How a London Tragedy Led to the Creation of 911
Connecting to emergency services used to be much less efficient—until a 1935 disaster.
Minnesota is Introducing a New 'Canoe Share' Along the Mississippi River
Twin Cities residents will soon be able to check out canoes and kayaks for the day, in addition to bikes.
Colonial Reenactors Will Dump Tea Into Boston Harbor Tonight
This marks the first time the beverage has been thrown into the harbor since 1773.
The Gruesome Assassination of Leon Trotsky
How a one-time Soviet hero ended up buried in his backyard in Mexico.
Show & Tell: Calvin Coolidge’s Electric Exercise Horse
"Silent Cal" rode it three times a day for fitness—and fun.
“Neither Snow Nor Rain ..." Is Not Really the USPS Motto (or Policy)
It was actually written about another set of postal workers from 500 B.C.E.
Needlework in Memory of the Departed
In the 1880s, nobody was excluded from elaborate mourning rituals.
That Time When Victorians Contracted Fern Fever
Pteridomania was a fearsome ailment. Symptoms caused women to swoon, fall off of cliffs and entire species to fall into endangered status. But the contagious disease wasn’t one of the body—rather, “fern fever” was a fad that swept through England during the nineteenth century.
A Scary Snuff Box
Skull-reading used to be all the rage.
Holocaust Memorial Museum Launches Kickstarter to Digitize 200 Diaries
The initiative coincides with the birthday of Anne Frank.
Why Ice Cream Parlors Were Once Considered Evil
A den of corruption, prostitution, and sin.
Write a Mozart Waltz With a Game He May Have Invented
Music dice games were popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Hundred-Year-Old Fashion Fad: The Hobble Skirt
Hobble skirts ruffled feathers and even changed mass transit—the entrances to street cars and trains were dropped to accommodate tight-skirted passengers. But their reign didn't last long.
Emily Dickinson: Scandalous Spinster?
The Strange Tale of Texas’ All-Female Supreme Court
The Origin of the Conversation Heart
Valentine's Day means chalky candy hearts with a lot to say. But what's behind these very loud little candies?
The Morbid Way Colonists Protested King George’s Stamp Act
Incensed by the Stamp Act, colonists put on a series of fascinating protests.
Black Sunday: The Storm That Gave Us the Dust Bowl
How Susan B. Anthony Fought the Law in 1872
She Threw Herself Under a Horse For Women’s Suffrage … Or Did She?
The Many Fires That Plagued P.T. Barnum
150 years ago, P.T. Barnum's museum of curiosities burned down—over and over again.
The Crystal Palace: Victorian England’s Version of a Pandora’s Box
Pilates: The Fitness Trend Started in an Internment Camp
You couldn’t be blamed for hearing the word “Pilates” and thinking about super-fit starlets and medieval-looking machines like the Reformer. But the popular fitness system didn’t begin in a boardroom or a gym. In fact, Pilates has its roots in a World War I internment camp on a British island.
The Play That Gave Us the Word Robot
Humans have long been obsessed with the idea of man-like machines they could dominate—or be dominated by. But the word 'robot' is just 90 years old, and the blockbuster play that introduced the word has long since been forgotten.
New York City's Other Subway
This stranger-than-fiction saga involves a secret dig, a massive success, and unheard-of political corruption.