U.S. History

The "1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery through February 25, 2024.

How the War of 1898 Changed History Forever—in the United States and Beyond

When the nascent naval power invaded Puerto Rico, three artists captured the moment, each explaining its significance in their own way

Though historians today generally agree that Harding died of natural causes, suspicions to the contrary lingered for decades.

Why President Warren G. Harding's Sudden Death Sparked Rumors of Murder and Suicide

The commander in chief's unexpected death in office 100 years ago fueled decades of conspiracy theories but was most likely the result of a heart attack

A plate from the Birth Atlas, the Maternity Center Association's manual depicting the entire Birth
Series using photography and line plate drawing

At the 1939 World’s Fair, Robert Latou Dickinson Demystified Pregnancy for a Curious Public

The gynecologist and sculptor’s “Birth Series” broke barriers, but how do his views on abortion, race and women’s health square with what we know today?

President Harry S. Truman speaks from the dais at the Convention Hall as Kentucky Senator Alben Barkley (seated onstage in black suit) looks on during the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Untold Stories of American History

The 1948 Democratic National Convention Is the Missing Link in Civil Rights History

Civil rights activists failed to expel an all-white, segregationist delegation. But their efforts foreshadowed later milestones in the fight for equality

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan's newest film

Based on a True Story

The Real History Behind Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer'

The "father of the atomic bomb" has long been misunderstood. Will the new film finally get J. Robert Oppenheimer right?

An illustration of William Morgan's abduction

The Masonic Murder That Inspired the First Third Party in American Politics

Public outcry over whistleblower William Morgan's disappearance gave rise to the Anti-Masonic Party, which nominated a candidate for president in 1832

On a June morning in 1864, Meade expelled Edward Crapsey from camp, ordering his men to seat the reporter backward on a mule, with a sign around his neck that read “Libeler of the Press.”

After Winning the Battle of Gettysburg, George Meade Fought With—and Lost to—the Press

The Civil War general's reputation was shaped by partisan politics, editorial whims and his own personal failings

Flanked by drag queens while brandishing a .410-gauge shotgun on July 6, 1973, Broshears announced the establishment of a new vigilante group: the Lavender Panthers.

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Controversial Gay Priest Who Brought Vigilante Justice to San Francisco's Streets

In response to anti-gay violence, the Reverend Raymond Broshears formed the Lavender Panthers, an armed self-defense group, in 1973

Protesters attend a rally in support of affirmative action in college admissions on October 31, 2022.

History of Now

The History Behind the Supreme Court's Affirmative Action Decision

The phrase, first used in early 20th-century employment laws, is at the center of two new rulings against its use in higher education

The artist’s rendering of the USS Indianapolis. Smith often draws highly detailed features, such as the guns, separately and only later places them onto the larger work.

A Veteran’s Artistic Tribute to Naval Might and Sacrifice

JD Smith has dedicated himself to creating incredibly detailed and historically accurate renderings of warships that fought in World War II

Thomas Edison told journalists they would each receive a brief, private demonstration of the new light bulb’s capacities. They could marvel at what he had achieved before he swiftly ushered them away, ensuring they’d be out of the room long before the bulb burned out.

How Thomas Edison Tricked the Press Into Believing He'd Invented the Light Bulb

A year before he developed a working bulb, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" created the illusion that his prototype burned for more than a few minutes at a time

Why do chickens have wings if they can’t use them to fly?

Why Are Chickens So Bad at Flying? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

GUN SITE Gun Site was constructed on the former Anchor Ranch, a 320-acre property to the west of the main research site. The area had a flat, empty space where scientists studied projectiles and ballistics. Its main drawback was its proximity to a road, but efforts to blockade traffic during tests were largely successful.

An Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Los Alamos Lab Where J. Robert Oppenheimer Created the Atomic Bomb

In never-before-seen photographs, explore the secret U.S. facility and home to the Manhattan Project scientists who developed the first nuclear weapon

On May 25, 1977, a fire at the Everard Baths in New York City killed 9 people and injured 12 more.

LGBTQ+ Pride

Before It Burned Down, This Bathhouse Served as a Haven for New York City's Gay Community

For decades, gay men gathered anonymously at the Everard Baths, seeking sexual liaisons and camaraderie alike

George Washington used the light of this brass candle stand while laboring over his farewell address in 1796.

How George Washington Wrote His Farewell Address

A candle stand used by the first president illuminates his extraordinary last days in office

The crew of the USS Kearsarge, photographed shortly after battle with the CSS Alabama

Untold Stories of American History

Was This Civil War Hero the First Medal of Honor Recipient Born in Africa?

Recent research suggests Joachim Pease, a sailor recognized for his role in sinking a Confederate raider, was from Cape Verde

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Women Who Shaped History

How an 1800s Midwife Solved a Poisonous Mystery

For decades before Doctor Anna’s discovery, “milk sickness” terrorized the Midwest, killing thousands of Americans on the frontier

An illustration of Anthony Comstock, published in Puck magazine in 1906

History of Now

The 150-Year-Old Comstock Act Could Transform the Abortion Debate

Once considered a relic of moral panics past, the 1873 law criminalized sending "obscene, lewd or lascivious" materials through the mail

Adopting the last name of his former enslaver, Harry spent the rest of his life pursuing the ideal for which the name Washington has long been revered in American history: fighting for freedom.

Untold Stories of American History

Enslaved by George Washington, This Man Escaped to Freedom—and Joined the British Army

Harry Washington fought for his enslaver's enemy during the American Revolution. Later, he migrated to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone

Gay Days at Disney World is one of the nation's largest Pride Month events.

What Disney Theme Parks Tell Us About Ourselves

An American History Museum exhibition looks at how the resorts have changed over time to reflect a broader image of what it means to be American

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