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The Serpents of Liberty

From the colonial period to the end of the US Civil War, the rattlesnake sssssssymbolized everything from evil to unity and power.
On the left stands King George III surrounded by symbols of British peace and liberty, while across the Channel the figure of Napoleon is stalked by poverty and ‘universal destruction’.

Jacobin Hating, American Style

The most radical faction of the French Revolution was hated by everyone in the United States from reactionaries to abolitionists.
We-Wa

One Barrier to Two-Spirit History: Settler Archives

Historians need to know more about the roles of two-spirit Native Americans, but relying on written records isn't always productive.
The location of the Earth encircled by the celestial circles, 1661

The Protestant Astrology of Early American Almanacs

The wildly popular books helped people understand farming and health through the movement of the planets, in a way compatible with Protestantism.
George Washington's teeth

Were George Washington’s Teeth Taken from Enslaved People?

We know a surprising amount about the dental history of the nation’s first president.
Based on a color lithograph of ca. 1826 by Anthony Imbert, entitled Shakers near Lebanon

The Rhythms of Shaker Dance Marked the Shakers as “Other”

The name Shaker originally comes from the insult “Shaking Quakers,” which mocked the sect’s use of their bodies in worship.
the Publick Universal Friend

The Genderless Eighteenth-Century Prophet

In 1776, a 24-year-old Quaker woman named Jemima Wilkinson died of fever, and came back to life as a prophet known as the Publick Universal Friend.
Ancient Greek funerary naiskos

When Was the First Handshake?

A Curious Reader asks: When and how did the handshake originate?
picture books

Why Picture Books Were Once Considered Dangerous for Children

For Puritan New England, picture books were dangerous. But the Enlightenment, by way of John Locke, made illustrations more acceptable in the classroom.

Wall Street’s Slave Market

New York City will unveil a plaque today marking the location of the city's slave market at Wall Street.