Joseph Priestley, 1822, in front of a colorful background

Joseph Priestly, Radical Inventor

How scientist and soda water inventor Joseph Priestley came to be an enemy of the state.
Florida Longleaf Pines

How Longleaf Pines Helped Build the U.S.

The dense, resin-saturated, rot-resistant timber of the longleaf pine helped build up U.S. cities. But most of the native stands have already been logged.

The Mob Violence of the Red Summer

In 1919, a brutal outburst of mob violence was directed against African Americans across the United States. White, uniformed servicemen led the charge.
Chatterton by Henry Wallis, 1856

The Posthumous Mystique of Thomas Chatterton

He died young of suicide and became the quintessence of the tormented poet. But his death may have been an accident, and his greatest work, forgeries.
Map of the United States showing the state nicknames as hogs, 1884

What Ever Happened to the Beetheads?

A lighthearted look at Americans' nicknames of yore, from master humorist H. L. Mencken.
Woodstock, 1969

Woodstock: Sex, Drugs, and Zoning

It's the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, which was fraught with controversy before it even happened.
Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver as Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

How the Beat Generation Became “Beatniks”

The rebellious culture of the Beat Generation was coopted into fodder for a marketable lifestyle.
Portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Codpiece and the Pox

A brief history of the codpiece, that mysterious garment favored by 16th-century gents who just may have been covering up their cases of syphilis.
A cowboy in the western United States, between 1898 and 1905

Go West, You Nervous Men

The "Rest Cure" for women is notorious. But the "West Cure" for men, though little known today, is a fundamental part of American mythology.
A sign for the Highlander Folk School

The Destruction of a Civil Rights Center

The Highlander Research and Education Center is "the most notable American experiment in adult education for social change." One of its buildings recently burned down.