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.
A group of Victorian children playing in a park

The Magazine That Put Children in Their Place

Children's literature hasn't always been about whimsy. This early magazine sought to retrench the elite in the publishing and education industries.
King Kamehameha I

Hawaii’s Freemason Kings

Why Hawaii's 19th-century kings were so drawn to Freemasonry.
bezoar goat

From the Belly of a Goat to the Mouth of a King

Bezoars, a strange lump formed in the belly of a goat, once were considered a panacea, and worth more than their weight in gold.
Dr William Dodd, executed for forgery

Punishing Forgery with Death

In early nineteenth-century England, forging currency was considered to be such a subversive threat that it was punished with the death penalty.
African American life insurance

How Insurance Companies Used Bad Science to Discriminate

In 1881, Prudential announced that insurance policies held by black adults would be worth one-third less than the same plans held by whites.
Newt Gingrich Bill Clinton

The Midterms That Changed America

In 1994, Republicans swept the midterms and Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. His “Contract with America” was both polarizing and transformative.
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.
Ectoplasm Helen Duncan

Ectoplasm and the Last British Woman Tried for Witchcraft

Spiritualist medium Helen Duncan was photographed emitting ectoplasm, supposedly proof of her ability to contact the dead.
Mary Wollstonecraft early republic

Women’s Rights in the Early Republic

The U.S.A.'s founders focused on the rights of white men to vote, own property, and govern. The idea that women should have similar rights came later.