A woman writing a letter at a table

The Ladylike Language of Letters

Letters reveal how language changes. They also offer a peek into the way people--especially women--have always constructed their private and public selves.
francis willughby crows

The First True Ornithologist

Though he was once dismissed as a dilettante, naturalist Francis Willughby was in fact part of the vanguard of observation-based modern science.
Mary Queen of Scots

The Literary Propaganda Campaign Against Mary, Queen of Scots

May of 1568 was a fateful month for Mary, Queen of Scots. She managed to escape prison, but only to be being defeated in battle soon after. Then she made the fateful decision to run to England.
Thames Frost Fair

Magic and Meaning on the Frozen Thames

London's winters used to colder—and a bit more magical, thanks to chilly conditions on the Thames River. "Frost fairs" were popular public celebrations.
New York Journal 1898

To Fix Fake News, Look To Yellow Journalism

Fake news has plenty of precedents in the history of mass media, and particularly, in the history of American journalism.
"The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor", lithograph depicting the 1773 Boston Tea Party

Taxation Without Money

If we'd listened to Ben Franklin back in 1766, would we be listening to Ted Cruz in 2016?

Alexander Wilson’s Birds

Before Audubon (1785-1851), there was Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) the "father of American ornithology"

The First English Books

In the rare book world, the earliest printed books are known as incunables or incunabula.

Finding Your Place in Letters

For scholars of American history, letter-writing makes historical research possible.