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.
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.
The United States dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

A Reporter’s Journey Into How the U.S. Funded the Bomb

Watching “Oppenheimer,” a journalist wondered (perhaps a bit obsessively): How did the president get the $2 billion secret project past Congress?

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.
Dred Scott.

Setting the Records Straight: U.S. Officers’ Pay Claims “Vouching” for Slavery

Military archives reveal the brutal history of slavery in the U.S. Army.
A group of men in a mailroom pose next to tube equipment

When a Labyrinth of Pneumatic Tubes Shuttled Mail Beneath the Streets of New York City

Powered by compressed air, the system transported millions of letters between 1897 and 1953.
Latina suffragists Andrea and Teresa Villarreal.

Recovering Histories of Gendered State Violence

And how those with few resources at their disposal found ways to navigate and negotiate even the direst of situations.
Collage of images of death certificates and related images.

Smithsonian Targeted D.C.’s Vulnerable to Build Brain Collection

The Smithsonian museum’s collection of human remains contains dozens of brains from vulnerable Washington, D.C., residents, many taken without consent.
Shipwreck nicknamed the "Christmas Tree Boat," which disappeared beneath Lake Michigan waters in November 1912.

The ‘Christmas Tree Boat’ Shipwreck That Devastated 1912 Chicagoans

Marine archaeologists are beginning to understand what really happened to Captain Santa's ill-fated ship, nicknamed the Christmas Tree Boat.
Nixon examining a roll of microfilm with a magnifying glass.

Microfilm Hidden in a Pumpkin Launched Richard Nixon’s Career 75 Years Ago

On Dec. 2, 1948, evidence stashed in a hollowed-out pumpkin incriminated suspected Soviet spy Alger Hiss and boosted a young Richard Nixon’s political status.
Person holding a blonde American Girl doll and American Girl bag

All Dolled Up

How American Girl transformed the doll world—and why millennials love it so.
A stylized drawing of Bill Erquitt.

The Death of a Relic Hunter

Bill Erquitt was an unforgettable character among Georgia’s many Civil War enthusiasts. After he died, his secrets came to light.
A warehouse of canned salmon

How Canned Food Went From Military Rations to Fancy Appetizers

This simple technology changed the world.
Two American soldiers and farmer Olof Öhman posing with a supposed Viking runestone.

Why Americans Simply Love to Forge Viking Artifacts

No, roving bands of medieval Scandinavians did not visit West Virginia. (So far as we know.)
A Historic American Buildings Survey photograph of a house being demolished.

Before the Wrecking Ball Swung

The Historic American Building Survey's mission to photograph important architecture before its demolition.
The Trubek and Wislocki Houses, 1970, Nantucket, Massachusetts, by Denise Scott-Brown and Robert Venturi.

The Historian’s Revenge

The rise and fall of the Shingle Style ideal.
Wendell Yellow Bull

A Prominent Museum Obtained Items From a Massacre of Native Americans in 1895. The Survivors’ Descendants Want Them Back.

A 1990 law was meant to “expeditiously return” such items to Native Americans, but descendants are still waiting.
A drawing of the exhumation of President Monroe's coffin.

Which States Have the Most Dead Presidents?

The answer reveals grave robbing problems for America’s deceased leaders.
Scaffolding around the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History as it is prepared for removal on December 2, 2021 in New York City

A New York Museum's House of Bones

The American Museum of Natural History holds 12,000 bodies — but they don’t want you to know whose.
Sheboygan Indian Mound Park.

Sheboygan's Indian Mound Park was Saved by a Garden Club and Newspaper Campaign

Earthen Indigenous burial mounds were created in the shape of birds, reptiles and mammals.
Park ranger looking at slides
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The Case of the Missing Park Posters: Ex-Ranger Hunts for New Deal-Era Art

A former park ranger is on the hunt to complete a collection of posters by artists commissioned by the government celebrating national parks.
Martin Luther King, Jr. at podium, with three men sitting behind him
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Tuskegee University’s Audio Collections

The archives of the historically Black Tuskegee University recently released recordings from 1957 to 1971, with a number by powerful civil rights leaders.