arsenic book

Some Books Can Kill

Poisonous green pigments laced with arsenic were once a common ingredient in book bindings, paints, wallpapers, and fabrics. Yikes.
couple with wedding gifts

When Weddings Went Commercial

The rise of industrial production and commercial marketing transformed the way that well-to-do Americans celebrate weddings.
Department of Interior Artwork. "An Incident in Contemporary American Life," by Mitchell Jamieson. Date: 1943 Dimensions: 148" x 82" Oil Painting.

The First Civil Rights Monument

The nation's first civil rights monument is a mural portraying the interracial audience at Marion Anderson's famed Freedom Concert of 1939 on the Washington Mall.
Elise Hooper The Other Alcott

Discovering the Real Little Women: Researching The Other Alcott

Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" is a cultural touchstone. But what about the women behind the "Women," Alcott's real-life sisters on whom she based her characters? An interview with novelist Elise Hooper considers the life of "The Other Alcott."
women in a reading room at Smith College in 1898

The Reading Rooms Designed to Protect Women from “Library Loafers”

In the late 1800s, American women began to move more freely in public. In response, public libraries created sex-segregated reading rooms, intended to keep women in their proper place.
Benjamin Lay portrait

Benjamin Lay: The Radical “Quaker Comet”

Benjamin Lay was a radical abolitionist who helped turn the Quakers from slave-holders to leaders of the anti-slavery movement.
Source: https://flic.kr/p/5krZLr

The Decadent Art of Butter Sculpture

Butter sculpture is a fixture of American state fairs. The practice of using food as a medium for art dates back centuries.

How Mr. Coffee Made Coffee Manly

Mr. Coffee, the first electric-drip coffee machine for home use, debuted in 1972, forever changing the way Americans made coffee.
Biombo screen

Did the Aztecs Simply Disappear? Surviving Biombo Paintings Tell Another Story

Colonial narratives often boast triumphant victory and catastrophic defeat, but Mexican biombo paintings suggest a surprising alternative.
soap carving

When Corporations Co-opt Crafts

Procter & Gamble made its industrially produced soap the basis for a revival of an ancient craft, leading to a huge fad for soap carving.