Design for an Urn, 19th century

How Cremation Lost Its Stigma

The pro-cremation movement of the nineteenth century battled religious tradition, not to mention the specter of mass graves during epidemics.
Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas by Mrs. Charles Stephenson

Juneteenth and the Emancipation Proclamation

The emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. took place over a protracted period. The articles in this curated list dig into the complicated history.
Demonstration of Protest and Mourning for Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of March 25, 1911, 04/05/1911

The History of Mourning in Public

After a massive factory fire in 1911, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to stage a "symbolic funeral."
A person driving a Mercedes

In Epidemics, the Wealthy Have Always Fled

"The poor, having no choice, remained.”
The first Thanksgiving 1621

Thanksgiving Has Been Reinvented Many Times

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, Thanksgiving was very different from the holiday we know now.
The covers for "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison and "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark

Books and other art are often censored for covertly racist reasons.
The Terra Nova, 1911

Why Cheerfulness Mattered in the Antarctica Expedition of 1912

Often associated with stoic masculinity, Robert Falcon Scott's British Antarctic Expedition was in fact defined by cheerfulness and friendly homemaking.
Several images of people smiling

Why Are Americans So Cheery?

How Americans went from loving melancholy to focusing on controlling their emotions -- and destinies.
A young Irish woman working at a spinning wheel. Engraving by Francis Holl

How War Revolutionized Ireland’s Linen Industry

During the Napoleonic Wars, Irish women, who had traditionally only spun flax into thread, took over the traditionally male job of weaving linen as well.
The Confession by Giuseppe Moltini

An Unhealthy Obsession with Avoiding Sin

In the early 20th century, "scruples" meant a neurotic fixation on sin. It seemed to mostly affect Roman Catholics.