American Presidents

J. Edgar Hoover (second from left) stands behind Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the president signs a bill in 1934.

How World War II Helped Forge the Modern FBI

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover consolidated immense power—and created the beginnings of the surveillance state

“I was the daughter of an enormously popular president and the first girl in the White House since Nellie Grant, and I looked upon the world as my oyster,” Alice recalled in her 1933 autobiography.

Women Who Shaped History

From a White House Wedding to a Pet Snake, Alice Roosevelt's Escapades Captivated America

Theodore Roosevelt's eldest daughter won the public's adoration with her rebellious antics

American ambassador Joseph C. Grew (left) meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda (right) in October 1941, two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Untold Stories of American History

The American Ambassador Who Tried to Prevent Pearl Harbor

A new book explores the diplomatic efforts of Joseph C. Grew, who was assigned to Tokyo between 1932 and 1942

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

History of Now

The Origins of the Term 'Affirmative Action'

The phrase was first used in early 20th-century employment laws

Untitled (Figure) by Adayfi Mansoor, 2016

Guantánamo Detainees Ask Biden to Let Them Keep Their Art

An open letter calls for the reversal of a ruling giving the government ownership of work made in the prison

Barack and Michelle Obama at the unveiling ceremony on September 7

Who Are the Artists Behind the New Obama Portraits?

Robert McCurdy and Sharon Sprung add their unique pieces to the White House's collection

Elizabeth remained staunchly tight-lipped, rarely commenting publicly on current events.

Elizabeth II Was an Enduring Emblem of the Waning British Empire

The British queen died on Thursday at age 96

In the not-so-distant past, the Russian and American governments talked up the shared crucibles of their two mid-19th century leaders as a way of improving diplomatic relations.

Before Lincoln Issued the Emancipation Proclamation, This Russian Czar Freed 20 Million Serfs

The parallels between the U.S. president and Alexander II, both of whom fought to end servitude in their nations, are striking

In 1951, mobster Frank Costello (seated, center) testified in front of the Kefauver Committee during a televised congressional hearing on organized crime that captivated the country.

History of Now

A Brief History of Televised Congressional Hearings

From a 1951 investigation into organized crime to the Watergate scandal, the ongoing January 6 hearings are part of a lengthy political tradition

According to author Christopher A. Thomas, the dedication "was a microcosm of the strained race relations of its day, marked by the rhetoric of good intentions and the behavior of bigotry."

A Century Ago, the Lincoln Memorial's Dedication Underscored the Nation's Racial Divide

Seating was segregated, and the ceremony's only Black speaker was forced to drastically revise his speech to avoid spreading "propaganda"

NATO troops from a battalion based in Fort Hood, Texas, train in Germany in September 1983, two months before the Able Archer 83 drill.

The 1983 Military Drill That Nearly Sparked Nuclear War With the Soviets

Fearful that the Able Archer 83 exercise was a cover for a NATO nuclear strike, the U.S.S.R. readied its own weapons for launch

At the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the story of the Watergate whistleblower Martha Mitchell (detail, oil on canvas, Jan De Ruth, 1970) from Pine Bluff, Arkansas—who pundits dubbed the "Mouth of the South"—is revisited in a new exhibition, "Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue."

Martha Mitchell Was the Brash 'Mouth of the South' That Roared

A portrait reveals the dignity behind the maligned woman who stepped up to tell the truth

“The First Lady” dramatizes the challenges faced by three first wives (L to R): Betty Ford (portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer), Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson) and Michelle Obama (Viola Davis).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Showtime's 'The First Lady'

The new series dramatizes the White House years of Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama

Joseph Mikulec, the “Globe-Trotter” whose toes touched six continents, collected the signatures of such luminaries as Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Edward VIII, Mary Pickford and Teddy Roosevelt.

The Man Who Walked Around the World, Collecting the Autographs of the Rich and Famous

In the early 1900s, Joseph Mikulec traveled some 175,000 miles on foot, gathering 60,000 signatures in a leather-bound album that is now up for sale

Kate Warne was the Pinkerton National Detective Agency's first woman operative. She died in 1868 at age 34 or 35.

Women Who Shaped History

How Kate Warne, America's First Woman Detective, Foiled a Plot to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

In February 1861, the Pinkerton agent, posing as the disguised president-elect's sister and caregiver, safely escorted him to Baltimore

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 23, 2022.

Women Who Shaped History

Meet the Black Women Judges Who Paved the Way for Ketanji Brown Jackson

Jane Bolin, Constance Baker Motley and Julia Cooper Mack laid the groundwork for the Supreme Court nominee

President Biden announced his pick to fill the US Supreme Court vacancy on Friday: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Women Who Shaped History

What to Know About Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Historic Nomination to the Supreme Court

Jackson, a 51-year-old Harvard graduate and former public defender, would be the first Black woman on the Court

The President with the First Lady in a freight elevator heading to an inaugural ball in 2009.

How Pete Souza Fits Into the Storied History of Presidential Photography

In his new book, the former White House photographer frames a clear picture of the Obama years

Top row (L to R): Bill Clinton's cat Socks (pictured twice), Amy Carter's cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang and George W. Bush's cat India. Bottom row (L to R): India, Calvin Coolidge's cats Blackie and Tiger, and the Bidens' cat Willow

History of Now

A Colorful History of Cats in the White House

Willow Biden isn’t the first feline to grace the presidential residence's halls

Lieutenant Colonel Almon F. Rockwell (center) was a longtime friend of President James A. Garfield (right). He was also one of roughly 25 people present at Abraham Lincoln's (left) deathbed.

This Man Was the Only Eyewitness to the Deaths of Both Lincoln and Garfield

Almon F. Rockwell's newly resurfaced journals, excerpted exclusively here, offer an incisive account of the assassinated presidents' final moments

loading icon