N. Currier, “The Drunkard’s Progress,” 1846.

The Drunkard’s Progress

Two hundred years ago, it was hard for Americans to miss the message that they had a serious drinking problem.
One of only 20 known photos of

Legends and Lore

A roadside marker program in New York State embraces the gray area between official history and local lore.

Mum’s the Word

In the height of the Cold War, the NSA created a series of posters to keep its secrets from leaking. They're both wonderful and creepy.
Customs collector surrounded by various imports, weighing cigars, ca. 1922-1935.

Zones of Doubt

What we can learn about trade policy from a misbegotten 19th century effort to quantify the chemical properties of wool.

Podcasting the Past

Why historians should stop worrying and embrace the rise of history podcasts by non-scholars.

What the Viral Media of the Civil War Era Can Teach Us About Prejudice

A recent photography exhibit at the Getty Center raises difficult questions about our capacity for empathy.
Participants in the Poor People's Campaign erect Resurrection City, a series of temporary shelters on the National Mall (May, 1968).

Resurrection City, 2.0

A generation ago, historians dismissed the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. On the eve of a reboot, we can see it in a different light.
Alfred Crosby, 1931-2018.

The Greatest American Historian You've Never Heard Of

An appreciation of Alfred Crosby, who coined the term "Columbian exchange."
First Public Works Administration project, Lexington, Kentucky, 1934.

Infrastructure is Good for Business

During the Depression, business leaders knew that public works funding was key to economic growth. Why have we forgotten that lesson?
The Bill of Rights. Twelve articles were proposed in 1789, ten of which became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

How We Learned to Love the Bill the Rights

A new book argues that the fetishization of the first ten amendments is a recent thing – and that it comes at a cost.
Ursula K. Le Guin in the 1970s.

At Home With Ursula Le Guin

Her novels featured dragons and wizards, but they were also deeply grounded in indigenous American ways of thought.
The Hermitage Plantation ca. 1900, including the dwellings of two families who were among 201 enslaved people working the nearly 400-acre estate. The Hermitage was built in 1850, and demolished in 1935.

Encountering the Plantation Myth Where You'd Least Expect It

Well off Savannah's tourist trail, there's a replica of an antebellum plantation home in the middle of a public housing project.