An abbey cellarer testing his wine. Illumination from a copy of Li livres dou santé by Aldobrandino of Siena, late 13th century

When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics

Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
A student reading a correspondence school magazine, 1946

Three Centuries of Distance Learning

We will probably remember 2020 as the time when distance education exploded. But the infrastructure that enabled this expansion was years in the making.
Quaran, the official quarantine mascot of Japan

There’s a Mascot for That? Cute COVID-19 Education

How to get people to stay healthy during a quarantine? Some countries have taken to a new communications strategy, and it's super cute.
A personification of Acedia from between 1550 and 1625

Ancient Monks Got That Quarantine Feeling, Too

Listlessness, boredom, torpor, that "noonday demon" that tempts you away from spiritual connections—that's what was called acedia.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau in nature

Discovering the Joy of Solitude While Social Distancing

Does the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Romantic notion of solitude offer a lesson for those practicing social distancing?
"Spirit" photograph, supposedly taken during a seance, actually a double exposure or composite of superimposed cut-outs, showing woman with portraits of men and women around her head

How Spirit Photography Made Heaven Literal

Are the departed watching over us, and if so, what are they wearing? Victorian spiritualists believed that ghosts could be captured on film.
1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords

On the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues, a Look Back at What Was Lost

A century ago, teams from eight cities formally created the Negro National League. Three decades of stellar play followed.
Pop art style comics panel angry woman grinding teeth with speech bubble and swear words symbols

The Theory of Cuss Word Relativity

Which words are considered taboo varies by place and time, scholars find.
Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around 1900.

How Public Schools “Americanized” Hawai’i

Colonial education administrators recruited teachers from the mainland, but soon realized another strategy was in order.
A group of goths in Trafalgar Square, London, 1987

Goth Won’t Die, but It Wants a Funeral Anyway

Like its celebrated vampires, the Goth subculture has roots in a fascination with death and cultural transgression.