JSTOR Daily published a more than 600 stories in 2022, with topics ranging from book publishing to black holes, reproduction rights to racism. Here are a few of our editors’ favorite stories. As always, each of these stories includes free, open links to relevant scholarship on JSTOR. Happy New Year!

Das Vogelkonzert (The Bird Concert) by Jan Brueghel the Younger, c. 1640-1645

Every Good Bird Does Fine

Is birdsong music, speech, or something else altogether? The question has raged for millennia, drawing in everyone from St. Augustine to Virginia Woolf.
John B. Cade

John B. Cade’s Project to Document the Stories of the Formerly Enslaved

A recently digitized slave narrative collection consists of original manuscripts compiled by John Brother Cade and his students at Southern University.
Phillip Vance Smith, II surrounded by covers of Nash News

What’s It Like to Be an Editor of a Prison Newspaper?

The incarcerated editor of The Nash News in North Carolina shares about the power of higher ed and his work at the prison newspaper.
Crowds in Algiers celebrating their country's Independence Day in the city centre

The Algerian War: Cause Célèbre of Anticolonialism

On July 5, 1962, Algeria declared its independence after 132 years of French occupation. The transition was chaotic and violent, but inspired revolutionaries worldwide.
A statue of a refugee family marks the crossroads of Netaji Nagar

Kolkata and Partition: Between Remembering and Forgetting

In West Bengal’s capital city, suppressing the painful history of the 1947 Partition allows for the celebration of moments of endurance and success.

The Lives Beyond the Life Sentences

Their lives didn't stop when the judge sentenced them to life in prison. Then what? A 1994 issue of The Angolite profiled the longest-serving Americans.
Close-up Vintage Wooden Hourglass on Wooden Background, Sand running through the bulbs for measuring the passing time

The Meaning of Time in The Hour Glass

Writings from a women's prison in the 1930s grapple with philosophical questions on time and life. “The mere lapse of years is not life.”
The cover of issue 4 of Adventures in Poetry

Adventures in Poetry

Published in the East Village from 1968 to 1975, Adventures in Poetry features poems by New York School poets Anne Waldman, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, and more.
Polonius behind the curtain

In Defense of Polonius

Shakespeare’s tedious old fool was also a dad just doing his best.
From the cover of the September, 1990 issue of The Angolite, a newspaper published by the inmates of Louisiana State Penitentiary

The Fatal Current: Electrocution as Progress? 

The electric chair was promoted as civilized and at the same time imbued with the technological sublime, the mystery of electrical power harnessed by humans.
Have One Brand

Orange Crate Art

California citrus growers drew on mass-printing techniques and advances in color lithography to create distinctive brands for their boxes.
Johnny Cash at San Quentin State Prison, 1969

Far From Folsom Prison: More to Music Inside

Johnny Cash wasn't the only superstar to play in prisons. Music, initially allowed as worship, came to be seen as a rockin' tool of rehabilitation.
Essential Quality #14, ridden by Luis Saez, heads to the first turn during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Betting on the Longshot

Researchers consistently observe that longshot horses are overvalued by bettors at the racetrack. Why are they willing to risk it all?
Miss Charmion, 1904

The “Trapeze Disrobing Act”

Strongwoman Charmion used Thomas Edison’s experiments with moving pictures to encourage women to embrace strength and physical activity.
From The Mountains of California, by John Muir (New York: The Century, 1898)

Plant of the Month: White Sage

An important part of Indigenous spirituality and identity, the aromatic evergreen shrub is being threatened by poachers and over-commercialization.
Source: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/40690/40690-h/40690-h.htm

Walking Streetlamps for Hire in Seventeenth-Century London

Much in the same way we hail cabs in cities today, a medieval Londoner could hail a torch-bearer (a link-boy) to light their way home from a night on the town.
Johann Sebastian Bach in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann

Happy Birthday, Well-Tempered Clavier

Bach’s most influential pedagogical work turns 300 this year. But what’s so “well-tempered” about this clavier, and what’s a “clavier,” anyway?
Harvey Milk at Gay Pride, San Jose 1978

Harvey Milk’s Gay Freedom Day Speech: Annotated

Five months before his assassination in 1978, Harvey Milk called on the president of the United States to defend the rights of gay and lesbian Americans.

Edmund Dulac’s Fairy Tales Go to War

One of the best-known illustrators of the “golden age of children’s gift books,” Dulac was also a subtle purveyor of Allied propaganda during the Great War.
Germain soldiers holding the perimeter around a tank during a time of political unrest during the Weimar Era.

Democide: An Inside Job?

The biggest enemy of democracy? It may be democracy itself.
Detail from Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

Who Was the Little Girl in Las Meninas?

A Spanish princess who became a German queen, Margarita Teresa lived a life structured by Catholicism and cut short by consanguinity.
Two Filipino men in Los Angeles

1930s Filipinos Were Hip to American Style. There Was Backlash.

Filipinos, newly arrived to West Coast cities, displayed a mastery over American cultural life thanks to their knowledge of Hollywood films.
Alexander Berkman speaks at Socialist meeting in Union Square, New York, on May Day, 1908

The NYC –> RUS Yiddish Socialist Pipeline

At the turn of the twentieth century, Yiddish became the language of political organizing for Russian Jews, thanks to the flow of literature from New York.
Three women and five men gathered in a room which opens up to classical architecture, the group on the left is making music while the others are engaged in conversation; representing the continent of Europe.

Musical Myth-Busting: Teaching Music History with JSTOR Daily

Harnessing the power of quirk to engage students and inspire research in an online learning environment.
Olivier salad in a red plate on the table

The USSR’s “Invisible Cuisine”

Unofficial cookbooks—handwritten recipes passed from kitchen to kitchen—provided their owners with social and cultural capital within the Soviet system.
Boston Public Library

Out of the Card Catalog Closet

Librarians gathered in 1970 to challenge Library of Congress classifications and catalog subject headings that aligned homosexuality with deviance. 
The slave ship Diligente was engaged in the illegal slave trade when it was seized in 1838. A lieutenant in the British Royal Navy painted this scene from the ship.

The Unbearable Middle Passage

In the eighteenth century, doctors recognized melancholy as a disease endemic to groups forcibly displaced from their homes, particularly enslaved Africans.
Print