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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.

Green Dragon Tavern

A Brief History of U.S. Drinking

In 1770, the average colonial Americans consumed about three and a half gallons of alcohol per year, about double the modern rate.
42nd Street 1980s

Is There Really a Link Between Mental Illness and Homelessness?

"Housing first” programs are helping cut homelessness in big ways. How significant is the link between mental illness and homelessness?
Riverdale Courts, Toronto

The Social Engineering of Affordable Housing

Pushes for affordable housing, and even social engineering be it Silicon Valley in 2016, or Toronto in 1912.
Clinton welfare reform

Why Welfare Reform Didn’t End Welfare Stigma

20 years after welfare reform, stigma surrounding cash benefits remains.
19th century police

The Birth of the “Policed Society”

This summer’s high profile violence by and against police officers has focused public attention on the politics of ...
Timothy Leary

How LSD Went From Research to Religion

The lines between psychological research and mysticism were blurry in the early days of LSD.
Campaign graphics

Party Conventions and the Political Amateur

As the Republican and Democratic party conventions approach, many wonder which way the "political amateur" delegates will vote.
War headlines

Do Terrorists Ever Win?

Surveying the purported objectives of 28 international terrorist groups and determining whether these groups achieved their aims.
smoking

How to Cut Smoking Rates

A working paper released the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that lifting people out of poverty could cut smoking rates. 
Watts

Did The 1965 Watts Riots Change Anything?

Sociological data from immediately after the riots in Watts, Los Angeles, in 1965 show major disparities in attitude by race.
rio olympics

How Olympics Host Cities Hide Their Homeless

Olympic host cities have historically cleared away and marginalized their homeless in advance of the games.
Doctor examines patient, 1942

Why We Make Doctors Get Licenses

We might question why barbers or florists need licenses. But almost everyone would agree that doctors ought to be licensed.
Cornelius Vanderbilt II House

Why We Obsess Over Other People’s Mansions

Gilded Age mansions were remarkably public places. Newspapers breathlessly followed their construction and the social lives that happened within them

How Parents Watch Teachers

What parents watch teachers the most? Economic class has a lot to do with report cards.

Happy Flag Day! (What is Flag Day?)

What is Flag Day, again? Early American flags were all over the place. There was no consensus about the flag until 25 years after the Revolution.

Why Naming Anti-Gay Violence Matters

The Orlando shooting was an act of anti-gay violence, an element of the story many politicians have ignored.

How American Tourism Began

American tourism took the scenic route over the course of the twentieth century. A growing middle class and car ownership helped.

A Brief History of Tobacco in America

Over the past 50 years, the portion of Americans who smoke dropped has dropped from 42 to 15 percent. The precipitous decline could mean the end of the fascination.

From Dorm Rooms to Bathrooms: The Long Fight for Gender Equality

Before current uproar over transgender people and bathrooms, the country debated the place of coeducation in American society.

When Do We Grow Up? After Graduation?

The age when we grow up and begin our adult lives has changed over the years.
Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry? ) 1892, oil on canvas, 101 x 77 cm

The Real Reason Fine Art Costs So Much

To outsiders, art auctions can seem like a parody of bizarre spending by wealthy people. The origins of ultra-expensive art lies in the nineteenth-century.

The Invention of Retirement

Retirement as a mass phenomenon didn’t start as a way for older people to enjoy themselves.

Race Has Always Affected the Vote

While racism in the United States is often attributed to poor whites, research suggests its political power resides in middle and wealthy suburban whites.
consultants

Consultants: Recommending Consultations for 100+ Years

Glassdoor reports that three of the five highest paying companies in the country are consulting firms. To some ...
Chicago teachers striking

The Rise of Teachers’ Unions

Teachers' unions have been an important force in America since the 1950s.