled in twos and threes, or in large communities, to practice the religious life. They lived simply, served the poor and sick, and sometimes engaged in business. But unlike nuns, th...Show More
Back of Every Great Work: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling

0:00 | Dec 16th, 2017

(Samantha) According to a plaque on the Brooklyn Bridge “back of every great work we can find the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman.” Indeed, when John Roebling died and his son, Washington, was struck ill, it was Washington’s young wife, Emily Wa...Show More
Napoleon Bonaparte's Near-Fatal Christmas

0:00 | Dec 2nd, 2017

(Christine) December may be a celebratory time for many, but in 1800 it caused Napoleon Bonaparte a giant headache. This episode is all about the attempted Christmas Eve assassination of France's future emperor.
The Malleus Maleficarum

0:00 | Nov 18th, 2017

(Nathan) In 1486, two German inquisitors published a treatise on the nature and prosecution of witches: the Malleus Maleficarum or "Hammer of the Witches."  This work overturned centuries of Catholic teaching regarding sorcery and witches, turning th...Show More
Distrust of Chinese-Americans in Early 20th-Century New York City

0:00 | Nov 4th, 2017

(Elizabeth) In 1910, Ida Delancey lost custody of her niece because her neighbors complained to child services that Ida, a white woman living in Brooklyn, was known to move in the same circles as Chinese-Americans. Elizabeth explores why this was a c...Show More
History for Halloween IV

0:00 | Oct 21st, 2017

(Christine, Lesley, Lucy) German ghosts, medieval inspirations, and horrors in the attic abound! We're back with bite-sized eerie tales in our fourth installment of History for Halloween.
Cemeteries: Washington Park Cemetery and Early 20th-Century Atlanta

0:00 | Oct 7th, 2017

(Elizabeth) In this episode, we return once again to the stories of three people buried in a cemetery in the Atlanta metro area. Second-sight, sharecropping, and a street called Auburn Avenue provide context for the lives of three people interred at ...Show More
Belle Gunness, Black Widow Serial Killer

0:00 | Sep 23rd, 2017

(Nathan) In the quiet town of La Porte, Indiana at the beginning of the 20th century lived a widow farmer with three children. Originally from Norway, Belle Sørenson Gunness was, like many widows in the period, in search of a husband to help work her...Show More
John Dee: Astrologer, Courtier, Mystic...Spy?

0:00 | Sep 9th, 2017

(Lucy) ​John Dee has been variously described as a visionary, a philosopher, and a “real-life Gandalf.” Internationally renowned, he served at the Elizabethan court as a consultant on matters worldly and otherworldly. The possessor of a legendary lib...Show More
The Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

0:00 | Aug 26th, 2017

(Samantha) Who doesn’t love the chocolate chip cookie? Today, chocolate chip is the most popular variety of cookie in the United States, but it did not exist until the 1930s. This episode traces the confection from its invention in the kitchen of Mrs...Show More
The Murderess in History

0:00 | Aug 12th, 2017

(Lesley) Serial killers can be fascinating subjects. The men who hunt strangers are terrifying and interesting studies of the human mind. Yet women in history have also killed, and in some cases they have killed in large, unexpected numbers. In this ...Show More
Cemeteries: Local History of Mid-20th Century Atlanta

0:00 | Jun 17th, 2017

(Elizabeth) Taphophilia is the love of cemeteries and headstones. In this episode, Elizabeth indulges her taphophilia as she uses stories from East View Cemetery on the outskirts of Atlanta to learn about life in the city in the early to mid-20th cen...Show More
Guy de Montfort and Dante’s Inferno

0:00 | Jun 3rd, 2017

(Christine) When your grandfather was a leading crusader and your father was a famous rebel, what is left for you to do? For Guy de Montfort the answer was to earn a spot in one of the circles of hell imagined by Dante in his Inferno. Find out how th...Show More
The One-Legged Nazi-Fighting Jesuit: Rupert Mayer

0:00 | May 20th, 2017

(Lucy) Fr. Rupert Mayer’s pastoral career ranged from serving as a chaplain for German troops during the First World War, to finding people jobs and housing. Then, after Hitler came to power, Fr. Mayer defied the Gestapo, and lived to tell the tale. ...Show More
Jumbo the Elephant

0:00 | May 6th, 2017

(Christine) In May of 2016 the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ elephants performed for their final time before entering retirement. Over 130 years earlier, in 1882, Jumbo the elephant left London for New York and joined P.T. Barnum’s trave...Show More
How to Punish a Witch in 16th-Century England

0:00 | Apr 22nd, 2017

(Lesley) We've all seen movies burn witches at the stake. But how did England's lawmakers propose to punish these evil-doers? You might be surprised. This week, we explore the various ways a sorcerer or witch could be punished in early modern England...Show More
The Great Unpleasantness? World War One in Whodunits

0:00 | Apr 8th, 2017

(Elizabeth and Lucy) The First World War was, infamously, a source of both transformation and trauma. In this episode, Lucy and Elizabeth find evidence of the ways in which the War to End all Wars influenced some of the greatest British mystery novel...Show More
Curious George Escapes Nazi Europe

0:00 | Mar 25th, 2017

(Samantha) Everyone knows the beloved children’s character Curious George, but how many of us know about his creators? When Hans and Margaret Rey created the mischievous monkey, they were German Jews living in Paris. As the Nazis swept through Europe...Show More
Early American Newspapers and Freedom of the Press

0:00 | Mar 11th, 2017

(Nathan) In the First Amendment to the US Constitution, tucked between the freedom of speech and right of assembly, is a protection of the freedom of the press. But why did the Framers feel the need to include it? The answer lies in the early history...Show More
A Royal Son: Henry the Young King

0:00 | Feb 25th, 2017

(Christine) What is it like to be a king but still have to answer to your father? In the twelfth century, Henry the Young King lived in the shadow of one of Europe’s most powerful monarchs: Henry II of England. This episode delves into the life of a ...Show More
The Trotula and Medieval Gynecology

0:00 | Feb 11th, 2017

(Nathan) Imagine you were a medieval woman suffering from fertility problems or an irregular period. How would you deal with these issues, and what kinds of treatments might your physician prescribe? To what lengths would you be willing to go, what s...Show More
The Woman and the 20-Pound Tumor

0:00 | Jan 28th, 2017

(Lesley) In the age before anesthesia, what would you do with a pregnancy that would not end? Would you accept a doctor's diagnosis of death or would you press to find any possible treatment? This episode follows the story of Jane Todd Crawford, who ...Show More
54° 40' or Fight: How a Latitude Line became a Rallying Cry

0:00 | Jan 14th, 2017

(Elizabeth) How could a line of latitude become a rallying cry for war in the 19th century? Elizabeth examines the Oregon Border Dispute and explains the myths and passions surrounding the slogan.
Ghosts of Christmas Past

0:00 | Dec 17th, 2016

(Lucy) The Victorians gave the English-speaking world a lot of Christmas traditions: trees, the exchange of cards… and, less famously, ghost stories. This week’s episode looks at the historical origins of Victorian England’s Christmas hauntings, and ...Show More
Olga Nethersole and the Sapho Scandal

0:00 | Dec 3rd, 2016

(Christine) ​In early 1900, actress Olga Nethersole and several of her colleagues were indicted for their roles in the production of a play. Find out what caused them to be called "of wicked and depraved mind and disposition" when Christine covers th...Show More
Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon

0:00 | Nov 19th, 2016

(Elizabeth) How did passenger pigeons, which numbered in the millions in the mid-19th century, become extinct in just over 50 years? Elizabeth explains the birds’ sudden decline as she discusses the life and death of Martha, the last passenger pigeon...Show More
The Un-Engagement of Jane Austen

0:00 | Nov 5th, 2016

(Christine) Jane Austen’s novels contain many courtships and brides, but the author herself never married. In this episode, Christine will delve into the time in Jane’s life when she could have become a wife and introduce you to Harris Bigg-Wither, t...Show More
History for Halloween III

0:00 | Oct 22nd, 2016

​(Christine, Lucy, Lesley) We're celebrating the creepiest of holidays with our third edition of History for Halloween. Join us for a selection of (true!) tales covering everything from haunted farmers to the bizarre fate of Oliver Cromwell's head.
Poison in Colonial India

0:00 | Oct 8th, 2016

(Lesley) Datura is a beautiful flower found throughout India. It is also a minor poison which has a storied past in local folklore. How did locals use this plant in medicine and local conflict? Join us as we explore local tradition and crime through ...Show More
The (Failed) Republic of Fredonia

0:00 | Sep 24th, 2016

(Nathan) Most people think of Fredonia as the fictitious country of the Marx Brothers film, Duck Soup, but Fredonia was actually a country...sort of.  In 1826, a hot-tempered Virginian 'colonist' named Haden Edwards created an alliance with a local C...Show More
Tycho Brahe: The Astronomer with a Copper Nose

0:00 | Sep 10th, 2016

(Samantha) Tycho Brahe was born into the Danish aristocracy at a time when noblemen normally didn’t follow academic pursuits. But he found himself so fascinated by astronomy that he decided to flout tradition as he did with his marriage and many othe...Show More
The Rise of the British Spy Novel

0:00 | Aug 27th, 2016

(Lucy) Death rays, invasions, and bombs, oh my! From Kipling’s “Great Game” to John Buchan’s 39 Steps, the rise of espionage in fiction mirrored British anxieties about the world and its place in it. Idealism and social criticism were often closely l...Show More
The Murder of Sweden's King Gustav III

0:00 | Aug 13th, 2016

(Christine) Louis XVI of France wasn't the only European king to die at the hands of his subjects in the 1790s. In this episode Christine examines the life and dramatic assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden.
The Life of Beatrice de Planissoles

0:00 | Jun 18th, 2016

(Nathan) In the hills of Southern France in the fourteenth century lived a woman named Beatrice de Planissoles, whose story remained largely unknown until the mid-20th century. In this episode, we will explore her remarkable life--her sexual affair w...Show More
Desert Queens? Women at the Edges of Empire from Hester Stanhope to Gertrude Bell

0:00 | Jun 4th, 2016

(Lucy) Notorious eccentrics, esteemed researchers, loose-cannon diplomats: this episode looks at the histories of the British women who were travelers and archaeologists in the Middle East and India in the early twentieth century. As women, their acc...Show More
The Life and Crimes of Caravaggio

0:00 | May 21st, 2016

(Samantha) One of the most inventive painters of his day, Caravaggio’s work is remembered for its ingenious use of light and shadow. Much like his work, Caravaggio’s life was lived in the shadows as he became involved in one criminal activity after a...Show More
Al Capone's Pineapple Primary

0:00 | May 7th, 2016

(Lesley) Many Americans are familiar with Al Capone's mobster rule over the city of Chicago during the Prohibition Era, but few know about his violent involvement in the so-called "Pineapple Primary." How far would Capone go to see his chosen man ele...Show More
Easter Rising, Part II: Aftermath

0:00 | Apr 23rd, 2016

(Christine and Elizabeth) In Part II of their examination of the rebellion, Christine and Elizabeth follow Patrick Pearse and his associates from the GPO to Kilmainham Gaol, take a look at how Britain handled the rebels, and assess what it all meant.
Easter Rising, Part I: Origins

0:00 | Apr 9th, 2016

(Christine and Elizabeth) For the centennial of the Easter Rising, Christine and Elizabeth look back to the mythology and reality behind the 1916 Irish rebellion. ​
Disney and the Space Race

0:00 | Mar 26th, 2016

(Elizabeth) In the 1950s, Walt Disney hired German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, to help make the Tomorrowland section of his developing theme park as accurate as possible. This relationship, however, had greater implications for the United St...Show More
Evelyn Nesbit and the Crime of the Century

0:00 | Mar 12th, 2016

(Samantha) In December 1900 the beautiful, fifteen year old Evelyn Nesbit arrived in New York. Within a year she became the “glittering girl model of Gotham,” the first iconic American sex-goddess. Her fame would transform into notoriety after June 2...Show More
The Eleven Lost Days

0:00 | Feb 27th, 2016

(Nathan) In the eighteenth century, the British Parliament undertook the task of fixing the calendar. Due to a problem with the Julian Calendar, which had been in use since ancient Rome, the calendar was eleven days off of where it should fall in ref...Show More
After Napoleon: Josephine Divorced

0:00 | Feb 13th, 2016

(Christine) What happens when one of the most powerful men in Europe ends your marriage? What do you do when you're replaced as Empress of France? In this episode, we delve into Josephine Bonaparte’s life as the ex-wife of Emperor Napoleon.
Medieval Animal Trials

0:00 | Jan 30th, 2016

(Lesley) Humans and animals have developed a symbiotic relationship over the past 30,000 years. From the earliest domesticated dogs to sign-language speaking apes, animals have worked with humans throughout history. Yet the relationship is not always...Show More
Sherlock Holmes in Popular Culture

0:00 | Jan 16th, 2016

(Lucy) Sherlock Holmes is not only the world's only private consulting detective, he's also arguably the world's longest-running pop culture phenomenon. Pastiches, parodies, and fanfic have multiplied from the 1890s onwards. Holmes films have been ar...Show More
The Great Medieval Canon Law Forgery

0:00 | Dec 6th, 2015

(Nathan) In the mid-9th century, a group of Frankish bishops created one of the greatest forgeries in medieval history, making up an entire collection of fake letters and church law. Attributed to a Spanish author, "Isidore the Merchant," this canon ...Show More
The Origins of "I Am A Man"

0:00 | Nov 21st, 2015

(Elizabeth) In 1868, the striking sanitation workers of Memphis carried signs declaring "I AM A MAN." This statement answered a question asked by abolitionists and supporters of Civil Rights since the late 18th century.
Apples in America

0:00 | Nov 7th, 2015

(Samantha) “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Or does it? Americans have grown apples in plentitude since colonization, but we used to drink them much more often than we ate them. From the early settlers, to Johnny Appleseed, to the temperance m...Show More
History for Halloween II

0:00 | Oct 24th, 2015

(Liz, Christine, Lesley, Lucy, Nathan)  Last year we brought you History for Halloween, a trio of short true tales perfect for the spookiest of holidays. Join us this year for a real ghost story, a haunted house, a Victorian haunting story, a tale of...Show More
Hospitals in the Victorian City

0:00 | Oct 10th, 2015

(Lucy) From the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in the 1830s, to her death in 1901, the social landscape of Britain was profoundly changed. The evolution of hospitals’ form and function was not the least of these. Under the influence of social re...Show More
Papal Residences: The Lateran, The Vatican, and Castel Gandolfo

0:00 | Sep 26th, 2015

(Nicole) What was the main papal headquarters in Rome before the Vatican? Where do Popes go on vacation? Find out in this episode's exploration of papal residences in Rome.
The Royal Teeth of Louis XIV

0:00 | Sep 12th, 2015

(Christine) King Louis XIV of France may be known as the "Sun King" but not everything about his life was bright and splendid. In this episode we discuss the crippling dental difficulties that plagued Louis and possibly increase your appreciation of ...Show More
The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots

0:00 | Aug 29th, 2015

(Lesley) The lives of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I of England may be seen as a contrast in social expectations during early modern Europe worthy of scholarship, and television dramas. Perhaps lesser known is the story of Mary's trial and the ...Show More
The Invention of Canning

0:00 | Aug 15th, 2015

(Nathan) Diversity is the key to any well-rounded diet, but variety can be hard to come by if food has to be rapidly consumed to avoid spoilage. Millenia-old methods of salting, pickling, and curing only worked with certain foods and were greatly lim...Show More
Big History?

0:00 | Aug 1st, 2015

(John) What do the universe, galaxy, Sun, Earth, and state formation have in common? In this episode John discusses Big History and how it can help better define state formation.
Comic Books and Thrill-Killers? An Interview with Mariah Adin

0:00 | Jul 18th, 2015

(Elizabeth and Mariah)  This week, Elizabeth interviews Mariah Adin about her book The Brooklyn Thrill-Kill Gang and the Great Comic Book Scare of the 1950s to explore why juvenile delinquency kept so many parents up at night in the US in the 1950s. ...Show More
Independence from Whom? The American Revolution and Europe

0:00 | Jul 4th, 2015

(Kirsti) On July 4, we tend to think about America's birth as a product of plucky colonial grit and determination, but could it have succeeded without the support of Britain's enemies? What did American independence mean for European politics? This w...Show More
Nuts: James Mulligan, Anthony McAuliffe, and the Notion of Surrender

0:00 | Jun 20th, 2015

(Ryan) More than eighty years before General Anthony McAuliffe gave his famous response of "Nuts" or "Go to hell!" to the German ultimatum to surrender the besieged city of Bastogne in World War II, another officer, Colonel James Stephens, issued a s...Show More
Dogs: The Final Frontier

0:00 | Jun 6th, 2015

(Christina) The first animals to be domesticated, for centuries dogs helped their humans conquer the world. So perhaps it was only natural, as humans began to look toward other worlds, that their minds turned back to their first and most loyal compan...Show More
Opium Wars and Peace

0:00 | May 23rd, 2015

(John) What if I were to tell you that the Opium Wars weren't really about opium? What if I told you that they were about trade, tea and silver? And what if one of the companies that began trading opium in the mid-nineteenth century is on the London ...Show More
Bonapartes in America: Jerome and Elizabeth

0:00 | May 9th, 2015

(Christine) As his brother Napoleon rose to power in France, Jerome Bonaparte was across the ocean in Baltimore, Maryland. While there the young Bonaparte did what many men do, he married a beautiful woman. Unfortunately his union with Miss Elizabeth...Show More
Special Edition: British Royal Siblings

0:00 | May 2nd, 2015

(Elizabeth and Christine) As Britain celebrates the birth of Prince George's little brother or sister, Footnoting History is pondering royal siblings who became influential figures in the country's history. Join us as we discuss how so-called "spares...Show More
Pop! Pop! Pop! A Brief History of Popcorn

0:00 | Apr 25th, 2015

(Samantha) The average American eats 68 quarts of popcorn each year - making the salty treat the most popular snack food in the country. But where does popcorn come from and how did it get so popular?
Cola di Rienzo: Medieval Tribune of the Roman Republic

0:00 | Apr 11th, 2015

(Nicole) Cola di Rienzo had a turbulent career in fourteenth century Rome. Find out how this son of a Roman innkeeper became embroiled in papal and imperial politics, held the ancient positions of tribune and senator, and ultimately died a violent de...Show More
The Mystery of the Classic Authors

0:00 | Mar 28th, 2015

(Elizabeth) Beloved children's classics such as The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys have been appearing in print for 75 to 100 years. The authors - Laura Lee Hope, Carolyn Keene, and Franklin W. Dixon - have kept children enchanted sinc...Show More
The Lepers and the London Nurse: The Remarkable Travels of Kate Marsden

0:00 | Mar 14th, 2015

(Lucy) Kate Marsden was born and died in London, but in the intervening decades, she traversed thousands of miles - and engaged the patronage of two empresses - in her efforts to ameliorate the lot of lepers, from London to the Russian steppes. Her e...Show More
Jean Hardouin and the Phantom Time Conspiracies

0:00 | Feb 28th, 2015

(Nathan) What if everything you ever knew about history and classical literature was fundamentally wrong? What if there were a massive conspiracy, set in motion by medieval monks, to create entire bodies of literature and claim they were much older, ...Show More
Watson, Franklin, and the Drama of DNA

0:00 | Feb 14th, 2015

(Lesley) In the 1950s, a series of discoveries allowed biologists to capture and construct the double-helio structure of DNA. For these efforts, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Francis Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. The implications o...Show More
Mush!: A Short History of Dog Sledding

0:00 | Jan 31st, 2015

(Christina) Each year in early March, professional mushers and their dog teams converge on Anchorage, Alaska to run the Iditarod, a grueling race to Nome, more than 1,000 miles away, ostensibly in commemoration of the 1925 "Great Race of Mercy." That...Show More
Empress Eugénie in Exile, Part II: Life After Empire

0:00 | Jan 17th, 2015

(Christine) The Second French Empire has fallen and Empress Eugénie fled to England, but what happened next? In this episode, we conclude our look at her life in exile, including her reunions with Napoleon III and their son, as well as the lasting pi...Show More
Empress Eugénie in Exile, Part I: Flight from Paris

0:00 | Jan 3rd, 2015

(Christine) When Napoleon III’s French Empire began to crumble in the late 19th century, his wife was trapped in Paris. Who could possibly help the Bonaparte Empress flee before the mobs got to her? An American dentist named Thomas Evans, of course. ...Show More
Protest Pop and Queen Elizabeth II' s Silver Jubilee

0:00 | Nov 29th, 2014

(Esther) As the Queen celebrated her 25th year on the throne, England was restless, on the verge of anarchy, and sweating out the hottest summer in years. "God Save the Queen" went to the top of the charts, and the Sex Pistols, followed later by othe...Show More
Robert Bruce: Stabbings and Statebuilding

0:00 | Nov 22nd, 2014

(John) Following the most recent referendum on Scottish independence, it's a perfect time to reflect on the origins of Scotland. What does the murder of John Comyn by Robert Bruce in 1306 tell us about medieval Scotland? How has history been rewritte...Show More
Mental Institutions, Part II: The Rosenhan Experiment

0:00 | Nov 15th, 2014

(Elizabeth) In the 1970s, Dr. David Rosenhan set out to show just how easy it is to be labeled  mentally ill.  Following the model of Nellie Bly, he and his pseudo-patients did just that.
Mental Institutions, Part I: Nellie Bly's Exposé

0:00 | Nov 8th, 2014

(Elizabeth) In 1887, Nellie Bly was asked to pass a week at an insane asylum. She said she would and she could and she did.
Guy Fawkes

0:00 | Nov 1st, 2014

(Kirsti) Remember, remember the Fifth of November! Guy Fawkes has become an iconic face of the American Occupy movement, but was the Gunpowder Plot really an effort to improve the lot of the lower classes? This week we will explore the religious terr...Show More
History for Halloween I

0:00 | Oct 31st, 2014

(Elizabeth, Lucy, and Christine) Stories are spookier when they are rooted in reality. In celebration of Halloween, some of our podcasters have collected strange-but-true tales to get you through the night when the link between the living and the dea...Show More
The Demon Core

0:00 | Oct 25th, 2014

(Kirsti) The Manhattan Project placed the lives of scientists and staff in New Mexico at great risk. One plutonium core in particular claimed two lives over the course of two years, earning it the epithet "The Demon Core." What happened? What did we ...Show More
Advances in the West: Grant's Army in 1862

0:00 | Oct 18th, 2014

(Ryan) In this episode, Ryan looks at the Union advances in the west from the battle of Shiloh through the Siege of Corinth and how the retreat of the Confederate forces along the Mississippi River ultimately contributed to the defeat of the South in...Show More
Taking the Waters: Good Health Among the "Best People"

0:00 | Oct 11th, 2014

(Lucy) From the late eighteenth century to the coming of WWI, Europe's haute bourgeoisie looked to mineral waters (sipped or bathed in) as medication for their malaises and a cure for ennui. The architecture and economy of spa towns developed accordi...Show More
Hugh O'Neill and the Tudors

0:00 | Oct 4th, 2014

(Christine) At the dawn of the 17th century, only one region of Ireland was largely outside of English control: Ulster. To change this, the Gaelic Irish heir to Ulster--Hugh O'Neill--was raised under close watch of the English crown. So what went wro...Show More
Dog Stars, Part II

0:00 | Sep 27th, 2014

(Christina and Esther)  In Part II of their look at the history of dogs in cinema, Christina and Esther talk about Lassie's patriotism, the moral implications of depicting animal cruelty on screen, and the strategic use of prosthetic dog heads.  
Dog Stars, Part I

0:00 | Sep 20th, 2014

(Christina and Esther) From Edison Studios’ nineteenth-century “actualities” to present day internet videos of twerking Corgis, dogs’ presence on film is as old as the medium. Join Christina and Esther in Part I of this two-part joint edition of our ...Show More
Seeking to Punish in 17th-Century England

0:00 | Sep 13th, 2014

(Lesley) As the United States deals with a critical mass of imprisoned citizens, it might be worthwhile to consider how historical civilizations dealt with the punishment of non-violent offenders. How did England maintain order before the rise of the...Show More
King Childeric of the Franks: Barbarian?

0:00 | Sep 6th, 2014

(Nicole) The fifth-century king of the Franks, Childeric, was a pagan king of a group whom Romans clearly thought of as barbarians. Nevertheless, he also held Roman authority and fought with the Romans against other barbarian groups. So, was Childeri...Show More
Space Exploration and History ft. Asif Siddiqi

0:00 | Aug 30th, 2014

This week, Nathan spoke with Asif Siddiqi, the only historian on the "Committee for Human Spaceflight," which recently completed its two year study on the future of NASA's efforts to send human beings into deep space. They discussed the history of sp...Show More
Alan Turing

0:00 | Aug 23rd, 2014

(Kirsti) Alan Turing has been called a lay saint, and he surely was one of the greatest minds of the Greatest Generation. His work at Bletchley Park was vital to Allied success in World War II. Why, then, did he end his life under house arrest? And d...Show More
Warrior, Wife, and Mother: The Story of Sichelgaita of Salerno

0:00 | Aug 16th, 2014

(Samantha) According to Anna Comnena, the Byzantine historian, Sichelgaita of Salerno personally turned the tide at the battle of Dyrrachium when she charged at her own troops and drove them towards their enemy. But did such a thing ever happen? Who ...Show More
The Scientific Passions of Mary Buckland

0:00 | Aug 8th, 2014

(Lucy) In the early 19th century, ancient fossils formed the basis of cutting-edge discoveries. Geology still hovered between amateur pursuit and scientific profession. Mary Buckland, married to the dinosaur-discovering William, participated in inter...Show More
Laura Bridgman, Charles Dickens, and Helen Keller

0:00 | Aug 2nd, 2014

(Christine) Laura Bridgman made headlines in the 19th century when her parents enrolled her at the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Under the guidance of Samuel Gridley Howe she learned how to speak with her fingers and became the first formally educ...Show More
Rosamund: 6th-Century Regicide and Politics

0:00 | Jul 26th, 2014

(Nicole) The sixth century was one of serious upheaval and shifting alliance. Get a glimpse of this world as we explore the life of Rosamund, a Gepid princess who witnessed the rise of the power of the Lombards, through their final defeat of her peop...Show More
Lawrence O'Brien: Fenians and the American Civil War

0:00 | Jul 19th, 2014

(Ryan) Who were the Fenians and what were their goals? This is a question that historians have debated for years- this podcast will trace the life of a prominent Fenian, Lawrence O'Brien, to, perhaps, help explain the origins of this rather interesti...Show More
Love, Parachutes, and Käthchen Paulus

0:00 | Jul 12th, 2014

(Lucy) Käthchen Paulus was born in the late 1860s, in a German village where she supported her mother by working as a seamstress. She died in the mid-30s in relative obscurity. But in between, she ran away with an adventurer, made and lost a fortune,...Show More
The Rise of the Studios: The Origins of the Film Industry, Part II

0:00 | Jul 5th, 2014

(Nathan) Picking up where we left off in Part I, in this episode, we'll look at where film aspect ratios come from, why production studios began to move to Southern California, how World War I affected the film industry, the role of women in editing ...Show More
Alcibiades: The Bad Boy of Athens

0:00 | May 31st, 2014

(John) A student of Socrates, a friend of kings, a general and pirate, Alcibiades defies definition. He argued for a more aggressive policy against the Spartans only to later serve as one of their trusted advisers. He left Sparta to live in Persia wh...Show More
Before Napoleon: Josephine Bonaparte's First Marriage

0:00 | May 25th, 2014

(Christine) May 29, 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Empress Josephine, first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Josephine’s life did not begin when she married the famous Corsican so this week, to honor her, we are looking at the time befor...Show More
The King James Bible: One Version of the Greatest Story Ever Told

0:00 | May 17th, 2014

(Elizabeth and Nathan) In 1611, a group of men completed what has become one of the most well-known translations of the Bible. But why did King James ask them to do it?
Nursery Rhymes, History, and Memory

0:00 | May 10th, 2014

(Kirsti) What kind of plums were in Jack Horner's pie? Why were the lion and the unicorn spoiling for a fight? Why did Humpty Dumpty fall? This week, Kirsti talks about the collective memory found in the nursery.
A Tale of Three Breeds

0:00 | May 3rd, 2014

(Christina) Head to a dog park and you’re sure to see a greyhound, a pug, or a German Shepherd. Which one is most closely related to the wolf? The answer may surprise you. Through concentrated effort across continents and centuries, humans manipulate...Show More
The Birth of a Blockbuster

0:00 | Apr 26th, 2014

(Esther) Urban legend has it that when President Woodrow Wilson first saw D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), he said "it is like writing history with lightning." While the first epic movie in American film history was as deeply innovative ...Show More
Jumping the Broom: The Evolution of a Wedding Tradition

0:00 | Apr 19th, 2014

(Lesley) Weddings are ceremonies steeped in cultural traditions. From the costumes to the carefully-selected color schemes, marriage ceremonies often become orchestrated events more than a public celebration of love. But where do these traditions ori...Show More
From Magic Lanterns to Nickelodeons: The Origins of the Film Industry, Part I

0:00 | Apr 13th, 2014

(Nathan) For early movie-goers, film was a magical experience, but also sometimes a crowded and stuffy one. From the magic lantern shows of the eighteenth century to the heyday of the nickelodeon in the twentieth, in this episode we'll look at the or...Show More
Dr. Fredric Wertham: Hero or Super-Villain?

0:00 | Apr 5th, 2014

(Mariah) For decades, comic book fans across the globe have reviled Dr. Fredric Wertham as the man who single-handedly brought down the "Golden Age" of comics.  But is he truly the Lex Luthor he's been made out to be? Today's podcast takes a deeper l...Show More
The Life and Times of Emperor Diocletian

0:00 | Mar 29th, 2014

(Nicole) Join Nicole as she discusses Diocletian’s rise from obscure beginnings and low social standing to emperor, his reign, and his decision to retire, something that no Roman emperor had done before.
Richard the Lionheart on Crusade

0:00 | Mar 22nd, 2014

(Samantha) Richard the Lionheart hardly seems like a footnote in history. He is celebrated as a great warrior king and is commemorated in just about every film version of Robin Hood. Yet he has become so mythologized that his actual deeds have become...Show More
Irish Family Values: The Clannrickard Burkes in the Mid-Sixteenth Century

0:00 | Mar 15th, 2014

(John) What can the experience of one family tell us about authority in early modern Ireland? Quite a bit! John will discuss how the many wives, many children and many subsequent problems of the earls of Clannrickard illustrate the complexity of auth...Show More
Tuxedo Park: Inside the Gate

0:00 | Mar 8th, 2014

(Elizabeth) At the end of the 19th century, one of the earliest planned communities in the United States was created just over an hour north of New York City. Learn about the founding of Tuxedo Park, some of its more famous inhabitants, why the tuxed...Show More
Mademoiselle de Maupin: The Life and Afterlife of a 17th-Century Swashbuckler

0:00 | Mar 1st, 2014

(Lucy) How did a swashbuckling seventeenth-century opera singer become the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel? What does this tell us about the performance and perception of gender in both eras? And did the mysterious Mademoiselle de Maupin really...Show More
The History of the Academy Awards

0:00 | Feb 22nd, 2014

(Nathan and Esther) Full of gowns, gaffes, and gushing, the Academy Awards are the epitome of pageantry and must-see television that sometimes has little to do with the actual purpose of the ceremony: to reward outstanding achievement in film. Join N...Show More
Buck and Blanche (and Bonnie and Clyde)

0:00 | Feb 15th, 2014

(Christine) The love story of infamous American outlaw pair Bonnie and Clyde is cemented in modern pop culture- but they were not the only couple in the Barrow Gang. Clyde’s older brother, Buck, and his wife, Blanche, often traveled with their relati...Show More
Brotherhood Under the Black Flag: Multiracial Pirate Crews of the Early Modern Period

0:00 | Feb 8th, 2014

(Lucy) Who were the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, and what enabled them to rise to power? In Europe, pirates could be treated as celebrities or tried as criminals. At sea, pirate crews made legal agreements covering not only the division of...Show More
One Year Anniversary Show: How We Became Historians

0:00 | Feb 1st, 2014

On February 2, 2013, the first episode of Footnoting History went live. To celebrate our first anniversary, Nathan conducted a series of brief interviews with several of our historians (Lucy, Nicole, Christine, and Elizabeth) to help you get to know ...Show More
From Union Soldier to Confederate Bushwacker: Loyalty and Disloyalty in Civil War West Virginia

0:00 | Jan 25th, 2014

(Ryan) In 1862, William, Christopher, and Phillip Raber enlisted in Company K of the 9th Regiment, Virginia Infantry. As loyal Union men, they joined nearly one thousand other volunteers for three years' service to put down the rebellion of the Confe...Show More
Cold Noses and Oxytocin: Doggy Prehistory

0:00 | Jan 18th, 2014

(Christina) They are warm, fuzzy beings that come in many different shapes and sizes, yet they all sense our emotions and thrive in our company. But they are also descended from wolves, fierce and elusive social predators. How did dogs become so inte...Show More
Rilla of Ingleside and the WWI Homefront

0:00 | Jan 11th, 2014

(Elizabeth) What was life like for those on the Canadian home front during WWI? Join Liz as she uses L.M. Montgomery's final book in her Anne series, Rilla of Ingleside, to answer questions about the ones who stayed behind.
2:31:56*: The Rosie Ruiz Scandal

0:00 | Jan 4th, 2014

(Esther) How did an unassuming office assistant from New York fool her way to the winners' circle of the 1980 Boston Marathon? The first major cheating scandal in long-distance running had nothing to do with drugs or endorsement deals, but with the s...Show More
The Christmas Truce of 1914

0:00 | Dec 28th, 2013

(Samantha) In 1914 Europe's troops marched off to war expecting to be home by Christmas. When the holiday came and they found themselves stuck in the trenches for the foreseeable future many of them decided to take some time off and to fraternize wit...Show More
King Arthur's Christmas: Christianity, Paganism, and Community

0:00 | Dec 21st, 2013

(Lucy) For much of the Middle Ages, King Arthur was Europe’s model king. His court could be a space for heroism, for romance, and also for the uncanny. Often drawing on oral tradition, written for elite audiences, the Arthurian romances of the 13th a...Show More
Historical Ad Campaigns

0:00 | Dec 14th, 2013

(Lesley) Ever wonder why women shave their legs? Or why manly cigars gave way to slim, feminine cigarettes? The answer lies with people like Don Draper. Examine the history of advertising and how some of our personal traditions stem from a carefully-...Show More
Secret Santa: The History of Santa Claus

0:00 | Dec 7th, 2013

(Nathan) We kick off the Christmas season and celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6th) with a look at the history of Santa Claus, from his origins as a fourth-century bishop to the creation of Rudolph in the 20th century.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Part II: Australia and New Zealand

0:00 | Nov 30th, 2013

(Christine and Elizabeth) In Part II of the life of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, we follow him as he leaves prison, picks up his pen, and chases a new goal: revolutionizing British systems of colonization. Did people listen to a convicted felon? Were his...Show More
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Part I: The Abduction

0:00 | Nov 23rd, 2013

(Christine and Elizabeth) The abduction of Ellen Turner was the talk of  early 19th century England and at the center of it was Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a widower with dreams of a seat in Parliament. How did Wakefield lure the young heiress from her ...Show More
Reformation Propaganda

0:00 | Nov 16th, 2013

(Nicole)  Most people think of modern campaigns, such as propaganda posters during World War I, when they hear the word 'propaganda'. But did you know that during the Reformation Protestants and Catholics alike used images in their own propaganda cam...Show More
Living Memory: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

0:00 | Nov 9th, 2013

(Kirsti) For 28 years, the Berlin Wall stood as a monument to the division between East and West. In the summer of 1989, a the borders of Hungary, then Czechoslovakia opened, and thousands of East Germans fled westward. On the 9th of November, East G...Show More
Cheating on Jesus: Bigamy in the Medieval Catholic Priesthood

0:00 | Nov 2nd, 2013

(Christine) How could a priest in medieval England, who was single at the time of his ordination, be guilty of bigamy? Can a person actually cheat on Jesus? Join us today as we discuss the ins and outs of this curious clause of canon law and how it b...Show More
The Only Running Footman

0:00 | Oct 26th, 2013

(Esther) Country roads were rough, tough, and uneven. But the agile, handsome, and (sometimes) opulently dressed running footmen traversed these treacherous roads to scout, deliver messages, and honor their masters with their ultramarathon endurance....Show More
The Many Reformations of 16th-Century Europe

0:00 | Oct 19th, 2013

(Lucy) In the 16th century, high taxes and fears of apocalypse went hand in hand, and from the fairly common practice of calling for church reform emerged a series of movements which have become known as the capital-R Reformation. This week we’ll be ...Show More
Queer Women in the Golden Age of Mysteries

0:00 | Oct 12th, 2013

(Lucy and Elizabeth) From the early to mid-twentieth century, queens of crime Sayers, Christie, Marsh, and Wentworth reigned supreme over British detective fiction. Their works not only reveal whodunit but give insight into how queer women lived in a...Show More
Criminalizing Sex in Early Modern England

0:00 | Oct 5th, 2013

(Lesley) In the middle of the Reformation, Parliament passed a law criminalizing some forms of sexuality. This became known as the Buggery Law of 1533. Why would the government be interested in regulating sex? An investigation into official records r...Show More
Medieval Gift Elephants

0:00 | Sep 28th, 2013

(Nathan) An elephant may seem a strange thing to give as a gift, but these exotic animals--along with giraffes, lions, polar bears, and hyenas--were prized inhabitants of medieval and early modern menageries.  Join us as we look at the history of fiv...Show More
Hernán Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico

0:00 | Sep 21st, 2013

(John) How did Hernán Cortés and his “300” soldiers topple the Aztecs? What motivated these conquistadores, and what legal justifications did they use to legitimize this conquest? Find the answer to these questions and more as we explore the clashing...Show More
The Strategic Failure of the Habsburg Chin

0:00 | Sep 14th, 2013

(Kirsti) What’s the best approach to consolidating power and land within your family? The ambitious Habsburgs achieved greatness through marrying close relations—surely a sound policy that could have no consequences at all! This week we’ll talk about...Show More
Popular Protest in Late Antique Ravenna

0:00 | Sep 7th, 2013

(Nicole) When many people think of Late Antique society, they think of powerful secular and ecclesiastical rulers; mighty emperors and archbishops. While the Archbishop of Ravenna certainly was a powerful person within the city, answering in theory o...Show More
Confucius and Jesus: The Jesuit Mission to China

0:00 | Aug 31st, 2013

(Elizabeth) The Jesuits were tasked with a large order: convert the Chinese to Christianity. Their nontraditional methods ended up getting them in a lot of trouble.
Napoleon, Part II: Life in Napoleonic Society

0:00 | Aug 24th, 2013

(Christine and Nathan) What on earth is a city of smugglers? Why did Napoleon like to tease his Second Consul so much? And what would you have seen if you attended Napoleon’s coronation? This week we move beyond Napoleon the man to the experiences of...Show More
The Origin of the Marathon: Linking Past to Present

0:00 | Aug 17th, 2013

(Esther) The story of the most popular long-distance event, from its origins in ancient literature to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and how a young farmer, Spyridon 'Spyros' Louis (1873-1940), became an unlikely national hero.
The Mau Mau Insurgency

0:00 | Aug 10th, 2013

(Samantha) In June 2013 the British government agreed to pay approximately £20 million in reparations to individuals tortured during the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya in the 1950s. But who were the Mau Mau? What was the emergency? And why do the British...Show More
Mozart's Zombie, the Runaway Priest, and the Emperor's Opera

0:00 | Aug 3rd, 2013

(Lucy) In Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus and Lorenzo da Ponte created opera's most famous antihero. Find out how Mozart and Da Ponte were influenced by the philosophical ideas and social concerns of their day in forging a tale of class conflict and l...Show More
Emperor Akbar, the Mughal Empire, and Divine Faith

0:00 | Jul 27th, 2013

(Lesley) The religious consequences of the European Reformation are often part of our education. But the 16th century saw reformations across the globe: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Aztec beliefs. At the heart of this change w...Show More
Special Edition: Royal Baby Names

0:00 | Jul 23rd, 2013

(Elizabeth and Christine) The Kingdom of Great Britain is celebrating today because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed their first child, a son! In this special edition of Footnoting History, we discuss the history of royal baby names in...Show More
The Husband-Killing She-Wolf: The Life of Joanna of Naples

0:00 | Jul 21st, 2013

(Nathan) Joanna I of Naples led a fascinating life marked by both triumph and tragedy.  Orphaned as a child, married four times, and rumored to have had her first husband killed outside her own bedchamber, she was a controversial figure even in her o...Show More
Napoleon, Part I: The Man

0:00 | Jul 13th, 2013

(Nathan and Christine) It's Bastille Day weekend so we make a return to France for today's topic.  In the third installment of our Revolutionary France series, we'll talk about the scandals, intrigues, and tragedies of Napoleon and his inner circle.
The Several Defenestrations of Prague

0:00 | Jul 6th, 2013

(Kirsti) The people of Prague have a unique approach to the resolution of religious and political arguments: throwing the opposition out of windows! Listen as we explore this odd tradition throughout history, starting in 1419 and continuing to 1948.
Entertainment in Medieval Towns

0:00 | Jun 29th, 2013

(Christine) Whether they got a day off from working at their trade or had so much money they could pay people to entertain them, everyone within the town walls wanted to have a little fun. Listen today to find out what occupants of medieval European ...Show More
Goethe's Werther and the Suicide Effect

0:00 | Jun 22nd, 2013

(Elizabeth) Forget Nirvana or James Dean! Back in the 19th century, every angsty teen had one idol: Werther--and they would do anything to be like him ... anything.
Why Simon de Montfort is in the U.S. House of Representatives

0:00 | Jun 15th, 2013

(Christine) His father was a major player in the Albigensian crusade but when was the last time you heard about the man who led a rebellion against King Henry III and became the father of the modern parliament? It's time to fix that.
Running in the Ancient Olympic Games

0:00 | Jun 8th, 2013

(Esther) How did the Greeks monitor foot races during the ancient Olympic games without technologies such as Timex watches and slow-motion cameras? They certainly weren't worried about doping, but there were other ways runners could gain unfair advan...Show More
Getting Skinny: A Brief History of Dieting

0:00 | Jun 1st, 2013

(Samantha) From WeightWatchers to the Atkins Diet to the Lemon Detox, Americans are obsessed with using diet to control our weight. But we’re not the first ones to be concerned with our body mass, to experiment with dieting, and to come up with some ...Show More
Lepers and Leprosy in the 13th Century

0:00 | May 25th, 2013

(Lucy) Reactions to medieval lepers were often extreme. Medieval romance-writers depict them as not only disease-ridden but filthy, and morally suspect to boot. Saints, on the other hand, ran around kissing them. More ordinary people just asked leper...Show More
Occupy Alcatraz: Protesting Native American Autonomy

0:00 | May 18th, 2013

(Lesley) As an imposing fortress, Alcatraz island isolated inmates and imprisoned the most dangerous criminals like mob boss Al Capone. Yet after its closure in 1963, Alcatraz became the scene of occupying Freedom as Native Americans tried to take ba...Show More

0:00 | May 11th, 2013

(Nathan) In the 1630s, the tiny-but-wealthy Netherlands were gripped by a frenzy of public trading in tulip bulbs.  At the height of the craze, a single bulb could sell for a small fortune.  What caused this "tulip mania" and how did it all come to a...Show More
The French Revolution Countdown (Part II)

0:00 | May 4th, 2013

(Nathan and Christine) Picking up where they left off at the end of Part I, Nathan and Christine tackle actors' rights and changing fashions while wondering if anyone truly understood the Republican Calendar. Join them as they conclude the countdown ...Show More
Science, Plague, and Pericles: Reconstructing the Face of Myrtis

0:00 | Apr 27th, 2013

(Kirsti) In 430 BCE, a plague swept through ancient Athens, killing thousands. It eventually claimed even the great Pericles. But what was it? In 1994, a group of historians and scientists banded together to find out, starting with the skull of one l...Show More
Viking Invasions and St. Edmund's Talking Head

0:00 | Apr 20th, 2013

(Nicole) In 870 A.D.,  Edmund, the king of East Anglia, was killed by a Viking army. Discover how this event was transformed from a battle between two armies into the story of a Christian martyrdom.
Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" and the Indian Mutiny

0:00 | Apr 13th, 2013

(Elizabeth) The Indian Mutiny had repercussions felt all over the world, but how did it affect the average Brit's feelings about the Empire? A 19th century mystery novel reveals all!
The French Revolution Countdown (Part I)

0:00 | Apr 6th, 2013

(Nathan and Christine) From Marie Antoinette's fake peasant village to Robespierre's botched suicide, the French Revolution is full of fascinating stories that are often omitted from textbooks. Join Nathan and Christine for Part I of a two-part count...Show More
Prehistoric Runners and the 'Fall' of the Neanderthals

0:00 | Mar 30th, 2013

(Esther) Did you know that our homo sapien ancestors were altogether skinnier, weaker and dumber than our fellow hominid relatives, the Neanderthals? Some scientists theorize that it was running that saved us from extinction.
Drinking in Medieval England

0:00 | Mar 23rd, 2013

(Samantha) Do you like to drink? Well, so did people in the Middle Ages.  Tune in to learn about what people were drinking and about the culture associated with booze 700 years ago.
Heresy and You: Alice Rowley and Lollardy

0:00 | Mar 16th, 2013

(Kirsti) Some people just get all the luck. Others, like poor Alice Rowley of Coventry, just can’t seem to catch a break. Join us as we explore Alice’s dedication to the Lollard community and what that meant for her in court!
Cruel Mind and Deadly Malice: A Murder in Early Modern England

0:00 | Mar 9th, 2013

(Lesley) Imagine hiring a man to kill off your enemy... and then pleading a defense that would allow you to walk out free. This week, we'll trace the story of a neighborly feud in Tudor England that left one man dead and an unbalanced man free, if no...Show More
Zombies in Thietmar of Merseburg

0:00 | Mar 2nd, 2013

(Lucy) Why did commoners and kings in eleventh-century Germany keep seeing dead people? Why did a bunch of animated corpses decide to burn a priest alive? And why did a busy bishop write all this down?
Cathars, Templars, and The Siege of Montségur

0:00 | Feb 23rd, 2013

(Nathan) What do medieval frat boys, Nicholas Cage, and Iron Maiden have in common? They're all part of one of the most popular (and far-fetched) medieval conspiracy theories. Tune in as we talk about Cathars, Templars, and the siege of Montségur.
Special Edition: Olaudah Equiano

0:00 | Feb 20th, 2013

(Nathan and Elizabeth) Join us for a discussion of one of the most well-known narratives of slavery used by the British Abolitionist cause in the 18th century. We examine what it reveals about identity and race in the time period but also tackle the ...Show More
Henry II and the Invasion of Ireland

0:00 | Feb 16th, 2013

(Christine) The English and the Irish have been fighting (and singing) about hating one another) for as long as both sides can remember, but what brought the English to Ireland in the first place? What did the English king, Henry II, have to do with ...Show More
Special Edition: Papal Abdication

0:00 | Feb 12th, 2013

(Nathan) At the end of this month, Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to abdicate the papal seat. In this Special Edition of Footnoting History, we take a look at the colorful history of papal abdication and the preceden...Show More
A French Silversmith in Mongol Karakorum

0:00 | Feb 9th, 2013

(Nicole) The Mongols have a reputation for their brutal tactics in war and the fear they instilled in the peoples they conquered. But the Mongols liked nice things as well, and created a capital city with cultural influences from the many lands that ...Show More
Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck

0:00 | Feb 2nd, 2013

(Elizabeth) Before social security cards, driver's licenses, and DNA testing, how did you prove your identity? Join us to hear about two famous "pretenders" and their attempts to gain the English throne!