Antique engraving of a view of the State Street, Boston. Mid 1800s.

The Birth of the Modern American Debt Collector

In the 19th century, farm loans changed from a matter between associates into an impersonal, bureaucratic exchange.
The editorial staff at Reuters Press Agency, circa 1900.

The Invention of Journalistic Objectivity

In the contemporary United States we tend to expect journalists to separate fact and opinion. It's actually a relatively new phenomenon.
Caretaker embracing senior man at home

Paying for Love in the Caring Economy

Is it terrible to have to pay someone to care for your loved ones? Or could it actually be an effective way to establish a high standard of care?
Illustration of a man surrounded by women

A 19th-Century Catfishing Scheme

In the late 1800s, a U.K. scheme lured lonely bachelors with newspaper advertisements supposedly placed by wealthy women.
A fisherman on the dock with his catch.

How to Eat Seafood — Sustainably

Fish stocks are collapsing. But you can still enjoy your freshest local seafood without feeling too guilty—and here’s why.
A woman looking annoyed with something on her smartphone

On Brands’ Bad Social Media

The phenomena of brands trying to tweet like teenagers might be new, but brands have been trying to seem cool for decades.
Eleanor Club, Chicago

Co-Living, the Hot New Trend of 1898

Chicago's "Eleanor Clubs" were designed to give young, working women affordable and congenial places to live.
A DuPont ad for Orlon, 1953

What We Mean By “Better Living”

How advertising used the phrase “better living” to portray big business as a force for moral good and continuous progress.
The shadow of an airplane on a field

Will You Ever Fly in a Plane Propelled by Plants and Seeds?

Airlines have already flown planes fueled with biofuel-petroleum mixes, and more are coming.
Map of Warren County, KY

Maps Showed People Their Worlds

In the 19th century, most Americans weren't used to seeing maps of their communities. New forms of color lithography changed all that.