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Stuff You Missed in History Class

1691 EpisodesProduced by iHeartRadioWebsite

Join Holly and Tracy as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class in this podcast by iHeartRadio.

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Unearthed! in July 2021, Part 2

July 28th, 2021

47:22

The second part of the July 2021 Unearthed! installment includes exhumations, repatriations, some mysteries that have been solved, and a potpourri of …

Unearthed! in July 2021, Part 1

July 26th, 2021

48:10

In part one of the 2021 July edition of unearthed things, there are updates to previous episodes, along with books and letters, edibles and potables, …

SYMHC Classics: A Pure Food Father and His Poison Squad

July 24th, 2021

22:55

This 2011 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina covers the U.S. in the late 1800s, when no one really monitored food additives. After …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Migraines and Milk

July 23rd, 2021

20:20

Tracy and Holly talk about family and experiential history with headaches, and the persistent problems in what people do and don't know about them. …

The Swill Milk Scandal of 1858

July 21st, 2021

49:21

In the 1850s, much of the milk supply in New York was anything but appetizing and wholesome – it was often deadly. But efforts to address the problem …

A History of Migraine

July 19th, 2021

50:36

Migraine is one of the three most prevalent conditions in the world along with anemia and hearing loss. But in spite of that prevalence, migraine is widely misunderstood, really at every level.

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: Ira Frederick Aldridge

July 17th, 2021

31:37

This 2017 episode covers one of the first Americans to achieve fame as a Shakespearean actor, and the first black man to do so, becoming a famous figure on the Victorian stage. But Aldridge has largely been excluded …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Adolf and Hugo

July 16th, 2021

19:57

It's divisive figures week! Holly and Tracy discuss the difficulty in sorting out the reality of Lorenz's work, because of the polarized view of him …

Hugo Gernsback

July 14th, 2021

44:20

Ray Bradbury said Hugo “made us fall in love with the future.” But he’s also been berated as a hack whose proclamations about what does and does not qualify as science fiction have been problematic and limiting from the …

Adolf Lorenz, the Bloodless Surgeon

July 12th, 2021

38:57

Lorenz is credited with developing treatments that addressed pediatric orthopedic problems. During his lifetime, he was both celebrated and protested within the medical community. 

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SYMHC Classics: Fort Shaw Indian School, Basketball Champions (Pt. 2)

July 10th, 2021

35:23

Part two of our Fort Shaw classic covers the four months the Fort Shaw Indian School women's basketball team spent at the 1904 St. Louis World's …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Vacuum Cleaners and Schomburg

July 9th, 2021

16:54

Holly and Tracy talk about the localization of copycat companies in the cleaning industry, and Holly shares how her robotic vacuum met its untimely …

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

July 7th, 2021

45:40

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has come up in a lot of research for the show. Schomburg the man was an Afro-Puerto Rican activist …

Vacuum Cleaners

July 5th, 2021

47:17

Tracking the history of how we clean and why our cleaning needs have shifted also tells the story of human progress in a wider sense. How did we get …

SYMHC Classics: Basketball at Shaw Indian School (Pt. 1)

July 3rd, 2021

40:53

This 2017 episode covers the Fort Shaw Indian School , part of a boarding school system designed to make Native American students conform to white …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Dreyfus Affair

July 2nd, 2021

11:01

Tracy and Holly discuss the difficulty of covering the Dreyfus Affair, including the contextual history that needs to be covered for it. They also …

The Dreyfus Affair, Part 2

June 30th, 2021

49:05

The court-martial and exile of Alfred Dreyfus was such big news that it started to be referred to simply as “The Affair.” And it divided French society and became international news.

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The Dreyfus Affair, Part 1

June 28th, 2021

40:53

Part one contextualizes the Dreyfus Affair by covering the Franco-Prussian War and the founding of the French Third Republic. Then we’ll cover Alfred Dreyfus and the accusation of treason that he faced in 1894.

Learn …

SYMHC Classics: Harriet Tubman, Part 2

June 26th, 2021

33:33

We're continuing our classics with Harriet Tubman's story, which came out in 2016. There was a whole lot more to her life and work than the …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Kudzu and Quimby

June 25th, 2021

18:20

Tracy and Holly talk about their own experiences with and thoughts about kudzu. They also discuss Harriet Quimby's journalism career, her stance on …

Harriet Quimby

June 23rd, 2021

50:33

Quimby is most well-known for aviation, but journalism was an even bigger part of her life. Before taking up flying, she had managed to carve out a life for herself by merging her love of adventure with her knack for …

Kudzu: Maligned Vine

June 21st, 2021

48:22

Kudzu is a semi-woody, perennial climbing vine in the pea family. How did it get its reputation for being an unkillable menace? And was it really introduced to stop erosion, only to get completely out of hand? 

Learn …

SYMHC Classics: Harriet Tubman, Part 1

June 19th, 2021

34:58

We're revisiting this 2013 topic in honor of Juneteenth. Most people are familiar with Tubman's involvement with the Underground Railroad, but she …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Lola and Daphne

June 18th, 2021

16:43

Tracy and Holly talk about Lola Montez's relationship with the truth and references to her in the show "Dickinson." They also discuss how du …

Daphne du Maurier

June 16th, 2021

44:04

Daphne du Maurier became famous thanks to her books and the adaptations they inspired, and her life story is just as intriguing as any of her writing. 

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Lola Montez

June 14th, 2021

53:22

Aside from her relationship with King Ludwig I, Lola Montez is one of those figures whose life is hard to pin down. That’s not because of a lack of …

SYMHC Classics: Marie Taglioni

June 12th, 2021

35:01

This 2013 episode covers Marie Taglioni, considered THE ballerina of the Romantic era. She's often credited with revolutionizing, restyling and …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Apicius and Struensee

June 11th, 2021

22:01

Holly and Tracy compare the Apicius cookbook to cooking today, as well as some confusion over ingredients in the cookbook. They then talk about the …

Count Struensee and King Christian VII of Denmark

June 9th, 2021

46:00

King Christian VII ruled in the 18th century, and during his reign, his physician finagled a surprising amount of power, and basically ruled the …

‘De re coquinaria’ - the Oldest Cookbook of the Western World

June 7th, 2021

42:48

“De re Coquinaria,” also referred to as “Apicius,” is a cookbook featuring recipes that may have been collected as early as the first century. Who …

SYMHC Classics: The Defenestrations of Prague

June 5th, 2021

38:55

This 2018 episode covers defenestrations - which just means "to throw out of a window." And there's been a surprising amount of defenestration in Czech history. And almost all of it has been connected religious wars.

Behind the Scenes Minis: Mrs. Child and Haymarket

June 4th, 2021

19:15

Holly and Tracy talk about Child's life, the ways in which she was ahead of her time socially, and the questions surrounding her marriage. The …

The Haymarket Riot

June 2nd, 2021

48:14

The Haymarket Riot, aka the Haymarket Affair or the Haymarket Massacre, is one of the many interconnected events and people and movements that are …

Lydia Maria Child

May 31st, 2021

47:48

Lydia Maria Child was a writer of children’s literature, historical novels, abolitionist tracts, and poetry. She also wrote literature for children …

SYMHC Classics: Tulsa Massacre

May 29th, 2021

30:54

This 2014 episode covers the devastation of "Black Wall Street," which was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Paperclips

May 28th, 2021

17:44

Tracy and Holly discuss Tracy's research on Operation Paperclip and how recently information about it has been uncovered. After talking about taking …

Four Paperclippers

May 26th, 2021

47:15

Under Operation Paperclip, about 1,600 specialists – most with some involvement with the Nazi party – entered the U.S., and many became citizens. …

Operation Paperclip

May 24th, 2021

49:22

Operation Paperclip, also known as Project Paperclip, which was the U.S. effort to bring German scientists to the U.S. after World War II. 

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SYMHC Classics: How Tulip Mania Worked

May 22nd, 2021

41:31

This 2011 episode is from prior hosts Sarah and Deblina. During the 17th century, the Dutch went nuts for tulips, paying exorbitant amounts for a …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Paré and Gardens

May 21st, 2021

18:19

Holly and Tracy talk about Paré's work in context on the timeline, and then a very cool modern gardening project using the book we mentioned this …

A Brief History of Gardening in North America

May 19th, 2021

48:33

Gardening is a living history that connects us all to people and places through time. This episode covers precolonial North America, Europeans …

Ambroise Paré

May 17th, 2021

42:42

Sixteenth-century barber surgeon Paré has been called everything from “the gentle surgeon” to “the father of modern surgery.” He advanced the field of medicine significantly during his 50+ years in practice.

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Mary Ann Shadd Cary

May 15th, 2021

43:55

Revisiting our 2016 episode on black Canadian-American Mary Ann Shadd Cary, who became the first woman in North America to publish and edit a newspaper. She advocated against slavery, for better lives for free black …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Ralph McQuarrie

May 14th, 2021

13:22

Holly and Tracy talk about how they decided to cover the life of Ralph McQuarrie, and discuss the breadth of his awe-inspiring work.

Learn more …

Ralph McQuarrie, Part 2

May 12th, 2021

38:04

In our second part of McQuarrie's life story, we cover how Star Wars became Ralph’s most well-known area of work, but also how it led to a lot of iconic visual moments in other films. 

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Ralph McQuarrie, Part 1

May 10th, 2021

36:08

McQuarrie is responsible for some of the most recognizable imagery in cinema and culture. In part one, we’ll talk about his early life, his work …

SYMHC Classics: The Jacobite Rising of 1745

May 8th, 2021

39:31

This 2016 episode covers a piece of Scottish and English history that's often simultaneously romanticized and oversimplified. It's a great deal more …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Poetry and Birth Control

May 7th, 2021

18:33

Tracy and Holly discuss their memories of nursery rhymes, and their experiences with women's health care.

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The Nelson Pill Hearings

May 5th, 2021

47:55

In the U.S., the idea that people should know about the risks involved with the drugs that they are taking is tied directly to the complicated and …

Six Impossible Episodes: Mother Goose

May 3rd, 2021

48:11

A number of English-language poems are generally lumped together as “Mother Goose" poems. But was there an actual Mother Goose? And do any of these poems have historical references in them?  

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: The London Match Girls Strike of 1888

May 1st, 2021

35:46

This 2016 episode covers the London Match Girls Strike of 1888. This was an important labor rights event, when factory workers protested hazardous and unfair working conditions.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Spring 2021 Unearthed!

April 30th, 2021

11:47

Tracy and Holly speculate about the kitsch of historical cultures, and how we interpret historical objects.

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Unearthed! Spring 2021, Part 2

April 28th, 2021

40:32

Part two of our spring 2021 Unearthed! coverage includes exhumations, books and letters, and some other favorites!

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Unearthed! Spring 2021, Part 1

April 26th, 2021

38:37

Part one of our early 2021 edition of Unearthed! covers updates, cute animals and their pictures, edibles and potables, and shipwrecks.

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SYMHC Classics: The Antikythera Mechanism

April 24th, 2021

30:50

Today we revisit a 2013 episode. In 1900, a shipwreck was discovered near the island of Antikythera, including an assortment of luxury goods: statues, silver coins, vases ... and what turned out to be an amazing …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Immigration Law and Bridges

April 23rd, 2021

18:46

Tracy and Holly discuss the difficulty in researching the life of Chae Chan Ping, and exclusionary immigration legislation in U.S. history. Talk also …

The First Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Galloping Gertie

April 21st, 2021

48:54

The drama of the first Tacoma Narrows bridge is hardly relegated to its turbulent end. There’s more to the story – from its inception to financing …

Chae Chan Ping v. United States

April 19th, 2021

49:41

The Chinese Exclusion Act was the United States’ first major immigration law, and as its name suggests it specifically targeted people from China. It led to Supreme Court cases that set the stage for later restrictions.

SYMHC Classics: Annie Edson Taylor, Niagara Daredevil

April 17th, 2021

36:27

This 2018 episode covers Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor's whole barrel trip was part of a much …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Teresa and Sonora

April 16th, 2021

16:55

Tracy and Holly talk about the care needed when exploring the biographies of people in history who offer representation, but won't reflect the …

Sonora Webster Carver

April 14th, 2021

51:07

Atlantic City performer Sonora Carver was the most famous horse diver of her time, and probably ever. It was an entertainment that was incredibly …

Teresa de Cartagena

April 12th, 2021

43:44

Teresa de Cartagena was a woman who was deaf, chronically ill, and from a Converso family. In spite of the things working against her, she wrote two treatises that have survived until today, which represent several …

SYMHC Classics: 1958 Bombing of The Temple

April 10th, 2021

36:50

This 2017 episode covers Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, a vocal activist who spoke out for civil rights despite the danger in doing so. White supremacists bombed The Temple in Atlanta in a direct reaction to Rothschild's work …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Rum Rebellion and Jewish History

April 9th, 2021

12:56

Tracy and Holly discuss how the Rum Rebellion is less harrowing than other similar incidents that have been covered on the show. They then discuss …

Interview: Jeremy Katz of The Breman Museum

April 7th, 2021

54:45

Holly sits down with Jeremy Katz, the director of archives at The Breman Museum to talk about his new book "The Jewish Community of Atlanta," his …

The Rum Rebellion

April 5th, 2021

44:08

The Rum Rebellion overthrew William Bligh, governor of New South Wales, in 1808. It was Australia’s only military coup and was only given that nickname much later.  

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SYMHC Classics: Mutiny on the Bounty

April 3rd, 2021

32:22

In this 2010 episode, previous hosts Sarah and Katie take a closer look at the legendary mutiny on the HMS Bounty -- and figure out whether William Bligh deserves his terrible reputation.


Learn more about your …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Esperanto and Bodiam

April 2nd, 2021

14:56

Tracy and Holly discuss their relationships with language learning, and then discuss the ways that historical sites and museums have offered …

Bodiam Castle

March 31st, 2021

40:08

This castle is unique in its design and the extent to which the ground surrounding it are part of that design. It’s also closely tied to the …

L.L. Zamenhof and the Hope of Esperanto

March 29th, 2021

52:07

Esperanto was developed by a Jewish man living in the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s a story linked to both persecution and profound hope. Zamenhof hoped to bring the world together …

SYMHC Classics: Hildegard von Bingen

March 27th, 2021

31:30

This 2016 episode examines a Christian mystic of medieval Europe who was way, way ahead of her time. If she had lived a few hundred years later, and …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Arsinoë and Sissieretta

March 26th, 2021

17:42

Tracy and Holly talk about the trickier aspects of researching a story like Arsinoë's, as well as women trying to find agency in Arsinoë's time. …

Sissieretta Jones

March 24th, 2021

51:34

Sissieretta Jones was a Black operatic and popular music singer in the early 20th century. And she was famous in her day, but then kind of vanished …

Arsinoë II, Ptolemaic Queen

March 22nd, 2021

46:27

The Ptolemies were a Greek dynasty that ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period. And in a lot of ways Arsinoë II really set the standard for the …

SYMHC Classics: Plessy v Ferguson

March 20th, 2021

31:13

This 2015 episode covers a landmark legal moment. The ruling in this infamous U.S. Supreme Court case stated that segregation was legal as long as …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Duke and Hawaii

March 19th, 2021

12:38

Holly and Tracy talk about the appeal of Duke Kahanamoku, his story being illustrative of the problematic nature of cultures being subverted in an …

Duke Kahanamoku, Part 2

March 17th, 2021

42:17

Part 2 of our coverage of Duke Kahanamoku's life delves into about what happened to Duke after that sudden onslaught of Olympic fame, and how it wasn’t really what Duke expected. 

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Duke Kahanamoku, Part 1

March 15th, 2021

41:30

Kahanamoku became world-famous as an Olympic swimmer, and his love for sports of all kinds started from his childhood on Oahu. Part one covers his early life, up through his first Olympics and the start of becoming a …

SYMHC Classics: Skellig Michael

March 13th, 2021

35:55

Today, we revisit a December 2017 episode about Skellig Michael. This small island off the west coast of Ireland recently became a film star, but Skellig Michael has a rich history all its own.

Learn more about your …

Behind the Scenes Minis: 1918 Pandemic Revisited

March 12th, 2021

18:00

Tracy and Holly discuss where they're at a year into the pandemic. Tracy also talks about how frustrated she was researching this week's episodes, …

1918 Flu Pandemic, Revisited - Part 2

March 10th, 2021

44:10

The comparison of the modern pandemic to the 1918 pandemic continues in part two. This time, the show covers ventilation, supply shortages, and vaccines. 

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1918 Flu Pandemic, Revisited - Part 1

March 8th, 2021

50:31

Now that we’ve lived through a year of a global pandemic, our approach to looking at the 1918 flu pandemic had shifted. We’re revisiting the events of 1918 with new perspective, comparing then to now. 

Learn more about …

SYMHC CLassics: Paul Poiret

March 6th, 2021

36:18

This is a revisit of our 2013 episode on the often avante-garde French designer Paul Poiret. He got rid of corsets, introduced the concept of …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Grand Central and Zoe and Theodora

March 5th, 2021

14:45

Holly and Tracy talk about what a jerk Cornelius Vanderbilt was, trivia about the Grand Central story, and Tracy’s first visit to Grand Central …

Zoë & Theodora, Byzantine Empresses

March 3rd, 2021

42:09

Over almost 30 years in 11th-century Constantinople, sometimes Zoë ruled alongside one of her husbands, sometimes she and Theodora ruled together, …

Grand Central Terminal

March 1st, 2021

43:16

Grand Central's story starts with one of the wealthiest names in U.S. history, but it also is in many ways the story of the city itself since the 1800s, because Grand Central was such a pivotal element in the growth of …

SYMHC Classics: The Dyatlov Pass Incident

February 27th, 2021

42:47

This 2014 episode covers the incident in 1959, in which nine students ventured into the Ural mountains for a ski hiking trip, and never returned. …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Isadora

February 26th, 2021

12:03

Holly and Tracy talk about Holly's childhood perceptions of Isadora Duncan and how the famous dancer broke convention. They also talk about the …

Isadora Duncan, Part 2

February 24th, 2021

41:14

The comforts afforded by fame were forever clouded for Duncan by an ongoing series of tragedies, leading right up to the famous – and horrifying – way her life ended.

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Isadora Duncan, Part 1

February 22nd, 2021

43:33

Duncan, often called the mother of modern dance, had an unconventional upbringing, and a VERY unconventional life. Her early life was full of …

SYMHC Classics: The Nazi Games and Jesse Owens

February 20th, 2021

33:42

This 2012 episode covers the 1936 Berlin Olympics and African-American sprinter Jesse Owens, as well as the games as Nazi propaganda. More nations than ever participated, and the Olympic torch was used for the first …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Freedom Summer and Cobb

February 19th, 2021

13:46

Tracy and Holly talk about how young everyone had been during the Mississippi Freedom Summer, voter suppression, and Holly's trick to stop crying …

W. Montague Cobb, MD, PhD

February 17th, 2021

48:27

W. Montague Cobb was the first Black person in the U.S. to earn a PhD in physical anthropology, worked to debunk racist theories in the field, was an …

Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964

February 15th, 2021

45:51

The Mississippi Summer project of 1964, now known as Freedom Summer, was a in part a voter registration project that was met with an extremely …

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

February 13th, 2021

41:16

This 2018 episode covers Gertrude Stein, an icon in the world of modernist literature. Alice B. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but she was also a published writer, and "assistant"really doesn't …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Smallpox and Cowpox

February 12th, 2021

12:02

Tracy and Holly talk about Spain's effort to spread the smallpox vaccine, and how Balmis handled things. They also discuss fear about vaccines, …

The Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition, Part 2

February 10th, 2021

44:15

With the smallpox vaccine established, Spain’s wanted to deliver it to its colonies in the Americas and the Caribbean. Francisco Xavier de Balmis …

The Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition, Part 1

February 8th, 2021

43:58

Once Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine, it spread from England, where he lived, to other parts of the world. Meanwhile, events were …

SYMHC Classics: The Nazca Lines

February 6th, 2021

41:06

This 2013 episode covered the Nazca lines in the desert about 200 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The glyphs have remained intact for centuries, and have been avidly …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Tello and Du Châtelet

February 5th, 2021

12:17

Holly and Tracy talk about how many things don't make it into episodes, sometimes due to cutting for narrative structure, and sometimes due to …

Émilie du Châtelet

February 3rd, 2021

47:14

Du Châtelet challenged the philosophic and scientific world of her time, but she's often eclipsed by her far more famous lover.

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Julio Tello, Peru’s Archaeological Trail Blazer

February 1st, 2021

52:07

Tello is often called some variation of the father of Peruvian archaeology or the first indigenous Peruvian archaeologist. And his work was playing …

SYMHC Classics: Paxton's Crystal Palace

January 30th, 2021

39:14

A throwback to 2013! Sir Joseph Paxton was a 19th-century botanist who became instantly famous for the hall he designed for the Great Expo of 1851. After the expo, the Crystal Palace moved to a new location and became …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Griffith and Crosse

January 29th, 2021

14:40

Holly and Tracy talk about the fascination of the Griffith story and how contemporary journalists covered Griffith's crime, as well as how his story …

Andrew Crosse, The Electrician

January 27th, 2021

43:37

In the early 1800s, Andrew Crosse observed a strange thing happening on an electrified rock in his lab, and he was catapulted into the public …

Griffith J. Griffith

January 25th, 2021

44:46

While the Griffith name today is associated with the Los Angeles park and the observatory, during his time, G.J. Griffith was associated with other things: real estate, social climbing, and a horrifying domestic abuse …

SYMHC Classics: The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 2

January 23rd, 2021

45:57

Part two of this 2018 classic delves into the only known successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, when a white mob enacted a violent plan against …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Olympe and Dalton

January 22nd, 2021

14:49

Tracy and Holly chat about Olympe de Gouges and the less-than-robust information about her life's details. When talking about John Dalton and color …

John Dalton’s Anomalous Color Vision

January 20th, 2021

43:15

John Dalton is far more famous for his work in atomic theory. But he wrote one of the first thorough descriptions of what he called “anomalous …

Olympe de Gouges

January 18th, 2021

48:45

Olympe de Gouges is known primarily for her 1791 pamphlet “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen.” But her writing and political …

SYMHC Classics: The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 1

January 16th, 2021

36:29

This much-requested 2018 episode covers how open racism and hotly contested elections led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Late 2020 Wrap Up

January 15th, 2021

12:19

Tracy and Holly talk about the travel thoughts that the show's recent Unearthed! episode brings up. Talk also turns to the various biases that people …

Unearthed! Year-end 2020, Part 2

January 13th, 2021

45:36

In this second part of the year-end Unearthed! for 2020, topics include art, music, edibles and potables, and exhumations and repatriations, and potpourri.

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Unearthed! Year-end 2020, Part 1

January 11th, 2021

47:24

Time for a wrap up of things unearthed in the last quarter of 2020! Part one includes updates, books and letters, Vikings, mummies, and some other stuff.

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SYMHC Classics: Knitting's Early History

January 9th, 2021

41:54

This 2016 classic delves into knitting. which has been around for a long time. Exactly how long isn't entirely clear, but we do know a good bit about how knitting has traveled with us humans through time.

Learn more …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Transfusions

January 8th, 2021

11:55

Holly and Tracy talk about how small details that get changed in the retelling of history change the context of the larger story, as well as some of …

Jean-Baptiste Denis and the Blood Transfusion Race, 2

January 6th, 2021

43:17

Denis made several missteps - some of them criminal - as he tried to prove his superior knowledge in the science of transfusion. Due to his hubris …

Jean-Baptiste Denis and the Blood Transfusion Race, 1

January 4th, 2021

39:01

In the 17th century, Europe was obsessed with science – and very competitively so. When it came to blood transfusions, there was a great deal of conflict in France's scientific community. And Jean-Baptiste Denis was …

SYMHC Classics: The Unsinkable Violet Jessop

January 2nd, 2021

32:12

This 2015 episode covers the story of Violet Jessop, who was a shipwreck survivor -- several times over. She traveled the world aboard some of the …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Voynich and Scurvy

January 1st, 2021

14:21

Holly and Tracy talk about why Holly loved studying Wilfrid Voynich, when scurvy became a jokey disease, and the need for a good multivitamin and …

Scurvy

December 30th, 2020

46:24

Scurvy is a deficiency in vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, and its story goes way back in history – all the way to our evolutionary ancestors living more …

Wilfrid Voynich

December 28th, 2020

43:12

We’ve talked about the Voynich manuscript many times over the years, but the man for whom the manuscript is named has his own fascinating story.

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SYMHC Classics: Roses Through Time

December 26th, 2020

41:53

This 2017 episode revisits roses, which humans have painted, written about, and assigned symbolic meaning for centuries. But this much-beloved flower …

Behind the Scenes Minis: O. Henry and Rudolph

December 25th, 2020

12:50

On today's episode, Tracy and Holly discuss their levels of familiarity with O. Henry and have a food digression. Talk then turns to how Rudolph …

The Creation of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

December 23rd, 2020

46:27

Most of us grew up with the story of the sweet little reindeer that was picked on by his peers, and becomes the hero who saves Christmas. But Rudolph …

O. Henry

December 21st, 2020

44:30

O. Henry’s writing is taught in many schools because of his stories like “Gift of the Magi,” but it’s rarely mentioned that during his life, he fled …

SYMHC Classics: Eggnog Riot

December 19th, 2020

32:05

This classic is from 2014. In 1826, liquor was forbidden at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Cadets smuggled alcohol into …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Lost Cause and the Constitution

December 18th, 2020

13:28

Tracy and Holly discuss the difficulty people may have with Civil War history and how surprisingly exciting Constitutional scholarship can be.

Learn …

Interview: Kerry Sautner of the National Constitution Center

December 16th, 2020

56:26

Holly is joined by Kerry Sautner, Chief Learning Officer of the National Constitution Center, to discuss the museum's mission, unlikely career paths …

The Lost Cause

December 14th, 2020

50:20

The myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy was a distortion of the history of the U.S. Civil War that’s still affecting the world today.

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SYMHC Classics: Maccabean Revolt

December 12th, 2020

32:07

Were revisiting a 2016 episode about the uprising of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire during the Hellenistic period, which is an integral part of the Hanukkah story. After the restoration of Jewish religious …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Ibn al-Haytham and Waffles

December 11th, 2020

10:05

Tracy and Holly talk about the animated version of Ibn Al-Haytham's story, Omar Sharif, waffle cones, and what to do with holiday leftovers.

Learn …

Introducing The Ten News - Interview with host Bethany Van Delft

December 10th, 2020

8:32

Stuff You Missed in History Class host Holly Frey interviews The TEN News host Bethany Van Delft. The TEN News is 10 minutes of news and information …

A Brief and Yummy History of Waffles

December 9th, 2020

36:39

Waffles are popular and commonplace on tables and as street food around the world, but they’ve evolved a lot over time to become the syrup vehicle …

Ibn al-Haytham, First Scientist

December 7th, 2020

36:18

Ibn al-Haytham made massive contributions to the world’s understanding of light and vision through experiments that he did during a prolonged house …

SYMHC Classics: The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

December 5th, 2020

36:30

This is a holiday throwback to a 2017 episodes. Tasty treats associated with winter holidays have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Thorpe and Poinsett

December 4th, 2020

13:21

Tracy and Holly discuss the issue of final resting places illustrated by Jim Thorpe's story, the pronunciation of poinsettia, and plant toxicity.

Joel Roberts Poinsett

December 2nd, 2020

41:14

Poinsett was a statesman who was connected to some very important moments in our nation’s history, with mixed results. He’s also credited with …

Jim Thorpe, Pro Athlete (Part 3)

November 30th, 2020

44:50

The conclusion of our three-parter on the life of Jim Thorpe covers his time as a professional athlete, and his life after the end of his athletic career – including two pieces of his story that have tragically …

SYMHC Classics: Coubertin and the Modern Olympics

November 28th, 2020

57:16

This episode is our 2016 live show from the Dallas Museum of Art about the Olympics. Pierre de Coubertin is described as the father of the modern Olympic Games, which took a few years to really take off.

Learn more …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Jim Thorpe Parts 1 & 2

November 27th, 2020

13:07

Tracy and Holly talk about football, Jim Thorpe, and the morality of trick plays in sports in previous decades. They also discuss the complexities of …

Jim Thorpe, Olympian (Part 2)

November 25th, 2020

36:50

After the 1908-09 football season at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Thorpe seemed to be headed for a career in baseball. But the offer to return …

Jim Thorpe and Carlisle Football (Part 1)

November 23rd, 2020

42:20

Jim Thorpe was an incredible all-around athlete, famous around the world. In part one, we’ll talk about his life before and during his time at …

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

November 21st, 2020

42:49

This 2018 classics covers Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, who was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. She lived at a time when a …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Baby Savers

November 20th, 2020

13:01

Tracy and Holly talk about the three people who are linked together in the story of the surgical treatment for cyanotic babies, including stories …

Vivien Thomas, Surgical Pathfinder

November 18th, 2020

44:42

In 1944, Thomas developed a surgical treatment for babies with cyanotic heart conditions. Thomas was a Black man working at an institution whose only other black employees did janitorial work, and he had not attended …

Helen Taussig, Mother of Pediatric Cardiology

November 16th, 2020

38:21

Helen’s story is tied to Vivien Thomas and Alfred Blalock in the surgical treatment of blue baby syndrome. She was the one who suggested that Alfred Blalock try to find a surgical approach to congenital heart conditions …

SYMHC Classics: The Cod Wars

November 14th, 2020

37:56

This 2016 episode covers Icelandic history. A fishing territory dispute between Iceland and the U.K. started off with a cordial tone, but escalated into a serious conflict.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Cecilia and Maria Anna

November 13th, 2020

16:57

Tracy and Holly talk about the sexism that held back Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin,the desire to see her lecture notes, and stories from their education. …

Maria Anna Mozart

November 11th, 2020

38:04

Maria Anna Mozart is often left out of brief accounts of her brother’s life. But his sister was sharing the bench with him and was also considered an impressive and accomplished musician. 

Learn more about your …

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

November 9th, 2020

47:47

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was an astronomer who made a lot of firsts. She grew up in a society that didn’t really prioritize education for girls, and she was determined and creative about getting around that.

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: The Night Witches

November 7th, 2020

31:07

This episode from 2015 covers the Night Witches, an all-female bombing regiment in the Soviet Air Force. Flying biplanes meant for dusting crops and training new recruits, they dropped 23,000 tons of bombs on German …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Unearthed! in Autumn 2020

November 6th, 2020

10:08

Tracy and Holly discuss the wealth of unearthed stories that came up this time around, as well as their favorite finds from this batch.

Learn more …

Unearthed! in Autumn 2020, Part 2

November 4th, 2020

40:52

Part two of our autumnal unearthing report includes shipwrecks, exhumations, repatriations, and quite a bit about Vikings, and a bit of potpourri. 

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Unearthed! in Autumn 2020, Part 1

November 2nd, 2020

40:26

It's once again time to take a look at things that have been literally and figuratively unearthed over the last few months. In part one of this Autumn 2020 edition, we'll talk about books and letters, edibles and …

SYMHC Classics: The History of Halloween Candy

October 31st, 2020

36:43

Happy Halloween! To celebrate, we're revisiting a 2014 episode. Candy and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but when did candy become the standard for …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Tarot and Hellhounds

October 30th, 2020

16:53

Holly and Tracy talk about their experience with tarot cards and readings, and about the bad rap black dogs get. Happy Halloween to all of our …

Three Hellhounds in History

October 28th, 2020

41:56

As we inch closer to Halloween, we're talking about three of the MANY supernatural canines and hellhounds that have lengthy histories in our …

A Brief History of Tarot Cards

October 26th, 2020

41:35

How did a card game gain a reputation for being connected to mysticism? Tarot's history takes a significant turn in the 18th century, but much of that shift in perception is based on one author's suppositions and …

SYMHC Classics: Belle Gunness

October 24th, 2020

27:31

We're revisiting a 2011 episode today. In 1908, a fire leveled the Indiana home of Belle Gunness. Four bodies were found in the cellar, and it seemed possible that Gunnes might have escaped. When about a dozen more …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Stoker and

October 23rd, 2020

16:49

Holly and Tracy talk about the work and life of Bram Stoker, including a brief talk about his mother. And then talk turns to Tracy's new interview …

Interview: Jackie Cochran with Dr. Katherine Sharp Landdeck

October 21st, 2020

50:03

Dr. Katherine Sharp Landdeck joins the show for a second time, to talk with Tracy about Kate’s new book – but mostly about Jacqueline Cochran – who was an incredible pilot, and one of the driving forces behind the Women …

Bram Stoker

October 19th, 2020

46:01

Dracula is an iconic character, and the man who created him has become almost as much of a source of fascination for many as his famous vampire.. But …

SYMHC Classics: Why would you put a cadaver on trial?

October 17th, 2020

24:35

In this 2011 episode, prior hosts Sarah and Deblina cover Pope Stephen VI having his deceased predecessor Formosus exhumed and put on trial in 897. The corpse was found guilty, but this desecration disgusted Romans and …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Demon Core & Green Book

October 16th, 2020

17:15

Tracy and Holly share stories of their own moments of poor judgement, and the Tracy discusses her interview with Alvin Hall and Janée Woods Weber, …

Interview: Driving the Green Book

October 14th, 2020

52:34

Tracy talked to Alvin Hall and Janée Woods Weber, host and producer of the podcast Driving the Green Book. Alvin and Janée share their thoughts on the show, the Green Book, and the road trip they took to make the show.

The Demon Core and Other Criticality Accidents

October 12th, 2020

42:43

The Demon Core was a sphere of plutonium-gallium alloy that the U.S. made for use in an atomic bomb during World War II. After the war, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory had two separate, fatal criticality …

SYMHC Classics: Spring-heeled Jack, Mystery Assailant!

October 10th, 2020

28:21

We're revisiting a 2010 episode from previous hosts. Most people are familiar with Jack the Ripper, but Victorian England was also plagued by an odd character named Spring-heeled Jack. Were reports of this bounding …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Blavatsky and Shipton

October 9th, 2020

13:38

Holly and Tracy talk about Madame Blavatsky's shocking level of cigarette smoking and the surprising amount of Mother Shipton material Tracy was able …

Mother Shipton

October 7th, 2020

43:52

Mother Shipton may or may not have been a real person. She's described as living in 16th-century England, and was everything from an oracle to a witch to the daughter of the devil, depending on which of the many sources …

Madame Blavatsky

October 5th, 2020

56:04

Blavatsky is an iconic figure. She was the founder of the theosophical movement, and lived a life of adventure that’s hard to believe. The impact of her work is undeniable whether you believe her to have been a genuine …

SYMHC Classics: The Green Children of Woolpit

October 3rd, 2020

39:04

This 2017 episode covers the story of how, in the 12th century, two children, green in color, appeared in Suffolk, England. The green children were …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Tanaka Hisashige and Nina Otero-Warren

October 2nd, 2020

11:41

On this casual Friday chat, Tracy and Holly talk about the genius of Tanaka Hisashige, and Tracy's frustrations at finding the more problematic …

Nina Otero-Warren

September 30th, 2020

48:34

Nina Otero-Warren was from a prominent New Mexico family, and worked in education, politics, and the suffrage movement, focusing largely on Spanish …

Tanaka Hisashige

September 28th, 2020

38:00

Tanaka Hisashige was an inventor, a craftsman and an artisan, and he lived during a time that Japan went through enormous cultural, scientific and …

SYMHC Classics: Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

September 26th, 2020

37:41

This episode is from 2017. Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Paramount Decrees

September 25th, 2020

13:09

Holly and Tracy talk about the business dealings of Hollywood in context with the moral scandals that were playing out in the press at the time, as …

The Paramount Decrees: The Court Cases - Pt. 2

September 23rd, 2020

38:54

Once Adolph Zukor combined his production company, Famous Players-Lasky, with Paramount’s distribution company, he had consolidate two aspects of the …

The Paramount Decrees: Paramount’s Beginnings - Pt. 1

September 21st, 2020

35:20

The development of the Hollywood studio industry features a number of people who drove it forward. Today, we're talking about Adolph Zukor and …

SYMHC Classics: Alexander Selkirk

September 19th, 2020

33:52

In this 2011 episode, prior hosts Sarah and Deblina talk about privateer Alexander Selkirk, who became a buccaneer in 1695. In 1704, after a fight with his captain, Selkirk was put ashore on an uninhabited island about …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Forten and the Lawson Murders

September 18th, 2020

12:22

Holly and Tracy delve into the unverifiable parts of James Forten's life and the problematic idea of respectability. Tracy also talks about her …

Six Impossible Episodes: There’s a Book About That!

September 16th, 2020

40:47

These are episodes that we’d love to do as a full-length episode, and we’ve gotten listener quests for most of them. But there’s a book that’s so …

James Forten

September 14th, 2020

48:50

As a child and young man, James was part of the British colonies that rebelled against rule from the throne. As an adult, he made his fortune in sail …

SYMHC Classics: Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning in Love

September 12th, 2020

31:30

In this 2015 episode, prior hosts Sarah and Deblina covered a poet's romance. Robert Browning's early work wasn't as well-received as Elizabeth Barrett's poetry. Yet Barrett mentioned his work in one of her poems, and …

SYMHC Classics: Croesus

September 11th, 2020

13:36

Holly and Tracy discuss the story of Croesus and how disabilities are represented in the writing of Herodotus. The topic then turns to the Igbo …

Women’s War of 1929

September 9th, 2020

39:05

The Women’s War was a response to British colonialism in Nigeria. British authorities described the group as a “hostile mob” because they didn’t …

Croesus of Lydia

September 7th, 2020

37:57

The story of the ridiculously wealthy Croesus, which was fictionalized in a number of ways, becomes a cautionary tale about pride and hubris, and …

SYMHC Classics: The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

September 5th, 2020

37:47

This 2018 episode is running in honor of Labor Day in the U.S. Memphis sanitation workers stayed off the job starting January 12, 1968 in a strike that lasted for nine weeks. This was the strike that brought Dr. Martin …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Delano and Slocum

September 4th, 2020

13:30

Tracy and Holly discuss trying to stay organized, the relevance of the Delano grape strike today, and how Joshua Slocum's story makes us think about …

Captain Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone around the World

September 2nd, 2020

42:27

Joshua Slocum was the first person known to sail around the world alone. Unlike lighthouse keeper Ida Lewis, he didn’t always enjoy that solitude – …

The Delano Grape Strike & Boycott

August 31st, 2020

46:36

The Delano Grape Strike, which led to an international boycott of table grapes as grape workers in California tried to get better pay, working conditions, and union contracts covering their work. 

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: Elbridge Gerry's Monstrous Salamander

August 29th, 2020

36:24

This 2018 episode covers Elbridge Gerry, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. Gerrymandering is the …

Behind the Scenes Minis: The White House

August 28th, 2020

13:12

Holly and Tracy talk about how this week's topic shifted from its original plan. They also discuss how slavery in the U.S. capital has been handled …

The White House and Its Legacy, Part 2

August 26th, 2020

38:32

On the second part of the discussion of White House history, Holly and Tracy first cover the gardens and landscaping, and then dig into discussion of …

The White House and Its Legacy, Part 1

August 24th, 2020

37:51

Today’s White House has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms. But that hasn’t always been the case. It also was not always called the White House, of course, and it has a LOT of history. 

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SYMHC Classics: Bracero Program

August 22nd, 2020

35:45

This 2016 episode covers a time in the the 20th century when the U.S. and Mexico had agreements in place allowing, and even encouraging, Mexican …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Hollow Earth and Canning

August 21st, 2020

17:48

Tracy and Holly talk about their personal thoughts on Symmes's hollow Earth theory, and then talk about their experiences with canning and winning …

Nicolas Appert and the Invention of Canning

August 19th, 2020

43:03

Canning dramatically changed how people around the world have dealt with food. Early canning efforts were kind of stabs in the dark, though – we …

Symmes’s Theory of Concentric Spheres

August 17th, 2020

45:40

In 1818, something about the rings of Saturn - we don't know what, exactly - led John Cleves Symmes to conclude that the Earth was hollow. And he …

SYMHC Classics: Johann Beringer's Fossils

August 15th, 2020

25:32

This 2013 episode covers Johann Beringer, the University of Wurzburg's chair of natural history and chief physician to the prince bishop in 1725. He …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Tear Gas and Coxey

August 14th, 2020

11:58

Tracy and Holly talk about the use and misuse of tear gas, and then a theory that links L. Frank Baum's work "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" to Coxey's …

Coxey’s Army

August 12th, 2020

41:29

Jacob Sechler Coxey led the first protest march on Washington, D.C. in the 1890s, with a plan to create jobs for the nation's unemployed population …

Tear Gas

August 10th, 2020

51:02

Tear gasses, or lachrymator agents, are named for the lachrymal glands, which secrete tears. But tears are just one part of it. It was developed for WWI, but of course continues to be used today.

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: The Kaiser's Chemist -- Fritz Haber

August 8th, 2020

28:08

This 2011 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina examines Fritz Haber's mixed legacy. The Nobel-Prize-winning Father of Chemical Warfare was responsible for fertilizers that fed billions, as well as poisonous …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Isabella and Wu Lien-Teh

August 7th, 2020

14:52

Holly and Tracy discuss the complexities of Isabella Bird's story, as well as the similarities between the pneumonic plague in Wu Lien-Teh's story …

Wu Lien-Teh and the Manchurian Plague

August 5th, 2020

45:43

Wu Lien-Teh was a doctor who’s most well known for his public health work and the pneumonic plague epidemic in the early 20th century.

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Isabella Lucy Bird

August 3rd, 2020

44:03

Bird is celebrated as a world traveler, though she didn’t really come into her own as a traveler until she was in her 40s. Her books about her …

SYMHC Classics: Irish Famine, Part 2

August 1st, 2020

25:15

The second episode in our revisit of the Irish Famine covers the mid-1800s, when the poorest people in Ireland ate almost nothing but potatoes, …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Seneca Village and Unearthed!

July 31st, 2020

13:02

Holly and Tracy discuss the week's topics, including their own experiences with Central Park, and a segment of the summer edition of Unearthed! that …

Unearthed! in July 2020

July 29th, 2020

51:27

This edition of Unearthed! covers episode updates, science and history discoveries, books and letters, and potpourri. And yes, there's (brief) talk about the Verona, Italy floor mosaics.

Learn more about your …

Seneca Village

July 27th, 2020

42:09

Seneca Village was a predominantly black community that built itself from the ground up. But its story is fragmented. Even though it existed at a …

SYMHC Classics: Irish Famine, Part 1

July 25th, 2020

24:15

We're revisiting a 2013 two-parter. The history lesson kids often get on the Irish Famine could be summed up as "a blight destroyed the potato crops, …

Behind the Scenes Minis: COINTELPRO

July 24th, 2020

15:27

Tracy and Holly talk about this week's two-parter on COINTELPRO, and how they both think about those initiatives.

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COINTELPRO, Part 2

July 22nd, 2020

49:41

In part two of this topic, the show looks at some of the specifics of the COINTELPROs that targeted black liberation organizations and the New Left, as well as how these programs were finally exposed to the public. 

COINTELPRO, Part 1

July 20th, 2020

46:00

FBI surveillance of people associated with the civil rights movement has come up on the show many times. Today, we’re going to talk about the history of the FBI, especially as it related to communism and “subversive …

SYMHC Classics: The Scopes Trial

July 18th, 2020

38:48

This 2017 episode covered the Scopes Trial, aka the Monkey Trial, that played out in Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925. It all stemmed from a …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Ignatius and Frank

July 17th, 2020

12:25

Tracy shares how she landed at the topic of Ignatius Sancho, and she and Holly discuss his writing style. Free Frank's unique story, and how it …

Free Frank McWorter

July 15th, 2020

40:06

Free Frank McWorter was the first black man in the U.S. to design a town and establish a multi-racial community. He did this despite having been born …

Ignatius Sancho

July 13th, 2020

39:33

Ignatius Sancho was the first black Briton known to vote in a parliamentary election – that happened in 1774. He became something of a celebrity in 18th-century London.

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SYMHC Classics: Phillis Wheatley

July 11th, 2020

39:38

This episode travels back to a 2018 episode. Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Bonsai and Flexner

July 10th, 2020

13:34

Holly and Tracy talk about the soothing nature of bonsai as well as the places in popular culture it pops up. They also unpack the complex nature of …

Abraham Flexner and the Flexner Report

July 8th, 2020

46:28

The Flexner Report in the early 20th century is often credited with changing the medical field and shaping what medical education looks like today. But this document negatively impacted medicine in the black community. 

A Brief History of Bonsai

July 6th, 2020

36:08

Bonsai’s origins go all the way back to ancient China, long before Japan became infatuated with the art form. Over time, the western world also …

SYMHC Classics: Robert Smalls - From Contraband to Congress

July 4th, 2020

32:58

The second of our 2016 episodes on Robert Smalls. After his daring and impressive escape from slavery, Smalls was considered to be contraband, which was a term used for formerly enslaved people who joined the Union. But …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Q&A and the Myth of Irish Slaves

July 3rd, 2020

16:37

Holly and Tracy share stories about touring, and the long period of time Tracy has been planning to work on the falsehood of Irish slavery.

Learn …

Why No One Talks About 'The Irish Slaves'

July 1st, 2020

45:12

This whole idea of Irish slaves distorts some things that really did happen. So today we’re going to talk about that history, and how it’s being …

SYMHC: Q & A

June 29th, 2020

1:15:52

Since the podcast isn't going on tour this year due to the pandemic, we thought it would be fun to have an episode that's something we normally do as …

SYMHC Classics: The Incredible Escape of Robert Smalls

June 27th, 2020

30:07

This 2016 episode covers Robert Smalls, who was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1839. He escaped from enslavement during the U.S. …

Behind the Scenes Minis: H.L. Hunley and Gospel Blues

June 26th, 2020

9:36

Tracy and Holly talk about Tracy's chat with Dr. Rachel Lance, and the legacy of Thomas Dorsey.

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Thomas Dorsey and the Birth of Gospel Blues

June 24th, 2020

36:35

For a long time, Dorsey lived a sort of double life creatively. When he combined the two forms of existing music he played, he created something new, and changed religious music forever. 

Learn more about your …

Interview: Dr. Rachel Lance and the H.L. Hunley

June 22nd, 2020

44:47

Tracy talks with biomedical engineer Dr. Rachel Lance about the cause of the H.L. Hunley disaster and the book that Dr. Lance wrote about the disaster and her research into the case.

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SYMHC Classics: The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

June 20th, 2020

36:40

This 2017 episode covers the story of the H.L. Hunley, which really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Atlanta History Center and James Baldwin

June 19th, 2020

13:57

Holly and Tracy discuss the nuances of what becomes historically significant in our troubled times, and then the continued relevance of James …

James Baldwin

June 17th, 2020

37:17

James Baldwin was a brilliant essayist, one of the chroniclers of the Civil Rights Movement, and a powerful voice against racism.

Learn more about …

Interviews: Atlanta History Center and Covid-19

June 15th, 2020

51:45

Holly chats with Sheffield Hale and Michael Rose of the Atlanta History Center about pandemic from the point of view of a living history institution, …

SYMHC Classics: Harlem Hellfighters

June 13th, 2020

29:54

This 2015 episode covers a black U.S. Army WWI unit that became one of the most decorated of the war. When these soldiers returned home, they were …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Public Universal Friend and Wat Tyler

June 12th, 2020

15:47

Tracy and Holly talk about the unique identity of the Public Universal Friend, as well as whether Wat Tyler's story inspired modern storytellers.

Wat Tyler and the Uprising of 1381

June 10th, 2020

42:34

There were many transitional events between the the Black Death and the Renaissance; it wasn't a case of a one leading right to the other. One of those transition events was Wat Tyler’s Rebellion, also known as the …

Public Universal Friend

June 8th, 2020

42:28

The Public Universal Friend described themself as a genderless spirit sent by God to inhabit the resurrected body of a woman named Jemima Wilkinson. 

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SYMHC Classics: Ida B. Wells-Barnett

June 6th, 2020

40:06

This 2018 episode connects to a lot of others in our archive. Ida B. Wells-Barnett fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn't …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Cannery Row & Tumanbay

June 5th, 2020

19:28

Holly and Tracy talk about the evolution of Monterey's Cannery Row and the history behind the fictional podcast Tumanbay. Their discussion then turns …

Interview: Tumanbay's John Scott Dryden

June 3rd, 2020

38:35

First, a brief discussion of current events. Then, in a conversation recorded in mid-May, Holly speaks with the creator of the historical fiction …

Cannery Row

June 1st, 2020

40:30

Monterey's Cannery Row is a busy center of tourism, but the area's history starts with indigenous people. Its association with fishing came from …

SYMHC Classics: Orphan Trains

May 30th, 2020

34:58

This 2014 episode covers the 250,000 children in the U.S. taken to new families by train from 1854 and 1929, about. Except ... they weren't called "orphan trains" at the time, the children weren't all orphans, and …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Home Ec and Practice Babies

May 29th, 2020

17:47

Tracy and Holly talk about their experiences with home economics in school, and discuss theories about childcare as it relates to practice baby …

The Practice Babies

May 27th, 2020

46:44

Practice babies were live human babies, cared for by college seniors who were temporarily living in home ec practice houses. The babies mostly came …

The Bureau of Home Economics

May 25th, 2020

46:05

For a time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had a whole bureau of home economics, which was run by and for women, and was a huge part of the …

SYMHC Classics: Phineas Gage

May 23rd, 2020

35:06

A 2013 episode about Phineas Gage, who experienced a catastrophic brain injury and survived - though altered - for more than 11 years. Over time, he became one of the world's most famous case studies in how damage to …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Fritz Duquesne

May 22nd, 2020

13:07

Holly and Tracy ponder the psychology of a lifetime of deception, and discuss the complex nature of the Boers' position in their conflict with Great …

The Spying Life of Fritz Duquesne, Part 2

May 20th, 2020

42:58

After Duquesne made it to the U.S., he started a whole new life for himself, and worked for the rest of his life as a journalist, saboteur and spy. …

The Spying Life of Fritz Duquesne, Part 1

May 18th, 2020

37:10

Duquesne changed his life story to suit his needs, worked under an estimated 40 aliases, and lived a life that directly involves a LOT of significant …

SYMHC Classics: The Dark Legacy of Sea Monkeys

May 16th, 2020

34:08

Dipping back to a 2015 episode. Despite all the fun cartoons on the packaging featuring tiny humanoid sea creatures having wacky fun and wearing clothes, Sea Monkeys are just brine shrimp. But the story of Sea Monkeys …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Bees and Grover Cleveland

May 15th, 2020

12:25

Tracy and Holly talk about the charm of bees, and the strangely intriguing nature of Grover Cleveland's tumor surgery.

Learn more about your …

Grover Cleveland’s Medical Secret

May 13th, 2020

41:25

In 1893, President Grover Cleveland noticed a rough spot on the roof of his mouth. This turned into a medical situation and led to a daring surgery that was kept secret from the public for decades. 

Learn more about …

A Brief History of Beekeeping

May 11th, 2020

43:08

Beekeeping as you might think of it today, with square hives and and a beekeeper in a white suit with a big veiled hat, is a relatively recent invention. But beekeeping has existed for thousands of years, basically all …

SYMHC Classics: John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

May 9th, 2020

33:06

This 2016 episode covers John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, which set out to create an armed revolution of emancipated slaves. Instead, it …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Asoka and Catherine

May 8th, 2020

13:13

Tracy and Holly talk about Asoka and connections to pop culture, and the revelations of Catherine the Great's devotion to the arts.

Learn more about …

Catherine the Great, Librettist

May 6th, 2020

35:53

Catherine the Great is famous for many things. But one of her lesser-known areas of interest was opera. And she loved it as both audience and creator. She wrote a number of operas during her reign, many of which were …

Aśoka the Righteous

May 4th, 2020

38:06

Aśoka ruled the Mauryan Empire on the Indian subcontinent in the third century BCE. He was a real person – and is also a legendary figure within …

SYMHC Classics: The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

May 2nd, 2020

31:36

This 2017 episode covered the beginnings of the Kentucky Derby. Since its inception, the Derby has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Emergency Medicine

May 1st, 2020

11:54

Holly and Tracy talk about their relationships with emergency medicine and 9-1-1, as well as their appreciation for medical professionals.

Learn …

Significant Moments in U.S. Emergency Medicine, Pt. 2

April 29th, 2020

37:26

In this second part of our coverage of emergency care in the U.S., we’ll talk about an important white paper that was a turning point for emergency …

Significant Moments in U.S. Emergency Medicine, Pt. 1

April 27th, 2020

34:06

In this first episode of a two-parter, we’ll be covering early emergency response services, a little bit of CPR history, and advent of the emergency care specialty for physicians. 

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SYMHC Classics: Dazzle Camouflage

April 25th, 2020

29:57

Flashback to 2014! British Royal Navy lieutenant and artist Norman Wilkinson is usually credited with the idea of disruptive camouflage. But, another man, naturalist John Graham Kerr, claimed that he had the idea three …

Host Faves: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 2

April 24th, 2020

37:31

The second 2013 episode in the story of the Haunted Mansion going from concept to fully-realized theme park attraction covers the reboot the team …

Host Faves: Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 1

April 24th, 2020

31:14

This hist fave is from 2013. One of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion -- had a development process that was anything but …

Host Faves: The Green Children of Woolpit

April 24th, 2020

38:26

In 2017 we talked about two children, green in color, who appeared in Suffolk, England in the 12th century,. The green children were written about in …

Host Faves: A Brief History of the Pietà

April 24th, 2020

38:30

This 2016 episode delves into Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding the deceased body of Christ. It's the most famous depiction of that moment in …

Host Faves: Edward Gorey

April 24th, 2020

39:56

We talked about Gorey in 2017. Based just on his art, you might imagine Edward Gorey as a dour Englishman, with the peak of his career sometime in the 1920s or '30s, whose childhood was marked with a series of tragic …

Host Faves: Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies

April 24th, 2020

33:03

This 2018 episode is about Christine de Pizan who wrote verse, military manuals, and treatises on war, peace and the just governance of a nation. She was the official biographer of King Charles V of France and wrote the …

Host Faves: Levi Strauss

April 24th, 2020

48:52

This 2018 episode tells Levi's story, which is historically interesting because it touches on a lot of important moments in U.S. history. His …

Host Faves: Annette Kellerman

April 24th, 2020

36:18

This 2017 episode covers the Australian Kellerman, who gets a lot of the credit for developing the women's one-piece bathing suit. But she was also a competitive swimmer, as well as a vaudeville and film star who …

Host Faves: The Klondike Big Inch Land Promotion

April 24th, 2020

29:58

This summer 2014 rerun features one ad company's wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. How did they manage it? …

Host Faves: The Ladies of Llangollen

April 24th, 2020

35:29

Another 2017 fave! In the late 18th century, Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, also known as the Ladies of Llangollen, abandoned their life in …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Unearthed! Spring 2020

April 24th, 2020

15:06

Tracy and Holly discuss their favorite parts of this week's Unearthed! episodes, as well as the way that our current situation causes the unearthing …

Unearthed! in Spring 2020, Part 2

April 22nd, 2020

45:54

In part two of Unearthed! in spring 2020, we're talking about edibles and potables, shipwrecks, books and letters, and other cool stuff.

Learn more …

Unearthed! in Spring 2020, Part 1

April 20th, 2020

45:54

In today’s episode, we have some stuff that was reported during the last couple of weeks of 2019, which missed the cut for the year-end Unearthed! episodes. Also, episode updates, crime, animals and games. 

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Maximilian, Mexico's Habsburg Prince

April 18th, 2020

27:39

This 2011 episode from previous hosts Deblina and Sarah covers the time when Mexico was ruled by a Habsburg prince: Ferdinand Maximilian. While …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Carlota and Larrey

April 17th, 2020

9:56

Holly and Tracy discuss Carlota of Mexico and how that topic was chosen, as well as the many connections between subjects of history. Then, talk …

Dominique-Jean Larrey and His Flying Ambulance

April 15th, 2020

41:41

While serving as a surgeon with Napoleon’s army in the 1790s, Larrey developed a system for getting wounded soldiers off the battlefield and into …

Charlotte of Belgium/Carlota of Mexico

April 13th, 2020

42:58

Charlotte and her husband Maximillian became the rulers of Mexico through a plan concocted by France's Napoleon III. But the strain of conflict …

SYMHC Classics: Butter v. Margarine

April 11th, 2020

43:09

This 2016 episode delves into how industries and governments had a really weird preoccupation with protecting people from margarine way before it was made with the hydrogenated oils that led to its unhealthy reputation …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Annie and Rinderpest

April 10th, 2020

14:02

Holly and Tracy talk about Annie Londonderry's cavalier relationship with the truth and the challenges of travel with the wrong clothes and bike. …

The End of Rinderpest

April 8th, 2020

40:53

The declaration that rinderpest had been eradicated was less than 10 years, but rinderpest’s history goes back much farther than that. And the process of eradicating the disease really illustrates how it took a …

Annie Londonderry’s Dubious Bike Trip Around the World

April 6th, 2020

43:12

Annie Londonderry gained fame for being the first woman cyclist to circumnavigate the globe. Sort of. In the 1890s, she DID circle the globe, but there are a LOT of inconsistencies in the details of her story, including …

SYMHC Classics: Ignaz Semmelweis

April 4th, 2020

37:36

We're jumping back just a couple of years to an episode on Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Strange Times and Ida Lewis

April 3rd, 2020

12:42

Holly and Tracy talk about selecting subjects for the show while living in strange times, and venture into talk about Emily Dickinson.

Learn more …

Ida Lewis, Lighthouse Keeper

April 1st, 2020

44:00

Ida Lewis lived most of her life fairly isolated on a tiny island off the coast Rhode Island. But it was a life she deeply loved. In her words, “I …

Covid-19: Living Through Historically Significant Times

March 30th, 2020

43:51

Tracy and Holly discuss what it feels like, as people who study history, to live through an event that you know will be historically significant. To …

SYMHC Classics: The Flu Epidemic of 1918

March 28th, 2020

35:05

This 2014 episode coverts he 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed somewhere between 20 million and 50 million people. Nobody cured it, or really …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Pettenkofer and Poison

March 27th, 2020

13:50

Holly and Tracy discuss the advance casualness of recording entirely from home, as well as Max von Pettenkofer's psyche, and the fairly recent rise …

Poison Control: A History

March 25th, 2020

42:58

How did the U.S. get to the point of having this one resource, specifically for poisoning, that’s so reliable and available that it gets printed on the labels of consumer products? 

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Max von Pettenkofer’s Anticontagionism

March 23rd, 2020

38:27

Pettenkofer's ideas about how cholera spread weren’t exactly right, but they still had really beneficial impacts on the way we live.

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Tagore, Erstwhile Knight

March 21st, 2020

34:36

In this 2010 episode, previous hosts Sarah and Deblina trace the life of Tagore through his childhood to knighthood and beyond.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Shortest War and Lady Baseball

March 20th, 2020

14:44

Holly and Tracy talk about aspects of Zanzibari culture that Holly had not considered prior to this week's episode, and Tracy's rewatch of "A League …

Offbeat History: The Crash at Crush and Other Train Wreck Spectacles

March 19th, 2020

33:41

In fall 2017, we talked about a strange cultural phenomenon. For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States …

Offbeat History: Marchesa Luisa Casati

March 19th, 2020

40:24

In 2017 we covered the offbeat life of Marchesa Luisa Casati. While many have admired heiress Casati over the years for her life led entirely based on her aesthetics, she was also entirely self-serving.

Learn more …

Offbeat History: Lisztomania

March 19th, 2020

32:25

In 2015, we talked about Franz Liszt, who was a pianist, a composer and a conductor, and basically the first rock star who drove fans into fits of …

Offbeat History: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 2

March 19th, 2020

29:50

The second part of this offbeat revisit! As the New York Sun's series of astonishing moon discoveries concluded, most people recognized that it was a hoax. But what made people buy into the tall tale in the first place?

Offbeat History: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 1

March 19th, 2020

30:08

This offbeat 2015 episode covers a series of 1835 news articles about some utterly mind-blowing discoveries made by Sir John Herschel about the lunar surface. The serial had everything: moon poppies, goat-like unicorns, …

Offbeat History: Hennig Brand and the Discovery of Phosphorus

March 19th, 2020

35:13

It's a 2019 show about urine! Spoiler alert: Hennig Brand discovered phosphorous by boiling pee. But he was trying to do something else: He thought the secret to the philosopher’s stone might be found in urine. 

Learn …

Offbeat History: A Culinary History of Spam

March 19th, 2020

32:30

Back in 2014, we tackled SPAM's story. This famous Hormel Foods product was invented in the 1930s to make use of a surplus of shoulder meat from …

Offbeat History: The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints

March 19th, 2020

35:20

In October 2017, we talked about mysterious prints that looked like hoof marks appeared all over the English seaside county of Devon in February 1855.

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Offbeat History: The American Hippo Ranch Plan, Part 2

March 19th, 2020

30:18

We continue out offbeat 2015 story. Once the effort to import hippos to the U.S. got the backing of a politician, two men with intertwined histories, …

Offbeat History: The American Hippo Ranch Plan, Part 1

March 19th, 2020

25:40

An offbeat episode from 2015: In 1910, the U.S. a meat shortage, and a water hyacinth overgrowth problem. The obvious solution to the dilemma: Import …

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

March 18th, 2020

39:30

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was founded in 1943, and it went on for years after WWII. These women were athletes, some of whom thought they were starting on a career in professional baseball.

Anglo-Zanzibar War

March 16th, 2020

34:19

Zanzibar is a relatively tiny place, but its place in history is significant, largely because of its geographical position. Its value as a trading port led it, over time, to be the location of what’s often called the …

SYMHC Classics: Why did a riot start over Shakespeare?

March 14th, 2020

30:56

This 2011 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina covers an often-requested topic. Shakespeare is typically associated with cultural …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Insulin

March 13th, 2020

11:13

Tracy and Holly discuss diabetes, insulin, and the moral complexities that are often part of scientific research.

Learn more about your ad-choices …

The Discovery of Insulin, Part 2

March 11th, 2020

45:17

Last time we talked about how diabetes has been described through history, including treatment before the development of insulin. Today, we’re …

A History of Diabetes, Pre Insulin, Part 1

March 9th, 2020

40:47

To lead into discussing the discovery of insulin, today we have a history of diabetes and its treatment in the centuries before insulin was …

SYMHC Classics: A Brief History of Peanut Butter

March 7th, 2020

42:37

This 2015 episode delves into how peanut butter got its name in the 18th century, but it's been around in some form for hundreds and hundreds of years. Its modern history features changes to the recipe and even a little …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Morandi and Kemmler

March 6th, 2020

15:37

Tracy and Holly discuss the ways in which the sexes were perceived during the time of Anna Morandi Manzolini and the aspects of Kemmler's story that …

The Electrocution of William Kemmler

March 4th, 2020

36:21

After committing a brutal murder, William Kemmler was the first man to be put to death in the electric chair, at a time when a great deal of conflict and controversy swirled around the death penalty. 

Learn more about …

The Wax Anatomy of Anna Morandi Manzolini

March 2nd, 2020

43:29

In 18th-century Bologna, one of the most skilled and renowned anatomists and wax model makers was a woman named Anna Morandi Manzolini. Working first …

SYMHC Classics: The Boston Massacre

February 29th, 2020

29:17

Today we revisit a 2013 episode about the Boston Massacre. That sounds like the slaughter of many innocents, but the reality is smaller and not nearly so one-sided. But there's a reason why we call it a massacre. And …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Leicester and Dr. Calinda Lee

February 28th, 2020

12:31

Holly and Tracy discuss the relationship between the Hemingway brothers and the challenges of claiming one's own island. Holly also shares her …

Interview: Dr. Calinda Lee of the Atlanta History Center

February 26th, 2020

59:56

Holly was joined in the studio by historian Dr. Calinda Lee to talk about her work with the Atlanta History Center, and specifically the new exhibit …

Leicester Hemingway

February 24th, 2020

39:08

Leicester Hemingway's life was very much lived in the shadow of his brother. It isn’t until after Ernest Hemingway’s death that Leicester made his …

SYMHC Classics: The Sham Battle and Cochecho Massacre

February 22nd, 2020

25:33

This 2015 episode revisits an event that was half performance for the British troops, and half actual sham. It led to an attack on Dover by the Pennacook tribe in 1689.

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Behind the Scenes Minis: Croquet and King Philip

February 21st, 2020

14:52

Holly and Tracy cover their experiences with croquet and historical stories that didn't fit into the episode, and then discuss the challenges in …

King Philip’s War

February 19th, 2020

40:02

King Philip’s War was an armed conflict primarily between English colonists and Indigenous nations in what’s now New England, although there were …

Croquet History

February 17th, 2020

33:52

Croquet's origins are murky, but because of its relative ease of play and low barrier of entry, it went through a surge in popularity almost as soon …

SYMHC Classics: Archaeology and Harvard Indian College

February 15th, 2020

52:01

We're revisiting a 2015 episode, where Holly chats with archaeologists Patricia Capone and Diana Loren about Harvard's Indian College, the school's …

Behind the Scenes Minis: ERA and Paul Cuffe

February 14th, 2020

16:02

Tracy and Holly discuss the nuances of the Equal Rights Amendment's history, and the whaling industry that we discussed in the biography of Quaker …

Paul Cuffe: Sea Captain, Philanthropist, Pan-Africanist

February 12th, 2020

37:47

Cuffe protested taxation, built wealth for himself in whaling, became a Quaker and used his fortune for the betterment of others. He was also an …

(Almost) 100 Years of the Equal Rights Amendment

February 10th, 2020

46:15

The first version of the equal right amendment was first proposed almost 100 years ago. This amendment has been through cycles of support and opposition, but one thing that’s held true is that the loudest voices on both …

SYMHC Classics: Jamaica's Maroon Wars

February 8th, 2020

37:22

This 2017 episode delves into the story of the Jamaican Maroons. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica's Maroon communities clashed with British …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Sand and Activism-ins

February 7th, 2020

19:04

Holly and Tracy talk about George Sand's defiance against social convention, and the difficulty in discussing certain aspects of their most recent …

Six Impossible Episodes: Other Ins

February 5th, 2020

54:12

We've talked about sit-ins on the show before. This time, we’re looking at other -ins – direct action demonstrations and similar protests that have some similarities to the sit-in movement. 

Learn more about your …

George Sand: Novelist, Muse and Gender Bender

February 3rd, 2020

46:44

She was an incredibly famous writer of incredible output. Her behavior and personal style were almost as talked about as her novels, and these factors combined made her into a figure that was admired by many, despised …

SYMHC Classics: Freedom Riders

February 1st, 2020

39:51

The Freedom Rides were happening at about the same time as the sit-in movement of the 1960s that we talked about this week – and involved some of the …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Friedrich and the Greensboro Sit-ins

January 31st, 2020

17:41

Holly and Tracy discuss one of Caspar David Friedrich's paintings that wasn't part of the episode on him. They also discuss Tracy's experience in …

Upcoming Special Edition of The Soundtrack Show

January 30th, 2020

3:07

David W. Collins recently sat down for a conversation with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez to talk about their Oscar-nominated songwriting …

The Lunch Counter Sit-ins, Greensboro and Beyond

January 29th, 2020

43:13

On Feb. 1, 1960, four students sat down at a segregated lunch counter at the F.W. Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina. It started with just …

Caspar David Friedrich

January 27th, 2020

34:49

Friedrich's painting career, most closely associated with the German romantic movement, continues to influence and inspire artists today. In his own time, his work was both lauded and controversial, and then fell out of …

SYMHC Classics: Wallis Simpson & Nazi King

January 25th, 2020

40:02

This is two 2010 classics from previous hosts Katie and Sarah, covering the relationship of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, the abdication crisis …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Lord Elgin

January 24th, 2020

16:02

In today's casual Friday chat, Tracy and Holly discuss the Elgin marbles and the complex issues that museums face regarding the repatriation of …

Lord Elgin and the Parthenon Sculptures, Part 2

January 22nd, 2020

48:56

Today's episode covers how the removal of Ancient Greek artifacts from Greece by Lord Elgin played out, how these sculptures became part of the …

Lord Elgin and the Parthenon Sculptures, Part 1

January 20th, 2020

39:59

Starting in 1801, the Seventh Earl of Elgin removed many classical Greek sculptures from Greece, particularly from the Parthenon and other monuments …

SYMHC Classics: The Ghost Army

January 18th, 2020

32:25

We’re revisiting a 2015 episode about the U.S. Ghost Army, a top-secret group assembled to create confusion and mislead Axis forces during WWII. 

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Behind the Scenes Minis: André Le Nôtre

January 17th, 2020

15:14

Holly and Tracy discuss the great master gardener's work, delve into the moral implications of opulence, and weigh those against the value of the …

André Le Nôtre, Part 2

January 15th, 2020

38:39

In part one, we talked about Le Nôtre's early years and his work at Vaux-le-Vicomte. Today, we'll pick up with his incredible achievements designing and executing the gardens of Versailles and his later life.

Learn …

André Le Nôtre, Part 1

January 13th, 2020

35:28

Le Nôtre's work defined the French formal garden in the 17th century. Today in part one, we’re going to cover his life up to a project that was controversial not for Le Nôtre's part in it, but because of its …

SYMHC Classics: Hokusai

January 11th, 2020

31:48

We're revisiting our 2015 episode on Hokusai, who lived during a time when there was not a lot of contact between Japan and the West. But even so, he drew some influence form Western art, and Western art was greatly …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Joan Curran and Murasaki Shikibu

January 10th, 2020

13:16

On today's casual Friday talk, Tracy and Holly talk about the surprising level of recognition Joan Curran got from male contemporaries, war debris, …

Murasaki Shikibu and the Tale of Genji

January 8th, 2020

39:05

Murasaki Shikibu, sometimes known in English as Lady Murasaki, lived during Japan’s Heian period. She was a lady-in-waiting to Empress Shoshi, and is credited with writing the Japanese classic literature work, "Tale of …

Joan Strothers Curran and Radar Countermeasures

January 6th, 2020

31:57

Curran was a Welsh scientist who developed a system of thwarting radar for the Allied forces in WWII. What we know of her work is entirely pieced …

SYMHC Classics: The Riotous Life of Caravaggio

January 4th, 2020

25:53

This classic from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina explores the controversial life of Caravaggio. He may not be as well-known as Leonardo da Vinci, but this amazing painter has been receiving more and more attention in …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Unearthed! in December 2019

January 3rd, 2020

8:48

In discussing this week's episodes, Tracy explains how she tracks news stories on her Unearthed! Pinterest board, and she and Holly theorize about …

Unearthed! in December 2019, Part 2

January 1st, 2020

38:26

It’s part two of our year-end Unearthed! Today, we have some longtime listener favorites, including edibles and potables, Otzi, and exhumations. And some other stuff – beginning with several studies about what exactly …

Unearthed! in December 2019, Part 1

December 30th, 2019

36:51

It’s time for the end-of-the-year edition of Unearthed! Today we have episode updates, books and letters, shipwrecks, and animal finds, among a few other categories. Next time we’ll have the edibles and potables, …

SYMHC Classics: Haile Selassie

December 28th, 2019

34:24

Haile Selassie wasn't just the last emperor of Ethiopia -- he is also hailed as a messiah. In this classic episode from 2011, previous hosts Deblina and Sarah explore the astonishing life of Haile Selassie.

Learn more …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Aspirin and Lalibela

December 27th, 2019

11:39

On this casual Friday chat, Tracy and Holly share their thoughts on the history of aspirin, as well as the amazing churches carved from stone in …

Ethiopia's Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela

December 25th, 2019

41:20

The complex at Lalibela was excavated from volcanic rock about 700 years ago, and has been in continuous use since then. It's connected to the …

Holiday Bonus! NORAD Tracking Santa: A Cold War History

December 24th, 2019

38:25

Just a little Christmas Eve cheer for our listeners as everyone keeps an eye out for Santa! It's our 2017 episode about how NORAD started tracking Santa. There’s some myth-busting here, and maybe the tiniest bit of …

The Invention of Aspirin

December 23rd, 2019

35:09

From its natural base substance, salicin, to the invention of its synthetic derivative form that we still use, the story of aspirin has its own controversy and conflict, including whether the proper chemist has been …

SYMHC Classics: Not Ned - Bushrangers in Later Years

December 21st, 2019

23:20

This 2011 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina continues the bushranger discussion. After 1853, many bushrangers were native-born. Ben Hall …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Chien-Shiung Wu and Helium

December 20th, 2019

13:00

It's easy to marvel at the work of scientists, both in terms of the scientific concepts themselves and in the ways scientists behave. Both of those things, as well as foreign language verb tense, feature in this casual …

The Discovery of Helium

December 18th, 2019

35:48

Helium and humankind's understanding of it sits at the earliest intersection of astronomy and chemistry. The story of its discovery also features two scientists who were working on similar ideas concurrently, with a …

Chien-Shiung Wu, First Lady of Physics

December 16th, 2019

37:26

She was one of the greatest experimental physicists of her era, publishing influential papers before she was even out of graduate school. She made …

SYMHC Classics: Not Ned - Early Australian Bushrangers

December 14th, 2019

26:14

While Ned Kelly may be the most famous bushranger, he's certainly not the only one. Join previous hosts Deblina and Sarah as they explore the lives of early bush rangers in this 2011 classic.

Learn more about your …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Wegener and Italian Hall

December 13th, 2019

12:18

Tracy and Holly spend a few moments discussing the career of Alfred Wegener, and the needless tragedy of the events of the Italian Hall Disaster.

Italian Hall Disaster

December 11th, 2019

37:14

The Italian Hall disaster happened during a strike in Michigan’s copper country, which lasted from the summer of 1913 to the early spring of 1914. On Christmas Eve, a tragic event played out that claimed the lives of …

Alfred Wegener, Beyond the Drift Dispute

December 9th, 2019

39:55

Alfred Wegener had a HUGE career outside of his ideas around what we now understand as plate tectonics, which had both detractors and supporters. He …

SYMHC Classics: Ned Kelly's Last Stand

December 7th, 2019

24:59

In 2011, previous hosts Sarah and Deblina talked about Ned Kelly, Australia's most famous bushranger. He became an outlaw in 1878, and his gang …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Barbecue and Holiday Figures

December 6th, 2019

14:28

On today's casual chat, Tracy and Holly discuss their Texas tour, regional barbecue styles, and the holiday figures in the fourth installment of the …

Krampus and Friends Holiday Special, Part 4

December 4th, 2019

32:03

Our holiday special is back! We're once again looking at holiday figures from around the world. Today, we’re going to have a mix of Scandinavian and …

SYMHC Live: A Brief (U.S.) History of Barbecue

December 2nd, 2019

53:26

In November, we toured Texas! So we selected the very apt topic of barbecue. Barbecue is deeply tied to language and history and culture, especially …

SYMHC Classics: The Booth Conspiracy

November 30th, 2019

32:25

This 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina covers John Wilkes Booth's escape, his co-conspirators' attacks against other officials, and …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Belinfante and Chutz-POW!

November 29th, 2019

12:40

It's Chutz-POW! week! Tracy and Holly discuss some of the details about Frieda Belinfante's life that didn't make it into Monday's episode, and talk …

Interviews: The Team Behind 'Chutz-POW!'

November 27th, 2019

54:23

We're joined by three members of the team that works on the "Chutz-POW!" comic books series. Birdie Willis, Jackie Reese and Marcel Walker join Holly …

Frieda Belinfante – Musician and Resistance Agent

November 25th, 2019

39:26

Frieda Belinfante is inspiring as a musician, breaking gender barriers in becoming a conductor. She was also a member of the Dutch resistance, who risked her life again and again during WWII in defiance of the German …

SYMHC Classics: Alice Roosevelt

November 23rd, 2019

34:19

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about Alice Roosevelt. The eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt was a firebrand who never shied away from the public eye. She was nicknamed "the Second Washington Monument" because of …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Occupation of Alcatraz

November 22nd, 2019

10:16

Tracy and Holly talk about the episodes that made up this week's two-parter on the Occupation of Alcatraz, including how they learned about Native …

The Occupation of Alcatraz, Part 2

November 20th, 2019

44:39

The Occupation of Alcatraz started 50 years ago on November 20, 1969 and went on for a year and a half. Last time, we talked about context and the events that led up to the occupation. Today we'll cover how the …

The Occupation of Alcatraz, Part 1

November 18th, 2019

44:02

This episode gives context for the Occupation of Alcatraz, including a brief survey of U.S. government policy toward Native people from the colonial …

Our Sister Show: This Day In History Class

November 17th, 2019

5:08

Holly and Tracy wanted to share a sample of the spinoff of Stuff You Missed in History Class: This Day in History Class. Every day, host Yves …

SYMHC Classics: Johann Dippel and the Elixir of Life

November 16th, 2019

32:00

This 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina covers Johann Dippel. Originally a theology student, Dippel began dabbling in chemistry, …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Photos, Quakes and Fires

November 15th, 2019

14:29

Holly and Tracy talk casually about the week's episodes, featuring the photography career of Frances Johnston and the devastation of San Francisco in …

San Francisco 1906: The Great Quake and Fires

November 13th, 2019

39:26

On the morning of April 18, 1906, an event that lasted less than a minute changed San Francisco forever. An earthquake and a series of fires devastated much of the city and had long-term ramifications. 

Learn more …

The Photography of Frances Benjamin Johnston

November 11th, 2019

36:46

Fannie Johnston is tied to SO MANY people and events that we have talked about on the show before. She’s like a history nexus point. And she was able to make a very nice living for herself as a photographer in the late …

SYMHC Classics: The Tulsa Race Riot and Black Wall Street

November 9th, 2019

30:35

This 2014 episode came up recently because of the event's inclusion on a television show. "Black Wall Street" was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant …

Behind the Scenes Minis: Witchfinder and Baby Sideshow

November 8th, 2019

12:57

This is a new feature for the show! On these Friday minisodes, Tracy and Holly will talk in more candid terms about the week's episodes and their …

Dr. Couney's Baby Sideshow

November 6th, 2019

34:52

Couney ran incubator sideshows, featuring premature babies. This is complicated -Couney was making money from these attractions, and his medical experience was questionable. But at the same time, premature babies …

Matthew Hopkins and The Discovery of Witches

November 4th, 2019

44:10

England’s largest and deadliest set of witch trials were largely influenced by one man – Matthew Hopkins, who was known as the Witchfinder General, even though that doesn’t seem to have been an official title given to …

SYMHC Classics: Maria Tallchief

November 2nd, 2019

32:24

Reaching back to a 2014 episode on Maria Tallchief, a Native American dancer who was the first grand ballerina of the United States. Through her partnership with famed choreographer George Balanchine, she helped shape …

SYMHC Live: William Mumler's Spirit Photography

October 30th, 2019

55:20

In the 1860s, Mumler rose to fame as a photographer of spirits. Whether Mumler was earnest or was just fleecing people is a tricky question, in part because while evidence mounted against him, he always professed his …

The Greenbrier Ghost

October 28th, 2019

34:18

The story of Zona Heaster Shue's death and subsequent appearances to her mother as an apparition are often referred to as the only case in the U.S. when a ghost’s testimony convicted a murderer. But of course, there’s a …

SYMHC Classics: Accused by a Ghost!

October 26th, 2019

26:17

This 2012 episode is from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. In the early 1760s, the so-called Cock Lane Ghost haunted a London home, communicating through knocks. The ghost accused her former partner of poisoning her. …

The Catacombs of Paris

October 23rd, 2019

39:06

The Catacombs contain the bones of an estimated 6 to 7 million people. Their history is really two interconnected stories of mines and human remains, because in the 18th century, Paris was dealing with two huge problems …

F.W. Murnau, Director of the Nosferatu

October 21st, 2019

39:01

Murnau is most well known for directing the first vampire film, but the German-born creator went on to make a number of influential films before his early death.

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SYMHC Classics: The Lady Who Turned to Soap

October 19th, 2019

27:09

We're revisiting a 2015 episode on a very fascinating corpse. Saponification is the process of turning to soap, and in certain conditions, cadavers do it. The Soap Lady is one of the most famous cases of an …

SYMHC Live: Mysteries of the Color Blue

October 16th, 2019

47:33

Blue is the most popular color in many parts of the world, and it can seem like it's everywhere. . But many ancient languages didn’t have a word for …

Jeanne Baret

October 14th, 2019

34:42

Baret was the first woman known to circumnavigate the globe. But her experience wasn’t just about the travel – she was working, and her work took her to places that were totally unexpected for someone of her gender and …

SYMHC Classics: The Case of the Colorado Cannibal, Alferd Packer

October 12th, 2019

26:49

It's an unsettling 2012 episode! In the winter of 1873, Alferd Packer led gold prospectors into the Rockies, but harsh conditions soon set them off …

Commercial Aviation in the U.S., Part 2

October 9th, 2019

58:01

In this episode, we’ll go from the international agreement that prepared for a global airline industry up to the deregulation of U.S. commercial …

Commercial Aviation in the U.S., Part 1

October 7th, 2019

34:47

Since the possibility of air travel became a reality, many entrepreneurs were trying to figure out a way to make flight into a business. This first of two parts covers those early efforts, and the growth of the airline …

SYMHC Classics: Beast of Gevaudan

October 5th, 2019

33:39

This 2014 episode covers attacks on women and children of Gevaudan in the 1760s, which sparked a huge push to hunt and kill the mystery beast behind them. While efforts to track the animal struggled, France was gripped …

The Black Sox Scandal

October 2nd, 2019

43:33

Some of the Chicago White Sox players confessed to taking a bribe to lose the 1919 World Series on purpose, but they never admitted to actually …

Unearthed! In Autumn 2019

September 30th, 2019

48:00

As promised in July, we have some Unearthed this fall! We've got past episode updates,  cannonballs, things that are oldests and firsts, textiles, …

SYMHC Classics: The Doctors' Riot of 1788

September 28th, 2019

27:23

We're revising a 2014 episode today. In the late 1700s, medical colleges needed cadavers for educational dissection, but there were no legal means …

Interview: Sarah Roberts of the Atlanta History Center

September 25th, 2019

1:00:25

Holly sat down with Sarah Roberts, the Vice President of Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections at the Atlanta History Center, to talk about making …

Robert Liston, Surgical Pioneer

September 23rd, 2019

40:30

Liston is most known for a tale about how multiple deaths resulted from one of his surgeries. But that means that his entire biography as a surgeon …

SYMHC Classics: Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street

September 21st, 2019

34:46

Today's classic from 2014 features Hetty Green. She was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., skilled when it came to amassing a fortune. But her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a …

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

September 18th, 2019

45:00

She was the Spanish empire’s most widely published poet of her time, and her work has survived until today, but not her own thoughts about much of her life. Consequently, her life, and her very complex poetry, has been …

The Success of Pastellist Rosalba Carriera

September 16th, 2019

31:56

Venetian portraitist Carriera achieved a surprising level of success in the male-dominated European art world of the early 1700s. Her work helped …

SYMHC Classics: John Harvey Kellogg

September 14th, 2019

37:10

We're revisiting a 2013 episode about John Harvey Kellogg. His last name is famous for breakfast cereal, but was a 19th-century doctor with some unique (and groundbreaking) beliefs about health and wellness.His Battle …

The 1954 Guatemalan Coup Part 2

September 11th, 2019

49:30

United Fruit Company was Guatemala’s largest employer and largest single landowner when the October Revolution took place. It also controlled the …

The 1954 Guatemalan Coup Part 1

September 9th, 2019

39:15

The 1954 coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Guatemala was orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Part one will outline the various influences leading up to the coup, including the …

SYMHC Classics: The Sinking of the S-5

September 7th, 2019

36:02

Today's episode is a classic from November 2014. 1920, the S-5 left the Boston Navy Yard on its first mission, with a crew of 36 officers and enlisted men. While performing a crash dive as part of a performance …

The Impious Philosophy of Anaxagoras

September 4th, 2019

34:21

Anaxagoras and his work in unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos crossed the boundaries between philosophy and astronomy.. And it was, in many ways WAY ahead of its time –  ahead enough that he was criminally charged …

The Great English Convent Case of 1869

September 2nd, 2019

49:44

This case fed an already growing anti-Catholic movement in England in the 1860s. Additionally, it played on the shock of women being incredibly cruel …

SYMHC Classics: The Catalpa and the Fremantle Six

August 31st, 2019

29:59

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about an international jailbreak! In the 1860s, a crew from the United States mounted a mission to Western Australia to rescue imprisoned members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who …

Sarah Josepha Hale & Godey’s Lady’s Book

August 28th, 2019

41:07

Godey’s Lady’s Book was the most popular magazine in the U.S. in the middle of the 19th century. Although it’s most well-known for its hand-tinted …

John Wilkins and His 1640s Lunar Exploration Plans

August 26th, 2019

34:30

In the 1600s, John Wilkins was planning out what he thought it would take for humans to travel to the moon. Wilkins managed to ride out a rocky time …

SYMHC Classics: Elizabeth Blackwell, America's First Female M.D

August 24th, 2019

34:12

Today we revisit a 2014 episode. Dr. Blackwell had no interest in medicine as a child. But she paved the way for women who came after her and changed the face of medicine in the U.S.

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Benjamin Lay, the Quaker Comet

August 21st, 2019

45:18

Benjamin Lay was a Quaker and a radical abolitionist who lived in the period between when the Religious Society of Friends began and when it started …

The Rise of the Traffic Light

August 19th, 2019

35:07

There are multiple contenders when it comes to the question of who invented the traffic light. This episode looks at a few of the moments in traffic …

SYMHC Classics: Diogenes of Sinope

August 17th, 2019

29:08

Today we reach back to our 2015 episode on Diogenes of Sinope, the father of the Cynicism school of philosophy. He was also an incredibly eccentric …

A Brief History of Thalidomide, Part 2

August 14th, 2019

36:46

We’re finishing out our two-parter on thalidomide. This episode covers the response, including criminal trials, changes to drug laws, and debates …

A Brief History of Thalidomide, Part 1

August 12th, 2019

40:27

Thalidomide has been described as the biggest man made medical disaster of all time. This first part covers what thalidomide is, the animal testing that lead its manufacturer to market it as safe, and its release into …

SYMHC Classics: Freya of Arabia

August 10th, 2019

32:05

Today revisits a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. After a childhood spent roaming Europe, Freya Stark began saving money to take Arabic lessons. Once fluent, she traveled into areas few outsiders had …

The Peterloo Massacre

August 7th, 2019

37:50

The Peterloo Massacre took place during a peaceful protest for parliamentary reform in Manchester, England. And there was a lot feeding into why …

William Maclure and New Harmony’s Boatload of Knowledge

August 5th, 2019

35:41

When Robert Owen founded his utopian community, he wanted to have the best minds he could find running the educational system. He recruited William …

SYMHC Classics: The Klondike Big Inch Land Promotion

August 3rd, 2019

29:53

Today we revisit a fun 2014 episode. In the mid-20th century, one ad company had a wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal …

SYMHC Live: The New Harmony Utopias

July 31st, 2019

1:01:02

We did a live show for the Indiana Historical Society about the town of New Harmony, Indiana in the window from 1815-1827. In that period, two different communal societies occupied the town, one right after the other. …

Unearthed in July, Part 2

July 29th, 2019

47:01

Part two of this year's Unearthed! in July features some longtime listener favorites like edibles, potables and of course shipwrecks.   

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Heaven on Earth, the Brook Farm Community

July 27th, 2019

36:18

Today we revisit a 2013 episode. In the 1840s, Boston's West Roxbury suburb -- which was completely rural at the time -- was home to an experiment in transcendentalist utopian living: the Brook Farm community. The idea …

Unearthed in July, Part 1

July 24th, 2019

42:58

It's time for the July edition of Unearthed! And this one is in two parts! Today, we have updates and connections to previous episodes. Then some …

Thomas Harriot: Mathematician, Astronomer, Relative Unknown

July 22nd, 2019

38:35

Harriot's story is tied to SO MANY other notable historic things, including a lot of business with Sir Walter Raleigh. He’s really not a household …

SYMHC Classics: Charles IX of France

July 20th, 2019

35:09

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about French royalty. Much like many of the other mad royals that have been discussed on the podcast through the years, Charles IX of France was prone to fits of rage so intense that …

The Port Chicago Disaster

July 17th, 2019

45:02

This was the worst stateside disaster in the United States during World War II. Apart from being a horrific tragedy, the disaster itself and its aftermath were threaded through with racism and injustice. 

Learn more …

Ferdinand and Barbara, Married Mad Royals

July 15th, 2019

33:57

Despite ascending to power in a court filled with intrigue, juggling relations with Britain and France, and both likely having mental health conditions, the reign of Ferdinand VI of Spain and his wife Barbara was …

SYMHC Classics: Ibn Battuta, the Traveler of Islam

July 13th, 2019

37:50

Today we revisit an episode from 2017 about Ibn Battuta, whose 14th-century travels were extensive. He was away from home for roughly 24 years and during that time traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and …

Fearless, Feisty and Unflagging: The Women of Gettysburg

July 10th, 2019

42:33

Military history rarely focuses on the women who lived through conflict and worked on recovery efforts. This episode covers women who assisted troops, buried the dead, nursed the wounded, and managed to survive the …

Thomas Cook, John Cook, and the Rise of the Tourism Industry

July 8th, 2019

34:21

Thomas Cook and his son John Mason Cook were pioneers of the idea of a travel agency to manage tourist holidays. But Thomas Cook was initially …

SYMHC Classics: Hartford Circus Fire

July 6th, 2019

29:29

This 2015 episode covers an event in 1944, when one of the most disastrous fires in U.S. history broke out during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance. Dozens of lives were lost and hundreds of …

Hatshepsut and the Expeditions to Punt

July 3rd, 2019

44:44

One of our biggest sources of information on Punt comes from Hatshepsut, who sent a huge expedition there in the 15th century B.C.E. The expedition to Punt is also an important and illustrative part of Hatshepsut’s …

Sylvia of Hollywood – Beauty Consultant to the Stars

July 1st, 2019

43:34

In the 1920s and 1930s, Sylvia was famous for shaping up starlets, cementing the idea that Hollywood’s beauties were aspirational figures for the …

SYMHC Classics: The Compton's Cafeteria Riot

June 29th, 2019

27:24

This episode reached back to 2015 for some LGBTQ history. In 1966, a restaurant in San Francisco's Tenderloin district was the site of a violent …

Marie Laurencin: Avante-garde Painter of Paris

June 26th, 2019

41:57

Laurencin is a difficult painter to study. In addition to her work not quite falling in line with the artists who were her contemporaries, her …

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919

June 24th, 2019

39:15

The 1919 strike is the largest in Canada’s history, and shut Winnipeg down. While the strike started out as a simple labor dispute, there were many …

SYMHC Classics: Good Humor v. Popsicle

June 22nd, 2019

32:43

Today we revisit a fun episode from 2015. There was a time when Popsicle and Good Humor couldn't stop suing one another about frozen treats on …

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 2

June 19th, 2019

39:51

After being forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by her husband, Elizabeth Packard began advocating for herself as well as the improvement of treatment in such facilities. After her release, she lobbied for reform to …

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 1

June 17th, 2019

36:21

Elizabeth Packard’s marriage started out well, but soon, her questioning nature exploration of new ideas about religion led her husband to decide she was mentally ill. He had her forcibly committed to the Illinois State …

SYMHC Classics: Sisi - The Empress of Austria and Her Cult of Beauty

June 15th, 2019

35:46

We're traveling back to 2011 for this one! Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sisi, is often considered the public's "favorite" member of the Habsburgs. She only reluctantly carried out her duties, but her …

The General Slocum Disaster

June 12th, 2019

37:21

The P.S. General Slocum burned in the East River in New York on June 15, 1904. It had been chartered for a group outing that suddenly became a deadly maritime disaster.

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The Advent of Radioiodine Therapy

June 10th, 2019

30:42

Humans have recognized thyroid disease for thousands of years. But in the 1930s. Saul Hertz had an insight after hearing a physicist's lecture that …

SYMHC Classics: Mad King Ludwig Dines Alone

June 8th, 2019

30:23

In this 2010 episode, previous hosts Katie and Sarah look at Ludwig II of Bavaria. From his opulent, solitary dinners to the amazing Neuschwanstein …

A Brief History of Doughnuts

June 5th, 2019

38:08

Making basic pastes or doughs and frying them has been part of human civilization for centuries. From this, the doughnut eventually evolved, and also …

Red Summer, 1919

June 3rd, 2019

41:26

In the summer of 1919, a wave of racist violence played out in the U.S. In many ways, the violence of Red Summer was a response to (but NOT caused …

SYMHC Classics: Lakshmi Bai -- Who is India's Joan of Arc?

June 1st, 2019

36:37

Today we revisit a 2011 episode of the podcast. Lakshmi Bai was born into wealthy family in 1830, but she was far from the typical aristocrat. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the life and work of Lakshmi Bai, …

Samuel Pepys, Beyond the Diary

May 29th, 2019

41:31

We’re coming up on the 350th anniversary of Pepys’ last diary entry, written May 31, 1669, so it seemed like a good time to take a closer look not just at the diary, but also at who Pepys was beyond his famous chronicle …

The Limerick Soviet

May 27th, 2019

33:12

For two weeks in 1919, the city of Limerick went on a labor strike. During that time, the strike committee managed the workings of the city, including food supplies, and it even began printing its own currency. 

Learn …

SYMHC Classics: A Brief History of Time Capsules

May 25th, 2019

39:22

Today, we're revisiting an episode from 2015! People feel very strongly about time capsules, even though the contents are often a little …

The 'Mysterious' Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur

May 22nd, 2019

44:35

When Arthur was selected as the Republican party’s vice presidential nominee in 1880, questions arose about whether he had been born in the United States and consequently whether he was eligible to be vice president at …

To the Hon. Chester A. Arthur; Respectfully, Julia I. Sand

May 20th, 2019

41:37

In 1882 and 1883, decades before women had the right to vote, Julia Sand wrote a series of letters to President Chester A. Arthur that may have …

SYMHC Classics: Lili'uokalan -- Who Was the Last Queen of Hawaii?

May 18th, 2019

21:43

Today we're revisiting a 2010 episode from previous hosts Katie and Sarah. Born in 1838, Lili'uokalani became the queen of Hawaii in 1891. Unfortunately, she was destined to be Hawaii's last monarch. Listen in and learn …

The Showings of Julian of Norwich

May 15th, 2019

42:08

Julian was a medieval mystic who wrote down her visions, which she called showings. In this episode,  we talk about her life in context of mysticism …

Godzilla: The Start of His Story

May 13th, 2019

37:04

When Godzilla first hit the big screen, there was no intention that it would launch a film franchise that would run for decades. Director Ishiro …

SYMHC Classics: Kamehameha The Great

May 11th, 2019

23:41

We're traveling back to 2010 to revisit this one from the archive! Born shortly after the appearance of Halley's comet over Hawai'i in 1758, …

They Were Her Property: An Interview With Stephanie Jones-Rogers

May 8th, 2019

39:34

Holly was lucky enough to chat with historian Stephanie Jones-Rogers, author of “They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American …

Alice Hamilton and the Birth of Occupational Medicine

May 6th, 2019

33:16

Dr. Alice Hamilton was a trailblazer in science and medicine, and dedicated her life to improving the workplace standards for laborers in an effort to reduce illnesses that came from working with toxic chemicals.

Learn …

SYMHC Classics: The Bawdy House Riots of 1668

May 4th, 2019

29:59

We're going back to a 2016 episode today. In early modern London, there was a tradition of sorts where apprentices would amass on holidays and …

Evil May-day Riots

May 1st, 2019

37:00

On May Day in 1517 a riot was carried out by apprentices, journeymen and other workers. While this was an uprising of laborers, this incident, called the Evil May-day or Ill May-day, was also rooted in immigration and …

Hennig Brand and the Discovery of Phosphorus

April 29th, 2019

36:51

Spoiler alert: Hennig Brand discovered phosphorous by boiling pee. And phosphorous is the first element whose discoverer we can name. But he was really trying to do something else: He thought the secret to the …

SYMHC Classics: Secret Science - Alchemy!

April 27th, 2019

26:36

We're revisiting an episode from Sarah and Deblina from 2011. Many think of alchemy as a fool's pursuit, but alchemy has a rich history closely tied …

Smithsonian American Art Museum: An Interview With Stephanie Stebich

April 24th, 2019

44:28

Holly had the privilege of sitting down with Stephanie Stebich, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for a chat in the museum. The …

James G. Fair, Silver King

April 22nd, 2019

36:25

Fair was a contemporary of Levi Strauss, living and working in San Francisco around the same time as the denim magnate, but though Fair often appears on lists of the richest men in U.S. history, he doesn’t have the same …

SYMHC Classics: John Dee, Her Majesty's Secret Sorcerer

April 20th, 2019

29:12

We're revisiting an episode from 2011 featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. Born in 1527 to a Welsh family, John Dee grew to become one of Queen Elizabeth's most memorable advisors. Join Sarah and Deblina as they …

Bacon's Rebellion, Part 2

April 17th, 2019

37:31

Last time, we talked about the many reasons Virginia colonists were frustrated by the 1670s, including the price of tobacco, taxation, and …

Bacon’s Rebellion, Part 1

April 15th, 2019

33:56

For a long time Bacon’s Rebellion was primarily interpreted as a precursor to the Revolutionary War, with patriotic colonists rising up against the …

SYMHC Classics: Rosalind Franklin, DNA's Dark Lady

April 13th, 2019

30:40

We're reaching back to 2011 for an episode from Sarah and Deblina about a woman scientist. The men who are usually credited with discerning DNA's structure won the Nobel Prize in 1962, but they used Rosalind Franklin's …

Stop-motion Animation History With LAIKA Studios

April 10th, 2019

1:18:14

Holly recently got to visit the set of LAIKA's new film "Missing Link," and the production team there agreed to be part of an episode about the …

Baron Franz Nopcsa

April 8th, 2019

34:21

Nopcsa lived an adventurous, scholarly life, funded entirely by his family money. He identified dinosaurs, inserted himself into Albanian politics, …

SYMHC Classics: The Battle of Hastings

April 6th, 2019

33:58

Today we're traveling back to a episode from 2014 about the Battle of Hastings, which is often boiled it down to a sentence: The Normans invaded Britain in 1066, and their victory ended the Anglo-Saxon phase of English …

Juliette Gordon Low

April 3rd, 2019

43:17

The, founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America had an early life that’s somewhat surprising. But she was deeply interested in helping other from an early age, and when she learned about the scouting …

The Tiara of Saitaphernes

April 1st, 2019

36:32

Our April Fool’s Day story is the tale of an elaborate hoax. It starts with the Scythians and how their artifacts became highly prized in 19th …

SYMHC Classics: Laura Bridgman's Education

March 30th, 2019

30:07

Today we're revisiting the 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina on Laura Bridgman, the first deafblind person to be educated -- a feat accomplished by Samuel Gridley Howe in the 1830s. People from around …

The Life and Disappearance of Ettore Majorana

March 27th, 2019

36:27

Had his life had taken a different course, he may have become as widely known as Albert Einstein. In the 1930s, Majorana contributed to the field of quantum mechanics in ways that fundamentally shaped the field. And …

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

March 25th, 2019

42:37

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was part of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. The 6888th was the only battalion of black women from the U.S. to serve in Europe during World War II.

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Emmy Noether, Mathematics Trailblazer

March 23rd, 2019

32:46

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about Emmy Noether pursued a career in mathematics in the early 20th century in Germany, despite many obstacles in her path. She became one of the most respected members of her field, and …

Fanny Brice, Part 2

March 20th, 2019

39:40

Comedian Fanny Brice's personal life was often a mess even though her onstage personas were all about laughter. Even as her beloved, Nick Arnstein, was in deep legal trouble, she supported him, started a family, and …

Fanny Brice, Part 1

March 18th, 2019

37:08

Fanny made a space for herself on stage as a comedian because she felt she could never be pretty enough to be an actress. And her personal life was a …

SYMHC Classics: Caroline Herschel, Astronomy's Cinderella

March 16th, 2019

34:21

Today we revisit a 2014 episode about Caroline Herschel, who managed to break the barrier of women in scientific fields far earlier than you might …

Sappho

March 13th, 2019

40:38

Sappho is described as the greatest female poet of ancient Greece. Or, the greatest Greek lyric poet, period. Her reputation as one of the world’s finest poets has persisted for more than 2500 years, but the …

Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention

March 11th, 2019

41:41

Dr. Raphael Lemkin is often described as the person who coined the term “genocide.” And he did do that – but was also the driving force behind the existence of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the …

SYMHC Classics: Evliya Çelebi, World Traveler and Companion to Mankind

March 9th, 2019

30:57

Today we revisit a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. Evliya Çelebi grew up in 17th century Istanbul as the "boon companion" of …

Transatlantic Cruising Before the Titanic

March 6th, 2019

37:55

Ships were of course carrying cargo for centuries before the idea of carrying passengers in any sort of vacation sense existed. But once the Black Ball line decided to prioritize passenger comfort, the development of …

Olga of Kiev

March 4th, 2019

37:15

Most of what we know about Olga comes from the Russian Primary Chronicle, also known as the Chronicle of Nestor or the Tale of Bygone Years. Some elements of the story may borrow more from legend than from history – it …

SYMHC Classics: Katie Sandwina, the Glamorous Strongwoman

March 2nd, 2019

32:41

We're revisiting a 2015 episode about Katie Sandwina, who wowed crowds from an early age, first as a wrestling act and then exclusively as professional strongwoman. During a time when women's suffrage was a hot button …

Alexandre Dumas Père

February 27th, 2019

42:52

Alexandre Dumas wrote such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, and both those books’ sequels, eight Marie Antoinette romances, and a BUNCH of other novels and plays. And essays. And travel …

General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas

February 25th, 2019

37:32

General Dumas sounds like a character out of one of his son’s books. Because he pretty much was. His life is a series of dramatic and daring adventures, including an impressive rise up through the ranks of the French …

SYMHC Classics: John Snow and Mary Seacole

February 23rd, 2019

38:57

Today's classic is a double feature! First, Katie and Sarah's look at Dr. John Snow's famous "ghost map" in 2009, and then the related work of nurse …

The Rabbit Test

February 20th, 2019

36:00

After the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, new methods of pregnancy testing were developed. Some of these involved animal use, but …

A Brief History of Vodka

February 18th, 2019

38:29

The story of vodka is one that’s closely tied to cultural identity for several countries, but where did it originate, and how did it evolve over …

SYMHC Classics: Rose Bertin, the First Fashion Designer

February 16th, 2019

39:21

We're revisiting an episode from 2014, where we discuss the legendary wardrobe of Marie-Antoinette. Where did all those glorious clothes come from? In large part, they were the work of Rose Bertin, a milliner who found …

Paul Julius Reuter

February 13th, 2019

41:37

Paul Julius Reuter had a knack for filling in the gaps in communication systems, and make a lot of money doing so. And eventually, he managed to to …

Mary Winston Jackson, NASA Engineer

February 11th, 2019

39:32

Jackson is most well known as the first black woman to become an engineer at NASA. But she also worked to clear the way for other underrepresented …

SYMHC Classics: Victoria and Albert

February 9th, 2019

32:00

We're looking back at an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. She's one of Britain's best-loved queens, but Victoria's parentage made her an unlikely heir. When she became queen at 18, she rebelled from her …

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 2

February 6th, 2019

38:40

The second part of our look at Gustave Eiffel's life picks up just after he closed down all business interests in South America, and leads into some of his most famous work, including the Statue of Liberty and the …

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 1

February 4th, 2019

31:45

Gustave Eiffel’s expertise in iron work was sought for projects throughout Europe and South America, and he worked on one of the most iconic structures in the U.S. His career is mostly an impressive series of successes, …

SYMHC Classics: Leading the Charge - The Massachusetts 54th

February 2nd, 2019

32:38

This episode revisits a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. A 1792 law prevented African Americans from taking up arms in the Civil War. As attitudes against blacks serving changed, black regiments were …

The Perdicaris Incident

January 30th, 2019

37:09

The Perdicaris kidnapping happened in Morocco in the early 20th century, but impacted American history significantly. It has been fictionalized in writing and film, but it is plenty dramatic all on its own. 

Learn more …

The Regulator War

January 28th, 2019

44:41

This episode was inspired by the TV series "Outlander." The Regulator War, aka the War of the Regulation, aka the Regulator Movement, was a North …

SYMHC Classics: The Flannan Isles Disappearance

January 26th, 2019

28:57

This 2013 episode delves into a maritime history mystery. The Flannan Islands have been rumored for centuries to be haunted or have some supernatural darkness. In 1900, three men vanished from the lighthouse on Eilean …

Sushruta, Father of Plastic Surgery

January 23rd, 2019

31:35

Sushruta’s Compendium is one of the foundational texts of Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine. He’s also known as the father of plastic surgery, and was writing about medicine and surgery at least 200 years …

Teresa Carreño

January 21st, 2019

33:01

Not only was Teresa Carreño the most famous pianist of her day, she is considered to be Venezuela’s first international super star. And her personal life was just as compelling as her public persona. 

Learn more about …

SYMHC Classics: Lisztomania

January 19th, 2019

32:29

This 2015 episode is all about pianist, composer and conductor Franz Liszt. He was basically the first rock star who drove fans into fits of swooning …

Sojourner Truth, Pt. 2

January 16th, 2019

43:29

Last time, we talked about Sojourner Truth's enslavement and how a religious vision after she was free led her to moving to New York City. Today, we’re picking up with another vision, which marked a huge shift in how …

Sojourner Truth, Pt. 1

January 14th, 2019

35:42

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist in the 19th century. But because a speech most famously associated with Truth is a …

SYMHC Classics: The Famous Speech Chief Seattle Never Made

January 12th, 2019

44:48

Today we're revising a 2013 episode about the Suquamish chief who is best remembered for a speech he gave upon discovering that Governor Stevens wanted land to build a railroad. However, the speech's origins are …

A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 2

January 9th, 2019

37:23

In the first part of this two-parter, we covered ballet’s origins and early evolution. We left off with the founding of the Academie Royale de …

A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 1

January 7th, 2019

30:49

For a long time, there was no formalized dance in western culture. Eventually, court performers in Europe were asked to also teach their audiences …

SYMHC Classics: Catherine de' Medici and the Scarlet Nuptials

January 5th, 2019

31:10

In this classic 2010 episode of the Medici super series, Katie and Sarah follow up on the further adventures of Catherine de'Medici. Listen in and …

Unearthed! in 2018! Part 2

January 2nd, 2019

48:02

Wrapping up coverage of things found, discovered and dug up in 2018, this second in our two-part Unearthed! episode includes a little potpourri, edibles and potables, shipwrecks, exhumations and repatriations.  

Learn …

Unearthed! in 2018! Part 1

December 31st, 2018

44:51

It's time for Unearthed 2018, where we talk about the historical things discovered or dug up in the past year. Part one includes a bunch of research into human migration patterns, mummies, mass graves, and human …

SYMHC Classics: Catherine de' Medici, Italian Orphan

December 29th, 2018

29:32

Today we're revisiting a 2010 episode from Katie and Sarah about Catherine de' Medici, who remains the most famous female member of the Medici clan. Orphaned at a young age, Catherine survived struggles with childhood …

Unearthed: Francisco Franco

December 26th, 2018

42:14

We’re taking a look at Francisco Franco and the Spanish Civil War. We've talked about Spain’s parliament voting to exhume the remains of dictator …

Christmas Triple-Feature: Stille Nacht, St. Nick & Scrooge

December 24th, 2018

43:33

We're taking a look at three creative works that have become staples of the Christmas season. All three of them have played a huge part in how people observe and celebrate Christmas in parts of the world, and they all …

SYMHC Classics: Charles Dickens Takes America

December 22nd, 2018

30:08

This episode revisits the story of Charles Dickens on tour, featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. Dickens is best known for chronicling life in London, but he also wrote about the United States - and not in a …

Buddy Bolden and the Birth of Jazz

December 19th, 2018

37:27

Bolden is often referred to as the first jazz performer, and his playing is legendary. But his life story, cluttered by lack of documentation and …

The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots

December 17th, 2018

40:22

Mary Stuart is one of history’s most memorable figures, with myriad compelling chapters in her life. The Babington Plot was a convoluted bit of …

SYMHC Classics: Rival Queens -- Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I

December 15th, 2018

35:22

Today we revisit an episode from 2009 in preparation for a new episode coming this week about the Babington Plot. Although they were cousins, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart had little in the way of familial affection. …

Interview: Hayley Milliman of Museum Hack

December 12th, 2018

37:50

Museum Hack writer Hayley Milliman joins Holly to talk about the company's irreverent approach to getting people excited about history, and discusses …

Six Impossible Episodes: Deja Vu in the U.S. and Canada

December 10th, 2018

44:09

Several times over the past few years, we’ve done an episode on something from U.S. history, and afterward we’ve gotten notes from listeners about the same thing happening in Canada – although this episode starts with …

SYMHC Classics: Les Filles du Roi

December 8th, 2018

31:13

We're revisiting an episode from 2014: the Filles du Roi, or King's Daughters. While the building of a population in a new colony seems like a tricky …

Nell Donnelly Reed

December 5th, 2018

41:01

Nell Donnelly Reed built a successful business starting before women even had the right to vote in the U.S. Her story combines fashion, education, …

The Rise of the Straw Hat and the Riot of 1922

December 3rd, 2018

35:02

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is a strange piece of history, and it all centered around the boater hat. How did how the boater become so important to men’s fashion in the early 20th century? And how did that lead to a very …

SYMHC Classics: Philo T. Farnsworth

December 1st, 2018

38:32

Today we're revisiting the life of Phylo T. Farnsworth, often called the "Father of Television." His initial idea for electronic television came to him as a teen. He's also become something of an icon representing the …

Auguste Escoffier

November 28th, 2018

36:38

Any chefs in our listening audience undoubtedly know about Auguste Escoffier, but people who haven’t studied cuisine may not realize that this one …

Friedel Klussmann and San Francisco's Cable Cars

November 26th, 2018

40:48

San Francisco’s cable cars are the last working system of their kind. The reason they haven’t been completely replaced by more modern modes of transportation is largely the advocacy of a woman named Friedel Klussmann.

SYMHC Classics: Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

November 24th, 2018

34:01

We're revisiting an episode from 2014 about makeup, which has a rich and lengthy history that spans the globe and crosses cultures. From 10,000 …

The Mirabal Sisters

November 21st, 2018

31:43

There were four Mirabal sisters -- Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and Dede. The sisters are national heroes in the Dominican Republic, but they weren’t very well-known elsewhere until 20 or so years ago when they became …

SYMHC Live: The USO and Bob Hope

November 19th, 2018

48:29

This show, performed live at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, covers a brief overview of USO history, and then delves into Bob …

SYMHC Classics: Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate

November 17th, 2018

26:27

Today we revisit our 2013 episode on Stede Bonnet, who left his family in 1717 and became a pirate. Despite having no seafaring experience, Bonnet's …

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

November 14th, 2018

43:38

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. She lived at a time when a lot of change was happening in …

Dwight Frye

November 12th, 2018

38:26

If you don’t know Dwight Frye by name, you’ve probably seen one or two of his performances. He was one of the lesser-known horror actors that helped make the genre Universal’s great success of the 1930s, but he also had …

SYMHC Classics: Encephalitis Lethargica

November 10th, 2018

35:28

Today we're revisiting one of our scariest episodes of all time, from 2013. From 1916 to about 1927, a strange epidemic spread around the world. It caused unusual symptoms, from drastic behavior changes to a deep, …

Kristallnacht

November 7th, 2018

39:33

Kristallnacht was a massive act of antisemitic violence that was named for the shards of glass left littering the streets in more than a thousand …

Shirley Chisholm

November 5th, 2018

40:02

From her college years, Chisolm was politically active. Her drive and desire to make positive change led her to many political firsts, including …

SYMHC Classics: 5 Historical Storms

November 3rd, 2018

37:13

We're traveling back to a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina about catastrophic storms, which are almost historical characters in their own right, leaving indelible marks on the places they affect. Here, …

SYMHC Live: Not Dead Yet - Safety Coffins and Waiting Mortuaries

October 31st, 2018

1:02:05

For the west coast tour, Holly and Tracy talked about the fear of being buried, which reached a fever pitch in Europe and the U.S. from the 18th to …

Pisadiera & Baba Yaga

October 29th, 2018

37:41

These are two entities with a number of similarities: They’re both women, often described as crones or hags, and there’s no clear origin point for either of them. But they’re very different as well. They come from …

SYMHC Classics: The Sisters Fox - They Talked to Dead People

October 27th, 2018

30:31

This 2011 episode from Sarah and Deblina features the Fox family, which began hearing strange noises in 1848, and sisters Maggie and Kate started communicating with spirits. They built a career as mediums, and today …

The Beheading of Sir Walter Raleigh

October 24th, 2018

45:26

Among other things, Sir Walter Raleigh was a courtier, an explorer, a historian, a Member of Parliament and a soldier. He was part of England’s …

Charles Addams, Part 2

October 22nd, 2018

35:04

After TV producer David Levy adapted the cartoons of Charles Addams into "The Addams Family," Charlie's life changed in a number of ways. As Addams aged, he sort of settled down, but as with everything, he did so in his …

SYMHC Classics: He Was Killed by Mesmerism

October 20th, 2018

29:53

We're revisiting a 2010 Halloween episode from Sarah and Katie. Today, Franz Mesmer is hailed as the father of hypnosis. His original pursuit was called mesmerism, but what exactly was it? How did it (supposedly) work?

Charles Addams, Part 1

October 17th, 2018

41:44

Charles Addams was a compelling figure. He visited cemeteries for fun, he raced cars, he collected crossbows. But Addams surprised a lot of people in …

The Sinking of the SS Princess Sophia

October 15th, 2018

39:13

The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia was a massive tragedy for both Canada and the United States. But it was also really overshadowed by the end of World War I and the flu pandemic, so it’s been nicknamed the unknown …

SYMHC Classics: The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture

October 13th, 2018

36:17

Today we revisit an episode from 2014. Before Charles Worth, the idea of ready made clothes for purchase didn't really exist. Neither did the idea of …

The Allegedly Haunted Island of Poveglia

October 10th, 2018

34:20

This uninhabited Italian island that has come to be called all manner of scary things, including, “plague island,” “island of ghosts,” and “the Venetian island of no return,” among others. What's the real story on …

Vernon Lee

October 8th, 2018

40:10

Violet Paget, more often known by her pen name Vernon Lee, was a historian and an art and literary critic, and she wrote on myriad subjects including …

SYMHC Classics: The Trial of Goody Garlick

October 6th, 2018

46:06

We're revisiting a 2013 tale of a witch trial. Decades before the Salem trials, an East Hampton woman was tried for witchcraft. Before Lion Gardiner's daughter died, she accused Goody Garlick of bewitching her. 

Learn …

Alvin York

October 3rd, 2018

38:36

We’re coming up on the centennial of the act of heroism that earned Alvin York the Medal of Honor. His name is known thanks to the 1941 film “Sergeant York,” but it takes a lot of liberties, and omits what he believed …

Peg Entwistle, Ghost of Hollywood

October 1st, 2018

42:23

Her story is often told in a sort of sloppy shorthand: She went to Los Angeles to become an actress, failed, and then became desperate. But that …

SYMHC Classics: Mary Anning, Princess of Paleontology

September 29th, 2018

25:50

Today we're revisiting an episodefrom Sarah and Deblina about Mary Anning. She started hunting for fossils in Lyme Regis in the early 1800s. Around 1811, she uncovered the complete skeleton of an ichthyosaurus. She made …

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 2

September 26th, 2018

51:41

In part two of this interview, Mindy busts some myths about women and their work in the Walt Disney Studio, and shares some stories of how new …

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 1

September 24th, 2018

45:16

Mindy Johnson has spent years tracking down the stories of the women who shaped Walt Disney's life, and the success of the Walt Disney Studios. She contextualizes the lives and contributions of these women in the larger …

SYMHC Classics: Victoria Woodhull, Little Queen for President

September 22nd, 2018

34:46

Today we revisit a Sarah and Deblina episode from 2011. In 1872, the Equal Rights Party nominated Victoria Woodhull for president, but her radical …

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science

September 19th, 2018

41:02

Magnus Hirschfeld was a groundbreaking researcher into gender and sexuality in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was dedicated to scientific study with the hope of dispelling stigma around …

SYMHC Live: Anne Royall

September 17th, 2018

52:29

Today we've got our live show from our recent East Coast tour, all about Anne Royall. She was a travel writer and a muckraking journalist way before Theodore Roosevelt coined that term, at a time when there were very

SYMHC Classics: The Radium Girls

September 15th, 2018

29:01

Today we revisit an episode from prior hosts Sarah and Deblina. Between in 1917, hundreds of women got jobs applying radium-treated paint to various products. Many experienced severe health problems. Five former workers …

Lady Anne Blunt, Part 2

September 12th, 2018

35:45

As Anne matured and her marriage fell apart, she continued to travel between the Arabian desert and England, always working to improve her horse breeding program. Eventually, she and Wilfrid separated, and her final …

Lady Anne Blunt, Part 1

September 10th, 2018

34:55

Anne was the daughter of Ada Lovelace (and the granddaughter of Lord Byron). While she was born into England’s aristocracy in the 19th century, her work breeding horses is what gives her life historical significance. 

SYMHC Classics: The Oneida Utopia

September 8th, 2018

29:35

Today's episode revisits preacher John Humphrey Noyes founding the Oneida community in 1848. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the rise and fall of the Oneida community -- including its focus on shared labor, …

Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies

September 5th, 2018

33:49

Christine de Pizan is often described as a late-Medieval writer. But just “writer” does not really sum up everything she did. She wrote  verse, military manuals, and treatises on war, peace and the just governance of a …

Interview: Anne Byrn's 'American Cookie'

September 3rd, 2018

48:08

We're delighted to have Anne Byrn back on the show to talk about her latest book, "American Cookie." Anne shares her vast knowledge of historical …

SYMHC Classics: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 2

September 1st, 2018

28:54

We're revisiting part two of the Great Moon Hoax! As the New York Sun's series of astonishing moon discoveries concluded, most people recognized that it was a hoax. But what made people buy into the tall tale in the …

A Condensed History of Air Conditioning

August 29th, 2018

39:28

From hand fans to today’s high-end air conditioning technology, people have always found ways to deal with heat and humidity. And as mechanical …

The Georgia Gold Rush

August 27th, 2018

28:21

In the late 1820s, north Georgia became the site of the first gold rush in the United States, predating the more famous California gold rush by two …

SYMHC Classics: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 1

August 25th, 2018

30:24

We're revisiting a silly two-parter from 2015. In August 1835, the New York Sun ran a series about some utterly mind-blowing discoveries made by Sir John Herschel about the lunar surface. The serial had everything: moon …

The Battle of Ambos Nogales

August 22nd, 2018

38:16

Two cities, both named Nogales, were established, one on each side of the U.S.-Mexico border, after the Gadsden Purchase but before Arizona’s statehood. In the summer of 1918, ongoing tension led to a battle at the …

Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal on the 'Lady Astronaut' Duology

August 20th, 2018

51:26

Mary Robinette Kowal’s work has inspired several episodes of the podcast. She has just written a pair of books that are called the Lady Astronaut …

SYMHC Classics: Bessie Coleman, Daredevil Aviatrix

August 18th, 2018

32:03

Today revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina about Bessie Coleman, who dreamed of becoming a pilot. Because she was a black woman, no American …

Lucretia Mott

August 15th, 2018

38:46

This is the studio version of our live show from this years Seneca Falls Convention Days at Women's Rights National Historical Park. Lucretia Mott …

Zoot Suit Riots

August 13th, 2018

40:24

The word “riot” here is really a misnomer. This conflict wasn’t so much about property damage as it was about attacking people. It also wasn’t really …

SYMHC: Hedy Lamarr and Wireless Technology

August 11th, 2018

25:48

Today's classic revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina. Hedy Lamarr was an extraordinarily beautiful film star, but she wasn't just another …

Levi Strauss

August 8th, 2018

49:30

Levi’s story is historically interesting because it touches on a lot of important moments in U.S. history. His business was tied to the California …

Battle of Amiens

August 6th, 2018

32:09

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens, near the end of World War I. Amiens was the start of what came to be known as the 100 Days Offensive, which was the Allies’ final push to win the war. 

SYMHC Classics: 5 Historical Hoaxes

August 4th, 2018

35:11

Today's episode revisits a Sarah and Deblina episode about historical hoaxes. For example, a N.Y. cigar maker once commissioned a gypsum skeleton to pass off as a 10-foot-tall petrified man called the Cardiff Giant. …

John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams Abroad

August 1st, 2018

46:58

John Quincy Adams probably comes to mind as the son of second U.S. President John Adams, and the 6th president of the U.S. But he and his wife, Louisa Catharine Johnson Adams worked in the realm of international …

Unearthed! in July, 2018, Part 2

July 30th, 2018

38:28

Continuing the 2018 mid-year edition of unearthed goodies, this episode will cover shipwrecks, exhumations, repatriations, and edibles and potables. 

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SYMHC Classics: The Johnstown Flood

July 28th, 2018

25:00

Today's show revisits a 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. On May 31, 1889, the South Fork dam gave way, sending 20 million tons of water rushing toward Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The water swept up …

Unearthed! in July, 2018, Part 1

July 25th, 2018

40:39

The July edition of Unearthed! is a two-parter this year. We’re breaking with tradition and starting with a few things that happened at the very end …

Author Jason Porath: Tough Mothers

July 23rd, 2018

1:02:14

Jason is back to talk about his follow-up to his book "Rejected Princesses." This one is called "Tough Mothers" and it's all about feisty, smart and …

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Bell, The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq, Part 2

July 21st, 2018

28:27

The second installment of this Sarah and Deblina classic two-parter follows Gertrude Bell on her adventures after World War I begins. The British …

Dred Scott vs. Sandford part 2

July 18th, 2018

34:15

When Dred Scott v. Sandford was decided in 1857, the court decision ruled that enslaved Africans and their descendants weren’t and could never be …

Dred Scott vs. Sandford part 1

July 16th, 2018

36:00

Dred Scott v. Sandford is one of the most notorious Supreme Court cases of all time. It wasn’t just about Dred Scott. It was also about his wife Harriet and their daughters Eliza and Lizzy. This episode covers Dred and …

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Bell, The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq

July 14th, 2018

24:56

This classic revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina, talking about Gertrude Bell, the first woman to graduate with a First in Modern History from Oxford. Instead of marrying young, she went to Persia. Inspired, she …

Libertalia: Legendary Pirate Utopia

July 11th, 2018

39:55

Libertalia, which, in truth, may be completely fictional, is called a pirate settlement, though the man who spearheaded it claimed he wasn't actually a pirate. And it was set up as a sort of utopia, where men governed …

Annie Edson Taylor, Niagara Daredevil

July 9th, 2018

37:41

Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor’s whole barrel trip was part of a much bigger story of …

SYMHC Classics: How the New York Draft Riots Worked

July 7th, 2018

30:35

We're revisiting an episode from 2011 featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. To recruit troops for the U.S. Civil War, the Federal Congress passed the Union Conscription Act in 1863, which drafted able-bodied men …

Emma Lazarus

July 4th, 2018

35:12

Emma Lazarus became one of the United States’ first successful Jewish American writers, moving in the New York literary scene of the late 1800s. She …

Victorian Orchidelirium

July 2nd, 2018

35:43

Orchids date back millions of years. But in the 1800s, the plants became a status symbol and the cornerstone of a high-dollar industry. Collecting …

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Virginia Apgar

June 30th, 2018

35:10

This episode revisits the life of Dr. Virginia Apgar, who broke new ground in the fields of obstetrics and anesthesiology in the middle of the 20th …

Great Train Wreck of 1918

June 27th, 2018

34:49

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of one of the worst train wrecks in United States history. More than 100 people died. And even though it’s usually noted as the worst train wreck in American history, it was kind …

Elizabeth Jennings Graham

June 25th, 2018

35:17

Today’s topic is a person who is sometimes called a 19th-century Rosa Parks. When Elizabeth boarded a horse-drawn streetcar in Manhattan in 1854, a chain of events began which became an important moment in the civil …

SYMHC Classics: Mansa Musa and the City of Gold

June 23rd, 2018

28:17

Today's episode revisits a Sarah and Deblina episode that revisits a tale of incredible wealth. When emperor Mansa Musa went on a pilgramage from …

Six Impossible Episodes: Evacuating Children

June 20th, 2018

45:01

All six of today’s topics are mass evacuations of children and youth because of a war or other unrest, and include Kindertransport, Operation Pedro Pan, and Operation Babylift. 

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The Tunguska Event

June 18th, 2018

33:09

On June 30, 1908 at approximately 7:15am, the sky over Siberia lit up with what was described by witnesses as a massive fireball, or the sky engulfed …

SYMHC Classics: Alan Turing, Codebreaker

June 16th, 2018

26:03

This is a revisit of a Sarah and Deblina episode on Alan Turing, who conceived of computers decades before anyone was building one. He also acted as a top-secret code breaker during World War II. Despite his …

Hurricane San Ciriaco

June 13th, 2018

38:17

Hurricane San Ciriaco struck Puerto Rico at a precarious point in its history. The United States had just taken possession of the island, and the 40 or so years leading up to the Spanish-American War had also been …

Julian Eltinge, Greatest of All Impersonators of Women

June 11th, 2018

43:37

Eltinge was one of the highest-paid and most famous actors of the early 20th century, and acted alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and …

SYMHC Classics: The Mystic Margery Kempe

June 9th, 2018

49:02

We're traveling back to a 2013 episode about Margery Kempe. Born in the 1300s, Margery had 14 children with her husband before dedicating her life to …

The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

June 6th, 2018

41:37

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. …

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

June 4th, 2018

42:41

Ida B. Wells-Barnett connects to a lot of episodes in our archive. She fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn’t common at all …

SYMHC Classics: We All Scream for Ice Cream

June 2nd, 2018

35:23

We're revisiting a yummy topic from 2013! There is actually some disagreement about the actual origin point of ice cream, but almost everyone agrees …

Winsor McCay, Part 2

May 30th, 2018

37:13

Even as his career in comics was at its zenith, Winsor McCay continued to explore other business ventures for his art. He added vaudeville …

Winsor McCay, Part 1

May 28th, 2018

38:42

McCay is credited as a pioneer in early animation. But before he made drawings come to life, he worked as a billboard artist, an artist-journalist, and then a comics creator for newspapers. 

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: Five Historical Robots

May 26th, 2018

28:03

Today we revisit an episode on the technology of yesteryear. Long before Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the term "robot" in his 1920 play …

James Whale

May 23rd, 2018

39:56

James Whale created iconic films in the early half of the 20th century. He's one of the main reasons that Universal Pictures became synonymous with the horror genre. But his interests as a creator were far wider than …

The Defenestrations of Prague

May 21st, 2018

39:40

“Defenestrate” just means “to throw out of a window.” And apart from sounding like the punch line to a joke about Daleks … there has been a surprising amount of defenestration in Czech history. And almost all of it has …

SYMHC Classics: From Brontë to Bell and Back Again

May 19th, 2018

35:09

We're revisiting another episode from Sarah and Deblina., in which they talk about how the Brontë sisters quickly rose from obscurity to notoriety after their three novels were published under the Bell pseudonym. 

Frank Lenz, the Cyclist Who Vanished

May 16th, 2018

38:06

In the 1890s, Frank Lenz started a bicycle tour around the world. He never finished, and his ultimate fate remains uncertain, though there are pretty …

Nisei in World War II: The MIS, 100th and 442nd

May 14th, 2018

42:14

The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were segregated units for soldiers of Japanese descent that were created during …

SYMHC Classics: Growing Up Brontë

May 12th, 2018

34:08

This classic revisits the Brontë sisters. They're considered some of the best writers of the 19th century but their past may surprise you. Join Sarah and Deblina as they discuss the sisters' childhood tragedies, …

Henry Every, Successful Pyrate

May 9th, 2018

41:57

Every carried out what’s been described as the most profitable and brutal pirate raid in history. It became a massive international incident, and Britain tried to repair its relationship with the Mughal Empire through a …

Lotte Reiniger's Shadow Animation

May 7th, 2018

36:01

Lotte was interested in silhouettes and paper cutting from the time she was a child. And she developed that interest into animation, and created the first feature-length animated film in the 1920s.

Learn more about …

SYMHC Classics: Jimmy Winkfield, Derby Pioneer

May 5th, 2018

19:42

Today's episode revisits the story of Jimmy Winkfield, who won the Kentucky Derby twice. When this podcast was published originally, he was the last African-American jockey to win the race. Winkfield moved abroad in …

The Bisbee Deportation

May 2nd, 2018

42:51

The 1917 Bisbee Deportation has elements of a labor strike, a wartime hysteria, a vigilante mob, and a mass propaganda effort, all rolled into one. …

Mohenjo Daro

April 30th, 2018

33:44

Mohenjo Daro is in the Indus river valley in present-day southern Pakistan. This ancient city has a unique identity in that we don’t know a lot about …

SYMHC Classics: Ambrose Bierce

April 28th, 2018

33:55

Ambrose Bierce was a soldier, a journalist, an editor, a satirist and a philosopher. He was a complicated man with an unwavering moral code and a …

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 2

April 25th, 2018

43:41

Scott eventually managed to break into NASCAR racing, becoming the first black driver to do so. His career was a constant struggle, as he paid his own way and often had to be his own pit crew while competing against …

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 1

April 23rd, 2018

33:36

Wendell Scott was a black driver from the early days of NASCAR. After driving a taxi, working as a mechanic, and hauling moonshine, he started racing …

The First Celebrity Chef: Marie-Antoine Carême

April 18th, 2018

35:55

Today, there is an entire industry around celebrity chefs. But the first celebrity chef in the western world's history was born in late 18th-century France.

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The Ancient City of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

April 16th, 2018

32:17

The city of Ephesus fell under many different rulers throughout its history, as wars and shifting politics changed Asia Minor. For centuries, it …

SYMHC Classics: Here, Kitty Kitty, the Domestication of the Cat

April 14th, 2018

27:21

Today, we're going back to  an episode about kitties in history! The human culture shift to an agricultural lifestyle started the domestication of …

Elbridge Gerry’s Monstrous Salamander

April 11th, 2018

37:02

Elbridge Gerry signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. Gerrymandering is the drawing of political districts to …

The Life and Magic of Henry 'Box' Brown

April 9th, 2018

35:15

Brown was born into slavery and escaped in an astonishing way. His story of gaining his freedom was so sensational that he basically spent the rest of his life making a living talking about it in one form or another.

SYMHC Classics: Nellie Bly & Stunt Journalism

April 7th, 2018

28:38

Today we're revisiting an episode from Sarah and Katie. Born in 1864, Nellie Bly wasn't your average journalist. She feigned insanity to gain entry into a mental institution. Join Sarah and Katie as they take a closer …

Cajamarca and the End of the Inka Empire

April 5th, 2018

40:10

The Battle of Cajamarca, also known as the Massacre of Cajamarca, ultimately led to the end of the Inka Empire. But it might have gone much …

The East India Company's Theft of China’s Tea Secrets

April 2nd, 2018

36:12

Great Britain's relationship with tea is part of its cultural identity. But before the mid-1800s, China was the only source of tea, which was a …

SYMHC Classics: April Calahan on France's Fashionable Resistance

March 31st, 2018

41:40

Today we're revisiting a talk with fashion historian April Calahan about the surprising ways that women of France protested German occupation during WWII.

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The Highland Clearances

March 28th, 2018

43:30

The Highland Clearances were a long, complicated, messy series of evictions in the Highlands and western Islands of Scotland, when tenant farmers were forced from their homes to make way for sheep pastures.

Learn more …

Andrew Carnegie

March 26th, 2018

46:28

Carnegie was a child of poverty who became one of the richest men on Earth. But his life, while largely charmed, had a massive scar of bad judgment …

SYMHC Classics: Marian Anderson

March 24th, 2018

36:04

Today's show returns to Marian Anderson. An acclaimed contralto, Marian Anderson was barred from singing in Constitution Hall because of her race. …

Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing

March 21st, 2018

41:30

Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century. He wasn’t taken seriously then, but …

Constance Markievicz

March 19th, 2018

41:44

Born Constance Georgine Gore-Booth to a wealthy Protestant family, Constance Markievicz made a somewhat surprising transition to become a leader in the Irish Nationalist movement.

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SYMHC Classics: The Easter Rising of 1916

March 17th, 2018

30:37

Today's show revisits one of the most pivotal events in modern Irish history. It was a precursor to a number of other events that have happened since then, both within and outside of Ireland.

Learn more about your …

The Daring Imposter Cassie Chadwick

March 14th, 2018

35:26

Cassie Chadwick (born Elizabeth Bigley) committed fraud at a level that would be almost impossible to pull off in today’s world of instant …

The Minuscule Science of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek

March 12th, 2018

31:11

Leeuwenhoek wasn’t REALLY a scientist -- he had no formal training. But he made dozens of scientific discoveries. He’s credited with discovering microscopic life in a variety of forms, using lenses he ground himself.

SYMHC Classics: The Luddites

March 10th, 2018

30:58

This classic revisits the Luddite uprising -- protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories. This wasn't the …

Giorgio Vasari

March 7th, 2018

36:15

Vasari was an artist and architect in 16th-century Italy. But what really made him famous was his writing. He penned biographies of famous artists, but he wasn't exactly exacting about the details.

Learn more about …

Phillis Wheatley

March 5th, 2018

40:42

Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century. This episode examines Wheatley's published writing while enslaved, and how her place in the world of black …

SYMHC Classics: The Red Ghost of Arizona and the U.S. Camel Corps

March 3rd, 2018

31:48

We're revisiting the story of a a mysterious beast that trampled a woman in Arizona in 1883. First described as a demon, the creature turned out to be a camel. But what was it doing in the American Southwest in the …

Sadako Sasaki’s 1000 Cranes, Part 2

February 28th, 2018

34:40

The show's 1000th episode continues the story of Sadako Sasaki, who died of A-bomb sickness after the bombing of Hiroshima. This second part of her story focuses on the peace movement that grew out of her life.

Learn …

Sadako Sasaki’s 1000 Cranes, Part 1

February 26th, 2018

37:55

At the end of World War II, the United States used atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A young girl named Sadako Sasaki eventually developed …

SYMHC Classics: Who was the real Lone Ranger?

February 24th, 2018

28:30

Today we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. The Lone Ranger has traditionally been portrayed by white actors, but many believe this character is based on a former slave named Bass Reeves.

The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

February 21st, 2018

34:48

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how …

Hawaii's Legend of the Menehune

February 19th, 2018

35:03

The story of the Menehune is one that's been handed down through oral history for generations. But can the roots of this mythological group of people …

SYMHC Classics: Villisca Ax Murders

February 17th, 2018

43:37

This episode revisits the Villisca murders. In 1912, a small Iowa town was the scene of a chilling and brutal crime. Eight people were murdered in their beds by an assailant who has never been identified.

Learn more …

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

February 14th, 2018

40:32

Gertrude Stein is an icon in the world of modernist literature. Alice B. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but she was also published writer, and “assistant” really doesn't cover how important she …

Pauline Sabin

February 12th, 2018

32:01

The battle over Prohibition is often framed as a battle of the sexes, with women serving as the “moral” voice of sobriety. But a woman named Pauline …

SYMHC Classics: Abelard and Heloise

February 10th, 2018

31:56

This episode revisits the story of poet, philosopher and theologian Abelard, and his student Heloise. This is a tragic love story, complete with …

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

February 7th, 2018

39:08

Memphis sanitation workers stayed off the job starting January 12, 1968 in a strike that lasted for nine weeks. This was the strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was …

Aspasia and Pericles

February 5th, 2018

30:56

This is often held up as one of history’s great love stories – Plutarch wrote that Pericles kissed Aspasia every single day. And that’s very sweet and romantic, but their high-profile relationship was central to a key …

SYMHC Classics: Double Agent James Armistead and the American Revolution

February 3rd, 2018

25:42

Today's classics revisits an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina about James Armistead. He was a slave in Virginia, but got his master's …

Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton

January 31st, 2018

38:51

Mary-Russel Ferrell Colton was a painter, author and educator. But she's most famous for co-founding of the Museum of Northern Arizona and related …

Anne Lister

January 29th, 2018

44:17

At a time when many women sought husbands to ensure financial stability, Anne Lister was looking for a wife. She was also writing thousands of pages of diaries, including sections written in code about her relationships.

SYMHC Classics: Who was Emanuel Swedenborg?

January 27th, 2018

25:03

Today we're visiting an episode from past hosts Katie and Sarah. When the philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg sought mechanical explanations for nature, he found himself struggling with his faith as he searched for evidence …

The Donation of Constantine

January 24th, 2018

33:45

In the 8th century, a document was written that had a lasting impact on the course of medieval Europe. The Donation of Constantine granted a large amount of Roman Empire land and power to Pope Sylvester I and his …

Rufus Wilmot Griswold

January 22nd, 2018

37:08

Griswold is most commonly known as Edgar Allan Poe's rival, and for creating negative characterizations of Poe that have endured more than a century. …

SYMHC Classics: How Lord Byron Worked

January 20th, 2018

36:47

Today’s classic podcast comes to us from previous hosts Katie and Sarah. Coming up on January 22, 2018 is the 230th birthday of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Who was this poet, and why is he associated with so many …

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 2

January 17th, 2018

47:31

In 1898, a mob of armed white men enacted a violent plan against Wilmington, North Carolina’s black community. It was the only known successful coup …

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 1

January 15th, 2018

36:39

Resistance to post-Civil War reconstruction efforts, hotly contested elections, political corruption, and open racism all led to a climate of unrest …

SYMHC Classics: The Phoenician Alphabet

January 13th, 2018

22:03

This classic episode revisits the Phoenicians, great ship-builders, sailors and textile experts. But they're most known for developing the alphabet that many modern alphabets are descended from.

Learn more about your …

Author Interview: Kathryn Lougheed on Tuberculosis

January 10th, 2018

33:45

Tuberculosis is often thought of as a disease of the past, but it remains a problem in many parts of the world. Microbiologist and author Kathryn …

Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service

January 8th, 2018

37:43

We have talked before on the show about pioneers who advanced the medical field specifically as it relates to infants, and today’s subject is definitely another to add to that list. But, there are some problematic …

SYMHC Classics: The Explosive Career of Antoine Lavoisier

January 6th, 2018

27:55

Today we're revisiting the life of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, who was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But at the end of …

Unearthed! in 2017, Part 2

January 3rd, 2018

46:08

In part two of our annual recap, we walk through what's been literally and figuratively unearthed in 2017, including things institutions found in …

Unearthed! in 2017, Part 1

January 1st, 2018

39:50

In our annual recap, we walk through what's been literally and figuratively unearthed in 2017, including anticlimactic headlines, shipwrecks, medical …

SYMHC Classics: Sophie Blanchard and Balloonomania

December 30th, 2017

27:50

Today's classic episode revisits Sophie Blanchard, a timid girl who grew into a trailblazer, and became famous in the early 1800s as the first woman to become a career balloonist.

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Unearthed!: The USS Indianapolis

December 27th, 2017

38:24

Today, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is most known for its crew’s horrifying wait for rescue after being torpedoed following a secret mission at the end of …

NORAD Tracking Santa: A Cold War History

December 25th, 2017

40:12

The story that circulates about how NORAD started tracking Santa is pretty heart-warming, but doesn’t completely hold up. So there’s some …

SYMHC Classics: The Christmas Truce

December 23rd, 2017

32:05

For Christmas, we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. During the first Christmas of World War I, British and German …

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 2

December 20th, 2017

37:50

The exploits of the Special Operations Executive are the stuff of legend. This episode continues to look at a few of the group's missions, and what became of the SOE after WWII.

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The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 1

December 18th, 2017

32:10

After the Germans invaded France in 1940, an idea sprouted in the highest levels of Great Britain's leadership. From that idea, the Special Operations Executive was born. And in many ways, it changed the way wars were …

SYMHC Classics: Deaf President Now

December 16th, 2017

33:03

A revisit to an episode on fairly recent history: In 1988, the appointment of a hearing president at Gallaudet University sparked a protest that …

The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

December 13th, 2017

36:34

Tasty treats associated with winter holidays - candy canes, wassail and gingerbread - have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their …

Three Astonishing Belles

December 11th, 2017

42:24

This episode features three unique women, all of whom are notable in their own way. The two things they have in common: They each have a surprising aspect to their stories, and they each have the name Belle.

Learn more …

SYMHC Classics: Rabbit-proof Fence

December 9th, 2017

37:33

We're revisiting an episode about settlers bringing animals and plants to Australia, including rabbits. The rabbit population exploded, and …

Skellig Michael

December 6th, 2017

35:25

This small island off the west coast of Ireland recently became a film star, but Skellig Michael has a rich history all its own. An ancient monastery, lighthouses and the island's status as a bird sanctuary all make up …

Six Impossible Episodes by Request

December 4th, 2017

40:43

This installation of Six Impossible Episodes is a bit of a hodge podge, with several oft-requested topics. Included are Olive Yang, the Silent Parade of 1917, Glencoe Massacre, Marion Downs, Lena Himmelstein and the …

SYMHC Classics: The Halifax Explosion

December 2nd, 2017

31:26

Today, we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. The Halifax Explosion was one of history's worst man-made, non-nuclear explosions. The disaster killed about 2,000 people, and part of the city …

The Lumière Brothers, Part 2

November 29th, 2017

33:03

Despite the huge impact the Lumières made with their multi-function motion picture camera, they didn't stay in the movie business. Louis went back to …

The Lumière Brothers, Part 1

November 27th, 2017

35:04

The Lumières are often associated with early film technology, but that wasn't the only area where they innovated. This first of two parts covers …

SYMHC Classics: Sei Shonagon and the Heian Court

November 25th, 2017

33:36

Today we're revisiting a bit of Japanese history. Thanks to the pillow book of lady-in-waiting Sei Shonagon, we have a first-person account of court …

The Aberfan Disaster

November 22nd, 2017

40:35

In 1966, a mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales, killed 144 people. It was a completely preventable tragedy, but none of the victims were in the mine itself, and 116 of them were children.

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The War Between Great Britain and the Zulu Kingdom

November 20th, 2017

35:16

Great Britain’s efforts to control southern Africa eventually led to war with the Zulu Kingdom. A brutal series of engagements claimed the lives of …

SYMHC Classics: Edward Jenner, Father of Vaccines

November 18th, 2017

39:00

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about early strides in treating smallpox, which has been around longer than recorded history. Edward Jenner made great strides in eradicating it.

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Fort Shaw Indian School: Basketball Champions (pt. 2)

November 15th, 2017

38:46

In 1904, the Fort Shaw Indian School women’s basketball team spent four months at the St. Louis World’s Fair. The team performed mandolin recitals, …

Basketball Comes to Fort Shaw Indian School (pt. 1)

November 13th, 2017

41:30

The Fort Shaw Indian School was part of a boarding school system designed to make Native American students conform to white culture. In a surprising …

SYMHC Classics: Frances Glessner Lee and Tiny Forensics

November 11th, 2017

34:54

Today's show revisits the story of a Chicago heiress who helped develop forensic investigation standards still in use today. Her most notable contribution to the field came in the form of tiny homicide dioramas.

Learn …

Suffragists’ Night of Terror at the Occoquan Workhouse

November 8th, 2017

40:38

In November 1917, guards at the Occoquan Workhouse assaulted and terrorized 33 women from the National Woman’s Party. They were serving sentences for …

The Murder of William Desmond Taylor

November 6th, 2017

50:43

Even in its youth, Hollywood's rapidly growing film industry had a reputation for debauchery. When a high-profile director was murdered, it added to …

SYMHC Classics: The White Rose and Nazi Germany

November 4th, 2017

23:03

This week, we're revisiting an episode from previous hosts! During World War II, the Nazi party did not tolerate dissent, but some Germans did …

3 Reformation Women: Katharina, Marguerite & Jeanne

November 1st, 2017

42:05

Katharina von Bora, Marguerite d’Angoulême and Jeanne d’Albret all left their mark on the Reformation, but all in different ways. Each of them has a …

Carl Tanzler's Corpse Bride

October 30th, 2017

41:34

Carl Tanzler loved a woman, and his love for her continued long after her death. But whether she loved him back is a matter of dispute. Just the …

SYMHC Classics: New England Vampire Panic

October 28th, 2017

43:23

Today, in honor of Halloween weekend, we're revisiting an episode about vampirism. Starting in the late 1700s and, small rural communities in New England were sometimes stricken with a panicked fear that the dead were …

Edward Gorey

October 25th, 2017

40:56

Based just on his art, you might imagine Edward Gorey as a dour Englishman, with the peak of his career sometime in the 1920s or '30s, whose childhood was marked with a series of tragic deaths. But Gorey was none of …

Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery

October 23rd, 2017

44:30

After a traumatic event, strange things began happening around Esther Cox. In the 1870s, Amherst, Nova Scotia was abuzz with theories as to whether …

SYMHC Classics: A Conspiracy Starring Aaron Burr

October 21st, 2017

21:26

We're revisiting an episode from previous hosts! After Aaron Burr slew Alexander Hamilton in the duel of 1804, his legislative career was over. In …

The Mysterious Disappearance of Theodosia Burr Alston

October 18th, 2017

41:33

Aaron Burr's daughter was incredibly smart and very well educated. She also vanished without a trace as an adult, and her ultimate fate is still a …

SYMHC Live at NYCC: Rodolphe Töpffer and the First Comic Book

October 16th, 2017

48:37

Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher drew entertaining doodles for friends. As he developed his sketches into stories told with multiple …

SYMHC Classics: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 2

October 14th, 2017

37:40

We're revisiting the second installment in the story of the Haunted Mansion. This one goes from concept to fully-realized theme park attraction and …

The Green Children of Woolpit

October 11th, 2017

39:58

In the 12th century, two children, green in color, appeared in Suffolk, England. The green children were written about in the 12th and 13th centuries …

SYMHC Live at SLCC: Lon Chaney, Man of a Thousand Faces

October 9th, 2017

41:08

Not only was he a star as an actor, he was famed for his use of makeup. He was passionate about completely transforming himself for each role, and …

SYMHC Classics: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 1

October 7th, 2017

31:33

This classic episode dives into one of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion. Its development process that was anything but …

U.S.S. Akron

October 4th, 2017

34:28

The loss of the U.S.S. Akron was the biggest single tragedy in aviation history at the time that it happened. But unless you’re an aviation or U.S. Navy history buff, you may not know much about this airborne aircraft …

The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints

October 2nd, 2017

36:59

In February 1855, mysterious prints that looked like hoof marks appeared all over the English seaside county of Devon. But figuring out who or what made those prints is a puzzle that continues to befuddle people.

Learn …

SYMHC Classics: The Life of Johnny Appleseed

September 30th, 2017

42:04

The image of Johnny Appleseed walking around in rags, barefooted with a bindle, planting apple trees and moving on is actually pretty accurate. Join …

Hernandez v. Texas

September 27th, 2017

44:33

Hernandez v. Texas addressed civil rights for Mexican Americans, was the first case to be argued before the Supreme Court by Mexican American attorneys, and set a new precedent in how the 14th Amendment was interpreted …

The Crash at Crush and Other Train Wreck Spectacles

September 25th, 2017

36:37

For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States were watching train wrecks for fun. These staged spectacles …

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Livingstone, I Presume

September 23rd, 2017

33:08

We're revisiting the story of Dr. Livingstone as told by previous hosts! In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the adventures of Livingstone and …

Emin Pasha, I Presume? (Part 2)

September 20th, 2017

37:40

When we left off in part one, Emin Pasha had become governor of Equatoria in what's now South Sudan. But things took a dramatic turn in the 1880s, leading to Henry Morton Stanley mounting a relief expedition to go get …

Emin Pasha, né Eduard Schnitzer (Part 1)

September 18th, 2017

39:28

Emin Pasha's story connects to so many other historical things, particularly in the context of both the Ottoman Empire and African history. First, …

SYMHC Classics: Voynich Manuscript Update

September 16th, 2017

32:33

New theories have emerged that make it the right time to once again go back to an old favorite, the Voynich Manuscript. Since our Voynich Manuscript …

Marchesa Luisa Casati

September 13th, 2017

42:28

While many have admired heiress Casati over the years for her life led entirely based on her aesthetics, when you examine her biography, you find a woman who was incredibly selfish and was even described by close …

Five First Flights

September 11th, 2017

43:28

When people say the Wright Brothers were first to fly, they're talking about a very particular set of circumstances. There are other contenders to …

SYMHC Classics: Albert J. Tirrell, the First Sleepwalking Killer

September 9th, 2017

32:29

We're revisiting the murder of Mary Ann Bickford on Oct. 27, 1845. Her paramour Albert J. Tirrell was eventually charged with murder. Tirrell hired Rufus Choate to defend him, and Choate claimed his client had episodes …

Léonard Autié: Hair, Grandeur and Revolution, Pt. 2

September 6th, 2017

33:12

As Louis XVI's time as king was less and less stable in the face of the French Revolution, Léonard stepped away from the royal family and into his …

Léonard Autié: Hair, Grandeur and Revolution, Pt. 1

September 4th, 2017

30:40

Marie Antoinette's hairdresser set the styles of France during King Louis XVI's reign. But when he first arrived in Paris, he had almost nothing. Just how did he manage such a meteoric rise?

Learn more about your …

SYMHC Classics: Emu War of 1932

September 2nd, 2017

30:09

We're revisiting the story of large numbers of emus making their way through Australia, severely damaging wheat farms. The military tried to help, but may have just made things worse.

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The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

August 30th, 2017

38:25

The story of the H.L. Hunley really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War, which was ordered less than a week after …

The Motherhood of Mamie Till-Mobley

August 28th, 2017

42:55

The reason Emmett Till's murder played such a consequential role in the Civil Rights movement is because of choices of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. …

SYMHC Classics: Wreck of the Ten Sail

August 26th, 2017

31:24

This episode revisits the biggest shipping disaster in Cayman Islands history, in which 10 ships went down together one night in 1794. Why would so …

John von Neumann

August 23rd, 2017

39:09

One man and his incredible intellect affected so many different disciplines. From game theory to computers to the Manhattan Project, von Neumann and his remarkable abilities helped shape the 20th century.

Learn more …

A Handful of Eclipses in History

August 21st, 2017

33:46

Humans have been recording instances of solar eclipses for thousands of years. Today, we're walking through some of the famous eclipses in history, …

SYMHC Classics: The Contentious Invention of the Sewing Machine

August 19th, 2017

44:18

We're revisiting our 2013 episode on the invention of the sewing machine and the epic patent battle associated with it. The mechanization of stitching happened by way of a series of inventions, several of which finally …

Frederic Tudor, the Ice King

August 16th, 2017

46:13

Tudor hatched a clever plan: In cold weather, he would harvest ice for cheap, and then sell it all around the world when it was hot, singlehandedly …

Charles VI of France: The Mad King

August 14th, 2017

35:50

France’s mad king Charles VI reigned in the middle of the Hundred Years War between England and France. While his early reign hinted at greatness, things soon spiraled downward.

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SYMHC Classics: The Origin of Cheeses

August 12th, 2017

40:45

We're revisiting a classic episode, about cheese! It's been around for more than 9,000 years. But how did humans learn to make it? And how did all the different types of cheese develop?

Learn more about your ad-choices …

The Kallikaks and the Eugenicists

August 9th, 2017

44:02

Spurred by the same fears, prejudices and societal issues that were driving the progressive movement in general, the eugenics movement in the U.S. focused on identifying, sequestering and even sterilizing people who …

The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857

August 7th, 2017

36:25

The Sepoy Rebellion was the result of many, many influences and stressors on the cultures of India living under British rule. In Britain, it's called …

SYMHC Classics: The Count of St. Germain

August 5th, 2017

39:06

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about the Count of Saint Germain. His story features teleportation, alchemy and even rumors of immortality. Was he a spy? A concealed royal? A skilled con man? Or just a …

Ibn Battuta, the Traveler of Islam

August 2nd, 2017

37:33

Ibn Battuta's 14th-century travels were extensive. He was away from home for roughly 24 years and during that time traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and territory, becoming the traveler of the age.

Learn …

Frederick Douglass

July 31st, 2017

42:07

Frederick Douglass was an orator, writer, statesman and social reformer. His early life shaped the truly remarkable advocate he became, and the two …

SYMHC Classics: Jane Austen

July 29th, 2017

42:45

We're revisiting a classic episode, all about Jane Austen. She was not a shy spinster who wrote some little books mostly to amuse her own family, and she wasn't a real-life Elizabeth Bennett. Her life was very different …

Carry A. Nation, Part 2

July 26th, 2017

37:25

After her initial "smashings," Carry A. Nation became a full-time activist, traveling from town to town to destroy saloons and preach temperance. She …

Carry A. Nation, Part 1

July 24th, 2017

33:43

Several events in Carry Nation's early life catalyzed her temperance activism. Her marriages and her faith were particularly important in shaping the …

The Evacuation of Dunkirk

July 19th, 2017

33:02

With a huge number of British Expeditionary Force troops stranded in one location, a massive evacuation operation was undertaken. While it was considered a success, the costs to the Allies were high.

Learn more about …

The Battle of France and the Flight to Dunkirk

July 17th, 2017

34:30

Retellings of the Dunkirk rescue often leave out how the Allied forces got into such a predicament, with a huge part of the British Expeditionary Force stranded. Today, we'll talk about the lead-up to WWII and its …

NASA History: Chief Historian Bill Barry on Hugh Dryden

July 12th, 2017

43:45

The NASA space program likely wouldn't be what it is today without the work Hugh Dryden did before NASA even existed, and his guidance in its early …

Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun

July 10th, 2017

36:06

Despite growing up in a convent and coming very close to taking religious vows as a nun, Catalina de Erauso wound up living a life of danger and adventure. A lot of today's episode falls into the general category of …

William Hogarth

July 5th, 2017

41:02

In the early 18th century, an engraver-turned-artist made his mark on the art world by producing satirical prints in series that commented on …

Unearthed! in July 2017!

July 3rd, 2017

38:08

It's time for another mid-year edition of Unearthed! The show covers new research and information about the Lions of Tsavo, human taxidermy, a photo …

The Eastland Disaster

June 28th, 2017

35:34

The Eastland disaster was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in American history. And in this particular case, safety regulations actually made …

Roses Through Time

June 26th, 2017

40:17

Humans have painted roses, written about them, and assigned them symbolic meaning for centuries. But this much-beloved flower predates mankind, and …

A Brief History of Veterinary Medicine

June 21st, 2017

41:10

Animals and humans have been living together for centuries, but standardized veterinary care developed over a long period of time in many different places.

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The Cuyahoga River's Last Fires

June 19th, 2017

35:23

In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, not for the first time, but for the last time. This event is often credited with helping pass the Clean Water Act and inspire the creation of the Environmental …

The Extinction of the Stephens Island Wren

June 14th, 2017

40:20

The extinction of one New Zealand bird species is often attributed to a single cat. While feline predation played a significant role in the end of …

William Moulton Marston & the Creation of Wonder Woman

June 12th, 2017

49:08

Most people know Wonder Woman as an embodiment of truth and justice, but don't know much about the comic's earlier years or its creator. Marston lived an unconventional life, and in many ways, Wonder Woman was an …

Louis Riel

June 7th, 2017

36:29

Riel was labeled both a traitor and a hero in his time. His work as a political leader for the Métis Nation in the Red River Rebellion led to the …

Annette Kellerman

June 5th, 2017

38:59

Australian Kellerman gets a lot of the credit for developing the women's one-piece bathing suit. But she was also a competitive swimmer, as well as a vaudeville and film star who designed her own mermaid costumes.

Maria Sibylla Merian

May 31st, 2017

33:59

As a naturalist illustrator, Maria Sibylla Merian helped dispel many entomological myths and improved the scientific study of insects and plants, and …

The Ladies of Llangollen

May 29th, 2017

37:37

In the late 18th century, Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, also known as the Ladies of Llangollen, abandoned their life in the upper tiers of …

The Scopes Trial

May 24th, 2017

39:43

The Scopes Trial, aka the Monkey Trial, played out in Dayton, Tennessee, in the summer of 1925. It all stemmed from a state law prohibiting the …

Hitler’s Early Rise and the Night of the Long Knives

May 22nd, 2017

36:34

Over the course of several days in 1934, Adolf Hitler, who was at the time the Nazi Party Leader and Reich Chancellor, directed an action which …

Copernicus

May 17th, 2017

36:07

While he's known primarily as the astronomer who promoted the idea of a heliocentric solar system, Copernicus was also a master mathematician and a …

Six Impossible Episodes: Soldiers, Snipers and Spies

May 15th, 2017

38:14

This installment of our impossible episodes series features a set of stories that are all about front-line heroism. Most of them are listener requests.

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Horace de Vere Cole and the Dreadnought Hoax

May 10th, 2017

39:33

Cole was a lifelong prankster, but none of his stunts could compare with his scheme to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends -- …

The Philadelphia MOVE Bombing

May 8th, 2017

41:02

The MOVE organization is often labeled as a black liberation group or a black power group, but it’s more complex than that. After a protracted, …

The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

May 3rd, 2017

34:41

Although horse racing in general has been around much longer than the Kentucky Derby, including in the United States, the Derby itself has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.

Learn more …

The Cato Street Conspiracy

May 1st, 2017

33:03

Urbanization and mechanization, and all the downsides they brought with them, had continued in Great Britain in the years since the Luddite Rebellion. In response, a radical group plotted to assassinate the Prime …

Abbott and Costello, Part 2

April 26th, 2017

43:17

Abbott and Costello made it big in Hollywood during WWII, but the later part of their career together was beset by tragedy, money issues and personal …

Abbott and Costello, Part 1

April 24th, 2017

34:22

The comedy team of Abbott and Costello created some of the most memorable sketches in history. Their perfectly balanced energy catapulted them from …

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

April 19th, 2017

45:10

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the modern world's most infamous incidents of unethical medical research. The study's researchers told its …

Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

April 17th, 2017

39:02

Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a journalist. And his poetry career …

A Brief History of Foreign Food in the U.S.

April 12th, 2017

42:39

One of the most diverse things about the U.S. is its food industry. Foodies obsessively seek out the “authentic” flavors of any given culture. But …

Three Nuclear Close Calls

April 10th, 2017

34:27

There have been many moments in history when the world came perilously close to a full-scale nuclear war, due to false alarms or miscommunication. …

Prospect Park, Part 2

April 5th, 2017

57:05

In our second episode about Brooklyn's 150-year-old public park, we interview three guests, each with a unique knowledge of the park's history and …

Prospect Park, Part 1

April 3rd, 2017

34:25

Brooklyn's massive public green space tells the historical story of its community. From an undeveloped tract of land, the space was developed to become an Olmsted and Vaux masterpiece.

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Live From Salt Lake Comic Con FanX: H.P. Lovecraft

March 29th, 2017

55:39

Writer H.P. Lovecraft created worlds and stories that continue to be influential more than 80 years after his death. His life story is at turns odd, sad, problematic and utterly fascinating.

Learn more about your …

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

March 27th, 2017

39:00

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who, in addition to being a spy, was a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator, and the first woman in English literature known to have made her …

Mongolian Princess Khutulun

March 22nd, 2017

32:24

Khutulun's story is a little bit cloudy, in part because it’s many hundreds of years old, and in part because accounts of her life involve a …

Jules Cotard and the Syndrome Named After Him

March 20th, 2017

32:06

Jules Cotard was the first psychiatrist to write about the cluster of symptoms that would come to be called “Walking Corpse Syndrome.” But his work …

The New London School Explosion

March 15th, 2017

36:17

This was one of the worst disasters in Texas history, the worst school disaster in U.S. history, and it was a horrific tragedy that stemmed from a …

The King's Evil and the Royal Touch

March 13th, 2017

43:28

The practice of the monarch laying on hands to cure sick people lasted from the medieval period all the way to the 18th century in Britain and …

Speaking With Auschwitz Survivor Michael Bornstein

March 8th, 2017

41:33

Holly interviews Michael Bornstein and his daughter Debbie Bornstein Holinstat about their book "Survivors Club." The book chronicles the story of …

Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-day Queen

March 6th, 2017

38:19

For a very short time between Edward VI and Mary I, Lady Jane was, at least nominally, Queen of England and Ireland, but whether she had any right to the title is still the subject of dispute.

Learn more about your …

John Kidwell and the Founding of Hawaii’s Pineapple Industry

February 27th, 2017

33:03

From his start as an apprentice to a nurseryman in London, John Kidwell would go on to catalyze the establishment of Hawaii’s pineapple industry. His …

Interview: Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

February 27th, 2017

47:47

Dr. Gates joins Holly to talk about history's impact on our future, Black History Month, and his upcoming PBS series "Africa's Great Civilizations."

Jamaica's Maroon Wars

February 22nd, 2017

40:43

Maroons are Africans and people of African ancestry who escaped enslavement and established communities in the Caribbean and parts of the Americas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica's Maroon communities clashed …

Bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple

February 20th, 2017

36:57

Rabbi Jacob Rothschild was a vocal activist who spoke out for civil rights despite the danger in doing so. White supremacists bombed The Temple in Atlanta in a direct reaction to Rothschild's work for equality.

Learn …

Executive Order 9066 & Japanese Internments, Part 2

February 15th, 2017

47:42

After Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, people were incarcerated in inadequate and dehumanizing camps. Even …

Executive Order 9066 & Japanese Internments, Part 1

February 13th, 2017

41:16

Roughly 122,000 Japanese immigrants and American citizens of Japanese ancestry were removed from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated for …

The Women's March on Versailles

February 8th, 2017

36:49

In 1789, a group of protesters -- mostly women -- marched from Paris to Versailles to pressure King Louis XVI to address France's food shortage.

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Ira Frederick Aldridge, Famous Unknown Shakespearean

February 6th, 2017

35:47

He was one of the first Americans to achieve fame as a Shakespearean actor — and the first black man to do so, becoming a famous figure on the Victorian stage. But Aldridge has largely been excluded from biographies of …

Lucille Ball

February 1st, 2017

34:23

Lucille Ball was the grande dame of American comedy. The famed star worked in modeling, radio and film, but she really made her mark in television, and her work set the standard for the TV sitcom.

Learn more about your …

Ed Roberts and the Independent Living Movement

January 30th, 2017

35:31

Ed Roberts was a disability rights activist, known as the father of the Independent Living movement. That movement combines advocacy, resources and …

Inês de Castro and Pedro I of Portugal

January 25th, 2017

32:30

When Prince Pedro of Portugal was married off in the 1300s, he only had eyes for his new wife's lady in waiting. The story of Inês and Pedro's love has everything: romance, deception, murder, and a corpse crowned as …

African Art History With Carol Thompson

January 23rd, 2017

47:25

Holly is joined in the studio by Carol Thompson, Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art at the High Museum of Art. Carol shares her incredible …

Great Zimbabwe

January 18th, 2017

35:12

Great Zimbabwe was a massive stone city in southeastern Africa that was a thriving trade center from the 11th to 15th centuries. But when Europeans first learned of it in the 16th century, they were certain it wasn't …

Maria Montessori

January 16th, 2017

48:38

While she's mostly associated with education, Maria Montessori worked in several fields. Her theories on early education still shape the way kids learn today around the globe.

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Edmonia Lewis

January 11th, 2017

36:23

The American sculptor was a celebrated artist in her day, but she receded from the spotlight; her final years remained a mystery for quite some time. …

Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross

January 9th, 2017

34:11

After witnessing the brutality of a battle first-hand, Swiss-born Dunant dedicated his life to easing the suffering brought by war. But he did so at great cost to his personal life.

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Beer History with Erik Lars Myers

January 4th, 2017

39:12

Erik Lars Myers, founder, CEO and head brewer at Mystery Brewing Company, talks about the history of beer, including how it connects to charity, …

Unearthed! in 2016, Part 2

January 2nd, 2017

42:40

Part two of our annual roundup of unearthed news is a bit of a hodgepodge. It features identifications, very large finds, edible finds, art and letters, and some historical debunkings. And of course, we have everyone's …

Unearthed! in 2016, Part 1

December 28th, 2016

40:03

It's time to talk about all the things that were unearthed in 2016! This first of two episodes covers stuff it seems like happens every year, things …

Unearthed! Piltdown Man

December 26th, 2016

41:11

The Piltdown Man is one of the world’s most infamous instances of scientific fraud, and it derailed the study of evolution for decades. How exactly …

Maccabean Revolt

December 21st, 2016

33:03

The uprising of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire during the Hellenistic period is an integral part of the Hanukkah story. After the …

The Krampus and Friends Holiday Special, Part 3

December 19th, 2016

37:16

Since last year's episodes on non-Santa holiday figures were so popular, there's another installment for 2016! This time around, Frau Perchta, …

Belinda Sutton's Post-enslavement Petitions

December 14th, 2016

32:52

After she became a free woman, Belinda Sutton successfully petitioned for compensation for her years of enslaved labor. This was one of many legal …

An Interview With Sears Historian Jerry Hancock

December 12th, 2016

1:13:18

Jerry, a Sears scholar and history teacher, joins Holly in the studio to talk about the historical significance of the building where HowStuffWorks …

The Palmer Raids, Part 2

December 7th, 2016

32:35

After a bombing attack on his home, Attorney General Palmer launched a series of raids on perceived threats to national security. Thousands of people were rounded up, many without cause or warrant, and kept in …

The Palmer Raids, Part 1

December 5th, 2016

32:35

After WWI, there was a great deal of social unrest in the United States. Additionally, there was a fear that Communist revolutionaries would try to …

Alabama Governor George Wallace

November 30th, 2016

35:26

Wallace was one of the most prominent voices against the Civil Rights Movement and its objectives. He spent multiple campaigns for both governor and …

Rejected Princesses with Jason Porath

November 28th, 2016

47:12

Author and illustrator Jason Porath joins Tracy and Holly in the studio to talk about women from history featured in his new book, including the …

The Dakota War of 1862 and the Whitestone Hill Massacre

November 23rd, 2016

35:28

In 1862, murder led to war between the Dakota and the United States. What followed was a campaign of retribution against multiple indigenous peoples, …

James Webb and NASA’s Early Days

November 21st, 2016

41:23

People are often surprised to learn that the namesake for the James Webb Space Telescope wasn't a scientist or engineer, but a lawyer and a bureaucrat. He was NASA's second administrator, and led the agency through …

The Attica Prison Uprising (Part 2)

November 16th, 2016

44:58

The riot at Attica Correctional Facility in September 1971, demanding better living conditions and basic human rights, remains a significant moment in the history of the U.S. prison system. But many of the problems that …

Life at Attica, 1971 (Part 1)

November 14th, 2016

37:11

Attica Correctional Facility originally opened in rural, upstate New York in 1931. In 1971, conditions at the prison were at a point where they were humiliating, dehumanizing and counterproductive to rehabilitation.

The First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable

November 9th, 2016

36:30

Establishing a submarine telegraph cable to connect North America and Europe took ingenuity, but more than anything else, it required tenacity. There were numerous stumbling blocks before there was finally a direct …

Six Impossible Episodes: Déjà Vu Edition

November 7th, 2016

37:32

We often get requests for topics that are so similar to existing episodes that they would sound like repeats. Here are six that will probably sound …

The Reynolds Pamphlet Live from NYCC Presents

November 2nd, 2016

49:01

In the summer of 1791, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds began an affair that would lead to blackmail, political …

The Hagley Woods Murder

October 31st, 2016

33:36

In 1943, a skeleton was found in a tree near Birmingham, England. More than 70 years later, it's still unknown who the deceased was and how the body ended up in an elm tree.

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A Cruise Through History's Ghost Ships

October 26th, 2016

30:04

There have been numerous instances of ships found adrift with no one on board. Four of those nautical mysteries are featured here, with some truly …

Vincent Price: A Talk With His Daughter Victoria Price

October 24th, 2016

58:10

If you only know of Vincent Price from his films, you may be surprised by his rich life story. Victoria Price joins the show to talk about her famous father and his life beyond the silver screen.

Learn more about your …

Interview: Anne Byrn's 'American Cake'

October 19th, 2016

53:13

Baking expert Anne Byrn joins Holly to talk about the place of cake in U.S. history, from the early colonies right up to the modern era. The …

Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol

October 17th, 2016

32:50

From 1897 to 1962, a small theater in Paris gave became famous for its grisly, terrifying plays. The Theatre du Grand Gignol became a cultural …

The Orphan Tsunami

October 12th, 2016

31:25

In January of 1700, a tsunami struck the coast of Japan. While the connection between earthquakes and tsunamis was known, it actually took a very long time to figure out where the catalyzing earthquake had taken place.

Vardø Witch Trials

October 10th, 2016

30:19

At the height of Europe's witch trials, the northern coast of Norway had a disproportionate number of executions for sorcery. The small fishing community in the Arctic circle staged 140 trials, and sentenced 91 of the …

The Bell Witch

October 5th, 2016

43:58

In the early 1800s, a family in Tennessee allegedly experienced what seemed to be a haunting on their family farm. Many narratives have blossomed from the Bell Witch story, but when you really try to look at the facts, …

The Cod Wars

October 3rd, 2016

39:08

Fishing plays vital role in the culture and economy of both the United Kingdom and Iceland. A dispute between the countries over fishing territory …

SLCC Live! Robber's Roost, Outlaw Hideout

September 28th, 2016

46:53

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, a chunk of rough and unwelcoming stretch of territory in the Canyonlands area east of the Dirty Devil River became a safe haven for scoundrels, including Butch …

The New Orleans 1900 Race Riot

September 26th, 2016

46:50

In July 1900, an interaction between New Orleans police and two black men set off a chain of horrific events. A man hunt, bloodthirsty mobs and …

SLCC Live! How Historical Fiction Gets Made

September 21st, 2016

44:21

Tracy and Holly were joined by authors Bryan Young, E.B. Wheeler and Brian McClellan during Salt lake Comic Con for a talk about how authors weave …

Mary Alice Nelson, aka Molly Spotted Elk

September 19th, 2016

43:52

Molly was born on Indian Island, Maine, and she turned to dance to help her family make ends meet. But because audiences and companies in the U.S. …