Christy Mathewson, a pitcher for the New York Giants from 1900-1916.

When New York Made Baseball and Baseball Made New York

The rise of the sport as we know it was centered in Gotham, where big stadiums, heroic characters, and epic sportswriting produced a pastime that bound a city together.
Gloved hand holding COVID-19-shaped dandelion

Did the Year 2020 Change Us Forever?

The COVID-19 pandemic affected us in millions of ways. But it evades the meanings we want it to bear.
Bayard Rustin speaking at an event.

Eclipsed in His Era, Bayard Rustin Gets to Shine in Ours

The civil-rights mastermind was sidelined by his own movement. Now he’s back in the spotlight. What can we learn from his strategies of resistance?
An English revolutionary takes the crown off of the head of the dead King Charles I.

What Happens When You Kill Your King

After the English Revolution—and an island’s experiment with republicanism—a genuine restoration was never in the cards.
Production reference photos of "Wizard of Oz" cast members in their wigs and make-up.

What Hollywood’s Ultimate Oral History Reveals

For all the clouds of publicity, the dream machine is actually a craft business. Have we asked too much of it?
Illustration of Samuel Adams writing a document, with images of the American revolution behind him.

How Samuel Adams Helped Ferment a Revolution

A virtuoso of the eighteenth-century version of viral memes and fake news, he had a sense of political theatre that helped create a radical new reality.
Collage of Stephen Crane with Civil War scenes

The Miracle of Stephen Crane

Born after the Civil War, he turned himself into its most powerful witness—and modernized the American novel.
A collage including Betty Boop.

The Mixed-Up Masters of Early Animation

Pioneering cartoonists were experimental, satiric, erotic, and artistically ambitious.
James Beard cooking illustration

How James Beard Invented American Cooking

The gourmet’s real genius wasn’t in his recipes but in his packaging. He knew how to serve up the authenticity that his audiences craved.
Abraham Lincoln

Why We Keep Reinventing Abraham Lincoln

Revisionist biographers have given us countless perspectives, from Honest Abe to Killer Lincoln. Is there a version that’s true to his time and attuned to ours?

The War on Coffee

The history of caffeine and capitalism can get surprisingly heated.
Illustration of Lincoln consulting with military figures in a tent.

Did Lincoln Really Matter?

What the Civil War tells us about who has the power to shape history.

Pioneers of American Publicity

How John and Jessie Frémont explored the frontiers of legend-making.

How the South Won the Civil War

During Reconstruction, true citizenship finally seemed in reach for black Americans. Then their dreams were dismantled.

What Can We Learn From Utopians of the Past?

Four nineteenth-century authors offered blueprints for a better world—but their progressive visions had a dark side.

Pour One Out for Ulysses S. Grant

His presidency was known for corruption, scandal, and booze. In a new book, Ron Chernow attempts to rehabilitate it.
A Continental soldier in the Revolutionary War holding a tattered American flag and standing on chains.

We Could Have Been Canada

Was the American Revolution such a good idea?
The inmates during a negotiating session on September 10, 1971. An uprising born of panic and confusion triggered a cascade of paranoia that extended to the Nixon White House.

Learning from the Slaughter in Attica

What the 1971 uprising and massacre reveal about our prison system and the liberal democratic state.

The Caging of America

Why do we lock up so many people?
French soldiers at the Battle of the Marne, in 1915.

Rethinking the War to End All Wars

For the players in the First World War, the goal was not to prevail but to avoid being seen as the loser.