A black and white drawing of Julia Ann Chinn.

Tenuous Privileges, Tenuous Power

Amrita Myers paints freedom as a process in which Black women used the tools available to them to secure rights and privileges within a slave society.
Frank Oppenheimer holding prism up to face

The Atomic Bomb, Exile and a Test of Brotherly Bonds: Robert & Frank Oppenheimer

A rift in thinking about who should control powerful new technologies sent the brothers on diverging paths.
Spielberg and Henry Thomas in a scene on the set of E.T.

The Auteur of Fatherhood: How Steven Spielberg Recast American Masculinity

Steven Spielberg’s early films conjure all of his moviemaking magic to repair a world of lost dads.
A couple in bed together, separated by a divider and watched by the girl's parents.

Bundling: An Old Tradition on New Ground

Common in colonial New England, bundling allowed a suitor to spend a night in bed with his sweetheart—while her parents slept in the next room.
A river surrounded by trees and mountains

From the Reservation to the River: On the Complexities of Writing About a Native Childhood

Remembering the river helps me forget, at least for a moment, the challenges, fears, and feelings of inadequacy I experienced in my childhood.
The First Women’s Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, 1848.

What American Divorces Tell Us About American Marriages

On the inseparable histories of matrimony and disunion in the United States.
Illustration of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James, and a cemetery.

‘Live All You Can’

The reflections of Emerson, Thoreau, and William James one finds a characteristically nineteenth-century American sense of resilience and regeneration.
Patti Davis sits for a portrait with her pug, Lily, at her home.

For Years, the Reagans' Daughter Regretted Some Things She Wrote. Now She's at Peace.

Patti Davis has spent a lifetime chronicling her life with parents Ronald and Nancy Reagan. In a new book, 'Dear Mom and Dad,' she reckons with them as people.
A woman drinking out of a mug

Tasting Indian Creek

I lived on Indian Creek with my grandparents after my mother suffered a nervous breakdown.
Sunrise over the Appalachian Mountains

Thicker Than Water: A Brief History of Family Violence in Appalachian Kentucky

Knowing I come from people who lived hard lives and endured terrible things is difficult. Knowing that I come from someone who ruined lives haunts me.
A photograph of four people on donkeys from the late 1800s.

A Question of Legacy

Some of my ancestors had money, and some held awful beliefs. I set out to investigate what I once stood to inherit.
Jared Miller poses as his ancestor Richard Oliver, a soldier in the 20th Colored Infantry.

Descendants of Black Civil War Heroes Wear Their Heritage With Pride

A bold new photographic project asks modern-day Americans to recreate portraits of their 19th-century ancestors in painstakingly accurate fashion.
Cutouts of Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant in front of slave quarters.

Unraveling Ulysses S. Grant's Complex Relationship With Slavery

The Union general directly benefited from the brutal institution before and during the Civil War.
Mary Vanderlight’s Titled Account Book, from the collections of the John Carter Brown Library.

The Brown Brothers Had a Sister

Women’s work is often hidden or marginal within historical records that were meant to show men’s economic and political lives.
A woman of the Mi’kmaq Nation stands in front of a lake.

Tribes in Maine Spent Decades Fighting to Rebury Ancestral Remains. Harvard Resisted Them at Nearly Every Turn.

The university’s Peabody Museum exploited loopholes to prevent repatriation to the Wabanaki people while still staying in compliance with NAGPRA.
A drawing of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Did Meriwether Lewis Die by Suicide? The Answer Still Matters.

Lacking a sufficient support system, Meriwether Lewis did not have anyone close enough to help him.
Washed-out photo of a man, and redacted book cover of "Born Free and Equal."

Seeing Japanese American Heritage Through Ansel Adams’s Lens

A photographer excavates personal history through reconstruction of Adams's World War II photographs of Japanese Americans.
Group of African-American World War I veterans

The Meaning of ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’

“I’d assumed this practice was a manifestation of military decorum.”
A photograph of two women and a man, arms and legs linked, lying on grass.

Polyamory Isn't Just for Liberals

In the history of sexual dissent, the relationship between politics and sexual freedom defies simplistic categorization.
Collage of Black woman and marriage certificate.

Why Is America Afraid of Black History?

No one should fear a history that asks a country to live up to its highest ideals.
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust in 2009.

The Bleak, All But-Forgotten World of Segregated Virginia

Former Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust’s extraordinary memoir recalls painful memories for her--and me.
Book cover of "The Acrobat," featuring a jumbled facial picture of Cary Grant.

Acid’s First Convert, Cary Grant: On Edward J. Delaney’s “The Acrobat"

A novel illuminates a moment of psychedelic history that has often been overlooked: the emergence of LSD psychotherapy just before the moral panic took hold.
Margie Burkhart

The Enduring Family Trauma Behind ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

The murders of her Osage relatives for their oil wealth still reverberate in the life of Margie Burkhart, granddaughter of a central character in the new movie.
“The Washington Family” painting by Edward Savage from the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Political Nepo Babies Root Back to America’s Founding

How family political dynasties in America came to be.
Collage of plantation logbooks superimposed over photos of enslaved people.

A Racist Scientist Commissioned Photos of Enslaved People. One Descendant Wants to Reclaim Them.

There's no clear system in place to repatriate remains of captive Africans or objects associated with them.
Civil Rights march for jobs and freedom.

The Hidden Story of Black History and Black Lives Before the Civil Rights Movement

On upending the accepted narrative of the movement.
USCT flag depicting a Black soldier next to a white woman symbolizing the United States.

USCT Kin’s Generational Battle for Equality

Paid less than their white counterparts, Black men in the United States Colored Troops fought for the Union and the future of their families.
Father sitting with children

The Rise of the Domestic Husband

In the late 1800s, advice writers targeting white, middle-class Americans began encouraging men to become more engaged in the emotional lives of their households.
An illustration of Lucinda Williams in a storm with debris in the air behind her.

Lucinda Williams and the Idea of Louisiana

An exploration of the family stories, Southern territory, and distortions of memory that Lucinda Williams' songwriting evokes.
An enslaved African American family or families posing in front of a wooden house on a plantation

10 Million Enslaved Americans' Names are Missing from History. AI is Helping Identify Them.

When journalist Dorothy Tucker first learned about the 10 Million Names genealogical project, it helped amplify memories of long car journeys to “Down South."