Train cars between drifts of snow up to the top of the engine, with onlookers watching

The Monster Blizzard That Turned Kansas Into a Frozen Wasteland

The 1886 blizzard imperiled settlers and left fields of dead cattle in its wake.
A crowd of men attending a Plattsburgh Camp.

Going to Summer Camp in 1913 Meant Practicing for World War I

How the Plattsburg camps tried (and failed) to raise a volunteer army ahead of World War I.
Lithograph of people fleeing the Great Fire of Peshtigo on horseback and on foot.

Why America's Deadliest Wildfire Was Largely Forgotten

In 1871, the Wisconsin town Peshtigo burned to the ground, killing up to 2,500. But due to another event at the time, many have never heard about the disaster.
Drawing of teacher colored red in front of blackboard, teaching two students sitting in desks

Did Communists Really Infiltrate American Schools?

Fears that teachers were indoctrinating kids were rampant in the 1950s. But the reality was more complicated.
Lithograph of Chinese railroad workers waving to train as it comes through a mountain tunnel.

What Was It Like to Ride the Transcontinental Railroad?

The swift, often comfortable ride on the Transcontinental Railroad opened up the American West to new settlement.
Women gathered around Eleanor Roosevelt at Camp Tera.

The New Deal Program that Sent Women to Summer Camp

About 8,500 women attended the camps inspired by the CCC and organized by Eleanor Roosevelt—but the "She-She-She" program was mocked and eventually abandoned.
The title page of Life and confession of Ann Walters, the female murderess.

How “Female Fiends” Challenged Victorian Ideals

At a time when questions about women's rights in marriage roiled society, women readers took to the pages of cheap books about husband-murdering wives.
Women and men sifting for gold

Yes, Women Participated in the Gold Rush

“Conventional wisdom tells us that the gold rush was a male undertaking,” writes the historian Glenda Riley. But women were there, too.

Elections in Colonial America Were Huge, Booze-Fueled Parties

From rum to cakes to rowdy parades, election day was a time for gathering and celebration.
Flint, Michigan sit-down strike.

The 1936 Sit-Down Strike That Shook the Auto Industry

Over 136,000 GM workers participated in the strike in Flint, Michigan that became known as 'the strike heard round the world.'

Pulp Fiction Helped Define American Lesbianism

In the 50s and 60s, steamy novels about lesbian relationships, marketed to men, gave closeted women needed representation.
Poppy Northcutt.

Inside Apollo Mission Control, From the Eyes of the First Woman on the Job

Poppy Northcutt planned the vital flight trajectories that got astronauts home from their missions to the moon.

The Civilian Solution to Bank Robberies

The surprising story of the vigilantes who took it upon themselves to catch bank robbers in the 1920s and 30s.
Yellow ribbon.

The Many Meanings of Yellow Ribbons

The strange and convoluted history of why yellow ribbons became a symbol of the Gulf War in the 1990s.
Harvard University in the colonial era.

Getting Into Harvard Was Once All About Social Rank (Not Grades)

In the 17th and 18th centuries, students at America’s elite universities were treated differently based on the social stature of their parents.
Black and white image of Alice Paul, broadcasting from her desk at the Capitol, 1923.

Why the Fight Over the Equal Rights Amendment Has Lasted Nearly a Century

Passage of the ERA seemed like a sure thing. So why did it fail to become law?

Pregnant Pioneers

For the frontier women of the 19th century, the experience of childbirth was harrowing, and even just expressing fear was considered a privilege.

Jane Addams’s Crusade Against Victorian “Dancing Girls”

Jane Addams, a leading Victorian-era reformer, believed dance halls were “one of the great pitfalls of the city.”
Girls in line to enter a bathhouse.

Public Baths Were Meant to Uplift the Poor

In Progressive-Era New York, a now-forgotten trend of public bathhouses was introduced in order to cleanse the unwashed masses.

The Lost Dream of a Superhighway to Honor the Confederacy

Remnants of the dream of a coast-to-coast tribute to their vision of the South are still visible.
Johnstown, Pennsylvania after flood

How America’s Most Powerful Men Caused America’s Deadliest Flood

A desire to fish created an epic 1889 flood.
Lizzie Borden.

Why We’re So Obsessed With Lizzie Borden’s 40 Whacks

Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were brutally murdered, possibly by Lizzie herself, in August 1892. Why are we still dissecting the crime?
Amelia Earhart and plane.

Amelia Earhart Taught America to Fly

How Earhart and other women pilots of her day helped overcome Americans’ skepticism about flight.
The Miss Portland diner.

The Making of the American Diner

Today's diners would surprise a 1940s patron. These restaurants were once vulgar boy’s clubs before becoming today's family-friendly establishments.