Retropod

By The Washington Post

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Category: History

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Description

Retropod is a show for history lovers, featuring stories about the past, rediscovered. Host Mike Rosenwald introduces you to history’s most colorful characters - forgotten heroes, overlooked villains, dreamers, explorers, world changers. Available every weekday morning.

Episode Date
The ice queen
292
Sonja Henie won three Olympic gold medals and 10 world championships, and turned her star power into as career as one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars. Meet figure skating's first megastar.
Feb 20, 2019
The electric rivalry
227
To understand the gruesome history of the death penalty, it is essential to comprehend how badly Thomas Edison wanted to zap George Westinghouse.
Feb 19, 2019
All the Presidents' Ghosts
218
Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.
Feb 18, 2019
The spy plane
249
Historians and national security analysts have been re-examining one particular forgotten moment in the history of U.S. and North Korea conflict.
Feb 15, 2019
Before the Lovings, another interracial couple fought to marry
230
The Kinneys married in Washington, D.C., in 1874. Then, they were arrested back home in Virginia for violating the state’s laws. They fought the ruling in higher and higher courts but never won the right to stay married in their home state.
Feb 14, 2019
Dr. Spock
272
Dr. Spock - not the guy from Star Trek - was at one time America's most beloved pediatrician. A whole generation of children was raised on his medical advice. But not even his popularity could save him from being indicted by the federal government.
Feb 13, 2019
The first female Marine
183
During World War I, the Marines Corps needed help on the home front while men were fighting overseas. Opha May Johnson was the first woman in line.
Feb 12, 2019
Philadelphia's plumbing revolution: wood pipes
215
In 1812, Philadelphia was outfitted with the latest in plumbing technology - a network of wooden pipes to carry water throughout the city.
Feb 11, 2019
Jim Crow and the rise of blackface
315
Back in the 1830s, Jim Crow wasn't yet a symbol of inequality. He was a fictional character in minstrel shows who, to entertain his audiences, performed in blackface.
Feb 08, 2019
The Wicked Bible
267
A full year after the King James Bible was printed in 1631, people discovered an error.
Feb 07, 2019
How the State of the Union went from speech to spectacle
360
The president's State of the Union started as a simple report on the condition on the nation; overtime, the address became a moment to rally Congress and the public.
Feb 06, 2019
Winifred Stanley, a forgotten equal pay pioneer
208
The woman who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress had to fight to be taken seriously — and often failed.
Feb 05, 2019
The Soviet officer who stopped World War III
298
In 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, trusted his gut and averted a global nuclear catastrophe.
Feb 04, 2019
How 'Broadway Joe' redefined the NFL
375
A few days before his team took the field as huge underdogs in Super Bowl III, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath made what was seen as an insane prediction at the time: "The Jets will win Sunday," he said. "I guarantee it."
Feb 01, 2019
The godmother of the open office
344
If you work in an office without offices, with just about everyone working in a large spare space full of stylish desks, straight lines and papers stored in a credenza, then you have met Florence Knoll Bassett.
Jan 31, 2019
The Confederate spy who evaded capture
423
After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, John Surratt traveled across three continents, wore disguises and used fake names for nearly two years to escape authorities.
Jan 30, 2019
The rise of supermarkets
214
If you’re like most Americans, you probably visit a grocery store once or twice a week. But you probably don’t know that one single grocery item is responsible for the rise of supermarkets as we know them.
Jan 29, 2019
How the Doomsday Clock came to be
255
Over the past seven decades, the Doomsday Clock has served as a metaphorical measure of humankind’s proximity to global catastrophe. Every year, scientists and nuclear experts set the clock's time after grappling over the state of geopolitical affairs.
Jan 28, 2019
Pinball’s sordid past
348
Pinball was once so vilified that it was banned in cities across the United States.
Jan 25, 2019
The man inside the minds of a million consumers
329
In the 1950s, Lester Wunderman became the king of direct mail advertising — the ancestor of today’s online targeted ads.
Jan 24, 2019
A history of hats in the House
359
In the early days of the House, some congresspeople thought hats had no place atop the heads of representatives debating the great issues of the day. Hats, they argued, weren’t dignified.
Jan 23, 2019
The last person to set foot on the moon
281
When Eugene Cernan walked on the moon, he didn’t know he’d be the last astronaut to make the journey.
Jan 22, 2019
How Martin Luther King Jr. got his name
383
The name on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth certificate was not Martin. Nor did the document include the middle name Luther.
Jan 21, 2019
Tenure for life
413
When Alexander Hamilton argued in favor of lifetime tenures for Supreme Court justices, he probably didn’t foresee them living past their prime.
Jan 18, 2019
The hatchet wielding leader of the anti-alcohol movement
371
More than a century ago, Carry Amelia Nation — hatchet in hand — chopped the country toward temperance.
Jan 17, 2019
A bridge of ice at Niagara Falls
308
Once upon a time, people walked between the U.S. and Canada over a frozen Niagara Falls. But one day, that all changed forever.
Jan 16, 2019
The only person Hitler loved
292
Adolf Hitler's mother may be the only person he genuinely cared for.
Jan 15, 2019
A history of the U.S.-Mexico border
404
For decades, the boundary between Mexico and the United States was little more than an imaginary line in the sand.
Jan 14, 2019
A presidential emergency that didn't end well
407
When a steel industry strike threatened military production during the Korean War, and Congress couldn’t come to an agreement, President Truman had a solution — declare a national emergency.
Jan 11, 2019
How Lego took over the toy world
392
Lego started as a company that made wooden toys, and grew into an empire of plastic building blocks.
Jan 10, 2019
The summer men rebelled against their shirts
330
It doesn't seem like a big deal today, but 1930s America lived in fear of the male nipple.
Jan 09, 2019
The researcher whose rats predicted the Internet
409
John Calhoun’s rodent experiments revolutionized the way we think about social behavior and the impact of growing populations.
Jan 08, 2019
One of the greatest astronomers of her generation
355
Nancy Grace Roman was one of NASA’s first female astronomers and was a key figure in the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Jan 07, 2019
How one World War II veteran lived to be a centenarian
303
At 112-years-old, Richard Overton was the oldest living World War II veteran.
Jan 04, 2019
A wooden mallet with a colorful history of being shattered
337
Throughout American history, speakers of the House have pounded their gavels so hard in search of order that they wind up smashing the gavel itself into smithereens.
Jan 03, 2019
The rabble rouser who inspired Ruth Bader Ginsburg
393
Dorothy Kenyon was an early leader in the legal fight for women's rights.
Jan 02, 2019
Mourning Bobby Kennedy
386
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, we look back on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Jan 01, 2019
The story of the real Charlotte of ‘Charlotte's Web’
392
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, an episode co-hosted by Madeline Daly, who won our Retropod trivia contest at the 2018 National Book Festival.
Dec 31, 2018
The day Martin Luther King Jr. died
466
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, our episode marking the date Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, 50 years ago this April.
Dec 28, 2018
Doughnuts, the most patriotic of the junk foods
241
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, doughnuts. They aren’t just delicious. They also helped America win a war.
Dec 27, 2018
Ida B. Wells, the woman who never gave up
399
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, Ida B. Wells, who was an investigative journalist, an anti-lynching activist, a suffragette and a teacher.
Dec 26, 2018
Big Bird and the genius inside
403
We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, the story of Caroll Spinney and his iconic character Big Bird.
Dec 25, 2018
The military’s famous Santa Tracker began with a wrong number
370
In the 1950s, a child trying to call Santa Claus accidentally called NORAD and changed Christmas Eve forever.
Dec 24, 2018
The Christmas Truce
347
During the first Christmas of World War I, a miracle took place all along the Europe’s Western Front.
Dec 21, 2018
A piece of punctuation that failed to leave its mark
348
A new punctuation mark called the interrobang found its way onto some typewriters in the 1960s, but it never caught on.
Dec 20, 2018
President Grant fired his own special prosecutor
388
In 1875, Ulysses S. Grant hired a special prosecutor to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. Furious with his findings, Grant had him fired.
Dec 19, 2018
The first presidential press conference
322
Before 1913, the presidential press conference didn’t exist. But a president who liked reporters changed that.
Dec 18, 2018
The astronomer who took gay rights to the Supreme Court
342
After being fired from his job for being gay, Frank Kameny took his battle for equality to the nation’s highest court.
Dec 17, 2018
The policeman who arrested a president
376
After receiving complaints about carriages driving too fast, Washington D.C. policeman William H. West arrested a presidential speed demon.
Dec 14, 2018
One of the ugliest speaker fights in congressional history
298
In 1859, the House went to war over Rep. John Sherman’s bid for leadership.
Dec 13, 2018
The evangelist and convicted cat burglar who galvanized gay rights
345
In Houston, Ray Hill was a colossal character. He even adopted "citizen provocateur" as a formal title.
Dec 12, 2018
In 1939, the 'American Hitler' took the stage at Madison Square Garden
354
Fritz Kuhn was the leader of the pro-Nazi group known as the German American Bund. He was a hero to his audience, and a scourge on the world to most others.
Dec 11, 2018
The cranberry crisis that changed how we see our food
375
Weeks before Thanksgiving, 1959, cranberries were declared unsafe to eat. The race was on to save America’s favorite holiday side dish.
Dec 10, 2018
The 'Toy King' who never aspired to the throne.
369
Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus had no idea how big the toy industry would become.
Dec 07, 2018
America’s first black Catholic priest
377
Augustus Tolton’s miraculous life took him from slavery to the brink of sainthood.
Dec 06, 2018
John Adams was eulogized before his son even knew he died
359
News traveled so slowly in 1826 that the former president was buried days before his son, sitting president John Quincy Adams, got word of his death.
Dec 05, 2018
George H.W. Bush was a president and a prankster
369
Bush, who died last week, is being fondly remembered for his cool demeanor and a boundless sense of humor.
Dec 04, 2018
The unlikely friendship between George H.W. Bush and Dana Carvey
312
George H.W. Bush had a lot of humility. So much that he developed a friendship with the comedian who impersonated him on SNL, Dana Carvey.
Dec 01, 2018
William Howard Taft’s housekeeper kept track of his weight
279
White House maid Elizabeth Jaffray not only cleaned up after presidents, she had an amazing insight into their appetites.
Nov 30, 2018
The National Christmas Tree
267
One of the grandest events the president presides over every year is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
Nov 29, 2018
The trials and tribulations of being a cat
177
Cats have endured some really mean stuff throughout history. Dogs should be thankful.
Nov 28, 2018
Then they came for me
272
Martin Niemoller's simple and haunting words are often quoted in moments of intolerance. The story behind them is much more complicated.
Nov 27, 2018
A brief history of presidents visiting troops in combat
339
Presidents throughout history have visited battlefields to better grasp conditions, reverse public doubt and signal that the country took war efforts seriously.
Nov 26, 2018
Benjamin Franklin’s complicated relationship with turkeys
356
Benjamin Franklin, the most colorful of America's Founding Fathers, had a misunderstood, electrical and ultimately homicidal relationship with turkeys.
Nov 21, 2018
The Green Book
301
In the 1930s, traveling the nation's highways while black was fraught with peril. One postal worker, Victor Green, wrote a guidebook for African Americans after he faced discrimination on a road trip.
Nov 20, 2018
The origins of the Unknown Soldier
368
The story of how the anonymous soldier came to rest inside the famous tomb is almost as unknown as his identity.
Nov 19, 2018
Mark Twain's complicated relationship with the typewriter
341
Mark Twain first laid eyes on a “newfangled typing machine,” as he called it, sometime in the early 1870s.
Nov 16, 2018
Food stamps were born out of a surplus of food
366
The idea of food stamps was born out of a complicated paradox.
Nov 15, 2018
William Rehnquist's proposal to Sandra Day O'Connor
300
Rehnquist proposed. O'Connor said no.
Nov 14, 2018
The first lady who couldn’t get her memoir published
327
Julia Grant didn't a have particularly good experience in the world of publishing. In fact, her memoir wasn’t even published in her lifetime.
Nov 13, 2018
Joachim Ronneberg, the saboteur who crippled Nazi atomic bomb project
302
Ronneberg started speaking about his experience in history in recent years.
Nov 12, 2018
America and warfare were never the same after World War I
295
Along with staggering death tolls, the "Great War" generated memorable literature, geopolitical upheaval, hope, disillusion, the Russian Revolution and the seeds of World War II.
Nov 09, 2018
Wong Kim Ark's Supreme Court fight for birthright citizenship
385
In 1895, the United States tried to deny an American citizen entry to the country even though he was born on U.S. soil.
Nov 08, 2018
How the Greeks once used a lottery system to select government officials
330
Some believed that a lottery was more democratic than a vote.
Nov 07, 2018
The makings of an electoral heist
408
Gerrymandering became a real electoral cudgel with a project called REDMAP.
Nov 06, 2018
Rahm Emanuel, Howard Dean and the midterm elections of 2006
337
Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had two different approaches to taking back the House of Representatives. Their feud wasn't pretty.
Nov 05, 2018
Fall back, spring forward
180
Why, oh, why is daylight savings a thing? It's because for roughly two decades after World War II, no one had any clue what time it was.
Nov 02, 2018
Mary Ann Van Hoof and the Marian apparitions
364
Van Hoof said she also has seen George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc.
Nov 01, 2018
Close encounters with the Capitol’s Demon Cat
262
From the mid-1800s to well into the 20th century, the Capitol’s Demon Cat was the top dog of Washington ghost stories.
Oct 31, 2018
How Pittsburgh's Mister Rogers talked to children about tragedy
402
Mister Rogers’s approach to dealing with grief began with an American tragedy.
Oct 30, 2018
New York's mad bomber
440
In 1956, New York City’s bomb squad used criminal profiling to catch a terrorist known as “The Mad Bomber.”
Oct 29, 2018
The sword pulled from history
278
An 8-year-old found an ancient sword in a Swedish lake. Does that make her the queen?
Oct 26, 2018
A love supreme: Ruth Bader and Martin Ginsburg
366
She was short. He was tall. Her family wasn't well off. His was. She was a worrier. He had not a care in the world. If you looked up mismatch in the dictionary, Ruth Bader and Martin D. Ginsburg fit the definition perfectly.
Oct 25, 2018
The unstoppable Fannie Lou Hamer
342
Civil rights crusader Fannie Lou Hamer rivaled Martin Luther King Jr. in her command of audiences.
Oct 24, 2018
The Sultan of Swat wasn’t always known as a slugger
261
Before becoming a legendary big hitter, Babe Ruth was one of baseball’s best from the mound.
Oct 23, 2018
Big Bird and the genius inside
363
Caroll Spinney and his iconic character were inseparable for almost 50 years.
Oct 22, 2018
Woodrow Wilson's secret letters to another woman
355
Family and friends had known about the president’s intimate relationship with Mary Peck for years, but whispers about their involvement were growing.
Oct 19, 2018
The metamorphosis of Jackie O
364
As Jacqueline Kennedy transitioned from wife-in-chief to widow-in-mourning, there was tension between whom she had been and whom she was allowed to become.
Oct 18, 2018
The body of Emmett Till
243
Emmett Till’s mother opened his casket and sparked the civil rights movement.
Oct 17, 2018
The photographer and the busboy
325
Photographer Boris Yaro shot the photo of Bobby Kennedy lying fatally wounded in the arms of Juan Romero, a busboy. The photo would haunt both of them.
Oct 16, 2018
The Romanovs, Russia's 'odious' autocratic family
355
If you think your family is overrun with controlling lunatics, please meet the Romanovs.
Oct 15, 2018
The gory origins of the Waterloo teeth
269
More than 50,000 soldiers died during the Battle of Waterloo, but their teeth lived on.
Oct 12, 2018
How the teddy bear was born
286
In the fall of 1902, a year into his presidency, President Teddy Roosevelt set off to Mississippi for a bear-hunting vacation. It ended differently than planned.
Oct 11, 2018
The first black female White House reporter held the powerful accountable on civil rights
309
It was rare to be a woman or African American covering the White House in the 1940s. Alice Dunnigan was both.
Oct 10, 2018
The teenage girl who caught a Nazi monster
366
In the fall of 1957, as the world was moving on from World War II and the extermination of 6 million Jews, Sylvia Hermann knocked on the door of a modest home in Buenos Aires.
Oct 09, 2018
The complicated history of swimsuits and Miss America
338
The debate was always about more than swimsuits.
Oct 08, 2018
The assassin who wore braids and killed Nazis
315
Freddie Oversteegen was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance, though with her long, dark hair in braids she looked at least two years younger.
Oct 05, 2018
The surprising history of the 25th Amendment
379
The 25th Amendment passed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Oct 04, 2018
In the 1850s, navigating Ice Alley was deadly for ships
321
Despite warnings of icebergs, the John Rutledge set sail from Liverpool, England, to New York.
Oct 03, 2018
America’s forgotten Iranian hostage
285
Nine months before the Iran hostage crisis, Kenneth Kraus was held hostage in Iran for eight days.
Oct 02, 2018
The heroine of Lime Rock Lighthouse
239
Ida Lewis saved as many as 25 people during her service at the lighthouse. But her deeds have largely been forgotten.
Oct 01, 2018
How accusations against Supreme Court nominees were once handled
266
In 1890, Henry Brown sailed through the confirmation process after being accused of shooting and killing someone in self defense.
Sep 28, 2018
The man and the coconut that saved JFK
275
William Liebenow rescued John F. Kennedy from an island filled with coconuts.
Sep 27, 2018
Rosie the Riveter isn’t who you think she is
268
An American in the 1940s would not recognize the woman from the “We Can Do It!” poster as Rosie the Riveter.
Sep 26, 2018
The presidential pardon the country never forgot
321
When Gerald Ford took over the presidency after Richard Nixon’s resignation, he soon made a controversial choice: He pardoned Nixon.
Sep 25, 2018
How Anita Hill’s testimony led to the "Year of the Woman"
353
No women served on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. The ugly Anita Hill hearings changed that.
Sep 24, 2018
The thin-skinned president who made it illegal to criticize his office
307
The Alien and Sedition Acts passed under President John Adams led to the arrests of more than two dozen people.
Sep 21, 2018
The photographer who helped end child labor in America
323
Lewis Hine posed as a Bible salesman or machinery photographer to expose the hardships of child labor.
Sep 20, 2018
Only half of George Washington’s Supreme Court justices showed up on time
319
All of George Washington’s Supreme Court nominees were confirmed in only two days, but half of them didn't show up on time.
Sep 19, 2018
Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s marriage survived prison but not freedom
295
Their 38-year marriage endured his incarceration and hers.
Sep 18, 2018
The day the nation's capital welcomed the KKK
302
In 1925, 30,000 Klansmen descended on Washington, D.C. The city cheered their arrival.
Sep 17, 2018
The search for the anonymous author of a 1996 political novel
347
Before an unnamed senior official in the Trump administration published the opinion piece, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration" in the New York Times, another mysterious anonymous author lit up Washington.
Sep 14, 2018
The surprise hurricane that devastated the Florida Keys
257
In 1935, the Florida Keys ignored the threat of a looming hurricane. When the Category 5 storm made landfall, it left a wake of death and destruction.
Sep 13, 2018
How a solar eclipse made Albert Einstein famous
294
It may be hard to believe, but one single event rocketed Einstein to fame.
Sep 12, 2018
The rookie pilot who was ready to give her life on Sept. 11
308
Heather Penney was among the first female combat pilots in the country. On Sept. 11, 2001, she got a mission: Bring down the fourth hijacked plane hurtling towards Washington.
Sep 11, 2018
Abraham Lincoln says he owes everything to his ‘angel mother’ and ‘mama’
327
President Abraham Lincoln had two loving and supportive mothers in his lifetime. The second helped him cope with the tragic loss of the first.
Sep 10, 2018
The story of the real Charlotte of ‘Charlotte's Web’
350
This episode is co-hosted by Madeline Daly, who won Retropod trivia last Saturday at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
Sep 07, 2018
Roe v. Wade’s forgotten loser
286
Dallas prosecutor Henry Wade never intended to become a central figure in Supreme Court history.
Sep 06, 2018
The French aviators who almost beat Charles Lindbergh
270
In 1927, the world watched as two French aviators attempted the world’s first transatlantic flight.
Sep 05, 2018
The campus massacre before Kent State
309
The first mass police shooting on a U.S. college campus happened two years before the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University.
Sep 04, 2018
The time the United States illegally deported 1 million Mexican Americans
345
In 1931, President Herbert Hoover started a program that would result in the illegal deportation of 1.8 million people to Mexico by the end of the 1930s. Of those people, 60 percent were U.S. citizens.
Sep 03, 2018
The Quaker abolitionist who was disowned for condemning slave owners
408
Benjamin Lay wrote one of the first treatises against slavery in Colonial America, a time when many prosperous Pennsylvania Quakers were slave owners. But for speaking out, the Quakers disowned him.
Aug 31, 2018
Ida B. Wells, the woman who never gave up
377
Ida B. Wells was an investigative journalist, an anti-lynching activist, a suffragette and a teacher.
Aug 30, 2018
How a Supreme Court clerk changed the decision on Clay v. United States
366
Muhammad Ali was so close to going to jail for evading the draft. He has a Supreme Court clerk to thank for his freedom.
Aug 29, 2018
Colonel Blood, the scoundrel who tried to steal Great Britain's crown jewels
233
Thomas Blood had somewhat of a shady past. According to Ireland’s History magazine, he had a reputation for espionage and conducting terrorist campaigns — though many of his plans were foiled just in time.
Aug 28, 2018
Being a maverick almost stopped John McCain from becoming a public servant
278
At the Naval Academy, McCain was in a group called the “Bad Bunch” as he rebelled against his father’s expectations.
Aug 27, 2018
Paul Jennings, the former slave who disputed a legend from history
263
According to James Madison’s Virginia mansion Montpelier, Paul Jennings’ account reveals, “how the racial and gender hierarchies of the time complicate the way we understand roles in historic events.”
Aug 24, 2018
What Operation Pied Piper taught us about family separations
301
Millions of British children were evacuated from London and other cities to escape the horrors of war. But the family separations seemed to impart long-term trauma that was in many cases as severe as if they had stayed behind and faced the bombs.
Aug 23, 2018
Reagan's most historic speech took a few years to make an impact
220
When President Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” it was not seen as a historic moment. It took the actual fall of the wall to resurrect the speech and drill the quote into our consciousness.
Aug 22, 2018
A president’s lions and the emoluments clause
315
The greatest emoluments-clause dilemma of the 1800s involved two lions.
Aug 21, 2018
How Harry S. Truman went from being a racist to desegregating the military
352
When Harry Truman became president in 1945, Southern members of Congress were delighted. They thought he’d be sympathetic to segregationists. He proved them wrong.
Aug 20, 2018
The long-lost 'Laws of Baseball'
272
On display in Washington, D.C. are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and another document that details a fundamental institution in American life: baseball.
Aug 17, 2018
The congressman who shot a waiter
278
A hungry congressman didn’t get the breakfast he ordered. So he shot the waiter.
Aug 16, 2018
The time Truman met with Stalin and it went well
290
Back in 1941, a get-together that should have been fraught with uneasiness didn't turn out that way, which is surprising given the participants: President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.
Aug 15, 2018
Meet Paul Manafort’s century-old forefather, who also liked fancy suits
292
Samuel Cutler Ward, also known as the “King of the Lobby,” is credited with shaping the craft of lobbying. And like lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, he also had some seriously expensive tastes.
Aug 14, 2018
An aviation flop was a stamp collector’s dream and the U.S. Postal Service’s nightmare
293
A stamp collector’s discovery of the “Inverted Jenny” stamp created a headache for the U.S. Postal Service.
Aug 13, 2018
How Mister Rogers talked to children and families about tragedy
388
Mister Rogers’s approach to dealing with tragedy began with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Aug 10, 2018
The storied past of Alderson federal women’s prison
253
The Alderson Federal Prison Camp has a history filled with powerful women who both pushed for the walls to be built there and served time within them.
Aug 09, 2018
Rebels, turn out your dead!
272
During the American Revolution, more patriots died as prisoners of war in or around New York City than died in combat.
Aug 08, 2018
The Saturday Night Massacre
286
The one night that changed President Nixon’s fate has stuck with us as a reminder of the limits of presidential power.
Aug 07, 2018
The dark history of the pill
267
A group of poor women in Puerto Rico were the first test subjects for the birth control pill. Were they guinea pigs or pioneers?
Aug 06, 2018
Meet Yvonne Burke, the first congresswoman to give birth in office
237
Sixty years after Congress welcomed its first woman, it welcomed its first baby.
Aug 03, 2018
The unlikely start of the Boy Scout movement
277
The Boy Scout movement began 110 years ago on a tiny island just off the southern coast of England.
Aug 02, 2018
How the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds began
288
The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild family date all the way back to The Battle of Waterloo.
Aug 01, 2018
The first campus shooting
255
A professor at The University of Virginia was fatally shot by a student in 1840.
Jul 31, 2018
How God became part of the pledge
265
For over 50 years, the phrase “under God” was not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. One sermon changed that.
Jul 30, 2018
How a textile shortage led to the invention of the bikini
267
This episode addresses the history of the bikini in, naturally, two parts.
Jul 27, 2018
The complicated story of Linda Brown and the fight for desegregated schools
238
Linda Brown and her father Oliver Brown are heroes of the civil rights movement. The backstory of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education is more complicated than what you learned in school.
Jul 26, 2018
The time a senator won an Emmy for grilling witnesses at a hearing
280
In 1951, a televised Senate hearing caught America’s attention.
Jul 25, 2018
The rainless flood that destroyed a city
281
It did not rain, at least not in Ellicott City, Md. That’s what made the 1868 flood so bizarre and unexpected.
Jul 24, 2018
How a renovation made the Supreme Court a friendlier place
269
One simple change to how the Supreme Court bench was designed made a world of difference to how the justices communicated.
Jul 23, 2018
The Mountaintop
288
On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were protesting for their civil rights. It was there that King delivered his last speech.
Jul 20, 2018
The most romantic day
232
From all over the country, couples rushed to Las Vegas to get married. The demand for quickie weddings was at a fever pitch. But it wasn't Cupid's arrow causing the frenzy. It was the Vietnam War.
Jul 19, 2018
The night America burned
243
The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history wasn’t in California.
Jul 18, 2018
All the presidents' ghosts
201
Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.
Jul 17, 2018
Don't mess with Harriet Tubman
286
She was just 5 feet tall. There was once a $40,000 bounty on her head. She suffered seizures throughout her life. She never gave up. She never gave in.
Jul 16, 2018
The epic bender that launched America
227
Washington and his fellow partiers racked up a bill of $15,000 in today’s currency celebrating the completion of the Constitution.
Jul 13, 2018
A Supreme Court justice morally opposed abortion, but voted to legalize it
336
The justice who helped persuade a majority of the Supreme Court to legalize abortion found the practice unthinkable — personally, but not constitutionally.
Jul 12, 2018
Eartha Kitt confronted the first lady and it nearly ruined her career
296
At a White House luncheon, actress Eartha Kitt would not let the president or the first lady avoid the issue of the Vietnam War. She paid a heavy price for her boldness.
Jul 11, 2018
Oregon, America’s first and only state to begin as "whites-only"
293
Oregon’s original constitution banned black people from the state, and the law stayed in the constitution for well over 100 years.
Jul 10, 2018
How Eleanor Roosevelt invented the modern idea of a first lady
263
Eleanor Roosevelt held news conferences just for female reporters. The men were not impressed.
Jul 09, 2018
The time America invaded Britain
256
Spoiler: It did not go well.
Jul 06, 2018
The teen who tied a Virginia election
211
In 1971, Stephen Burns was 18 years old and a newly minted voter. He was so jazzed to be a part of the Democratic process.
Jul 05, 2018
Thomas Jefferson's last letter
195
Somehow, in the depths of his personal misery towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson had found his powerful way with words again.
Jul 04, 2018
The U.S. government recruited black men to watch them die
249
The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is a horrific piece of American history.
Jul 03, 2018
The deaf men who helped NASA send humans to space
235
In a largely forgotten experiment, a group of students from Gallaudet University spent years helping NASA understand the mechanisms of motion sickness, and how to prevent it.
Jul 02, 2018
That time we thought an asteroid might kill us all
202
In 1998, the world briefly panicked over an asteroid that seemed headed for a close call with Earth. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
Jun 29, 2018
The femme fatale
245
For the past 100 years, Mata Hari has been revered as the quintessential glamorous spy. But the real Mata Hari was much more complicated.
Jun 28, 2018
The first congresswoman’s vote
302
In April 1917, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, faced an agonizing choice. Should she, or should she not, vote for the United States to enter World War I?
Jun 27, 2018
How Hollywood’s first major blockbuster revived the KKK
275
"The Birth of a Nation" depicted life after the Civil War in a way that glorified Klansmen. The film and its cultural impact led one man to conclude that the time was right to bring back the Klu Klux Klan.
Jun 26, 2018
The first pride parade
208
The very first pride parade was held in 1964 and was a bit … calmer … than what we think of today.
Jun 25, 2018
The oldest surviving banjo recording
357
Charles Asbury’s newly digitized songs serve as a time capsule to the music of the 19th century.
Jun 22, 2018
The worst presidents
302
Besides President Trump, whom do scholars scorn the most?
Jun 21, 2018
Doughnuts, the most patriotic of the junk foods
198
Doughnuts aren’t just delicious. They also helped America win a war.
Jun 20, 2018
The first shark attacks
260
For most of American history, no one was scared of sharks. One week - and one shark - changed that.
Jun 19, 2018
Between Lincoln and Washington, only one was a great poet
259
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two great presidents, had a lot in common: Both lost a parent as a child, both had a serious demeanor, and both dabbled with writing poetry. But only one was any good at poetry.
Jun 18, 2018
This security guard discovered the Watergate break-in, but nobody remembers him
194
The man who called the police on the Watergate burglars never received the credit he deserved.
Jun 15, 2018
Thomas Jefferson’s iftar dinner and the long history of Ramadan at the White House
191
In December 1805, a handful of prominent politicians receive invitations to join President Thomas Jefferson for a White House dinner. The occasion was the arrival of a Tunisian envoy to the U.S., Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, who was observing Ramadan.
Jun 14, 2018
The biscuit tin
201
It’s World War II, and you’re King George VI of England. You fear a Nazi invasion of England could come at any moment. How do you protect the crown jewels? Not even Queen Elizabeth II knew how her dad did it - until recently.
Jun 13, 2018
Before Loving, another interracial couple fought to marry
230
The Kinneys married in Washington, D.C. in 1874. Then, they were arrested back home in Virginia for violating the state’s laws. They fought the ruling in higher and higher courts, but never won the right to stay married in their home state.
Jun 12, 2018
The Jedwabne massacre
222
The controversy around the murders of a Polish village's Jewish residents has centered on raw questions of complicity versus compulsion.
Jun 11, 2018
Tennis's first goddess
188
Suzanne Lenglen was physically ferocious. Always fashionable. A disrupter of convention.
Jun 08, 2018
The White House makeover
234
When the White House was built over 200 years ago, it lacked certain modern conveniences. They got added in a hodgepodge of improvements over the years.
Jun 07, 2018
The Order of the Day
248
On the day before D-Day, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the troops that totally masked how nervous he actually was.
Jun 06, 2018
The “temporary insanity” legal defense started with an affair
251
If you love gossip, and drama, and D.C. politics - this story is the gift that keeps on giving.
Jun 05, 2018
History’s most fascinating misquote
225
The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.” Here’s why you think they did.
Jun 04, 2018
Mourning Bobby Kennedy
330
Robert F. Kennedy's death, which came just weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., shocked the nation, especially those who looked to him to continue the national discussion over racial inequality.
Jun 01, 2018
The black power protest that shook the world
177
At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, one of the most iconic moments of that chaotic year unfolded on television screens around the world.
May 31, 2018
LBJ's political bombshell
304
By 1968, things were going badly for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Morale around the Vietnam War was sinking, and in Washington, political sharks were circling.
May 30, 2018
One broadcast helped turn Americans against the Vietnam War
285
Walter Cronkite's reputation, his calm but authoritative voice, carried so much weight that in 1968 one single report helped persuade the American public that we weren’t winning the war in Vietnam.
May 29, 2018
The performance that saved Johnny Cash's career
292
In a year of extraordinary, chaotic moments this was a hopeful one - a beat-up country music star recording an album live at a troubled maximum security prison in California.
May 28, 2018
Publishers hated ‘A Wrinkle in Time,' and Madeleine L'Engle never forgot the rejections
244
'A Wrinkle in Time' author Madeleine L'Engle said she received 26 rejection letters from publishers.
May 25, 2018
When Ronald Reagan visited a family targeted by the KKK
228
In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan wasn’t exactly known for his racial sensitivity. But when he read about a family whose house was targeted by the KKK, he and the First Lady flew out to comfort them.
May 24, 2018
The Nazi stone
260
A mysterious stone memorial was found in 2006 in Washington, D.C. But who placed a memorial to Nazi spies on government property? And why?
May 23, 2018
Elaine Brown, the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party
214
Elaine Brown's takeover in 1974 was a pivotal moment for a woman in the black power movement. Although women had been a dynamic force for social and racial justice, they had often been overshadowed by men.
May 22, 2018
The man who filmed JFK's assassination
196
For many, memories of that devastating day quickly revert to that silent, flickering sequence captured by Abraham Zapruder. It is as chilling as it is familiar: the approaching convertible, the waves of a crowd about to lose its innocence.
May 21, 2018
Princess Diana's final hours
241
When Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle are married this weekend, there will be one other royal on the world’s minds - Harry’s mother, the beloved Princess Diana.
May 18, 2018
The enigmatic Prince Philip - separating fact from fiction
248
The British royal wedding puts all eyes on the Windsor family - this time, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But perhaps no royal is as controversial as Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip.
May 17, 2018
Wallis Simpson, the last American divorcee who married a British royal
217
Another British royal wedding is coming up, so over the next few days, we'll explore a few moments from the history of royal marriages in Great Britain. Today, we meet Wallis Simpson, the last American divorcee to marry a British royal.
May 16, 2018
The truth is out there
278
Area 51's secrets may not be alien in nature, but that doesn't make them any less mysterious.
May 15, 2018
John Brown's prophecy
225
Abolitionist John Brown wrote made a prophecy before he was executed.
May 14, 2018
She spent years fighting to create Mother's Day, then lost everything trying to protect it
201
Anna Jarvis would absolutely hate what Mother's Day has become.
May 11, 2018
The Sullivan brothers
221
Five brothers fought and died together on the same ship during World War II. Their final resting place was discovered earlier this year.
May 10, 2018
Lee Harvey Oswald's final hours before killing Kennedy
234
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy devastated the nation. But the day before the shooting was just a normal day. It was particularly calm and uneventful for the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.
May 09, 2018
To ban a "Mockingbird"
244
Harper Lee's classic novel has been causing controversy for as long as its been in print. Here's a look at the history of banning "To Kill a Mockingbird."
May 08, 2018
The original Alcoholics Anonymous book was auctioned for millions, but its author was never paid
270
The original manuscript was auctioned off for $2.4 million this weekend to an NFL owner, after almost a year of legal wrangling.
May 07, 2018
May the Fourth be with you
306
Mark Hamill himself shares stories from Star Wars history. You can hear the full interview with Hamill on the Cape Up podcast with Jonathan Capehart.
May 04, 2018
The battle between Old Waddy and the press
195
Believe it or not, the relationship between politicians and the press has been worse. A lot worse.
May 03, 2018
Were the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler friends?
239
Was the duke a Nazi sympathizer? Did he plot to dethrone his brother, King George VI? Did he really suggest more German bombing of Britain might end World War II?
May 02, 2018
Need a job? Ask Ulysses S. Grant
198
Grant had an impressive resume on the battlefield, he was known to be a patsy when it came to helping job hunters. People used to walk right into the White House and ask the president to find them a job
May 01, 2018
How the Doomsday Clock came to be
233
The Doomsday Clock was created not by a scientist, but by an artist.
Apr 30, 2018
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was once just for daughters
166
Mike is joined by a special guest to talk about how Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day began.
Apr 27, 2018
These guys were college jocks - and then became Presidents of the United States
242
We dug through The Washington Post's archives and consulted the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring you a rundown of the best presidential ballers.
Apr 26, 2018
The only person Hitler loved
277
Adolf Hitler's mother may be the only person he genuinely cared for.
Apr 25, 2018
Philadelphia's plumbing revolution: wood pipes
188
In 1812, Philadelphia was outfitted with the latest in plumbing technology - a network of wooden pipes to carry water throughout the city.
Apr 24, 2018
Chillicothe, Missouri, the town that invented sliced bread
217
The town of Chillicothe, Missouri, recently discovered they have a surprising claim to history: the creation of sliced bread.
Apr 23, 2018
Barbara Bush’s remarkable commencement address
250
In 1990, students protested the choice of the first lady as their commencement speaker, calling it anti-feminist. Her speech silenced the critics.
Apr 20, 2018
The day anti-Vietnam War protesters tried to levitate the Pentagon
225
In October 1967, antiwar protesters announced that they would march en masse to the front steps of the Pentagon. and levitate it. And then they would try to levitate it.
Apr 19, 2018
The history of epic North Korean insults
168
North Korea has long been a superpower when it comes verbal attacks.
Apr 18, 2018
Hate the IRS? Blame Abraham Lincoln.
216
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln was in a financial bind. Also, he was in a war. To raise money, he pushed for and won passage of an income tax and, a year or so later, established the Internal Revenue Bureau to collect what was owed.
Apr 17, 2018
The mother who made George Washington miserable
270
George and his mother had an unusual relationship for the 1700s, more like what you might see in a sitcom from the 1970s. She was indispensable to him, but intolerable.
Apr 16, 2018
Why Thurgood Marshall asked an ex-Klan member to help him make Supreme Court history
211
Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court, took the constitutional oath of office from Hugo Black, a white associate justice who had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Apr 13, 2018
A letter from home
211
A German woman discovered that her childhood home was stolen from a Jewish family who fled Nazi Germany. Last year, she tracked down the address of one of the children, and wrote him a letter.
Apr 12, 2018
Was Mary Todd Lincoln a leaker?
246
President Abraham Lincoln had to worry about the first lady being a leaker, and it was quite a scandal.
Apr 11, 2018
Winifred Stanley, a forgotten equal pay pioneer
208
The woman who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress had to fight to be taken seriously -- and often failed.
Apr 10, 2018
The invention of sarin
215
Weevils, a voracious beetle found in fields and orchards, were the original target of sarin gas.
Apr 09, 2018
The spy plane
249
Over the past few months, historians and national security analysts have been re-examining one particular forgotten moment in the history of U.S. and North Korea conflict.
Apr 06, 2018
The toughest job in politics
178
The most thankless job might be that of the White House press secretary. Just ask Ron Ziegler.
Apr 05, 2018
The day Martin Luther King Jr. died
423
Fifty years ago today, the civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. Riots broke out across the country, but in Indianapolis, there was peace.
Apr 04, 2018
The Mountaintop
261
On April 3, 1968, 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were protesting for their civil rights. It was there that King delivered his last speech.
Apr 03, 2018
The books the presidents read
251
Throughout history, the reading of books has been a sort of armchair way measuring someone's intelligence. Here are stories of three former presidents at opposite ends of the reading spectrum. You can decide for yourself.
Apr 02, 2018
Egg Roll
232
One day a year, the White House grounds are truly turned over to the people - well, the kids. That day is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and it began as the solution to a problem that Victorian children created.
Mar 30, 2018
The girl who struck out Babe Ruth
189
One of baseball's most enduring mysteries surrounds a 17-year-old girl name Jackie Mitchell.
Mar 29, 2018
The first daughters
242
Ivanka Trump might be the only first daughter in American history to score a West Wing office, but she’s not the first presidential daughter to wield power in the White House.
Mar 28, 2018
Meet the Press
206
At the beginning of the television age, “Meet the Press” dented the dominance of newspapers and thrilled news junkies with the you-were-there power of live broadcasting.
Mar 27, 2018
The man who won World War II
253
Andrew Higgins wasn't in the Army. He wasn't a paratrooper. He was a wild and wily genius, a tough, crafty, businessman. And he built the built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Mar 26, 2018
The children's crusade
246
The movement organized by survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is not the first time that kids have taken a stand. History shows that kids, with their innocence, honesty and moral urgency, can shame adults into discovering their conscience.
Mar 23, 2018
The forbidden question
214
If the order for a nuclear attack is issued, the soldiers operating the launch machine have no choice but to fire. Or do they?
Mar 22, 2018
The crooked picture
240
Jesse James, the most famous outlaw in history, was eventually foiled by a picture hanging crooked on a wall.
Mar 21, 2018
Lawn wars
286
Lawns have always been more than just grass.
Mar 20, 2018
Dr. Spock
257
Dr. Spock - not the guy from Star Trek - was at one time America's most beloved pediatrician. A whole generation of children was raised on his medical advice. But not even his popularity could save him from being indicted by the federal government.
Mar 19, 2018
Then they came for me
272
Martin Niemoller's simple and haunting words are often quoted in moments of intolerance. The story behind them is much more complicated.
Mar 16, 2018
The godfather of bracketology
231
Some 50 million people are projected to fill out a March Madness bracket this year. As you finish filling out yours, you might want to tip your pencil and say thanks to the late and loud Staten Island bar owner Jody Haggerty.
Mar 15, 2018
The Limping Lady
224
President Trump made history Tuesday when he nominated a woman to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But while a woman leading the CIA was once unthinkable, female spies have made enormous, overlooked contributions in espionage.
Mar 14, 2018
The first female marine
157
During World War I, the Marines Corps back home needed help while the men were fighting overseas. Opha May Johnson was the first in line.
Mar 13, 2018
The trials and tribulations of being a cat
172
Cats have endured some really mean stuff throughout history. Dogs should be thankful.
Mar 12, 2018
Fall back, spring forward
180
Why, oh, why is daylight savings a thing? It's because for roughly two decades after World War II, no one had any clue what time it was.
Mar 09, 2018
The glass ceiling
202
In 1978, Marilyn Loden coined a phrase that paints very image that women have been fighting for decades.
Mar 08, 2018
How are you, Grandmama?
213
A dog and a cadaver deserve credit for their contributions to the invention of the telephone.
Mar 07, 2018
The night America burned
217
The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history wasn’t in California.
Mar 06, 2018
And the winner is...
291
Oscars night is probably the one moment around the world when people become really interested in envelopes.
Mar 05, 2018
Special delivery!
151
There’s one thing that you can’t have delivered anymore that was totally normal to send by mail in the early 1900s.
Mar 02, 2018
The woman behind Lisa Ben
236
Edythe Eyde, also known by her pen name Lisa Ben, was a visionary who fought to make lesbians visible in pop culture decades before most others had the guts to do the same.
Mar 01, 2018
The houses built by slaves
193
Buildings that stand as symbols of American democracy - the White House, Mount Vernon and Monticello, to name a few - were erected with the labor of those who were not free.
Feb 28, 2018
How the NRA began
266
When the NRA was founded in 1871, its primary concern was not gun rights or the Second Amendment.
Feb 27, 2018
The rise of supermarkets
200
If you’re like most Americans, you probably visit a grocery store once or twice a week. But you probably don’t know that one single grocery item is responsible for the rise of supermarkets as we know them.
Feb 26, 2018
The Green Book
261
In the 1930s, traveling the nation's highways while black was fraught with peril. One postal worker, Victor Green, wrote a guidebook for African Americans after he faced discrimination on a road trip.
Feb 23, 2018
The ice queen
296
Sonja Henie won three Olympic gold medals and 10 world championships, and turned her star power into as career as one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars. Meet figure skating's first megastar.
Feb 22, 2018
Mrs. Graham
271
Katherine Graham's leadership in the decision to release the Pentagon Papers was the subject of the Stephen Spielberg film "The Post." But it was her leadership during the pressman's strike in 1975 that is perhaps the most gripping moment of her life.
Feb 21, 2018
The electric rivalry
248
To understand the gruesome history of the death penalty, it is essential to comprehend how badly Thomas Edison wanted to zap George Westinghouse.
Feb 20, 2018
All the president's ghosts
215
Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.
Feb 19, 2018
Don't mess with Harriet Tubman
314
She was just 5 feet tall. There was once a $40,000 bounty on her head. She suffered seizures throughout her life. She never gave up. She never gave in.
Feb 16, 2018
When Olympic silver beats gold
297
Ski jumping involves flying more than 800 feet in the air and then landing on two feet, without dying. Where on earth did this sport come from?
Feb 15, 2018
The most romantic day
221
From all over the country, couples rushed to Las Vegas to get married. The demand for quickie weddings was at a fever pitch. But it wasn't Cupid's arrow causing the frenzy. It was the Vietnam War.
Feb 14, 2018
The best birthday card ever
190
In 1926, the United States received a birthday card signed by 5.5 million Polish people.
Feb 13, 2018
What hath God wrought?
248
The history of social media began in 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse sent a message from Washington to Baltimore. It said, "What hath God wrought?"
Feb 12, 2018
Introducing 'Retropod'
220
Preview The Washington Post's newest daily podcast, a show about the past, rediscovered. Subscribe now to get the first episode when it launches February 12.
Feb 07, 2018