Harry Smith pointing finger upward

Outsider’s Outsider

At once famous and obscure, marginal and central, Harry Smith anticipated and even invented several important elements of Sixties counterculture.
Ledger drawing of Plains Indians on horseback.

A Shameful US History Told Through Ledger Drawings

In the 19th century ledger drawings became a concentrated point of resistance for Indigenous people, an expression of individual and communal pride.
An advertisement from China for soup with brain meat.

In Defense of Eating Brains

While some in the West are squeamish, globally, it's more common than not.
Peanuts' Franklin as a flat two-dimensional character.

It’s Flagrant Tokenism, Charlie Brown!

Peanuts’ Franklin has been a controversial character for decades. A new special attempts reparations.
A colorful drawing of Native Americans on horses.

Pictures From a Genocide

An astonishing new show of Native American ledger drawings brings a historic crime into focus.
A bedroom decorated with Bob Marley merchandise and the Jamaican flag.

Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ Is One of the Bestselling Albums Ever. But Does It Tell His Full Story?

After 40 years and more than 25 million copies sold, what story does ‘Legend’ tell us about Bob Marley and the people listening to it?
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a scene from the 1966 film “Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?”

The Drama of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” Spilled Into Real Life

After "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," the nightmare of American familyhood was the only game in town.
USA. Mardi Gras. New Orleans. 1990.
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How Mardi Gras Traditions Helped LGBTQ New Orleans Thrive

The celebrations created space for people to subvert gender norms, as New Orleans' LGBTQ communities built new traditions of their own.
Baltimore Colts' Jim O'Brien making a game-winning field goal kick in Super Bowl V in Miami, 1971.
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The Man Who Changed Field Goals Forever

A Hungarian immigrant first brought the soccer style field kick to the NFL.
A still from the film "It Happened One Night" of Clarke Gable watching Claudette Colbert hitchhike by showing her leg.

Our Timeless Romance With Screwball Comedy

Born out of the Great Depression, the genre reminds us that even in hard times there's laughter, love, and light.
A illustration depicts the Hopkinsville Goblins incident from 1955, when a group claims they were assaulted by aliens of some sort.

The Long, Surprising Legacy of the Hopkinsville Goblins

Or, why families under siege make for great movies.
Image from the filmstrip, showing a grieved woman with her head in her hands, being comforted by a man standing beside her

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the Hands of the Red Scared

Again and again, a fervant British anticommunist's filmstrip of the novel shows images of women in states of distress.
Willa Cather wearing a mink shawl and a large hat in Paris

Prairie Swooner

The hardscrabble origins and unique vision of novelist Willa Cather.
Carl Van Vechten's portrait of John A. Williams, 1962.

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

John A. Williams’s unsung novel.
Jewish moneylender choking debtor

"A Fiendish Fascination"

The representation of Jews in antebellum popular culture reveals that many Americans found them both cartoonishly villainous and enticingly exotic.
Vinyl disc of "Love, Love, Love" by Ted Jarrett

The Black Songwriter Who Took Nashville by Storm

Before Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” won song of the year at the CMAs, hit maker Ted Jarrett’s music topped the country charts.
Performers from "Black America"
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Nate Salsbury’s "Black America"

The 1895 show purported to show a genuine Southern Black community and demonstrate Black cultural progress in America, from enslavement to citizenship.
Collage of African Americans' faces.

Specters of the Mythic South

How plantation fiction fixed ghost stories to Black Americans.
Lou Reed playing the guitar in front of an amp

The Brilliant Discontents of Lou Reed

A new biography examines the enigma of the musician.
An engraving of Mrs. David Meade Randolph by Charle de Saint-Mémin.

Southern Hospitality? The Abstracted Labor of the Whole Pig Roast

Barbecue is a cornerstone of American cuisine, containing all of the contradictions of the country itself.
Leonard Bernstein smoking a cigarette

The Bernstein Enigma

In narrowly focusing on Leonard Bernstein’s tortured personal life, "Maestro" fails to explore his tortured artistic life.
The Go-Go's on July 30, 1981. From left, Kathy Valentine, Charlotte Caffey, Jane Wiedlin, Belinda Carlisle, and Gina Schock.

We Got the Beat

How The Go-Go’s emerged from the LA punk scene in the late ’70s to become the first and only female band to have a number one album.
Miles Davis.

Not Not Jazz

When Miles Davis went electric in the late 1960s, he overhauled his thinking about songs, genres, and what it meant to lead a band.
A kickline of five Asian American dancers at the Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco.
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Americanism, Exoticism, and the “Chop Suey” Circuit

Asian American artists who performed for primarily white audiences in the 1930s and ’40s both challenged and solidified racial boundaries in the United States.
Nicki Minaj and the autobiography of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley.

It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop

We cannot understand the last fifty years of U.S. history—certainly not the first thing about Black history—without studying the emergence and evolution of rap.
A drawing of a smiling stereotypical 1950s housewife with thought-bubbles depicting dinner party food and paraphernalia.

Time Traveling Through History’s Weirdest Entertaining Advice

The 20th century brought dinner parties to the masses, along with some truly unhinged entertaining advice
Photo of a female jogger drinking water out of a pink metal water bottle.
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Your New Year's Resolution to Drink More Water Has a History

Our water bottle obsession speaks to deeper historical trends.
Silhouette of Oppenheimer wearing a fedora.

How Do We Know the Motorman Is Not Insane?

Oppenheimer and the demon heart of power.
A photograph of John G. Neihardt raising his fists to box.
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A Tale of Two Visionaries

What roiled the mind of Nebraska poet John Neihardt with whom Black Elk, the iconic Lakota holy man, shared his story?
A turntable and records.

What’s Old is New Again (and Again): On the Cyclical Nature of Nostalgia

Retro was not the antithesis to the sub- and countercultural experiments of the 1960s, it grew directly out of them.