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1800s

How This Black Entrepreneur Changed The Baking Industry

September 16, 2021

Bread machine with bread. (Pavel Ševela/Wikimedia Commons) If you were one of the people who jumped onto the homemade bread-making train during the COVID-19 pand...

The Hawaiian Gazette: The First Hawaiian Newspaper Publ...

September 4, 2021

The Summer Residence Of The Late King Kamehameha V. At Waikiki, 1873 Engraving. (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) On Septemb...

The Morgan Affair: A Tale Of Secret Societies, Kidnappi...

August 31, 2021

Picturesque History of Freemasonry (1844), Reception of an apprentice. (Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) It might seem a little strange that t...

The Granger Movement Of The 1860s

August 25, 2021

Vignette inspired by the Granger movement depicts a farmer with a plough and two horses, asserting the importance of the farmer in American society. Dated 1875. (Photo12/Universal Image...

The Real Life Of The Legend: Johnny Appleseed

August 11, 2021

A United States postage stamp depicting American apple tree planter John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed (1774- 1845) in front of a large red apple, released in 1966. (Phot...

History Of The County Fair

August 1, 2021

(Alex Camara/Europa Press via Getty Images) As late summer rolls around, county fair season is in full swing. It's a tradition as popular in rural America as the country music concerts and e...

The Burning Of Washington: When The British Attacked Th...

July 19, 2021

Burning of Washington, Paul de Thoyras. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) The War of 1812 erupted after a series of trade disputes, thanks to Napoleon's...

The Invention Of Aspirin

July 1, 2021

Aspirin tablets spilled from a bottle. (Chris Walton/South China Morning Post via Getty Images) Since 1899, aspirin has been touted as a wonder drug, but people have been using a natural form ...

Policarpa: The Teenage Spy

June 29, 2021

Policarpa Salavarrieta. (José María Espinosa Prieto/Wikipedia Commons) Policarpa Salavarrieta, seamstress, spy, and heroine of Colombian independence, was born January 26, 1795 in the small ...

Did Voter Fraud Kill Edgar Allan Poe? The 'Cooping' The...

June 13, 2021

American short story writer, poet, and critic Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), circa 1840. (MPI/Getty Images) The stories of Edgar Allan Poe are filled with fanta...

Chang And Eng: The Conjoined Twins Who Profited As 'Fre...

June 5, 2021

The Siamese twins, Chang and Eng. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Conjoined twins are exceedingly rare, thought to occur when a fer...

Spring-Heeled Jack: The Jumping Fiend Who Terrorized Vi...

May 26, 2021

Spring-Heeled Jack, a devil-like character of English urban legend, escapes from an angry mob at Newport Arch in Lincoln. Engraving from Illustrated Police News...

In Many Hispanic Countries, The Tooth Fairy Is A Mouse

May 18, 2021

A house mouse sitting on the glove of a biologist (Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images) In the United States, the Tooth Fairy buys children's teeth fo...

Radical Republicans: The Anti-Slavery Group Who Pressur...

May 4, 2021

Political cartoon by Thomas Nast (1840-1902) depicting the Republican vote, represented by Uncle Sam riding an elephant, walking over the Democratic (Tammany) T...

Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marcon...

April 28, 2021

Marconi demonstrating apparatus he used in his first long-distance radio transmissions in the 1890s. The transmitter is at right, the receiver with paper tape r...

The Slave Trade Act: British Parliament Finally Abolish...

April 16, 2021

Sugar plantation in the British colony of Antigua, 1823. (British Library/Wikimedia Commons) The long battle to stop the transatlantic slave trade came to a h...

The Breast Tax: Imposed On Women Who Chose To Cover The...

April 15, 2021

Lithograph from L'Inde Français, 1828. From the collection of Jean Claude Carriere. (Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images) The breast tax, or the mulakkaram...

The Rock Springs Massacre Of 1885: When 28 Chinese Mine...

April 4, 2021

Barely past the crack of dawn on September 2, 1885, an argument broke out between the Chinese and European immigrant workers of the Union Pacific Coal Compan...

Pinkertons: The Old West's Secret Police That Still Exi...

March 30, 2021

Pinkerton on horseback on the Antietam Battlefield in 1862. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) The Pinkerton National Detective Agency is one of the olde...

1837 Canada Gives Black Citizens Right To Vote, Though ...

March 24, 2021

The path to equal voting rights in Canada is a long and winding road. While Europeans have inhabited the land since the 1400s, the actual origin of its hist...

The Rebecca Riots Of The 1830s And 1840s (When Welsh Pe...

March 19, 2021

During the Rebecca Riots in Wales, men and boys, dressed as women, attacking a turnpike gate in protest at charges at tollgates on public roads. From The Illust...

The Sausage Duel: When Two Politicians Almost Faced Off...

March 11, 2021

Engraving of Otto von Bismarck, 1873. (Evert Duykinck/Wikimedia Commons) The concept of the duel takes up quite a bit of space in our collective consciousness...

1828: John Quincy Adams's Son Marries First Cousin At T...

February 25, 2021

Daguerrotype of the south front of the White House, 1846. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) When John Adams II married his first cousin in a small White...

Abraham Lincoln: Biography, Facts & Things You Didn't K...

February 12, 2021

President Abraham Lincoln. (Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images) If you went to elementary school in the United States, you pro...

13th Amendment To The U.S. Constitution: What It Looked...

January 31, 2021

13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. (National Archives of the Unites States/Wikimedia Commons) On January 31, 1865, Congress ratified the 13th A...

The United States' First Ever Presidential Assassinatio...

January 30, 2021

The etching of the assassination attempt. (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons) In 1835, Andrew Jackson almost became the first American president to be killed i...

The Whiskey Ring: The First Time Abraham Lincoln's Repu...

January 9, 2021

A contemporary cartoon about the Whiskey Ring. (Thomas Nast/Wikimedia Commons) We think of the splintering of American political parties and government corrup...

War Of 1812: The Last Time The Capitol Was Stormed In A...

January 8, 2021

The British burning Washington. (Paul M. Rapin de Thoyras/Wikimedia Commons) Despite its catchy title, the War of 1812, when Americans watched as their capito...

Boxing Day History: The True Origins Of Why We Celebrat...

December 26, 2020

To many parts of the world, Boxing Day is a big deal, but in others, it hasn't caught on quite like it did in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, and A...

When We Switched From Horses To Cars: How Did We Stop R...

December 4, 2020

(Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons) We may look back at the horse-and-buggy days as a simpler, quaint, and romantic time when life moved at a slower pace and p...

Phonograph: Invention And History Of The World's First ...

November 23, 2020

American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison with an Edison Standard Phonograph, at his lab in West Orange, New Jersey, 1906. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) ...

1820 U.S. Presidential Election: The Last President Who...

November 11, 2020

Portrait of James Monroe circa 1819. (Samuel Morse/Wikimedia Commons) What's the most amount of electoral votes ever gotten? Is it possible to receive all the...

The Moulin Rouge: A Famous French Theater That Held The...

October 6, 2020

Moulin Rouge, Paris, April 2011. (Christine Zenino/Wikimedia Commons) Whether you're a lover of art, dance, or pop musicals, you've probably heard of the famo...

The Orient Express: A Famous Train Ride Across Europe T...

October 4, 2020

The Orient Express at the Salzburg station. (Culture Club/Getty Images) Perhaps the best-known train in the world, the Orient Express conjures images of luxur...

What Happened To Aaron Burr After He Shot Alexander Ham...

September 1, 2020

Even if you haven't seen the smash Broadway musical Hamilton, you probably know that Alexander Hamilton, one of America's founding fathers and the first secr...

The Invention Of Potato Chips In 1853 By A Half-Black, ...

August 24, 2020

Potato chips. (Urbano Delvalle/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images) If there's anything people love more than sweet, sweet fried potatoes...

Ugly Laws: A 1867 San Francisco Attempt At Making Ugly ...

August 14, 2020

Can you imagine walking down the street and being stopped by a police officer for public unattractiveness? It sounds like a bad comedy sketch, but it was som...

Lizzie Borden: 1892's Unsolved Axe Murder Mystery Case

August 4, 2020

We probably all remember the morbid schoolyard ditty about Lizzie Borden, in which we learned that she gave her parents 40–41 whacks with an ax. Officially, howe...

Frederick Douglass's "What To The Slave Is The Fourth O...

July 4, 2020

American orator, abolitionist, writer, and escaped slave, Frederick Douglass (1817–1895). (MPI/Getty Images) "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me t...

The White Declaration Of Independence: When White Supre...

July 3, 2020

In 1898, white supremacists permanently scarred the community of Wilmington, North Carolina by stoking anger and resentment among the white citizens of this ...

Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch: The Father Of Masochism, Exp...

June 28, 2020

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Fanny Pistor Bogdanoff, c. 1870-1880 (note the whip). (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons) Human sexuality is a vastly complicated...

King Leopold II Of Belgium: The Criminal Who Brutally K...

June 25, 2020

Portrait of the future king Leopold II, king of the Belgians. (Nicaise de Keyser/Wikimedia Commons) Having only gained its independence from the Netherlands i...

Samuel Morse: Inventor Of The Telegraph, Failed Painter...

May 24, 2020

You may only know Samuel Morse for that code he invented, but there was much more to the man than dots and dashes. He was also a mediocre student who dreamed...

The First Bicycle Is Introduced In New York City, 1819:...

May 21, 2020

In 1819, the bicycle rolled across the Atlantic into the Big Apple all the way from Europe. Known as "velocipedes" or "swift walkers," these strange contrapt...

History Of The Hot Dog: Why Do We Call Them Dogs? Where...

May 13, 2020

Hot dogs were a favorite of street vendors. (Wikimedia Commons/Public domain) There's nothing more America than a hot dog. You can find them being sold at str...

1891: What It Was Like When Carnegie Hall Opened In New...

May 5, 2020

1895: View of Carnegie Hall on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, New York City. (Photo by Museum of the City of New York/Byron Collection/Getty Imag...

1878: The First White House Easter Egg Roll And The Lon...

April 22, 2020

Easter is an important holiday to many Americans, but there's a special tradition in Washington, D.C. that's been occurring on and off for more than 100 year...

Okay Etymology: Why Do We Say "Okay" And Where Did It C...

March 23, 2020

As one of our most commonly used colloquialisms, "okay" is so much a part of our language and culture that it is hard to imagine a time when it wasn't used. ...

The Weird History Of Babies In Advertising

March 10, 2020

It's no secret that babies are popular. As a species, we have about 258 of them every minute, so if we weren't designed to find their squishy little faces adorable enough to...

Ladies' Ordinaries: Women-Only Restaurants That Shielde...

March 8, 2020

The Gloppe patisserie on the Champs-Elysees, two women eating pastries, 1889, Jean Beraud. (M. Seemuller / De Agostini Picture Library via Getty Images) A gir...

Aspirin: The History Behind The Heroin Addict Who Inven...

March 6, 2020

Not to alarm you, but those little white pills that make your headaches dissolve and soothe inflamed muscles have more in common with heroin than you think, i.e. ...

Zwarte Piet, The Controversial Black Servant Of The Dut...

December 21, 2019

A Sinterklaas celebration, which takes place on December 5. (Photo by John van Hasselt/Corbis via Getty Images) Every winter, the people of the Netherlands an...

Baron Haussmann: How Architecture Ended The French Revo...

December 7, 2019

Today, the romance of Paris monopolizes all other aspects of the original City of Love. Whether couples intertwine beneath the Eiffel Tower's famed arch or e...

Robert Smalls's Great Escape: How A Slave Stole A Confe...

December 4, 2019

Born into slavery and forced to work as a ship's captain without any of the respect usually afforded to a ship's captain, Robert Smalls was a man who refused to ...

Billy The Kid Stories You've Never Heard Before

November 23, 2019

Youthful Old West outlaw Billy the Kid would be celebrating his 160th birthday today, November 23, if he had not been killed at the tender age of 21 (and, you know, if ...

Gettysburg Address: Facts & Stories You've Never Heard

November 19, 2019

The brief yet powerful speech that President Abraham Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863, has become one of the most revered speeches in U.S. history. Most pe...

What You Didn't Know About Susan B. Anthony

November 18, 2019

Photograph of Susan B. Anthony. Source: (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images) The name Susan B. Anthony is nearly synonymous with women's suffrage, but ...

How Telling Ghost Stories Around A Fire Used To Be A Ch...

October 20, 2019

With the nights growing longer and a chill filling the air, is there a better way to stay warm than curling up around the hearth to tell a ghost story? Halloween...

Ragamuffin Day: The Precursor To Halloween That The NYT...

October 18, 2019

Kids dressed in crazy costumes going door to door begging for treats---it sounds a lot like Halloween, doesn't it? It could be, except for a few notable diff...

Charles Henry Dow: The Man Who Created Modern Economics

October 8, 2019

The day's numbers for the Dow Jones Industrial Average are displayed on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square. Source: (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Ima...

Fairy Tales Are Over 6,000 Years Old

October 5, 2019

The Brothers Grimm are often credited with writing some of the earliest and best-loved fairy tales, but the truth is, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were cultural researchers and lexicog...

Olive Oatman: The Girl With The Blue Tattoo

October 2, 2019

The frontier story of Olive Oatman enthralled the country when it happened in the mid-1800s, and it's still a source of fascination today. It's not the kidnapping of the te...

Montparnasse Derailment: When A Train Went Through A St...

September 29, 2019

A dramatic snapshot photograph of a derailed steam locomotive at Montparnasse Station, Paris, taken by an unknown photographer. Source: (Photo by SSPL/Getty Ima...

Steinert Hall: The Secret Antique Symphonic Theater Hid...

September 28, 2019

Cue The Phantom of the Opera: This is the story of a real-life hidden concert hall, tucked deep underground and forgotten beneath the bustling street above. ...

The Surprisingly Ongoing Global Women's Suffrage Moveme...

September 23, 2019

Three women vote at a polling station in New York City, New York, USA. Source: (Photo by National Photo Company/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)...

The Spy Who Hung Her Laundry

August 8, 2019

The most effective spies are the ones that don't appear to be doing anything suspicious at all. They look as though they are going about their normal lives. During the Revolutionary War, ...

The Great Plains' Largest Natural Disaster: A Plague Of...

August 7, 2019

A large swarm of locust can eat 100,000 metric tons of vegetation per day. AFP PHOTO/BILAL TARABEY. Source: (Photo credit should read BILAL TARABEY/AFP/Getty Im...

The Mowing Devil: England's First Crop Circle

July 30, 2019

In the 1970s, strange geometric shapes began to pop up overnight in some of the wheat fields of rural England. The designs, at first, were simple circles, giving rise to ...

Central Park, Elitism, and the Destruction of Seneca Vi...

July 28, 2019

Aerial view of Manhattan looking south over Central Park July 2007 in New York City. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA. Source: (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Gett...

Staggering Facts That Show Why Krakatoa Was A Monster V...

July 20, 2019

Mother Nature often shows us her power and strength, and in August 1883, she was feeling particularly boastful. The eruption of Krakatoa, which you may remem...

Meet the Katzies: The Katzenjammer Kids, One of the Ear...

July 18, 2019

The 'Katzenjammer Kids' cartoon children are the subject of this coloring book issued circa 1915 in New York City. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Image...

Letter Perfect: The History of Varsity Jackets

July 15, 2019

If you played a sport in high school, you probably couldn’t wait to get your Varsity letter. That meant you could officially have a varsity jacket, or letterman jacket, ...

Mountain Dew’s Moonshine Past

July 5, 2019

That highly-caffeinated, artificially-yellow, sugary-sweet beverage that you chug when you’re thirsty or need an energy boost was never intended to be a soft drink. In fact, it has tie...

Victorian Buns: The Obsession with Enormous Bustles

July 4, 2019

Late Victorian flower show and garden party dresses with high bustles and fitted corset lines. Source: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Long before the Kardash...

Lotta Crabtree, The Nation’s Darling

June 26, 2019

Portrait of Lotta Crabtree Smoking a Cigar. Source: (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images) Long before the title of America’s Sweetheart was bestowed on Mary ...

Who Were the Lowell Girls? A Force to Be Reckoned With

May 29, 2019

In the mid-1800s, textile mills were a big business in New England town, particularly the town of Lowell, Massachusetts. To keep the mills humming along and to k...

8 Things You Didn't Know About Real-Life Covered Wagons

May 24, 2019

Conestoga Wagon. Source: (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images) Every movie and television show about the old west and the pioneer days include...

The Story Behind 'The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County...

May 22, 2019

A young boy encourages his frog to perform a long jump. AFP PHOTO Source: (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images) American author Samuel Clemens, better known by ...

The Brothers Grimm: History Of More Than Just Fairytale...

May 20, 2019

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Source: (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images) We all know the Brothers Grimm from their collections of fairytales, ...

Are Tomatoes Fruits Or Vegetables?: The Supreme's Court...

May 15, 2019

A woman picks a tomato at a market. Source: (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) The tomato… is it a fruit or a vegetable? Ask a group of botanists and th...