A protester walks through Baltimore, Maryland, holding a sign in response to the death of Freddie Gray. Similar artifacts like this protest sign are being collected by museums across the country.

In an Era of Strife, Museums Collect History as It Happens

In places like Charlottesville, Baltimore and Orlando, curators now rush to save evidence of tumultuous events.

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900)

The visualizations condense an enormous amount of data into a set of aesthetically daring and easily digestible visualisations.
Letter to Mrs. Nancy McCoy from her son, Private Isaac McCoy, of Co. A, 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, postmarked February 2, 1863.

How the Civil War Taught Americans the Art of Letter Writing

Soldiers and their families, sometimes barely literate, wrote to assuage fear and convey love.

‘Some Observations on the NFL and Negro Players’

Newly discovered league memo from 1966 anticipates controversies over the Colin Kaepernick protest.
A scan of arsenic-poisoned wallpaper from the 1874 book Shadows from the Walls of Death.

How a Library Handles a Rare and Deadly Book of Wallpaper Samples

The arsenic-laden pages of "Shadows from the Walls of Death" should not be touched without gloves.
Lincoln's 1840s letter recounting the

A Productive-Ass Suffix

An early use of the spoonerism "bass-ackwards" turns up in an 1840s letter by a young Abraham Lincoln.

Descendants’ Stories of the Clotilda Slave Ship Drew Doubts. Now Some See Validation.

The ship some thought was a myth may have been found in Alabama.
President Truman at his desk on the U.S.S. Augusta, returning from the Potsdam Conference on August 6, 1945, the same day as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

A 'Purely Military' Target? Truman’s Changing Language about Hiroshima

A set of speech drafts suggests that Truman may not have fully understood the implications of dropping an atomic bomb on the city.
Illustration from Act II, Scene VII, of As You Like It, from one of the Folger Shakespeare Library's

The Most Amazing Archival Treasures That Were Digitized This Year

Thousands of priceless images, books, documents, and more are now at your fingertips.

37 Maps That Explain How America is a Nation of Immigrants

It's impossible to understand the country without knowing who's been kept out, who's been let in, and how they've been treated once they arrive.
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Snails, Hedgehog Heads and Stale Beer

A peek inside premodern cookbooks.

Future Historians Probably Won't Understand Our Internet, and That's Okay

Archivists are working to document our chaotic, opaque, algorithmically complex world—and in many cases, they simply can’t.