prison slang

When Prison Time Meant Rhymes

The “gay, frolicsome and amusing" rhymes of 1970s American prison slang.
Brothers Grimm

The Fairytale Language of the Brothers Grimm

How the Brothers Grimm went hunting for fairytales, accidentally changed the course of historical linguistics, and kickstarted a new field of scholarship in folklore.
April Fools kid Denmark

The Completely True History of April Fools’ Day

The door to spring is guarded by fools, but that's ok, because they're not all that serious. And everybody knows the password: April Fools!
Sari drape

Why Saris are Indian Material Culture

Between 1996 and 2003, a folklorist studied the connection between handlooms (technology), sari makers (producers), and sari wearers (consumers) in the ancient city of Banaras.
Compleat Housewife frontispiece

What Amateur Cookbooks Reveal About History

Remember those spiral-bound cookbooks from your church group or your mom’s favorite charity? Those amateur recipe collections are history books, too.
Mario hat Odysseus

Super Mario, Homer’s Odyssey, and the Meaning of Marriage

Nintendo's Mario and Homer's Odysseus have more in common than you might think.
Lydia Pinkham products

Was Lydia E. Pinkham the Queen of Quackery?

She developed an immensely popular, if questionably effective, herbal remedy for “female complaints.” Pioneer in alternative medicine or...?
Star Trek: Discovery

What Star Trek: Discovery Can Tell Us About Tech and Social Progress

What makes Star Trek essential for any contemporary tech user is its role in helping us understand our relationship to technology.
French bread

Pioneers Were America’s Original Artisanal Bakers

Why were cowboys and pioneers so obsessed with their baked goods? A look at the birth of sourdough culture (har har) in the United States.
Bigfoot signage

How Consumerism Created Bigfoot

People have long told stories about wildmen, creatures who straddled the line between human and animal. But Bigfoot himself first appeared in the 1950s.