Secrets of American History

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Remembering Tulsa

Looking Back at the Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 Years Later

Confronting the murderous attack on the most prosperous black community in the nation

By regulation, British officers wore a red coat. Washington later outfitted his troops in blue regimental coats faced with scarlet.

Secrets of American History

When Young George Washington Started a War

A just-discovered eyewitness account provides startling new evidence about who fired the shot that sparked the French and Indian War

The type of socialism that took root in Oklahoma was unique—it allowed private farms and invoked evangelical Christianity.

Secrets of American History

When the Socialist Revolution Came to Oklahoma—and Was Crushed

Inside the little-known story of the Green Corn Rebellion, which blazed through the Sooner State a century ago

Margaret Rossiter's research spotlights the women in science whose intellectual contributions have not been given their due.

Women in Science

Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It's Margaret Rossiter's Lifelong Mission to Fix That

The historian has devoted her career to bringing to light the ingenious accomplishments of those who have been forgotten

Illustration by Edward Kinsella III

Secrets of American History

The Mayor and the Mob

William O'Dwyer was beloved by New York City. So why did he abruptly leave office and head to Mexico?

P.D. East (above as a young man) proclaimed that his Petal Paper was  “a sheet designed to keep everyone happy.” That did not last.

Secrets of American History

What Made P.D. East the Fearless Wit of Forrest County

The newspaper man's bravery rocked the racist establishment of the South—and heralded a new era of political satire

An American flag sits atop a gravestone in the cemetery of Oak Mountain Baptist Church in Shelby County, Alabama.

Secrets of American History

The Wild Road Trip That Launched the Populist Conservative Movement

How a fiery preacher and a maverick Army general took the nation by storm

The couch on which Freud’s patients lay became identified
 with psychoanalysis itself. He shipped it to London when he left Vienna.

Secrets of American History

What Drove Sigmund Freud to Write a Scandalous Biography of Woodrow Wilson?

The founder of psychoanalysis collaborated with a junior American diplomat to lambaste the former president

Robert Smalls, memorialized in a bust at Beaufort’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, was sent to work in Charleston at age 12 after he started defying the strictures of slavery.

Secrets of American History

Terrorized African-Americans Found Their Champion in Civil War Hero Robert Smalls

The formerly enslaved South Carolinian declared that whites had killed 53,000 African-Americans, but few took the explosive claim seriously—until now

In the spring of 2018, Angeline Nanni revisited Arlington Hall, where the Venona team got cracking. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Secrets of American History

The Women Code Breakers Who Unmasked Soviet Spies

At the height of the Cold War, America’s most secretive counterespionage effort set out to crack unbreakable ciphers

A painting of Franklin’s return to Philadelphia from Europe in 1785 shows him flanked by his son-in-law (in red), his daughter and Benjamin Bache (in blue), the grandson he’d taken to France as a sort of surrogate son.

Secrets of American History

What Led Benjamin Franklin to Live Estranged From His Wife for Nearly Two Decades?

A stunning new theory suggests that a debate over the failed treatment of their son's smallpox was the culprit

Unionville today: The photographer used a process called 
intaglio printing to give her pictures an antique appearance.

Secrets of American History

After the Civil War, African-American Veterans Created a Home of Their Own: Unionville

One-hundred-fifty years later, the Maryland town remains a bastion of resilience and a front line in the battle over Confederate monuments

Chick Parsons (center and top) was the toast of prewar Manila, a convivial, polo-playing expat businessman with an eagle tattooed across his chest.

Secrets of American History

Without Chick Parsons, General MacArthur May Never Have Made His Famed Return to the Philippines

The full story of the American ex-pat's daring feats has not been told—until now

Benjamin Lay said he was “illiterate,” but his antislavery arguments were erudite. This portrait, commissioned by Lay’s friend Benjamin Franklin, shows him with a book.

Secrets of American History

The "Quaker Comet" Was the Greatest Abolitionist You've Never Heard Of

Overlooked by historians, Benjamin Lay was one of the nation's first radicals to argue for an end to slavery

Waiting three years for his visa to come through, Wahdat rarely left his home.

The Tragic Fate of the Afghan Interpreters the U.S. Left Behind

These men risked their lives for the U.S. military. Now many would like to come to America but are stranded — and in danger

Grant called “wars of extermination” “demoralizing and wicked” in 1873.

Secrets of American History

Ulysses S. Grant Launched an Illegal War Against the Plains Indians, Then Lied About It

The president promised peace with Indians — and covertly hatched the plot that provoked one of the bloodiest conflicts in the West

Re-enactor John Holman displays a  newly discovered letter alongside period objects including a hardtack-crate desk.

Newly Discovered Letters Bring New Insight Into the Life of a Civil War Soldier

A mysterious package holds long-lost correspondence from a young Union infantryman

The spycatcher in the disguise he wore when he 
testified in court

The FBI’s Fake Russian Agent Reveals His Secrets

In an exclusive interview, a retired FBI agent who posed as a KGB officer finally spills the beans about his greatest sting operations

This illustration, entitled "THE MARCH TO DEATH," depicts Molly Maguire members on the way to the gallows in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Eight Secret Societies You Might Not Know

The popularity of these secret clubs peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries

A bowl done in a style first seen around A.D. 1100 has “acid blooms” on its interior—imperfections suggesting that someone used modern soaps to clean the bowl up, possibly to fetch a higher price on the black market.

An Exclusive Look at the Greatest Haul of Native American Artifacts, Ever

In a warehouse in Utah, federal agents are storing tens of thousands of looted objects recovered in a massive sting