19th century lithograph telling the story of the 1763 attack by the Paxton Gang against the local tribe of Susquehannock peoples in Pennsylvania

Colonial Civility and Rage on the American Frontier

A 1763 massacre by colonial settlers exposed the irreconcilable contradictions of conquest by people concerned with civility.
Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. Osborne and two other men, c. 1915

Were Early American Prisons Similar to Today’s?

A correctional officer’s history of 19th century prisons and modern-day parallels. From Sing Sing to suicide watch, torture treads a fine line.
White bucks shoes

White Shoes, WASPs and Law Firms

Law firms founded on Protestant identity necessitated the creation of firms that would hire those shut out by WASP gatekeeping.
Kelp Harvester at Work

Burning Kelp for War

World War I saw the availability of potash plummet, while its price doubled. The US found this critical component for multiple industries in Pacific kelp.
Child workers at Avondale Mills, 1910

The Age of the Birth Certificate

When states began restricting labor by children, verifying a person's age became an important means of enforcement.
Freedom House library, September 1964

Freedom Libraries and the Fight for Library Equity

Freedom libraries in the south provided Black residents with access to spaces and books, whether in church basements or private homes.

50 Years Later: The Evolution of Prison Policy

Buried within Adelante is evidence of a fleeting attempt at prison reform and oversight in Connecticut. Is history repeating itself?
A print based on David Gilmour Blythe's fanciful painting of Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation: Annotated

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in America on January 1, 1863. Today, we've annotated the Emancipation Proclamation for readers.
An advertisement for Burdock Blood Bitters

Our Writers’ Favorite Stories of 2021

Without our writers (and editors and fact checkers and producers) and you, we're nothing.
Great Snow in 1717

The Snowy Winter that Devastated Colonial New England

For eleven days in February and March 1717, New England was hit with four major snowstorms. The devastation struck some as a sign from God.