Political Leaders

Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson at his desk in November 1957

When Lyndon B. Johnson Chose the Middle Ground on Civil Rights—and Disappointed Everyone

Always a dealmaker, then-senator LBJ negotiated with segregationists to pass a bill that cautiously advanced racial equality

David Byrne, Ganda Suthivarakom and Joan Almedilla performing songs from Here Lies Love at Carnegie Hall in 2007

David Byrne’s Disco Musical About Imelda Marcos Comes to Broadway

'Here Lies Love' is an immersive stage production about the Philippines’ former first lady

South African ballet dancers in the Russian Ballet Ensemble perform The Nutcracker in Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 10.

Ukraine Calls for Boycott of 'The Nutcracker' and Other Russian Works

Critics argue that connecting Russia's culture with its current leadership is counterproductive

Modern imaging technology suggests a collection of Roman coins discovered in 1713 may be authentic.

New Research

Roman Coins, Long Considered Forgeries, May Be Authentic After All

Using modern imaging technology, researchers argue that the coins were once in circulation

“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

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The Father-Daughter Team Who Reformed America

Meet the duo who helped achieve the most important labor and civil rights victories of their age

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking in July

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Wartime Speeches Tell the Story of Ukraine

The Ukrainian president will publish a collection of 16 handpicked addresses later this year

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

Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, at age 91.

The Contradictory Legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev

The Soviet leader, who died on August 30 at age 91, attempted to enact "revolution from above"

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

Communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg speaking at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907

History of Now

The 20th-Century History of Anti-Semitic Attacks on Jewish Politicians

Russian rhetoric against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy echoes the language directed toward Jewish leaders in post-WWI Europe

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

After his shooting, a hospitalized Wallace holds up a newspaper touting his victories in the Maryland and Michigan Democratic presidential primaries.

How a Failed Assassination Attempt Pushed George Wallace to Reconsider His Segregationist Views

Fifty years ago, a fame-seeker shot the polarizing politician five times, paralyzing him from the waist down

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

A 1997 photo of Madeleine Albright, who died at age 84 on March 23, 2022

Madeleine Albright on Her Life in Pins

In 2010, the former secretary of state reflected on her famous collection of brooches and pins

A collage of Vladimir Putin placing his hand on Joseph Stalin's shoulder. Richard Cohen's new book Making History details the links between the two Russian leaders.

History of Now

Vladimir Putin's Rewriting of History Draws on a Long Tradition of Soviet Myth-Making

Much like Joseph Stalin, the Russian president has used propaganda, the media and government-sanctioned books to present an ahistorical narrative

"American Girl (above: the new doll Evette Peters) was seeking to emphasize to its young audience the importance of being able to envision themselves as part of the larger American story," writes the Smithsonian's Katrina Lashley. "And that vision requires more accessible histories, as well as role models in civic engagement."

Why This American Girl Doll Inspires Environmental Activism

The story of Evette Peters is bolstered by the Anacostia Community Museum's research into Washington D.C.'s local neighborhoods and urban waterways

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