Women wearing early twentieth-century gym suits emblazoned with 1902, some women in baskets.

How Sports Clothes Became Fashion

The evolution of women's sportswear.
Postal stamp featuring Benjamin Franklin.

Why We Still Use Postage Stamps

The enduring necessity (and importance) of a nearly 200-year-old technology.
Scattered and Fugitive Things: How Black Collectors Created Archives and Remade History by Laura E. Helton.

Black Archives, Not Archives of Blackness

On Laura Helton’s “Scattered and Fugitive Things.”
Two people look at a native artifact behind glass in a museum

Indigenous Artifacts Should Be Returned to Indigenous People

It’s time to start learning about Native history from museums and cultural centers that are run by Native nations.
Rows of shelves in a historical archive.

Archival Shouting

Silence and volume in collections and institutions.
Painting of Emily Dickinson writing at a desk outside.

Eternity Only Will Answer

Funny, convivial, chatty—a new edition of Emily Dickinson's letters upends the myth of her reclusive genius. 
Collection of colorful, small wooden birds with museum tags.

The Untold History of Japanese American Bird Pins

They were one of the most ubiquitous crafts to come out of Japanese incarceration camps. But few knew their back story — until now.
Looking north over Union Square East, in 1901 or 1902.

When the NYC Subway Was Just a Dirt Trench

Rare photos from the early 1900s show the 120-year-old system’s pick-and-shovel beginnings.
Sketch of women traveling with the Continental Army.

How a Curator at the Museum of the American Revolution Solved a Nearly 250-Year-Old Art Mystery

An eye-witness depiction of the Continental Army passing through Philadelphia hung in a New York apartment for decades.
Skyscraper construction workers at lunch photo, but sitting atop a web search bar.

Social Media Is Not What Killed the Web

Better browsers made things worse.
Four typewriters including the Nazi-built Urania model.

Why the World of Typewriter Collectors Splits Down the Middle When These Machines Come Up for Sale

In this new hobby, I found so many stories.
Continental Currency $20 banknote with marbled edge (May 10, 1775).
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Marbled Money

Marbled paper was a way to make banknotes and checks unique—a critical characteristic for a nascent American Republic.
No parking sign.

The No Symbol: The History Of The Red Circle-Slash

One of the best-known icons of modern society is a classic example of a symbol—it’s easy to spot, but hard to explain. Who came up with it?
All-Black Lincoln Cemetery.

Black Civil War Veterans Remain Segregated Even in Death

Denied burial alongside Union soldiers killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, the 30 or so men were instead buried in the all-Black Lincoln Cemetery.
Painting of babies sitting at a table, holding spoons, with a can of condensed milk in the middle
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The Sweet Story of Condensed Milk

This nineteenth-century industrial product became a military staple and a critical part of local food culture around the world.
Cartoon of California and Colorado talking about suburban housing.

Orange County, Colorado

How a California homebuilder remade the Interior West.

UC Berkeley Student Brings to Light Stories of LGBTQ+ Japanese Americans Incarcerated During WWII

A UC Berkeley student’s award-winning research shines a light on LGBTQ+ life in Japanese American concentration camps during World War II.
Charles Tiffany superimposed on handwriting and map of the transatlantic cable.

How the Tiffany & Co. Founder Cashed In on the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Craze

Charles Lewis Tiffany bought surplus cable from the venture, turning it into souvenirs that forever linked his name to the telecommunications milestone.
Woman creating a "zine", using a presumably Xerox photocopy machine.

American Counterculture, Glimpsed Through Zines

Zine-making is a tradition shared by the young and alienated, people enamored with the fringes of culture. Can a museum exhibit capture its essence?
Robert Smalls.

What a Teacher's Letters Reveal About Robert Smalls, Who Stole a Confederate Ship to Secure Freedom

Harriet M. Buss' missives home detail the future congressman's candid views on race and the complicity of Confederate women.
Tiny Suburban House
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The Tiny House Trend Began 100 Years Ago

In 1924, sociologist and social reformer Caroline Bartlett Crane designed an award-winning tiny home in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Bottom half of a red sheet music cover with the words "Sung by Aida Overton Walker with the Smart Set Co" written on it with a portrait of Aida to the right

Sheet Music Covers for the Gotham-Attucks Company, ca. 1905–1911

Beginning in 1905, one star-studded song-publishing company would push the aesthetic limits of how Black popular music was shown to the public.
Women wearing hot pants.

The Great Leg Show!

Hot pants served as a sartorial riposte to the fashion industry’s relentless campaign for the midi.
Niels Vodder display with furniture designed by Finn Juhl, Cabinetmakers Guild Exhibition, 1949.

Freedom Furniture

How did Americans come to love “mid-century modern”?
Montack Point lighthouse.

Illuminating the Republic: Maritime Safety and the Federalist Vision of Empire

Federal lighthouses symbolized a vigorous young nation barreling toward maturity.

Black Archives Look to Preservation Amid Growing US History Bans

Matter-of-fact accounting of the legal mechanism of slavery provides insight into American history and the country’s fraught present.
A newspaper photograph of a man kneeling beside H. Lawrence Nelson's gravestone, which reads "Dec 16, 1880 - Sept 25, 1906, murdered and robbed by Hamp Kendall and John Vickers."

A Murderous Gravestone Grudge Carved a New Law Into Stone

When murder won’t rest in peace.
Two American soldiers in UCP uniforms with an Iraqi man in the background.

Universal Failure

Universal Camouflage Pattern became a symbol of an unpopular war. Today, it’s being reappraised by those too young to remember the invasion of Iraq.
John Mitchell's 1755 map of the British colonies in North America.

Defining the Northwestern Limits of the New Republic

John Mitchell's renowned 1755 map was a part of King George III's extensive collection of topographical charts that helped shape American designs on Canada.
The Sebring patent design, February 4, 1868.

Base Ball Patents

Searching for the first, in the 1860s.