Stuff You Missed in History Class
The Franco-Mexican Pastry War08/26/15
When a French pastry chef complained to King Louis-Phillippe that his shop in Mexico was destroyed in a riot, it catalyzed a conflict between the two nations. But the military action of the Pastry War was really about a trade agreements and unpaid...
Good Humor v. Popsicle
There was a time when Popsicle and Good Humor couldn’t stop suing one another about frozen treats on sticks. Many legal battles were fought over milk fat, the shapes of the desserts and the definition of the word "sherbet."
Joe Carstairs, Part 2
As Carstair's speedboat racing career faltered, the heiress traveled the world and found other diversions, until she decided to purchase an island in the Bahamas. Then she turned Whale Cay into a kingdom of her own design.
Joe Carstairs, Part 1
Marion Carstairs, who preferred the name Joe, was an early 20th-century heiress who bucked traditional gender roles and for a time, hid her wealth from even her closest friends. She also became a very successful speadboat racer.
The Billion Dollar Spy with Author David E. Hoffman
During the Cold War, the CIA and KGB were in a constant game of cat and mouse to steal each other's secrets. David E. Hoffman talks with us about the work of one incredibly important spy, who is the subject of his latest book.
The Vanishing of the U.S.S. Cyclops
In 1918, a U.S. Navy collier vanished without a trace after leaving Barbados. The ultimate fate of the Cyclops remains a mystery almost 100 years later, but there are certainly plenty of theories about what happened.
The Amazons of Dahomey
The kingdom of Dahomey may have had the world’s first full-time, all-female combat fighting force. How did these women rise to become some of history’s fiercest warriors, and what happened to them?
The Phaistos Disk of Minoan Crete
Like other artifacts that defy deciphering, this clay disk, found on Crete in the early 1900s, has puzzled researchers and stirred up controversy for decades. Is it a religious incantation, a calendar, a spell? Or is it all a pictogram hoax?
Mary Ann Cotton
In the mid-1800s, Mary Ann Cotton is believed to have poisoned as many as 21 people with arsenic, many of them her own children. She left a trail of bodies behind her everywhere she went, but it was her cavalier remarks that finally drew suspicion.
Calamity Jane is one of those historical figures whose reputation has in many ways eclipsed the real story. But she was, without a doubt, a unique character who in many ways lived outside the social norms of her time.
Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey
The Royal Palaces of Abomey are a series of earthen palaces in what is now Benin. The complex is culturally historically important to West Africa, but the source of much of the wealth that built those palaces was the Atlantic slave trade.
Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes of Sinope lived was the father of the Cynicism school of philosophy. He was also an incredibly eccentric figure who spoke out against pretense, and he used humor to convey his ideals.
A Condensed History of Rhodesia
In the 1888, Cecil Rhodes and John Smith Moffat duped the king of the Ndebele people into a treaty which led to the expansion of British territory in Africa. From then until the late 1900s, Rhodesia was governed by a white minority.
A Brief History of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter got its name in the 18th century, but it's been around in some form for hundreds and hundreds of years. The more modern history of the spread features changes to the recipe and even a little litigation with the FDA.
Child Migrant Program
In the 19th and 20th centuries, 150,000 child migrants were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Rhodesia. Many of these children ended up in far worse conditions than they left behind.
When babies are born, one of the tools doctors use to measure whether they’re thriving on their own is the Apgar score. Dr. Virginia Apgar broke new ground in the fields of obstetrics and anesthesiology in the middle of the 20th century.
A Brief History of Harmonicas
The deceptively simple harmonica has roots as far back as ancient China, though it really came into its own in Europe in the 1800s.
In 1851, Olive Oatman's family was attacked while traveling near the Gila River in Arizona. Olive was taken by her attackers, and lived for five years with Native Americans before being ransomed by the U.S. government.
Harvard Indian School
Holly chats with archaeologists Patricia Capone and Diana Loren about Harvard’s Indian College, the school’s importance to Colonial history and the ongoing archaeology of Harvard Yard.
Henry Gerber and Chicago’s Society for Human Rights
In the 1920s, the Society for Human Rights was founded in Chicago with the intent to decriminalize homosexuality. The society's founder was inspired by Germany's homosexual emancipation movement.
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