An advertisement for Fry's Chocolate

How Chocolate Came to Europe

Pre-Colombian cultures valued chocolate highly as a drink, and often served it at important events. It wasn't made into a solid candy until 1847.
Ancient Greek funerary naiskos

When Was the First Handshake?

A Curious Reader asks: When and how did the handshake originate?
Portrait of Meriwether Lewis by Charles Willlson Peale

The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis

After triumphantly leading the Lewis and Clark expedition, Meriwether Lewis was either murdered or committed suicide. Did syphilis play a role?
An illustration of a TSA security checkpoint

Why Can’t the TSA Just Go on Strike?

The post-9/11 expansion of federal powers over transportation security was also an extension of power over the security workforce.
Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer by Michiel van Mierevelt

Public Dissection Was a Gruesome Spectacle

Renaissance-era anatomists taught people to “knowe thyself” by reading the books of bodies.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Duke University on November 13, 1964

Colleges’ Reluctant Embrace of MLK Day

The push for a national Martin Luther King holiday prompted a fierce political tug-of-war, on campus and off.
Richard E. Byrd’s First Antarctic Expedition, 1928-1930

Polar Expedition or Publicity Stunt?

Richard E. Byrd's 1928-1930 Antarctica Expedition was sponsored by mass media. Was it all about science and exploration -- or about Byrd's personal #brand?
Zion National Park

When the Park Ranger Was Not Your Friend

Early 20th century National Park Service Rangers were a notoriously rough-and-tumble lot.
A map of lines and metallic circuit connections by the American Telephone and Telegraph Co., 1891

When the Weather Service Spied on Americans

The United States National Weather Service began as part of the military, with a mandate to serve the interests of federal officials and business owners.
The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles 1919, by William Orpen

The Fable of the Fourteen Points

Woodrow Wilson's legendary support for "self-determination" is indeed just a legend.