Emily Dickinson Museum collection.

What Emily Dickinson Left Behind

The winding story of how a trove of 8,000 of the poet’s family objects were saved.
A hand holds an iPhone that has taken a photograph of a house, with the house itself blurry in the background.

A Photo Can Tell the Truth About a Lie. Or a Lie About the Truth.

A new exhibit in Atlanta shows that a perfectly captured photograph can sometimes wake America from its slumber and inspire social change.
Robert M. Budd.

Overlooked No More: Robert M. Budd, Whose Newsstand Was Like No Other

He built a thriving business in New York selling old issues of newspapers and magazines, recognizing their value and the history they contained.
Portrait photo of Elsie Robinson.

A Woman Who Composed the First Draft of History Finds Herself Written Out of the History Books

Prominent institutions, such as the Smithsonian, have historically erased or omitted US women from archival records.
Common black rat in nest.

In Colonial Williamsburg, Thieving Rats Save History

Historians owe a debt of gratitude to these furry pilferers.
Dinosaur models and other prehistoric animals designed by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.

The Bizarre True Story of Central Park’s Doomed Victorian Dinosaur Museum

For centuries, the infamous Boss Tweed was blamed for destroying its dino-models—but what really happened is even weirder.
Different Barbie designs sitting around a table.

Decoding Barbie’s Radical Pose

The “Barbie” movie glides over the history of dolls as powerful cultural objects.
Man spinning record player with woman in the background

Making Music Male

How did record collecting and stereophile culture come to exclude women as consumers and experts?
A researcher holds a magnifying glass to an archival photograph.

Looking for a Lineage in the Lusk Archive

The records of a New York surveillance committee from the time of the First Red Scare document a radical world—and its demise.
Margot Robbie in "Barbie" film.

This is the Real History of Barbie

Before the eagerly-anticipated film hits our screens, we take a look back at the story of the world's most famous doll.
Portrait of a girl wearing a red coral necklace.

The Labor of Polyps and Persons

The meaning of coral jewelry in nineteenth-century America.
Typewriters on table at Milwaukee QWERTYFest

How Milwaukee Is Celebrating the Typewriter’s Long, Local History

150 years of typewriter history in the city that invented the QWERTY keyboard.
Lauren Davila, standing in front of a historical marker for slave auctions, in Charleston, South Carolina.

How a Grad Student Uncovered the Largest Known Slave Auction in the U.S.

The find yields a new understanding of the enormous harm of such a transaction.
A Trump supporter carries a Gadsden flag during a rally at the Michigan Capitol in November 2020.

The Disgraced Confederate History of the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Flag

The Gadsden flag has reemerged as a provocative antigovernmental symbol, including at the Capitol riot and on license plates. Confederates once loved it, too.
Visitors sit before the Benin plaques exhibit (known as the Benin Bronzes) at the British Museum in London.

Museum Reparations

Should museums only exhibit work of their own culture, or should they bring the world to visitors?
Watercolor of a whale destroying a boat of whalers.

Captain Joy’s Last Voyage

What a whaling captain’s logbook can teach us about sperm whales and our oceans.
A rainbow over a waterscape.

Queer History Detective: On the Power of Uncovering Stories from the Past

With more queer history detectives, what could our future look like?
Skull and Bones Society building, Yale University.

Did a Yale Secret Society Steal a Famous Apache Leader's Skull? New Documents Raise Questions.

The alleged thieves included one of Connecticut's most prominent sons — former Sen. Prescott Bush, whose son and grandson would both one day be president.
Illustration of a person reading, sitting on a giant stack of books.

Is Writing History Like Solving a Mystery?

Why historians like to think of themselves as detectives.
Barbie dolls in 1959 wearing the zebra-striped swimsuit.

A Cultural History of Barbie

Loved and loathed, the toy stirs fresh controversy at age 64.
Nine yearbook photos, including Langston Hughes'.

Class Production

A collection of high school yearbooks from Cleveland captures the rise, fall, and uncertain future of the American middle class.
Portrait of a woman, by Jacob Byerly, circa 1855.

In Love with a Daguerreotype

A nineteenth-century twist on love at first sight.
Good Housekeeping cover with girl looking at wedding cake topper

Wedding Cake Toppers: Miniatures, Excess, and Fantasy

Tying frilly white doves and normative bride-and-groom couples to feminist art and DIY craft practices that offer opportunities for creativity and fantasy.
Woman playing piano for African American soldiers.

Black Burials and Civil War Forgetting in Olustee, Florida

Finding the forgotten and racialized landscape of Civil War memory.
A cut out from the magazine New Masses with the headline "For College Student H.H.C," pasted over a photo montage of an archive.

“H.H.C.”: The Story of a Queer Life—Glimpsed, Lost, and Finally Found

My hunt for one man across the lonely expanse of the queer past ended in a place I never expected.
Illustration of McCormick at his desk, hunched over a typewriter.

Hellhounds on His Trail

Mack McCormick’s long, tortured quest to find the real Robert Johnson.
Petroglyphs in southern Wyoming, probably dating to the early 17th century, include well-preserved images of horses and riders, depicted with riding equipment and shields.

Horse Nations

After the Spanish conquest, horses transformed Native American tribes much earlier than historians thought.
Inflatable rat known as "Scabby" in midtown New York City in 2019.

Scabby the Rat Is an American Labor Icon. Why Are His Manufacturers Disowning Him?

The frightening character who appears amid US union disputes can be traced back to a single factory, which wasn’t unionized.
Anna Julia Cooper, portrait sitting in a chair, and Mary Church Terrell, side portrait.

‘Moving Unapologetically to the Forefront’: How an Archive Is Preserving the Black Feminist Movement

The Black Woman’s Organizing Archive highlights work in the 19th and 20th centuries that benefitted Black women and American society as a whole.
CDV Portrait of Female Union Soldier Frances Clalin Clayton.

Frances Clayton and the Women Soldiers of the Civil War

Notions of women during the Civil War center on self-sacrificing nurses, romantic spies, or the home front. However, women charged into battle, too.