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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.

Pierre and Marie Curie

How Marie Curie Claimed Credit for Her Scientific Work

Marie Curie was the first major woman scientist to get full credit for her scientific contributions.
Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott, Servant

She’s best known as the intrepid author of Little Women, but Louisa May Alcott was once a domestic servant.
Louisa Adams

Melania Trump Won’t Be America’s First Foreign-Born First Lady

Melania Trump, who reportedly will not immediately occupy the White House upon her husband’s inauguration, will not be your typical First Lady.
White House

How Do White House Transitions Actually Work?

How do presidential transitions really work? Political science scholarship on White House staffers provides some insight.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Black Lives

As historians continue to interrogate slavery’s lasting reverberations, narratives produced by slaves themselves have become a kind of ...
Laura Bridgman

Before Helen Keller, There Was Laura Bridgman

Before Helen Keller, there was Laura Bridgman, the first blind and deaf woman who learned to communicate through language.
Dorothy's ruby slippers

Consumerism and The Wizard of Oz

The Smithsonian Institution is running a Kickstarter campaign to restore and preserve Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. 
Gold Records

How Have Music Charts Stayed Relevant?

Music charts conferred status on performers and became an arbiter of popularity and a signifier of success.
Twilight Zone the Hitchhiker

This Creepy Radio Broadcast Played With the Power of the Medium

Radio dramas became a way for broadcasters to get into the minds of listeners…and to comment on the very influence of radio itself.
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

How A Gambling Duchess Changed British Politics

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, won and lost fortunes, giving into a compulsion that pitted her against some of society’s most notorious ne’er-do-wells.
Cars in 1920s LA

How the Women of Los Angeles Protected Their Rights to Drive

In the 1920s, women's love of driving in auto-obsessed Los Angeles created traffic jams and a battle over women’s rightful place.
Catherine Howard

Did Materialism Lead to the Death of a Tudor Queen?

The very things that made Catherine Howard's time as Henry VIII's queen so pleasant became a cudgel with which to beat her.
Bobby Seale and Cesar Chavez

The Black Panthers’ Unlikely Ally

Cesar Chavez's non-violent United Farm Workers and the militant Black Panthers aligned politically throughout the 60s and 70s.
Sheffield Radishes

Community Gardens Were All the Rage… in the 1700s

An eighteenth-century precedent for today's community gardens in Sheffield, England.
Soviet Hippie

The Unlikely Hippies of the USSR

On the little-known hippie youth culture of the USSR.
Beauty and the Beast

How Disney Movies Teach Straightness

Despite the perils of mistaken identities, evil stepmothers, and cruel curses, in a Disney movie the princess always finds her prince.
Cutlery: Spoon, Fork, Knife

Which Came First, the Spoon, Fork, or Knife?

The spoon predates the knife and the fork. It exists in every age and culture in a wide variety of shapes.
Agatha Christie, pharmacist

Agatha Christie, Pharmacist

If you think “poison” when you think Agatha Christie, you’re dead on. Many of her novels feature poison. But did you know Dame Agatha was also a pharmacist?
Marie Antoinette hair

The Political Power of Marie Antoinette’s Hair

How significant is your hairstyle? Sure, your locks may give you trouble in the morning or feel extra ...
The Mummy movie poster

Why We Love to Be Scared

Nearly 1.5 billion tickets to horror movies were sold in 2015 alone. But why do we love being scared so much?
Queen Elizabeth I

Rags, Riches, and Cross-Class Dressing in Elizabethan England

In Elizabethan England, strict sumptuary regulations made sure that people dressed according to their rank in life, but many transgressed.
hospital bed

The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women

 Jane Lawrence documents the forced sterilization of thousands of Native American women by the Indian Health Service in the 1960s and 1970s.
"March," John Lewis' Civil Rights Comic Book

Remembering the Civil Rights Movement…With Comics

Comic-Cons and civil rights rarely intersect, but if one person could make that happen it’s Congressman John Lewis. ...
Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi Olympics

Leni Riefenstahl was the Nazi regime’s most artistic propagandist. She is also remembered for Olympia, her documentary of the 1936 Olympics.
Agnes Chase

Women’s Fight For Scientific Fieldwork

How did women scientists fit into the naturalists and botanist mix during their earliest days in the field?