History of Now

Smallpox raids, like this one in Milwaukee, focused on immigrant families.

How New York Separated Immigrant Families in the Smallpox Outbreak of 1901

Vaccinations were administered by police raids, parents and children were torn apart, and the New York City Health Department controlled the narrative

Herschel Grynszpan in a photo from the German archives

How a Jewish Teenager Went From Refugee to Assassin to Puppet of Nazi Propaganda

Herschel Grynszpan wanted to avenge the crimes committed against European Jews. Instead, his actions were used as a justification for Kristallnacht

(Mårten Teigen, Museum of Cultural History; Associated Press; Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy; CDC / James Gathany; Philippe Charlier; Brian Palmer; David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0; Alamy; Pasini et al. / World Neurosurgery / Elsevier; Donovan Wiley; Library of Congress)

Our Top 11 Stories of 2018

From a 50-year-old political scandal to swarms of genetically engineered mosquitos, here are Smithsonian.com's most-read stories

“First ladies still tend to be more mysterious than the presidents,” says Smithsonian curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy. “We’re always hoping once the First Lady is out of office (above: Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009) she’s going to let us in a little more.”

The History of First Ladies’ Memoirs

Freed from the political constraints of living in the White House, these famous women have over the decades shared their personal opinions with the public

Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus.

Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic

A new book argues that violent rhetoric and disregard for political norms was the beginning of Rome's end

The Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1935 Negro National League Champions, are considered by many to be the greatest African American league team ever fielded. The team included five future Hall of Famers, from left: Oscar Charleston, first; Judy Johnson, fifth; Cool Papa Bell, 12th; Josh Gibson, 15th; and Satchel Paige, 17th.

Preserving Negro League History Has Never Been Easier, or Harder, Depending on Who You Ask

While digitization of old newspapers has led to a statistical renaissance in baseball archives, the stories of those who played the game are being lost

William Dudley Pelley, Silver Shirt leader, pictured as he appeared before Congress.

The Screenwriting Mystic Who Wanted to Be the American Führer

William Dudley Pelley and his Silver Shirts were just one of many Nazi-sympathizers operating in the United States in the 1930s

Anna Howard Shaw in Washington, D.C. in 1914.

How Midwestern Suffragists Won the Vote by Attacking Immigrants

Women fighting for the ballot were vocal about believing that German men were less worthy of citizenship than themselves

The Naturalization Act of 1906 federalized the naturalization process, allowing millions of immigrants a smoother process for becoming U.S. citizens.

Stripping Naturalized Immigrants of Their Citizenship Isn’t New

The United States has a history of denaturalization spanning more than a century

Mamma mia!

What's Behind ABBA's Staying Power?

Don't call it a comeback. With a new movie and new music on the way, ABBA remains as relevant as ever

Gay rights activists march in San Francisco in 1978,

How Gay Activists Challenged the Politics of Civility

From pie-throwing to shouting down public figures, these groups disturbed the establishment to effect change

A metal obelisk marked the international border in Ambos Nogales circa 1913. American (left) and Mexican (right) sentries patrolled the line.

The Raging Controversy at the Border Began With This Incident 100 Years Ago

In Nogales, Arizona, the United States and Mexico agreed to build walls separating their countries

A cartoon entitled "At the Polls," depicting an election day brawl, that appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1857.

Why Are There Laws That Restrict What People Can Wear to the Polls?

A new Supreme Court ruling changes the course of a century-long debate over speech and conduct when voting

John Adams didn't literally call the Philadelphia Aurora (also known as the Aurora General Adviser) "fake news," but he was not pleased by the way he was often depicted in it.

The Age-Old Problem of “Fake News”

It’s been part of the conversation as far back as the birth of the free press

Pauline Esther "Popo" Phillips and her twin sister Esther Pauline "Eppie" competed for influence as the hugely successful "Dear Abby" and "Ask Ann Landers" syndicated columnists.

What Makes the Advice Column Uniquely American

In a new book, author Jessica Weisberg dives into the fascinating history of the advice industry

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election.

Before Zuckerberg, These Six Corporate Titans Testified Before Congress

The CEO of Facebook has some ignominious company from J.P. Morgan to Kenneth Lay

The USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence-gathering ship, was patrolling international waters in January 1968 when it was captured by North Korean vessels.

Fifty Years Ago, North Korea Captured an American Ship and Nearly Started a Nuclear War

The provocative incident involving the USS Pueblo was peacefully resolved, in part because of the ongoing Vietnam War

Page B of the February 26, 1942, Los Angeles Times, shows the coverage of the so-called Battle of Los Angeles and its aftermath.

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid Terrified Citizens—Even Though No Bombs Were Dropped

The WWII “battle” was an example of what happens when the threat of attack feels all too real

Jane Klinger, chief conservator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, holds one of the cloths that Mansour Omari smuggled out of Syria.

These Cloths Tell the Story of the Worst Humanitarian Crisis of This Generation

At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the strips of fabric, written in blood and rust, serve as a testament to Syria's disappeared

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F Kennedy discusses results of surveillance missions in Cuba

How the Presidency Took Control of America's Nuclear Arsenal

From Truman onwards, the ability to order a nuclear strike has shaped the office

Page 5 of 10