:A woman drinking from a cup of tea

The Anxious “China Hunters” of the Nineteenth Century

After the Civil War, some elite women became obsessed with collecting antique china, the better to connect themselves to illustrious histories.
Supper at Delmonico's, New York 1898

The First American Restaurants’ Culinary Concoctions

A study of historical fine-dining menus yields surprises. Like six preparations of frog, and delicious lamb testicles.
Source: Getty

The Science of Baby-Name Trends

What makes a name suddenly pop—and then die? Social scientists and historians have been puzzling over this for decades.
Grave site of American botanist Asa Gray (1810-1888), in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

When Cemeteries Became Natural Sanctuaries

In the 19th century, bucolic, park-like cemeteries started cropping up on the outskirts of American cities.
Detail from an 1846 map of Nantucket

The Little-Known Nantucket-British Deal of 1814

Remembering a strange chapter of history when Nantucket allied itself with Great Britain.
Maria Mitchell

America’s First Woman Astronomer

Maria Mitchell became famous when she discovered a comet in 1847. She didn't stop there, fighting for education and equality for women in the sciences.
Mark Twain

Was Mark Twain a Con Man?

A man named Samuel Clemens received funds from the radical abolitionist Boston Vigilance Committee in 1854. It may have been Mark Twain, pulling a prank.
Obama commencement speeches

Who Gets to Make Commencement Speeches (and Why)?

Why are battles over just who gets the honor of toasting new graduates—and what they say—always so heated?
Charles Knowlton portrait

Charles Knowlton, the Father of American Birth Control

Decades after Charles Knowlton died, his book would be credited with the reversal of population growth in England and the popularization of contraception in the United States. 
Horsepower

Why We Still Use “Horsepower”

Horses were omnipresent in the West until only a few generations ago, but then they were replaced by machines and disappeared from our streets as well as our consciousness.