Historical Documents

Uniformed Letter Carrier with Child in Mailbag

A Brief History of Children Sent Through the Mail

In the early days of the parcel post, some parents took advantage of the mail in unexpected ways

The proliferation of fake news sites this election year has led to many readers believing complete falsehoods.

The Remedy for the Spread of Fake News? History Teachers

Historical literacy, and the healthy skepticism that comes with it, provides the framework for being able to discern truth from fiction

The Typos on This Dead Sea Scroll Don't Mean It's Fake

When the Dead Sea copper scroll was unveiled, doubts were quickly raised about its authenticity. For one thing, it was riddled with spelling errors

What Is the Glass Palace Chronicle and Why Is It Important?

One of the most important sources of Burmese history is a document known as the Glass Palace Chronicle

Rudolf Hess, at right, was a Nazi leader when he flew to Scotland in May of 1941.

Will We Ever Know Why Nazi Leader Rudolf Hess Flew to Scotland in the Middle of World War II?

The remarkable tale of insanity, espionage, and conspiracies remains unanswered after 75 years

The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, takes a selfie with a laminated copy of the 1215 Magna Carta that is on display at Salisbury Cathedral.

How Magna Carta Went Viral

In a world before the printing press, how did news of the famous document make the rounds?


This Chart From 1790 Lays Out the Many Dangers of Alcoholism

Founding father Benjamin Rush was greatly concerned with the amount of booze imbibed in post-Revolution America

Olympian and airman Louis Zamperini crouches in his starting position on a B-18 bomber.

"Unbroken"'s Louis Zamperini Crashed Into the Pacific on May 27, 1943. Here is the Missing Air Crew Report

The National Archives holds a record with details of the downing of the former Olympian's B-24 bomber that left him lost at sea for 47 days

The Library for Magicians Is Taking Appointments

The Conjuring Arts Research Center in New York City houses some of the world's rarest books on the art of deception


John Smith Coined the Term New England on This 1616 Map

After Jamestown, Smith pushed the English to settle the northeast, identifying Plymouth as a suitable harbor four years before the Pilgrims landed there

A "Sea Devil" as depicted by Conrad Gessner in Historia Animalium, 2nd ed, 1604.

Five “Real” Sea Monsters Brought to Life by Early Naturalists

From kraken to mermaids, some monsters are real—if you know how to look for them

The trope of the beautiful witch was popular between 1905 and 1915.

Women of the Early 1900s Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches

Women looking to work, vote and marry whomever they wanted turned the Halloween icon into a powerful symbol

Warren Harding's affair with Carrie Fulton Phillips carried on for 15 years, up through the time when he served as a U.S. senator.

Warren Harding’s Love Letters Finally Give Us Something to Remember Him For

Locked away for 50 years, the secret correspondence reveals a steamy relationship between the future president and his mistress

A still from one of DPLA's new gifs, based on a NASA film.

Online Archive Creates Awesome GIFS From Historical Photos

In partnership with Imgur, the Digital Public Library of America is reimagining classic photos as modern .gifs

Constructed between 510 and 500 B.C., the base of a funerary kouros in Athens is decorated with the image of wrestlers fighting.

Wrestling Was Fixed, Even in Ancient Rome

New analysis of an ancient document reveals classical roots of fake wrestling

Take a Look at How Disney Got Investors for Disneyland

Boing Boing was given the original Disneyland prospectus, and now you can see it

Document Deep Dive: Richard Nixon’s Application to Join the FBI

Fresh out of law school, the future president first hoped he could be one of J. Edgar Hoover’s agents

Manuscripts from when Timbuktu was a vibrant commercial and academic crossroads at the edge of the Sahara were in danger of being looted and potentially destroyed.

The Race to Save Mali’s Priceless Artifacts

When jihadists overran Timbuktu last year, residents mounted a secret operation to evacuate the town’s irreplaceable medieval manuscripts


They Do Call it a Marriage Contract After All

Comedian Richard Pryor pontificates on what makes being married truly difficult

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