A dead whale being cleaned by whalers

So You Plan to Teach Moby Dick

The study of Melville’s novel is enhanced by contextualizing it with primary and secondary sources related to the American sperm whaling industry.
Barrels of whiskey are opened and poured into a blending vat below, circa 1940.

Bourbon Country

Examining the ingredients—time, grain, government regulations—that have made bourbon an enduring national favorite.
A Parisian evening gown

Can You Copyright a Dress?

Fashion houses in 1920s Paris used copyright laws to protect their designs. In New York, not so much.
Woman recycling glass, Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, 1990

You’ll Never Believe Who Invented Curbside Recycling

Far from ushering in a zero-waste world, the switch from returnables to recycling provided cover for the creation of ever more packaging trash.
A vintage ad for Crest toothpaste

How Toothpaste Got Scientific Cred

Would you brush with a toothpaste for the sweet taste alone or because of its touted health benefits? The answer wasn't always so obvious.
India 1835 2 Mohurs

The East India Company Invented Corporate Lobbying

The historian William Dalyrmple's new book, The Anarchy, indicts the East India Company for "the supreme act of corporate violence in world history."
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.
Jerri Sloan

Synthetic Fabrics Inspired a Cultural Revolution

The advent of synthetic fabrics played a surprising role in bringing women into the workforce, as Mercury 13 trainee Geraldine Sloan’s story illustrates.
Bird's Eye frozen meals

The Evolution of Convenience Food in America

Meal kits signal a change in the way we cook, but this is nothing compared with how frozen food disrupted the American kitchen in the mid-20th century.
Gem Chimney ad

Can Advertising Be a Science?

Advertisers have been trying to develop a precise science of advertising for more than a century.