American Presidents

Abraham Lincoln pardoned Moses J. Robinette on September 1, 1864.

Abraham Lincoln Pardoned Joe Biden's Great-Great-Grandfather, 160-Year-Old Records Reveal

Historian David J. Gerleman discovered the link between the two presidents while reviewing historic documents at the National Archives

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are two of the giant pandas who lived at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in recent years. They were returned to China in November 2023.

More Giant Pandas Are Coming to the U.S. in a New Loan From China

China plans to send a male and a female panda to the San Diego Zoo as early as this summer, and negotiations are underway for pandas' possible return to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Abraham Lincoln’s third annual message to Congress spurred prompt and consequential action on what became the first piece of proactive federal legislation to encourage, rather than discourage, immigration to the U.S.

Abraham Lincoln's Oft-Overlooked Campaign to Promote Immigration to the U.S.

A few weeks after the president delivered the Gettysburg Address, he called on Congress to welcome immigrants as a "source of national wealth and strength"

The archive was found by a direct descendant of Herman Matzinger, the doctor who performed McKinley's autopsy.

Newly Discovered Papers From President McKinley's Assassination Are for Sale

The archive belonged to Herman Matzinger, who performed the autopsy on the 25th president and conducted a bacteriological analysis to rule out the possibility of poison-tipped bullets

For the year 2024, here are 24 things to look forward to at the Smithsonian.

Twenty-Four Smithsonian Shows to See in 2024

Election-year items, truth serum, Nigerian art and a pioneering self-driving car are on display this year

The fateful tent on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

From These Modest Wartime Quarters, George Washington Kept the Revolution Alive

The general's war tent, an iconic part of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, carries as much symbolism now as it did then

The rare George Washington portrait could sell for as much as $2.5 million in January.

The Met Is Selling This Rare Portrait of George Washington

Artist Gilbert Stuart painted the work after the president sat for him in late 1795

The Bostonians’ “preferred outcome” was for the tea to be “peacefully sent back to London,” says historian Benjamin L. Carp. “It’s only when they find out … the governor is not going to let [that happen] that they say, ‘Well, we have no choice [but] to destroy [the tea].”

The Many Myths of the Boston Tea Party

Contrary to popular belief, the 1773 protest opposed a tax break, not a tax hike. And it didn't immediately unify the colonies against the British

At the beginning of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant wasn’t an abolitionist, admitting that his beliefs were “not even what could be called antislavery.” By August 1863, he had changed his mind, writing, “Slavery is already dead and cannot be resurrected.”

Unraveling Ulysses S. Grant's Complex Relationship With Slavery

The Union general directly benefited from the brutal institution before and during the Civil War

An original Michtom teddy bear once held by two of Teddy Roosevelt’s great-grandchildren, Mark and Anne.

The Teddy Bear Was Once Seen as a Dangerous Influence on Young Children

Inspired by a moment of empathy from President Theodore Roosevelt, the huggable toy had a rocky start before it became the stuff of legend

The Dallas County Administration Building, formerly the Texas School Book Depository, as photographed in 2015

The Architectural History of the JFK Assassination Site

How November 22, 1963, changed Dallas' Dealey Plaza forever

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter dancing at the presidential Inaugural Ball in January 1977

From the Governor's Mansion to the White House and Beyond, Rosalynn Carter Was a Tireless Advocate for the Vulnerable

Smithsonian experts reflect on the life and legacy of the former first lady, who died Sunday at age 96

Signs calling for the abolition of Columbus Day formed the backdrop for a protest in front of city hall in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The Evolution of Columbus Day Celebrations, From Italian Immigrant Pride to Indigenous Recognition

The holiday has been controversial practically since its inception

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy ride the presidential limousine through the streets of Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Texas Governor John B. Connally Jr. is seated in front of them.

Ex-Secret Service Agent's Account of JFK's Assassination Could Cast Doubt on 'Lone Gunman' Theory

Paul Landis' new book refutes the idea that a single bullet injured both the president and Texas Governor John B. Connally Jr.

Stamped with the date—April 14, 1865—the two tickets correspond with a front-row spot in the dress circle.

What Did These Two Ticket Holders See on the Night of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination?

A rare pair of Ford's Theatre tickets—for seats across from the president's box—have sold for $262,500

“Had it not been for the testament given [to] him by Mr. Foster, which received a second bullet, I doubt if you would have ever seen him again,” wrote journalist Benjamin Perley Poore in a letter to Merrill's father.

The Bible That Stopped a Bullet

In 1863, a New Testament tucked in the pocket of Union soldier Charles W. Merrill prevented a musket ball from mortally wounding him

On September 18, 1873, an investment bank owned by Jay Cooke, who financed the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway, went bankrupt, sparking a multiyear financial crisis.

How One Robber Baron's Gamble on Railroads Brought Down His Bank and Plunged the U.S. Into the First Great Depression

In 1873, greed, speculation and overinvestment in railroads sparked a financial crisis that sank the U.S. into more than five years of misery

Early mug shots of 19th-century criminal suspects in a book by Alphonse Bertillon, chief of criminal identification for the Paris police

A Brief History of the Mug Shot

Police have been using the snapshots in criminal investigations since the advent of commercial photography

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

The monument, designed by artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan B. Jeyifous, will be placed at an entrance to Prospect Park.

A Monument Honoring Shirley Chisholm, the First Black Congresswoman, Is Coming to Brooklyn

After years of delays, New York City officially approved a statue commemorating the borough native and political trailblazer

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