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1900s

1904: The Worst Olympics Ever

July 27, 2021

Not every Olympics is a hit, but the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri really won the gold when it came to the worst games ever. To be fair, the Olympics as we know them today we...

How The Polio Vaccine Was Developed (And All The Hiccup...

April 30, 2021

Child vaccinated with Dr. Salk’s vaccine against polio in 1956. (Jean-Pierre Grisel/RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images) Polio has plagued humans for thousands...

How The New York City Subway Came To Be

April 14, 2021

The City Hall station of the I.R.T. Lexington Avenue Line, sometime between 1900 and 1904, part of the first underground line of the subway that opened on October 27, 1904. (Libra...

The History Of The Getaway Car And Where It Started

April 10, 2021

1912 Stanley steam car. (Stephen Foskett/Wikimedia Commons) Before the advent of the automobile, bank robbers, rustlers, and no-goodniks of all stripes fled the scen...

The First Barrel Ride Down Niagara Falls Happens In 190...

April 9, 2021

Annie Edson Taylor, first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive (cat in photo is likely the same cat that went over the falls in a test run). ...

When A Shoemaker Convinced People To Kidnap A German Go...

March 10, 2021

German postage stamp commemorating Voigt released in 2006. (Carsten Wolff/Wikimedia Commons) There are people in the world who can convince anyone to do anyth...

H.B. Reese, Inventor of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Wor...

March 9, 2021

Candy has a bit of a complicated history to it because a lot of the same people were doing the same things at around the same time and you can even kind of track ...

Galveston Hurricane: The Deadliest Day In American Hist...

December 14, 2020

Removing dead bodies to the barges for burial at sea. (NOAA Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons) September 8, 1900 became the deadliest day in American history wh...

1902 Mount Pelée Eruption: Volcano Kills 30,000 When Go...

November 9, 2020

In April of 1902 the Mount Pelee volcano on Martinique island erupted. (Carl Simon/United Archives/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Several months ag...

Pablo Picasso: Everything You Didn't Know About The Ava...

October 25, 2020

This file pictured dated October 13, 1971 shows Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France. (RALPH GATTI/AFP via Getty Images) As the father of cubism,...

Vladimir Lenin: Everything You Didn't Know About The Ru...

October 21, 2020

Becoming Vladimir LeninVladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born to a middle-class, well-educated family in Simbirsk, Russia on April 22, 1870. His father, Ilya, was...

Teddy Roosevelt: Things You Didn't Know About The Bull ...

October 14, 2020

Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, was a rugged, no-nonsense statesman, writer, and naturalist. When not making policy and negotiating...

Coco the Clown: The UK's Number-One Vintage Clown

September 25, 2020

Coco the Clown inspects a replica of his face painted on an eggshell. (Peter Johnson/BIPs/Getty Images) On September 25, 1974, the entertainment world, particularly in...

Robert Johnson: The Most Important Bluesman Of All Time...

August 30, 2020

(Delta Haze Corporation/Wikimedia Commons) Robert Johnson is easily the most important blues artist of all time. The influence of his simple guitar lines and ...

Automats: Fast Food Before We Had Fast Food Restaurants

July 26, 2020

(Berenice Abbott/Wikimedia Commons) Say what you will about the fast food experience, but whatever it may lack in fresh ingredients and customer service, it more...

Disturbing Things People Did At Carnivals In The Early ...

July 11, 2020

At the onset of the 20th century, traveling carnivals grew out of the World's Fair and became a beloved pastime for families seeking a fun night out that wou...

The Anti-Mask League Of 1919: The Anti-Masker Movement ...

July 1, 2020

In 1918, the most deadly outbreak of influenza of the 20th century killed nearly 50 million people across the world and around 675,000 people in the United S...

William James Sidis: The Smartest Man Alive In The Earl...

June 29, 2020

Imagine being nine years old and, while all the other children experiment with booger sculpture, creating your own language while studying experimental mathe...

The Invention Of Oreo: How America's Best-Selling Cooki...

May 8, 2020

Creamy, chocolatey, and impossible to limit to the recommended serving size, the Oreo is a timeless cookie that no household is complete without. Even though...

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake: The Largest In Conti...

April 18, 2020

On this day, 114 years ago, the residents of San Francisco were jolted out of their beds in the early morning hours by the biggest earthquake in the history ...

Harry Houdini: Stories, Myths, And Facts About Magic's ...

March 24, 2020

Harry Houdini may have passed away in 1936, but he remains the most well-known magician of the 20th century. He was the scourge of false mystics and imitators, a ...

Dr. Seuss: Facts And Stories You Didn't Know About The ...

March 2, 2020

Who didn’t grow up reading the fun-tastical books of Dr. Seuss? The rhymes were catchy, the stories had morals, and the illustrations were whimsical. From Th...

1904 Baltimore Fire: 80 Blocks Burned And Lessons Learn...

February 7, 2020

Men hurry on the street as they work to demolish buildings during the Baltimore fire, 1904. The leveling of the buildings by dynamite was a desperate attempt to...

The Legend Of The Green Man: Raymond Robinson Had No Fa...

January 26, 2020

Have you heard the one about Green Man? You know, the guy without a face who walks the highway at night? Supposedly, he fell into a vat of acid, but some people s...

Rasputin's Daughter Literally Ran Away And Joined The C...

January 24, 2020

Imagine this scenario: Your father is a high-profile mystic, purported to be impossible to kill. Your friends are empresses. Not what most people consider a ...

The Making Of A Mad Monk: How Rasputin Went From A Peas...

January 21, 2020

Grigorj Rasputin, Russia's Mad Monk and mystic. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images) Known as "the Mad Monk," Grigori Rasputin was a central figure in the downf...

The Great Molasses Flood Sounds Like A Joke, But It Kil...

January 15, 2020

On January 15, 1919, the Boston area found itself in a sticky situation. That afternoon, a tank full of molasses exploded while traveling through Boston, sending...

PBS: All The Good Things PBS Has Done For This Country

November 7, 2019

With Netflix flipping the traditional TV model on its head and traditional network giants like Disney and HBO creating their own streaming services, how we consu...

Groucho Marx: Behind The Mustache

November 2, 2019

Comedian Grouch Marx with his trademark mustache. (Photo by Ralph Crane/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images) Of the five Marx brothers, Groucho Marx may be the mo...

This Is How Americans Celebrated Halloween In The Early...

October 25, 2019

While it's always been a little spooky and a lot of fun, Halloween hasn't always looked the way it does now. Dressing up and carving pumpkins has always been a p...

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. ...

Who Was The Real Betty Crocker?

September 26, 2019

Today, we know her as the premier purveyor of boxed cake mixes, but a generation or two ago, Betty Crocker was the go-to expert for all things baking. It may surprise you to know that ...

William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson: How a Couple of ...

April 15, 2019

The year was 1901. A new form of transportation was America’s newest obsession…the bicycle. The one-man, pedal-powered bikes were all the rage. Turn-of-the-c...

Diana of the Dunes: A Lake Michigan Ghost Story With A ...

April 9, 2019

Actress Angie Dickinson swimming outdoors in 1961, perhaps channeling her inner Diana of the Dunes. Source: (photo by Pierluigi/Mandadori Portfolio via Getty Im...

The Lindbergh Baby: The Kidnapping, the Investigation, ...

January 29, 2019

Portrait of the American pilot Charles LINDBERGH, the first to succeed to cross the Atlantic without stop over. His fame made his young child a target for kidna...

People Window Shopping In New York During the Christmas...

November 29, 2016

Each year department stores unveil their holiday window displays to admiring crowds. Festive windows have been a tradition in New York City since the 1870s; R.H. ...