Roaring Twenties

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti leave jail at Dedham, Mass., en route to the courthouse where they are to be sentenced by Judge Webster Thayer to die in the electric chair.

Sacco and Vanzetti's Trial of the Century Exposed Injustice in 1920s America

The pair's path to becoming media sensations began 100 years ago. To this day the two remain emblems of prejudice in the American justice system

Some facets of the 1918 influenza pandemic echo today's crisis: There were mask mandates, campaigns against spitting and pleas for people to cover their mouths, and more than half a million Americans died. The decade that followed the pandemic, however, was marked by social change and economic prosperity—for some.

What Caused the Roaring Twenties? Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

As the U.S. anticipates a vaccinated summer, historians say measuring the impact of the 1918 influenza on the uproarious decade that followed is tricky

George Remus in jail.

The Bootleg King and the Ambitious Prosecutor Who Took Him Down

The clash between George Remus and Mabel Walker Willebrandt present a snapshot of life during the Roaring Twenties

Onlookers watch as police remove the bodies of the victims of an execution-style murder from the scene at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago.

Six of the Most Famous Mob Murders of All Time

The death of Gambino crime family head Frank Cali brings to mind these mafia killings from years past

Emerald Bay and Mount Tallac, Lake Tahoe, 1935.

Cool Finds

Cache of Newly Digitized Travel Photographs Will Transport You to 1900s California

Travelers William and Grace McCarthy really got around, and in nearly 3,000 photos, they captured a unique view of San Francisco, Tahoe and Yosemite

Orange County Sheriff's Department disposing of illegal alcohol, circa 1932.

Why the Ku Klux Klan Flourished Under Prohibition

The Ku Klux Klan's resurgence in the 1920s is linked to the passage of the Volstead Act in 1920

A Coco Chanel Little Black Dress, released in 1926.

Why Coco Chanel Created the Little Black Dress

The style icon created a... well.... style icon in 1926

Florence Harding put up with a lot during her life, including Warren G. Harding's constant philandering.

Florence Harding, Not Eleanor Roosevelt, May Have Created the Modern First Lady

She did things her own way, and helped to set a precedent for the First Ladies who followed her

Even though the idea of sliced bread took off like a shot, it took the inventor of the bread-slicing machine years to convince bakers to try his invention.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Take a Look at the Patents Behind Sliced Bread

It took a surprising amount of technological know-how to make the bread that birthed the expression

Colorized Footage Is a Vivid Reminder that History Didn't Happen in Black and White

A new Smithsonian Channel series takes a fresh, vibrant look at five decades of historical footage

Bill Robinson as photographed by George Hurrell in 1935.

Three Ways Bill "Bojangles" Robinson Changed Dance Forever

Robinson worked throughout his career to make life better for black performers

Irving Berlin and Ellin Mackay Berlin.

Songwriter Irving Berlin's Interfaith Marriage Caused 1920s Gossip

The songwriter made headlines when he and writer Ellin Mackay got married against her millionaire father's wishes

An unidentified player takes a putt at the original "Tom Thumb Golf" built by Garnet Carter.

The Brief 1930s Craze for 'Tom Thumb Golf'

Miniature golf courses had been around before, but Garnet Carter gave it a roadside attraction spin

A postcard of the Motel Inn, circa 1940s.

The World’s First Motel Was a Luxury Establishment, Not a Dive

The first motel was supposed to turn into a chain, but it was quickly overtaken by cheaper competitors.

Chicago gangster Al Capone wearing a bathing suit at his Florida home. Ca. 1929-31

Seeking the Humanity of Al Capone

Through interviews with his descendants, one biographer sees the family man behind the infamous gangster

Lorcan Ortway turned his lifelong obsession with organized crime into a museum in New York.

This Mobster Museum Was Once One of New York City's Most Notorious Speakeasies

See shell casings from Bonnie and Clyde's final shoot out and John Dillinger's death mask in the Museum of the American Gangster's unusual collection

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