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Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon is a freelance writer in Nashua, New Hampshire. Her writing has appeared in publications including Salon, Aeon Magazine and the Good Men Project. Contact her on Twitter @liviagershon.

A person snowmobiling in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA, 1987

A Brief History of Snowmobiling

Snowmobiles were invented around the same time as wheeled transportation was becoming a robust industry.
Physician letting blood from a man's arm

How Physicians Became Scientists

The introduction of formal peer review to journals aided medical doctors in their quest to bring more scientific rigor to their field.
Percey Shelley holding some carrots

Percy Shelley: Trendsetting Vegetarian

The poet adopted a "Pythagorean" diet, which eliminated meat, and wrote that vegetarians would "no longer pine under the lethargy of ennui."
Andean ritual with coca leaves

What Coca Means in Peru

Coca has a long history of use in Peru: for sacred ritual, economic productivity, courtship and celebration of life events.
Spring desert wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA

Making the (California) Desert Bloom

The question of Zionism in post World War II America did not have a single answer. One group proposed bringing agriculture to the California desert instead.
FNV headquarters occupied by sympathizers of the British mine strikers; the police remove the activists

How LGBTQ Groups Supported Striking Miners vs. Thatcher

During a national miners strike, LGBT activists became unexpected allies, united against the Thatcher government.
Mayan zodiac circle

How the Maya Kept Time

Many scholars contrast linear and cyclical time and note that cycles were an important part of Maya concepts of temporal reality.
Johnny Cash on stage with his band, in concert at San Quentin State Prison, California, February 24th 1969.

The Radicalism of Johnny Cash

The best-selling musical artist in the world in 1969, Johnny Cash sang of (and for) the "forgotten Americans": the imprisoned men of all races.
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.
From the Spring 1972 cover of Ms. Magazine

Ms. Magazine’s Tricky Relationship with Advertising

On the fiftieth anniversary of Ms. Magazine, a look back at how the publication managed advertising demands while maintaining its founding ethos.
A cover design for Annie on My Mind

Queer YA: The Early Decades

While queer YA has exploded over the past decade, it began in the middle of the 20th century, with the first kiss in 1969.
A British airship in flight above the British countryside set against a cloudy sky, 1918

Whatever Happened to Airships?

In moving away from fossil fuels, some in aviation are thinking of bringing back helium-assisted flight.
A group of high school students constructs basic measuring devices for testing air, water, noise, and radiation-pollution levels. c. 1972

The Troubles with Tracking

Educators have been debating academic tracking since the early years of the public high school.
An illustration of a hand holding a set of hand cuffs

Let’s Talk About (Your) Crimes

Asking yourself about what you've "gotten away with" may change how you think about "criminals."
Acland servants in 1897 by Sarah Angelina Acland

Who Does the Drudge Work? Answers from Edwardian Britain

In 1909, Kathlyn Oliver called for the creation of a servants' trade union that was “as important to the community as the worker[s] in any other sphere."
Sitdown strikers in the Fisher body plant factory number three. Flint, Michigan, 1937

The Flint Sit-Down Strike, From the Inside

Americans in "The Great Resignation" and "Strikevember" are the heirs of the 1936-1937 sit-down strike by auto workers in Flint, Michigan.
A rice farmer with a handcart in Pingtung County, Taiwan, circa 1965.

Reclaiming Rice in Taiwan

After World War 2, the US ramped up international food aid, both as a Cold War strategy and as a way to distribute surplus products.
A Cheshire cat stuffed toy, from the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

A Brief History of Literary Cats

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and a soft cat. Even better is a book with a cat in it.
Two devadesis in Chennai, India, in the 1920s.

How South Asian Temple Dancers Fought Moral Reform

Devadāsīs appealed to a longstanding tradition to argue that they had a legitimate position in their modernizing nation.
Carl Sagan holding a globe model of the planet Mars, 1970s.

Should We Go to Mars? Carl Sagan Had Thoughts

It'd be "a step more significant than the colonization of land by our amphibian ancestors some 500 million years ago." But Sagan had reservations.
An illustration of a dating app with Victorian women's photographs

The “Dating Apps” of Victorian England

They didn't have smartphones back then, but they still had personal ads.
Andrew Carnegie (left) and Melvil Dewey (right)

When Melvil Dewey Pursued Andrew Carnegie’s Millions

A clash of library enthusiasts ended with a sexual harassment scandal.
A Man And Woman Showing Ink-Marked Finger And Voter Card in Calcutta, India

Why Vote? Lessons from Indian Villages

The voters one scholar studied didn't necessarily think they would benefit materially from being on the winning side. But turnout was over 90 percent.
Tobacco sharecropper's wife cleaning up table after washing breakfast dishes. Person County, North Carolina, 1939, by Dorothea Lange

How the New Deal Documented Southern Food Cultures

Photographers and writers hired by the US government presented the foodways of the South to a wide audience.
The Illustrated Police News, November 17, 1888

How Crime Stories Foiled Reform in Victorian Britain

Harsh punishments were declining in the nineteenth century. Then came sensationalist news coverage of a reputed crime wave.