puritan execution

Puritan True Crime

Cotton Mather and other 17th-century American writers created a genre all their own: Puritan gallows literature, which both terrified and edified.
Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein, Teacher

Leonard Bernstein was a famous composer, conductor, and pianist. But by some accounts, his favorite accomplishment was teaching children about music.
Empress Maria Theresia of Austria

When a Woman Was “King”

Maria Theresa, the King of Hungary, ruled over the "accidental" Austro-Hungarian Empire, overseeing social, administrative, fiscal, and religious reforms.
Oberlin College's Memorial Arch

A Progressive College’s Complicated Relationship with Race

Oberlin College was founded by religious idealists committed to abolitionism and integration. Then public attitudes began to shift.
Hannah Cullwick

The Bizarre Victorian Diaries of Cullwick and Munby

Arthur Munby was an upper-class man of letters who "collected" working class women, including his servant Hannah Cullwick, whom he married in 1873.
Pogo comic

The Most Controversial Comic Strip

In the 1950s, Walt Kelly's comic strip about a cute opossum named Pogo was syndicated by over 450 newspapers. It was also frequently censored.
Cropduster spraying field

War and Pest Control

Since World War I, the connections between pest control and war have been scientific, technological, institutional, and metaphorical.
Punch Jack the Ripper

How Jack the Ripper Became a Legend

In 1880s London, an anti-prostitution campaign, anti-immigration feelings, and a deep class divide set the scene for the Jack the Ripper media frenzy.
1968 DNC protests

The Dirtiest Piece of Writing in Print

The 1968 DNC was overshadowed by anti-war demonstrations. The Walker Report describing the events became controversial for the obscenities it contained.
Severely burnt forest after Grampians wildfire

How Eucalyptus Trees Stoke Wildfires

Eucalypts are now cosmopolitan, spread around the world through imperialism and globalization. Unfortunately, they're also highly flammable.