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DIG: A History Podcast

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United States






Great White Hurricane of 1913

During the hey-day of Great Lakes shipping, when ships crossed these huge lakes loaded down with cargo, a fall storm could be – and often was - deadly. You might be familiar with one particular fall shipwreck, the 1977 sinking of the freighter, The Edmund Fitzgerald, or Big Fitz during a brutal November gale on Lake Superior. But today, we’re talking about another November storm, one that took place sixty-four years earlier. That storm became known as the Great White Hurricane of 1913. This...

Duration: 00:57:49

Heating and Illuminating Homes in Victorian Britain

The warmth - and light - of the houses of 19th century Britain were a characteristic of Victorian life. While open coal hearths continued to dominate home heating, the Victorian era was also the first to use radiant boiler-powered heat, whole-house gas lighting, and even - infrequently, but innovatively nonetheless - electricity. It was a brave, sometimes dangerous, often times poisonous, new world, but at least it was warm? Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript:...

Duration: 00:36:09

Death, Religion, and Euro-Native Encounters

People are often surprised to learn that yes, even death has a history. In fact, death can be a powerful tool for unlocking the ways that people thought about themselves, their world, and one another – both for historians, and for people of different cultures trying to relate to one another. Today, we’re talking about death and how two vastly different cultures used it to try to relate to one another in early modern Canada. Find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript at:...

Duration: 01:06:28

Cock Lane Ghost: 18c London’s Haunting Hoax

There wasn’t a soul in London, much less the neighborhood of Smithfield market, who hadn’t heard of the Cock Lane ghost. In 1762, the narrow London street was crowded with throngs of onlookers and busy-bodies who wanted to know if the rumors were true. A young girl at 20 Cock Lane , Elizabeth Parsons, was said to be possessed by a restless spirit. The Cock Lane ghost’s biggest claim to fame was its alleged knocking and scratching at all hours of the night and day. Witnesses devised a code...

Duration: 00:42:20

Halloween, Samhain, and Moral Panics in the 1980s

In 1978, John Carpenter created a horror film that would arguably change the genre, certainly led the way in slasher films, and all on a $325,000 budget, with a 21 day shoot and no big star names to speak of. The second film was released in 1981; the third in 1982; four and five were ‘88 and ‘89, respectively. The 1980s were particularly ripe for a horror storyline centered around Halloween - celebrated by a community of neo-pagans, and demonized by the New Christian Right for its pagan...

Duration: 00:51:05

Photos of the Dead: Victorian Postmortem Photography and the Case of the Standing Corpse

We commemorate and document life through photographs, and have been doing so since the 19th century. But photography has also been used to document death. In this episode we are discussing Victorian postmortem photography. This has received a lot of interest on the internet lately as Victorian memento mori photographs have become rather popular on certain internet sites. And although many of the pictures on those sites are in fact postmortem photographs, many are not. They are either...

Duration: 00:42:38

Guerrilla Warfare: The American Civil War and Irregular Soldiers

Dealing with the history behind why we have Confederate memorials and what they mean, but also talk about something fun: guerrilla warfare – the irregular forms of war that took place largely in the Western reaches of the Civil War’s borders. For Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript of this episode, visit

Duration: 01:01:25

Death, Mud & Guns II: Military Rev and Birth of Bureaucracy

Find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript at:

Duration: 00:49:14

Death, Mud & Guns I: Military Rev and Birth of Bureaucracy

Find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript for this episode at:

Duration: 00:30:05

George McGovern and the Elusive Christian Left

While today, press coverage treats Christianity’s alignment with political conservatism as a foregone conclusion, there is a larger milieu of liberal and progressive activism with Christian social justice. Join Averill and special guest Mark Lempke, PhD, for this special episode exploring George McGovern and the elusive Christian Left.

Duration: 00:54:12

Puritan Sex: The Surprising History of Puritans and Sexual Practices

Find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a transcript of this episode at

Duration: 00:53:48

Selling Sex in 19th C. NYC

In 19th century New York City, sex was for sale and it wasn’t hard to find it. Commodified sex was everywhere and available for any price. The years between roughly 1850 to about 1910 were the years that commercialized sex and vice in New York City were the most visible, the most prolific, and the most wild. Show Notes, Further Reading, and a full transcript at:

Duration: 00:53:16

Stopes’ Sex Guide

Marie Stopes was one of the most significant figures in the modern birth control movement. She founded 37 international family planning clinics and brought sexual knowledge and fulfillment to countless women around the world. You can find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a full transcript of this episode at

Duration: 00:47:34

Sadism, Sex & the French Rev

Find Show Notes, Further Reading, and a transcript of this episode at:

Duration: 00:53:59

Vietnam Protest and the Buffalo 9

For Show Notes, Further Reading, and a complete transcript, visit The late 1960s were a tumultuous time in United States history - major political assassinations, riots, protests, and a deeply controversial war all added up to a fractured and bruised society. Much of the action during the time period took place on college campuses - including the University at Buffalo, where Averill and Sarah got their PhDs, and Marissa and Elizabeth are...

Duration: 00:55:42

Communism and Uteruses

For Show Notes and the full transcript, visit There is something fascinating about the history of reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion in every country and ideology that we’ve looked at in our women’s reproductive rights series. This week we’re turning to the impact of Communism on these issues, particularly in China and the Soviet Union. Here we have the complete range of reproductive control extremes - from hyper...

Duration: 00:44:25

Black Athena and the Battle of Historians

For Show Notes and Further Reading, and a complete transcript of the episode. visit In 1987, a historian of modern China wrote a book that was way outside of his field - a historiographical work about the classical world, which argued that argued a racist and imperialist Europe had written Egyptian and Phoenician origins out of Greek history — essentially whitewashing the African roots of Western...

Duration: 00:50:00

War of 1812 and the Burning of Buffalo

For Show Notes and Further Reading, visit Most American history books devote a page at most to the War of 1812. It is often referred to as the forgotten war. However, scholarship on the war has exploded in recent years due to the 200th Anniversary of the beginning of the war in 2012. The War of 1812 may be a lesser known episode within the larger narrative of American history, but for inhabitants of Buffalo, NY and the surrounding region- the War of...

Duration: 00:33:55

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