A still of Robert Redford from the 1973 film 'The Sting.'

Why Are All the Con Artists White?

The history of the black con artist has been forgotten.
A painting entitled

The Dark Side of Nice

American niceness is the absolute worst thing to ever happen in human history.
Farm hands pitch hay into a cart on a farm near Whitby (ca. 1880).

Remembering the ‘Spooky Wisdom’ of Our Agrarian Past

For millennia, humans have followed specific patterns passed down by their forbears without always knowing why.
The typographer and book designer Jan Tschichold (1963).

What of the Lowly Page Number

Far from being a utilitarian afterthought, an astonishing number of design choices go into pagination.
The cover of the January 1939 issue of Action Comics featuring Superman.

The 100 Pages That Shaped Comics

From Mickey to Maus, tracing the evolution of the pictures, panels, and text that brought comic books to life.

Why My Students Don’t Call Themselves ‘Southern’ Writers

On reckoning with a fraught literary history.
Hal Blaine

The Drummer Hal Blaine Provided the Beat for American Music

Blaine was never as recognizable as Elvis or Sinatra. Still, he was key to the creation of some of rock n' roll's biggest hits.

The Settler Fantasies Woven Into the Prairie Dresses

The fashion trend is shorn entirely of the racism and colonial entitlement it once cloaked.

How the Log Cabin Became an American Symbol

We have the Swedes and William Henry Harrison to thank for the popularization of the log cabin.
A colorized photograph of a lake in New York City's Central Park produced by Detroit Photographic Co. (ca. 1901).

In Living Color: The Forgotten 19th-Century Photo Technology That Romanticized America

People without the means to visit America's wonders could finally picture it for themselves.
Cyclist Tillie Anderson on a bike wearing a typical racing uniform (1895).

This Seamstress Conquered Bike Racing in the 1890s

Cyclist Tillie Anderson shattered records, dominated her competition, and earned the world champion title.
Bookcase with a secretary, by anonymous, after Michael Angelo Nicholson (1827).

Encyclopedia Hounds

A few of Encyclopædia Britannica’s famous readers, on the occasion of its 250th anniversary.