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A woman named Evelyn Thaw dodges a camera, 1909

How the Rise of the Camera Launched a Fight to Protect Gilded Age Americans' Privacy

Early photographers sold their snapshots to advertisers, who reused the individuals' likenesses without their permission

These rare early copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will go under the hammer on June 26.

You Could Own Rare Copies of the Nation's Founding Documents, Just in Time for the Fourth of July

Sotheby's is auctioning early printings of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as a 1790 Rhode Island broadside

Some of the newspaper articles describe the buying and selling of enslaved people, while others offer rewards for the return of runaways.

Ancestry Releases Records of 183,000 Enslaved Individuals in America

The genealogy company has digitized and published 38,000 newspaper articles from between 1788 and 1867—before Black Americans were counted as citizens in the U.S. census

“When I was making it, people laughed at me a good deal,” Charles F. Ritchel later said. “But so they did at Noah when he built the ark.”

Twenty-Five Years Before the Wright Brothers Took to the Skies, This Flying Machine Captivated America

First exhibited in 1878, Charles F. Ritchel's dirigible was about as wacky, dangerous and impractical as any airship ever launched

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How Americans Got Hooked on Counting Calories More Than a Century Ago

A food history writer and an influential podcast host tell us how our thinking about health and body weight has—and hasn’t—evolved ever since Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters took the nation by storm

On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold Jr. (left) and Richard Loeb (right) murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks. Leopold later described the pair's motive as “a sort of pure love of excitement, or the imaginary love of thrills, doing something different.”

Why Leopold and Loeb Committed Cold-Blooded Murder in the 'Crime of the Century'

A century ago, two Chicago teenagers killed an acquaintance named Bobby Franks for the thrill of it. The case captivated the nation and continues to fascinate the public today

Looming large on Philadelphia’s Broad Street, a ten-foot-high statue—a gift to the city from the Pennsylvania Freemasons—shows young Benjamin Franklin at his printing press.

Benjamin Franklin Was the Nation’s First Newsman

Before he helped launch a revolution, Benjamin Franklin was colonial America’s leading editor and printer of novels, almanacs, soap wrappers, and everything in between

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This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences

When Lulu Hunt Peters brought Americans a new method for weighing their dinner options, she launched a century of diet fads that left us hungry for a better way to keep our bodies strong and healthy

The law eventually caught up to the man of many names: Daniel Jackson Oliver Wendell Holmes Morgan.

The Fabulous Fabulist Lawyer Who Wasn’t, but Still Managed to Get a Man Off Death Row

Take in the remarkable tale of the fake attorney best known as L.A. Harris, whose scams put him in trouble with the law in jurisdictions nationwide

The hideout boasted more than 1,000 bunk beds, a 400-seat cafeteria, individual auditoriums for both the Senate and the House of Representatives, vast water tanks, and a trash incinerator that could serve as a crematorium.

The Town That Kept Its Nuclear Bunker a Secret for Three Decades

The people of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, helped keep the Greenbrier resort's bunker—designed to hold the entirety of Congress—hidden from 1958 to 1992

The steamship Milwaukee was sailing across Lake Michigan to pick up another load of lumber when disaster struck.

Researchers Use Old Newspaper Reports to Identify 137-Year-Old Shipwreck in Lake Michigan

The steamship "Milwaukee" sank in a heavy fog off the coast of Holland, Michigan, after colliding with another vessel

Couriers’ duties included fetching patients from cabins, weighing babies, delivering medicine, cleaning saddles and bridles, and escorting any guests who rode the routes between FNS outposts.

Why Debutantes Volunteered to Be Horse-Riding Couriers in Rural Kentucky

Between the 1920s and 1940s, wealthy young women signed up to run errands and carry messages for the Frontier Nursing Service, whose nurse-midwives provided care to patients in hard-to-reach areas

Not everyone was a fan of rumor clinics. Some critics faulted them for helping hearsay reach an even larger audience.

World War II 'Rumor Clinics' Helped America Battle Wild Gossip

Newspapers and magazines across the United States published weekly columns debunking lurid claims that were detrimental to the war effort

Verdun, Félix Edouard Vallotton, 1917

As Empires Clashed During World War I, a Global Media Industry Brought the Conflict's Horrors to the Public

An exhibition at LACMA traces the roots of modern media to the Great War, when propaganda mobilized the masses, and questions whether the brutal truths of the battlefield can ever really be communicated

Lionel Licorish, a 23-year-old sailor from Barbados, spent 14 hours keeping a lifeboat afloat in stormy conditions and swimming through shark-infested waters to rescue survivors of the Vestris disaster.

The Black Sailor Whose Heroic Actions During a Shipwreck Made Him an Instant Celebrity of the Roaring Twenties

Lionel Licorish earned accolades for rescuing as many as 20 passengers from the wreckage of the S.S. "Vestris"

Half a century on, Kohoutek may be due a little more respect. Though it disappointed the media and the public, it proved to be a bonanza for serious scientists.

The 'Comet of the Century' Failed to Impress, but It Wasn't Such a Disaster After All

Highly anticipated before its arrival in late 1973, Kohoutek became an interplanetary punchline. But astronomers may have gotten the last laugh

The premier lady of sex work in Victorian St. Louis built an empire estimated to be worth at least $100,000—the equivalent of about $3.7 million today.

The Formerly Enslaved Black Bordello Queen Who Built a Notorious Business Empire

In 19th-century St. Louis, Madam Priscilla Henry earned a life-changing fortune—and scores of enemies vying for her crown

Princess Diana in 1985. The sixth season of "The Crown" opens 12 years later, in the summer of 1997.

How Princess Diana's Death Transformed the Royal Family

The last season of "The Crown" will examine the aftermath of the beloved royal's death in a car accident in 1997

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian on December 6, 2000, the day of their arrival in Washington, D.C.

Revisit 51 Years of Giant Pandas at the National Zoo, From Beloved Babies to Fun in the Snow

The Panda House's eight occupants have played a key role in conservation efforts over the decades

Seventy-eight years after the end of World War II, hospital trains are an oft-forgotten chapter in U.S. military history.

What Happened on the Trains That Brought Wounded World War II Soldiers Home?

The logistics of moving patients across the U.S. by rail were staggeringly complex

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