Colonial headstone

Funerals Once Included Swag

In eighteenth-century New England, funeral attendees went home with funeral tokens–usually a pair of gloves or a ring that declared their sorrow.
Serfdom in Russia

How American Slavery Echoed Russian Serfdom

Russian serfdom and American slavery ended within two years of each other; the defenders of these systems of bondage surprisingly shared many of the same arguments.
v

How Consumerism Sold Democracy to Postwar Germany

After World War II, the United States was battling the Soviet Union for cultural influence. In divided Berlin, the tactics included lavish consumer goods exhibitions.
Victorian-era lacemakers

How the Victorians Politicized Lace

The Victorian era involved a lot of lace. In the face of encroaching industrialism, handmade lace enjoyed a frilly revival—and masked fears about the commodification of female labor.
Women moonshiners bootleggers

How Prohibition Encouraged Women to Drink

During Prohibition, American women “made, sold, and drank liquor in unprecedented fashion,” writes historian Mary Murphy.
Nuclear test

How Nuclear Tests Spawned Environmentalism

It's been 55 years since the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The massive amounts of fallout in the decade previous to the Treaty taught us a lot about the interconnected planet we live on.
Martin Luther King in 1957

The African Roots of MLK’s Vision

“Ghana tells us that the forces of the universe are on the side of justice… An old order of colonialism, of segregation, discrimination is passing away now.”
Pequot war engraving

When Native Americans Were Slaves

Initially, Indian slavery was considered different from African slavery in the early Anglo-American colonial world, but this split did last for long.
J Edgar Hoover

The Truth About J. Edgar Hoover’s “Cross-Dressing”

The story of J. Edgar Hoover dressing in women's clothing is part of American myth, but it's truth maybe less revealing than what the gossip tells us about Hoover and his times.
I Am a Man

How the Memphis Sanitation Strike Changed History

How the Memphis Sanitation Strike, with its iconic “I AM A MAN” signs, helped deepen Martin Luther King, Jr.'s radicalism in the last months of his life.