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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.

Baby Drinking from Bottle, close-up

The Continuing Controversy Over Baby Formula

Nestlé promoted formula in the developing world, even though they knew bottle-feeding with limited sanitation and refrigeration could be dangerous.
Blackberries

The Crucial Southern Blackberry

In the 19th century, blackberry picking was both hobby and money-making endeavor for many Americans. Increased regulation of land use changed all that.
The United States Supreme Court Building

What Makes This SCOTUS Nomination Unique?

Presidents have always chosen Supreme Court nominees who agree with their political beliefs. But they've gotten savvier about the selection process.
Charles Sumner

Should Politics be Civil?

Some political philosophers suggest that arguments about civility are a distraction from the real political issues.
mailboxes

The Massive Fight over Sunday Mail

Sunday mail delivery was hugely controversial in the early 19th century, inspiring one of the U.S.'s first efforts to rally public opinion around a cause.
Enjoying a Music Festival

From Saturnalia to Coachella

Art, music, religious, and seasonal festivals have been a part of human life since prehistory. How have they changed as society has changed?
Mount Vernon Fourth of July naturalization ceremony

Celebrating Immigration on the Fourth of July

For many immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century, July 4th was deeply significant: Their own home countries were fighting for independence.
Burning woman witchcraft

Where Witch Hunts Began

Although witch hunts are associated with 17th-century Salem, many hundreds of thousands of "witches" were killed in Europe from the 13th century on.
Alice Paul ERA

Why the Equal Rights Amendment Hasn’t Been Ratified Yet

Suffragist Alice Paul proposed the ERA in 1923. Congress approved it in the 1970s. So why isn't the amendment part of the Constitution?
couple with wedding gifts

When Weddings Went Commercial

The rise of industrial production and commercial marketing transformed the way that well-to-do Americans celebrate weddings.
Washington Monument

When Washington D.C. Became a Tourist Destination

When the U.S. federal government first moved to D.C. in 1800, the city was still largely swamp. Tourists didn't start to visit until many decades later.
Degas bather

When Americans Started Bathing

The first baths weren't about getting clean or relaxing. In the 1860s, experts agreed that the best kind of bath was a brief plunge in cold water.
Catherine Beecher

The Women Who Tried to Prevent the Trail of Tears

In the 1830s, American women, including Catherine Beecher, worked to fight Andrew Jackson’s genocidal Indian Removal campaign.
Roman food mosaic

High Cuisine in Ancient France

An archaeologist explores how the division of upper- and lower-class cuisine may have developed in France more than 2,000 years ago.
waveform

A History of Noise

What's noisier, nature or civilization? Whether we consider the sounds of nature to be pleasant or menacing depends largely on our ideologies.
prison slang

When Prison Time Meant Rhymes

The “gay, frolicsome and amusing" rhymes of 1970s American prison slang.
Child laborers

The Campaign for Child Labor

Why did David Clark lead a successful campaign to keep kids working in the early 20th century? For one thing, child labor benefited his interests.
BBQ

How Barbecue Defined America

The barbecue boom in 1950s American was tied to nationalistic concepts of the "perfect family": patriarchal, suburban, and white.
commuting workers

Can America Get Behind Full Employment?

Full employment was a prominent goal in U.S. politics after World War II, but has faded from policy debates in recent decades.
segregation

How Global Colonialism Shaped Segregation

One of the first U.S. municipal laws demanding residential segregation, passed in 1910 in Baltimore, has roots in European colonial policies.
Chanel N°5

The French Perfume Boom

The marketing of scents through clever branding, rather than real differences in what’s being sold, originated in nineteenth-century France.
miniature people standing on around a stack of coins

Can Consumer Groups Be Radical?

Historian Lawrence Glickman looked at the consumer movements of the 1930s to find out.
valuing young black people

Black Youths Aren’t Broken

The graduation rate gap between black and white kids is a major issue. One organization emphasizes social identity, media literacy, and youth development in redressing the problem.
Advertising Mother's Day

What Good Moms Buy

The way advertisers target mothers has changed along with the social understanding of American motherhood, one sociologist found.
Women gardeners

When Gardens Replaced Children

Historian Robin Veder explains that the way we associate female nurturing with gardens goes back to the way ideas about gender and work changed in the mid-nineteenth century.