History

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana (1905), The Life of Reason
  • Historical Events 1178 – Frederick I (Barbarossa), Holy Roman Emperor, crowned King of Burgundy 1913 – Conclusion of 2nd Balkan 1951 – Ty Cobb testifies before the Emanuel Celler committee, denying that the reserve clause makes peons of baseball players 1981 – Simon Gray's "Quartermaine's Terms" premieres in London 1991 – Heavy metal band Metallica release their single "Enter Sandman" 2012 – Indian power grid failure leaves over 300 million without electricity More Historical Events » Famous Birthdays 1825 – Chaim Aronson, Lithuanian inventor and academic, born in Seredžius, Lithuania (d. 1893) 1914 – Lord Killanin, Irish 6th International […]
  • The Maginot Line, an array of defenses that France built along its border with Germany in the 1930s, was designed to prevent an invasion. But upon the eruption of World War II, it became a symbol of a failed strategy.
  • Simmering racial tensions and economic frustrations boil over in New York City on the night of August 1, 1943, culminating in what is now known as the Harlem Riot of 1943. During an altercation in the lobby of the Braddock Hotel, a white police officer shoots a Black soldier, Robert Bandy, …
  • On the morning of January 28, 1917, a Mexican maid named Carmelita Torres refuses to put up with the indignity she has been made to suffer every morning since she started working across the border in the United States. Torres’ objection to the noxious chemical delousing visited upon Mexicans upon …
  • 95 years after women were first granted the right to vote, on July 28, 2016, former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton makes history by accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for president, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party.  The …
  • On August 19, 1791, the accomplished American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker pens a letter to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson corresponds prolifically with luminaries from around the world, but Banneker is unique among them: the son of a free Black American woman …
  • From Athens to Tokyo, the Games have crossed five continents, withstood boycotts and were only canceled three times due to two World Wars. See a timeline of notable moments in Summer Olympic Games history.
  • These nine weapons bring pain in the most severe way. From razor-sharp steel whips to spiked necklaces and harmonica guns, uncover more in this episode of History Countdown.
  • Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is a Muslim holiday that signifies the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail as ordered by Allah.
  • English soldier and explorer Captain John Smith played a key role in the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, in 1607. Early Life and Military ExploitsBorn around 1580 in Willoughby, a town in Lincolnshire, England, Smith left home at age 16 after his …
  • In September 1980, Iraqi forces launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Iran, beginning the Iran-Iraq War. Fueled by territorial, religious and political disputes between the two nations, the conflict ended in an effective stalemate and a cease-fire nearly eight years later, after more than …
  • This glass tube, part of the museum’s collection, once contained a sample of helium. Its paper label reads, “HELIUM / SIR W. RAMSAY, K.C.B., LL.D., F.R.S. / THOMAS TRYER & CO., Ltd. / STRATFORD, LONDON, ENGLAND.” (CH.322963)Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, but also evanescent and thus hard to hold. It […]
  • This summer marks the centennial of a bird—possibly the most famous pigeon in history—going on display at the Smithsonian. A representative of Columba livia domestica, this bird is known as simply Cher Ami. Since Cher Ami first went on display, the pigeon's sex has remained a source of debate. The wartime records of the U.S. […]
  • One hundred years ago Marie Curie stood among the rose bushes, the press, and a crowd of White House guests, holding a golden key. The key opened a box that contained a gram of radium.  Could it also unlock a cure to cancer? Women across America were led to believe as much, rising to the […]
  • "Girlhood (It’s complicated)" opened to the public on October 9, 2020.Three years ago our museum convened a diverse group of scholars and educators to help a team brainstorm a new exhibition about women's history to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. The team had already asked our visitors to help us identify what […]
  • A sudden tragedy thrust Rebecca Lukens into the family business and into history, making her the nation’s first woman industrialist and the only woman to run and eventually own an iron mill in the United States during the 1800s.Rebecca Lukens, from the collections of the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum, Coatesville, PennsylvaniaIn 1825, at […]
  • On January 6, my wife and I watched the live news broadcasts in disbelief at the scenes unfolding on television, as a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the constitutionally mandated joint session of Congress presided over by the vice president to ratify the 2020 election results. Often curators like to hold off […]
  • As a little girl, Jessica Govea had become accustomed to rising early and making her way to the fields with her family. During the cotton season, you could find her family dragging sacks of cotton along the long rows of fields in Kern County, California. Her father had travelled a long way from Mexico. He […]
  • For many school students in the United States, prom is considered one of the most highly anticipated events of the school year. Teenagers plan months in advance on what to wear to the event, and magazines have devoted entire issues to prom fashion. Typically held in the spring, the annual dance serves as an […]
  • While the iconic egg-shaped Beautyblender sponge is wildly popular and used by makeup professionals and everyday people from all backgrounds all over the world, few people know the story behind the company and how it got its start. The history and development of Beautyblender, as well as the life story of its founder, Rea Ann […]
  • When he reflected later in life on why, as a young man, he chose to enlist during wartime, Carlos Martinez said that avoiding service was never an option, not for his community and not for himself. In the mid-1960s, the United States had begun fighting the Soviet-supported North Vietnamese as part of its Cold War […]
  • This week we’re marking the 125th anniversary of the presidential election season of 1896. In this groundbreaking year, both parties’ candidates deviated from past campaign practices, writes John Giltner, a 2018 graduate of the Master of Arts in American History and Government (MAHG) program. Giltner, whose thesis covered the contest between William McKinley and William […]
  • The American Presidency: The Executive Power Defined Join us for our first Saturday Webinar for hte 21-22 school year, and the first in our five-episode Fall 2021 series about the American Presidency. This first episode will look at the "Executive Power" granted to the president in the Constitution, and what it means, how it's been […]
  • Two of the largest landslides in American presidential elections occurred just sixteen years apart. President Lyndon Johnson, the liberal architect of the "Great Society," trounced conservative icon Barry Goldwater of Arizona, in 1964, winning 486 electoral votes to Goldwater's 52. The conservative former governor of California – and one-time movie star turned politician – Ronald […]
  • Rusty Eder Rusty Eder, who teaches American history and government at West Nottingham Academy in Maryland, prompts students to think by asking seemingly goofy questions that lead in fascinating directions. Eder is a 2011 graduate of the Master of Arts in American History and Government. If you teach long enough, you […]
  • A reconstruction of a conversation from late January 2002, my classroom, 2nd period AP US History, student’s name altered for privacy:   “Ms. Bryan, after Reconstruction, where did the Black people go?”  “Hmmm….Rosa, let’s think back to Tuesday.  Do you remember our conversation about the Jim Crow laws in the South?  Or about the creation of […]
  • John Copeland and Lewis Leary were the last two men to join John Brown's small band gathering on a Kentucky farm in October 1859. Both free Blacks, they arrived just one day before Brown launched his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Copeland and Leary were natives of North Carolina, related by marriage, […]
  • An Interview with Jason Jividen This month we are featuring our core document collection Populists and Progressives, edited by Jason Jividen. Dr. Jividen, who teaches politics at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, specializes in political philosophy and the political thought of Abraham Lincoln. He is author of Claiming Lincoln: Progressivism, Equality, and the Battle […]
  • The Civil War had been raging for over two years when Abraham Lincoln began speaking to a large crowd gathered at the Executive Mansion on July 7, 1863. Lincoln thanked them for calling on him and thanked "Almighty God" for two significant victories—Gettysburg and Vicksburg—recently won by the Union army that the crowd had gathered […]
  • “I know my students pretty well by the time they are seniors,” says Christina Cote. She teaches every history and government course they take between 7th and 12th grade. In Gardiner, Montana, a town of less than 1000 people on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, Cote is the public-school face of social studies. […]
  • This June 25 marks the 80th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802, prohibiting discrimination in the defense industry. Considered from three critical perspectives, this small but important step in America’s uneasy movement toward greater freedom and equality provides successively deepening lessons to history students probing the significance of Roosevelt’s order.
  • Spanning 160 years and seven generations, teeming with some of ancient Rome’s most vivid figures, Steven Saylor’s novel Dominus brings to vivid life some of the most tumultuous and consequential chapters of human history, events which reverberate still. Read an … Read the article The post Dominus: New Excerpt appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Karin Tanabe When I decided that I wanted to write about a woman in the 1950s, who was struggling with motherhood against the backdrop of the Cold War, the idea of her being a spy started to form. I’ll … Read the article The post Elizabeth Bentley: The True Story That Inspired a Novel appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Karin Tanabe Karin Tanabe’s A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating novel of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of … Read the article The post A Woman of Intelligence: Excerpt appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by P. T. Deutermann My novel, Trial by Fire, is based on the true story of the aircraft carrier USS Ben Franklin (CV-13) and the brave sailors who were able to save their ship after she was nearly destroyed … Read the article The post USS Franklin: Attack, Survival, and Triumph appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Giles Milton heroes of the Second World War are rightly celebrated for their acts of extraordinary daring on the battlefields of Nazi-occupied Europe. Rather less well known are the heroes of the early Cold War—American and British—who … Read the article The post The Forgotten Hero of the Cold War appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Steven Saylor Psssst! Have you heard about Elagabalus? They say he invented the world’s first whoopee cushion. No, really! I’m pretty sure I heard Mary Beard say that.  They also say he was as gay as America’s Next Drag … Read the article The post Ancient Rome’s Short-Lived Teen Emperor: Practical Joker, Drag Queen, Transgender? appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Frank McDonough In the following excerpt from The Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939, Frank McDonough discusses the political environment in Germany in 1933 as Adolf Hitler sets his plans in motion to become Germany’s next Chancellor. Portrait of Adolf… Read the article The post 1933: Democracy Destroyed appeared first on The History Reader.
  • By The History Reader As of January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the United States were declared legally free by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. However, as Union law could not be implemented in the Confederate-held south, slaves were not … Read the article The post For Juneteenth: Inspiring Reads by Black Authors appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Brad Ricca When I first learned that Raiders of the Lost Ark, my favorite movie, might have been based on an actual archaeological expedition, I felt like my face was melting off. No way, I thought, as I … Read the article The post The Untold Story of the Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Mariah Fredericks In 1914, the hot ticket on Broadway was On Trial, a play that employed the daring film technique of the “flashback.” You could catch the moody John Barrymore in Kick In, Douglas Fairbanks in He Comes Up … Read the article The post The Sound of America in 1914 appeared first on The History Reader.
  • Clark, B. (Benjamin), Sen. The Past, Present and Future in Prose and Poetry. Toronto: Adam, Stevenson, & Co., 1867. BIB #565812 Benjamin Clark was born to emancipated African American parents in Maryland in 1801, and he died in Detroit in 1864. He married, had ten children, and lived with his family in Pennsylvania. He also […]
  • In popular culture within the United States, many have heard of the “snake oil salesman” – a stock character in Western movies depicted as a supposed traveling doctor who peddles “medical” oils, elixirs, tonics, pills, bitters, liniments, tinctures, salts, powders, or syrups to unsuspecting crowds of passers-by. An accomplice in the crowd (a “shill”) attests […]
  • This month, the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) celebrated its one year anniversary of its Virtual Book Talks series. This new academic program showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs, digital-equivalents, and creative works broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes a presentation from the […]
  • The lore behind a great story is often as compelling as the story itself. The Female Marine; or the Adventures of Lucy Brewer was originally published by Nathaniel Coverly in 1815 as a series of pamphlets sold across Boston and advertised as the autobiographical account of Lucy Brewer, lauded as the first woman to serve […]
  • Cinderella.  Triumph edition.  Philadelphia: B. Wilmsen, ca. 1880. Bib ID: 604082. The now-obscure Philadelphia publisher B. Wilmsen published this pop-up version of Cinderella enhanced by cut tissue paper as part of his Triumph edition series, which featured fairy tales including Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Although Wilmsen held the American copyright, the book […]
  • We at AAS are excited to be embarking on a culinary road trip this summer! What’s a culinary road trip, you might ask? A culinary road trip is an AAS social media series featuring AAS staff members traveling back in time and across the country (we’re not really doing either, but it’s fun to imagine) […]
  • On May 25-26, 2021, the American Antiquarian Society is hosting a virtual conference that will bring together a range of scholars in conversation about new directions in textual editing and scholarly editions. Since the late 1960s, AAS has been a sponsor of the Cooper Edition, a scholarly edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s works with the […]
  • Index or Pointer or Book Mark. Ansonia, Connecticut: Wallace & Sons, 1858. On October 10, 1858, the manufacturing firm Wallace & Sons (founded 1848) took out a patent to make foldable bookmarks from brass. The company’s primary product was brass fasteners for hoop (or skeleton) skirts which were becoming fashionable in the late 1850s. One […]
  • A Fellow’s Experience: Kirsten Fischer We asked Kirsten Fischer, associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota and a former AAS Peterson Fellow (2016 –17), to discuss how her research at the Society helped shape her recently published book, American Freethinker: Elihu Palmer and the Struggle for Religious Freedom in the New Nation (2020). […]
  • Last September, Jessica Pressman, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, was a featured guest at the Virtual Book Talk series sponsored by the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC).  Jessica spoke about her recent publication, Bookishness: Loving Books in a Digital Age, published in […]
Influenza victims crowd into an emergency near Fort Riley, Kansas in this 1918 file photo. The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic killed at least 20 million people worldwide and officials say that if the next pandemic resemblers the birdlike 1918 Spanish flu, to 1.9 million Americans could die. (AP Photo/National Museum of Health)
  • Spanning 160 years and seven generations, teeming with some of ancient Rome’s most vivid figures, Steven Saylor’s novel Dominus brings to vivid life some of the most tumultuous and consequential chapters of human history, events which reverberate still. Read an … Read the article The post Dominus: New Excerpt appeared first on The History Reader.
  • by Karin Tanabe When I decided that I wanted to write about a woman in the 1950s, who was struggling with motherhood against the backdrop of the Cold War, the idea of her being a spy started to form. I’ll … Read the article The post Elizabeth Bentley: The True Story That Inspired a Novel […]
  • by Karin Tanabe Karin Tanabe’s A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating novel of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of … Read the article The post A Woman of Intelligence: Featured Excerpt appeared first on The History […]
  • by P. T. Deutermann My novel, Trial by Fire, is based on the true story of the aircraft carrier USS Ben Franklin (CV-13) and the brave sailors who were able to save their ship after she was nearly destroyed … Read the article The post USS Franklin: Attack, Survival, and Triumph appeared first on The […]
  • by Giles Milton The greatest heroes of the Second World War are rightly celebrated for their acts of extraordinary daring on the battlefields of Nazi-occupied Europe. Rather less well known are the heroes of the early Cold War—American and British—who … Read the article The post The Forgotten Hero of the Cold War appeared first […]
  • by Steven Saylor Psssst! Have you heard about Elagabalus? They say he invented the world’s first whoopee cushion. No, really! I’m pretty sure I heard Mary Beard say that.  They also say he was as gay as America’s Next Drag … Read the article The post Ancient Rome’s Short-Lived Teen Emperor: Practical Joker, Drag Queen, […]
  • by Frank McDonough In the following excerpt from The Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939, Frank McDonough discusses the political environment in Germany in 1933 as Adolf Hitler sets his plans in motion to become Germany’s next Chancellor. Portrait of Adolf… Read the article The post 1933: Democracy Destroyed appeared first on The History Reader.
  • By The History Reader As of January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the United States were declared legally free by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. However, as Union law could not be implemented in the Confederate-held south, slaves were not … Read the article The post For Juneteenth: Inspiring Reads by Black Authors appeared first […]
  • by Brad Ricca When I first learned that Raiders of the Lost Ark, my favorite movie, might have been based on an actual archaeological expedition, I felt like my face was melting off. No way, I thought, as I … Read the article The post The Untold Story of the Expedition to Find the Legendary […]
  • by Mariah Fredericks In 1914, the hot ticket on Broadway was On Trial, a play that employed the daring film technique of the “flashback.” You could catch the moody John Barrymore in Kick In, Douglas Fairbanks in He Comes Up … Read the article The post The Sound of America in 1914 appeared first on […]
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Reliving History Magazine: Summer 2018 Issue

Reliving History Magazine

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