An 18th century casta painting

The Paintings That Tried (and Failed) to Codify Race

Casta paintings of the eighteenth century tried to show who was who in New Spain. But reality was much more complicated.
A poster advertising the IV Review of Polish Short Films, organized by the Zygzakiem Cinema Club in Warsaw, January 11-14, 1976.

Polish Posters in the RISD Library Collection

Posters are part of a tradition of object-based learning at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Dakota pipeline protestors

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples and Cultures

More and more states are choosing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day.
Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Lon Chaney’s Movie Monsters

You might know him from Phantom of the Opera or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Marian Anderson with Harold L. Ickes (Secretary of the Interior)

Marian Anderson Photo Archives

The African American opera singer made history with a stirring concert at the Lincoln Memorial. But there was much more to Marian Anderson.
Harry Gottlieb's Artists' Union membership card, 1935

How the Artists Union Shook Up the New Deal

When artists showed solidarity with one another and the larger labor movement, they won federal patronage.
New Albatross recipe book

The Delectably Indulgent History of Perfect Food Photos

Instagram didn't invent photos of culinary masterpieces designed to inflame the appetite. Cookbooks have been at it for centuries.
Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers

How Mexican and Cuban Music Influenced the Blues

The pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton once told an ethnomusicologist that real jazz tunes needed "tinges of Spanish."
Demonstrators march near the White House in protest following a Kentucky grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case on September 23, 2020

The Ethical Life of Euphemisms

Euphemisms can hide facts that need to be confronted. How do they work from a linguist's point of view?
Marilyn Monroe at Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde's backyard, 1950

How Hollywood Sold Glamour

The complicated notion of glamour in classic Hollywood, suggesting that stars were aloof and unknowable, was also a means to sell products.