Illustration of William and Florence Kelley

The Father-Daughter Team Who Reformed America

Meet the duo who helped achieve the most important labor and civil rights victories of their age.
Robert S. McNamara at a news conference in April 1966

Robert McNamara’s Son Reckons With a Legacy of Destruction

Craig McNamara’s family did not talk about the Vietnam War. He spent his life asking questions about it.
Black and white photo of four children holding hands and dressed up in 18th century outfits

A Surprising Factor Influenced How the Framers Voted

The more sons a Founding Father had, the more supportive he was of a strong centralized government.

Death Can’t Take the Stories Our Elders Pass On

The pandemic doesn’t just threaten our loved ones, but knowledge of our past — so Nelson George went and found his.

Roger Goodell’s Father Had a Political Backbone—Why Doesn’t Roger?

The NFL commissioner is bending to pressure from a reactionary Republican president—something his father refused to do.
Billy McComiskey (right) performing Irish music at the Library of Congress with his sons Mikey McComiskey (left) and Patrick McComiskey (center) in 2016. Library of Congress photo by Shawn Miller.

A Few Examples of Dads’ Traditions

Stephanie Hall provides examples of folklore and storytelling within a fathers' relationship to music.
Portrait of stern looking John Winthrop.

Father’s Property and Child Custody in the Colonial Era

The rights and responsibilities of 17th-century fatherhood in England's North American colonies.
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.
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 Spanish-Speaking William F. Buckley

Buckley’s seldom-acknowledged fluency in Spanish shaped his worldview—including his admiration for dictators from Spain to Chile and beyond.
Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon Controls Wrestling History in Order to Control All of Wrestling

How the WWE chairman warped pro wrestling all the way to WrestleMania 39.
Bobby Seal and Huey Newton standig in front of a Black Panther Party sign

How Huey P. Newton’s Early Intellectual Life Led Him To Activism

The role of family in Huey P. Newton's educational journey.

A Brief History of One of the Most Powerful Families in New York City: The Morgenthaus

An excerpt from a new book on the so-called "Jewish Kennedys."
A picture of the author as a teenager with his parents, in his bedroom decorated with rock music posters.

My Dad and Kurt Cobain

When my father moved to Taiwan, a fax machine and a shared love of music bridged an ocean.
Black and white photo of Mavis Staples, looking upward, hands raised.

The Gospel According to Mavis Staples

A legendary singer on faith, loss, and a family legacy.
Silhouettes of a father and son looking at a sunset.

Father’s Day Once Was Highly Political — and Could Become So Again

The holiday’s lack of history allowed activists to give it meaning after America’s divorce laws changed.
Photo Portrait of the King Family, 1966.

Reflections on Juneteenth: Black Civil Rights and the Influence of Fatherhood

From MLK to Obama, advancers for civil rights were driven by their fatherhood and dreams of better life for their own children.
Sonora Smart Dodd; her father, William Jackson Smart.

The Forgotten History of Father's Day

Find out how one woman asked to recognize the fathers in her town and inspired others.
Protesters holding signs in support of ending Britney Spear's conservatorship

Britney Spears’s Plight Reflects a Long History of Men Controlling Women Stars

Since the 19th century, men have served as gatekeepers in the entertainment industry, controlling women’s careers.

The Mod Squad, Kojak, Real-Life Cops, and Me

What I relearned (about well-meaning liberalism, race, my late father, and my young gay self) rewatching the TV cop shows of my 1970s youth.