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Erin Blakemore

Erin Blakemore is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist Her debut book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf (Harper), won a Colorado Book Award for Nonfiction and has been translated into Italian, Korean and Portuguese. Erin has written about history and culture and other topics for Smithsonian.com, The Washington Post, TIME, mental_floss, NPR’s This I Believe, The Onion, Popular Science, Modern Farmer and other journals. You can find more of her work at erinblakemore.com.

Original Spin: On the History of the Spinster

The cultural and economic history of the spinster.
Gunter Grass

Gruppe 47: The Group That Made Günter Grass

How did Günter Grass go from child soldier to literary titan? Part of the answer lies in the history of literary group Gruppe 47.
Linda Taylor, 49, the so-called "welfare queen", was sentenced to serve two-to-six years in prison in Chicago, May 13, 1977. She is shown on her way to sentencing. Taylor was convicted March 17 of theft and perjury. Man escorting her is unidentified. (AP Photo)

Tracing the Specter of the ‘Welfare Queen’

The origins of the controversial phrase Welfare Queen.
Close up of a petition for divorce with pen and calculator

Divorce in the U.S.A.

A glimpse into the long history of divorce in the United States offers perspective on how much has changed.

What Role Did Laura Keene Play on Abraham Lincoln’s Last Night?

Actress Laura Keene's role on the night of Lincoln's assassination is shrouded in myth.

A Brief History of Young Adult Fiction

A quick history of young adult fiction.
The Daily Show
Jon Stewart
Comedy Central/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

‘The Daily Show’ as Political Influence

Does the Daily Show really impact people's political views?
"Olive Oatman, 1857" by unattributed - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olive_Oatman,_1857.png#/media/File:Olive_Oatman,_1857.png

Olive Oatman: The Girl With the Mojave Tattoo

The mysterious story of Olive Oatman who returned after years of captivity with the Mojave.
© 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Picasso’s Pricey ‘Femmes d’Alger’

Picasso's "Femmes d'Alger" is set to take the record for most expensive painting ever sold.

Coming Clean on Gender in Soap Operas

Academic scholarship on gender in soap operas.

Remembering Billie Holiday

The 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday's birth.
Ghostbusters (1984)
 Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis
Credit: Columbia/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

How “Ghostbusters” Changed the Way We Speak

A controversial and little-known aspect of Ghostbusters cultural influence can be found in a seemingly simple suffix, “-busters.”

Interrogating “Cinderella”

Cinderella, the ever-changing fairytale, inspires no shortage of analysis and debate.

“We Are the World, We Are the Children” (Or Are We?)

Megahit "We are the world" turns 30 this year.
Sara Plummer Lemmon Botanist

Sara Plummer Lemmon: Pioneering Botanist

Botany didn’t just intrigue and entertain Sara Plummer Lemmon—it deeply affected her personal life.
Army unit at the parade

Who Owns Nazi-era Art?

To understand why stolen art continues to be a contentious issue well into the 21st century, it makes sense to take a look into how and why Nazis “collected” (read: stole) Jewish-owned art.

History’s Other Odd Couple: Mark Twain and Helen Keller

Helen Keller and Mark Twain's unusual friendship.

The Fuss About Josephine Baker

 A new one-woman Broadway show puts Josephine Baker back in the public consciousness.

“The Sound of Music” at 50

Iconic musical "The Sound of Music" celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Before There Was ’50 Shades’…There Was Elinor Glyn’s ‘It’

A writer named Elinor Glyn wrote a novel entitled "It and other stories in 1927"

Carter G. Woodson, The Father of Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926, when a historian named Carter G. Woodson spearheaded “Negro History Week.”

Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel,” 50 Years Later

Published in 1965, Ariel was published after Sylvia Plath herself had already been dead for two years.

What Price Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a phenomenon that transcends the runway, crosses borders, and cuts across barriers of class, culture, and emerging economies