Footnoting History

By Footnoting History

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 May 25, 2020


Welcome to Footnoting History! For slinks to further reading suggestions, a calendar of upcoming episodes, and the complete episode archive, visit us at!

Episode Date
Slavery and the Colony of Georgia

(Elizabeth) Most likely, many of us have heard tales around how the colony of Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe, a philanthropist, to be a haven for Britain's debtors but, as always, that isn't the whole story. In this episode, Elizabeth delves into how slavery of Africans was illegal early on in the colony and why that changed - including who drove the demand. 

May 30, 2020
The Parnell Affair

(Christine) In the late 1800s, Charles Stewart Parnell was a heavyweight in Irish politics - until his affair with a woman named Katharine O'Shea came to light. Join Christine for a look at the scandal that dominated headlines and rocked the career of the so-called "Uncrowned King of Ireland".


To learn more about our episodes or see our further reading, please check our website Footnoting History

Additionally, we'd love to hear from you on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! You can find our Patreon here. 

May 16, 2020
Passing Exams in Imperial China

(Lucy) The civil service examinations taken by the bureaucrats and administrators of imperial China were not merely academic. They also served as social rites of passage. Moreover, they were designed to test the moral aptitudes of test-takers for a lifetime of upholding Confucian ideals. Naturally, they were a source of individual stress, as well as a key part of imperial power and authority for centuries, outlasting several dynasties. This episode looks at the roles civil service examinations played in premodern China, and the mythos that grew around them.

May 02, 2020
The Other Anne Boleyn

(Kristin) In 1536, there were two Anne Boleyns in the Tower of London. One was a queen who helped inspire the English Reformation and stood accused of treason; the other was the aunt whose testimony may have helped to convict her. Lady Anne Shelton, née Boleyn, was the sister of the queen’s father, Thomas Boleyn and the mother of one of Henry VIII’s alleged mistresses. She was to play a critical role during the reign and fall of Henry’s second queen – who was her namesake and who became her nemesis. 

Apr 18, 2020
Prester John

Prester John, a legendary Christian king, endured in the imaginations of many medieval crusade theorists and geographers. Thought to be a savior who would assist the forces of Christendom to defeat Islam in a final crusade to take Jerusalem, Prester John occupied an important place in the minds of those who hoped for a successful crusade. In this episode, join newcomer Josh as he takes you on a whirlwind tour of Asia and Africa in search of this mythical figure.

Podcaster: Josh

Apr 03, 2020
Footnoting Disney: Mulan

(Lucy) Mulan is a story without a single historical precedent. From a medieval ballad to early modern narratives to plays and operas, it’s been told over and over again. Mulan’s exploits are always presented as having happened “once upon a time,” anytime from the Han dynasty to the early Tang period. These stories about a fierce heroine and her loyalties tell us a lot about changing ideas of gender and cultural identity in China.

Mar 21, 2020
Footnoting Disney: The Little Mermaid

The first of Disney’s Renaissance films was a project in progress since 1930. Based on the writings of Hans Christian Andersen, the film updated the original tragic story for a modern family audience. In this episode, Lesley places the original story within the religious, cultural, and imperial context of its creation...while revealing a personal pain the author wrote into the mermaid’s story.

Podcaster: Lesley

Mar 07, 2020
Footnoting Disney: Pocahontas

In 1995, Disney released Pocahontas, its first animated film based on a real person. Set in 1607, the film depicts the encounter between Pocahontas, an American Indian woman, and John Smith, an English settler, in what is now the state of Virginia. In this episode Christine uses the popular movie that gave us songs like "Colors of the Wind" as the starting point for separating fact from fiction and investigating the real life of Pocahontas.

Podcaster: Christine 

Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela “Silver Star” Daniel, The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History, Fulcrum, (2007).

J. Frederick Fausz, "Pocahontas (1596-21 March 1617)", American National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2000).

---, "Powhatan (fl. 1607-1618)", American National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2000).

Karen Ordahl Kipperman, "Smith, John (1580-21 June 1631", American National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2000).

Heike Paul, "Pocahontas and the Myth of Transatlantic Love", in The Myths That Made America, Transcript Verlag, (2014). 

Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries, University of Oklahoma Press, (1990).

John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles..., (1624), via Documenting the American South/UNC.

Camilla Townsend, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, Hill and Wang, (2004).

Irene Bedard's Pocahontas Interview at Magic City Comic Con, (2016).

Letter from John Rolfe to Sir Thomas Dale, (1614), via Encyclopedia Virginia.

The Making of 'Pocahontas': A Legend Comes to Life, Disney, (1995).

The Powhatan Indian World, National Park Service, (2015).

A Study of Virginia Indians and Jamestown: The First Century, Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, PI, National Park Service, (2005). 

Additional Websites

National Congress of American Indians.

Virginia Council on Indians, "A Guide to Writing about Virginia Indians and Virginia Indian History," in Virginia Civics, Item #596.


Pocahontas at the Court of King James, Library of Congress, 1907.

Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, Library of Congress, 1870.

The Wedding of Pocahontas with John Rolfe, Library of Congress, 1867.

Related Content

This episode is part of our Footnoting Disney Series.

Pocahontas, Disney, (1995).

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, Disney, (1998).

Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (

Feb 21, 2020
Footnoting Disney: Aladdin

The story of Aladdin is one of the most popular and most produced of the tales from the One Thousand and One Nights (also known in English as the Arabian Nights) and, yet, it isn't actually one of the original stories. In this episode, Elizabeth explains how the story of Aladdin entered the collection, including the young Syrian man who inspired a French author to write it.

Podcaster: Elizabeth

Further Reading

Hannā Diyāb, The Man Who Wrote Aladdin: The Life and Times of Hannā Diyāb, translated by Paul Lunde, introduction by Caroline E.M. Stone. Hardinge Simpole (2020).

Hanna Dyab, D’Alep à Paris. Les Pérégrinations d’un Jeune Syrien au Temps de Louis XIV, edited and translated by Paul Fahmé, Bernard Heyberger and Jerôme Lentin, Sinbad-Acte Sud (2015).  

Husain Haddawy and Muhsin Mahdi, eds., Arabian Nights., WW Norton & Company (1995).  

Paulo Lemos Horta, Marvellous Thieves, Harvard University Press (2017). 

--,  Aladdin: a New Translation, translated by Yasmine Seale, edited by Paulo Lemos Horta (2018). 

Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nights: A Companion, Bloomsbury Publishing (2003).    

Related Content

This episode is part of our Footnoting Disney Series.

Aladdin, Disney, (1992).

Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (

Feb 08, 2020
Footnoting Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

When Victor Hugo wrote his novel, Notre-Dame of Paris in 1831, the cathedral of Notre Dame was over 600 years old and crumbling. The ensuing tale was one that inspired a massive renovation project and continues to stir imaginations today. In this week’s episode, Kristin talks about the story of Hugo’s Notre-Dame of Paris and its continuing resonance with modern audiences.  

Jan 25, 2020
The Forbidden Holiday

(Nathan) The English Civil War of the mid-17th century ended in the beheading of King Charles I and the establishment of the Commonwealth under of Oliver Cromwell. It also marked a turning point in the celebration of Christmas in Britain and its American colonies. In this episode, we will examine the rise of Puritan groups to power in the English Parliament, their attitudes toward the moral and ritual reform of the English Church, and how these groups in Britain and the colonies sought to purge Catholic and "pagan" influences in their society by banning the celebration of Christmas.

Winship, Michael P., Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America (Yale University Press, 2019).

Coffey, John, and Paul Lim., The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Daniels, Bruce, Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England (Macmillan, 1995).

Walsh, James P. "Holy Time and Sacred Space in Puritan New England." American Quarterly 32, no. 1 (1980): 79-95.

Dec 14, 2019
Haitian Revolution, Part II: ​1794-1804

(Elizabeth) Between 1794 and 1804, the newly emancipated people of the colony of Saint-Domingue created a government under the leadership of Toussaint Louverture and defeated Napoleonic forces to become their own independent country. In this episode, Elizabeth explains the role of Louverture but also the international ramifications of the creation of Haiti. 

Nov 30, 2019
Haitian Revolution, Part I: 1791-1793

(Elizabeth) In 1791, the enslaved people of France's wealthiest colony, Saint-Domingue, rose up for freedom. In this episode, Elizabeth examines the many factors that led to the abolition of slavery in the region now known as Haiti. The French Revolution, Kongolese leadership, social stratification, religion, and many other aspects all pay a role in what will become the first successful slave revolt of the Atlantic world. 

Nov 16, 2019
The Unquiet Afterlife of Elizabeth Siddal

(Christine) Following a tumultuous life entrenched in Britain's art world, Elizabeth Siddal was laid to rest in 1862, but her body's peace would be disturbed only a few years later when her coffin was reopened. Find out the story behind the disturbance of the late artist and model's earthly remains in this episode.


Further Reading

Laura Bradley, "Elizabeth Siddal: Drawn into the Pre-Raphaelite Circle", Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 18:2. (1992), pp. 136-145, 187.

J.B. Bullen, “Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (1828-1882)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2004/2015).

Marion R. Edwards, "Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal -- The Age Problem", The Burlington Magazine, 119:887, (February 1977), pp. 110, 112.

Paul Fyfe, "Accidental Death: Lizzie Siddal and the Poetics of the Coroner's Inquest", Victorian Review, 40:2, (Fall 2014), pp. 17-22.

Jan Marsh, "Did Rossetti Really Need to Exhume his Wife?" The Times Literary Supplement, (15 February 2012).

--"Imagining Elizabeth Siddal", New Statesman & Society, 1:15, (16 September 1988), pp. 32-36.

--, The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal, Quartet Books, 1989.

William Rossetti, "Dante Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal", The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 1:3, (May 1903), pp. 273-295.

Carol Rumens, "Poem of the Week: Dead Love by Elizabeth Siddal", The Guardian, (14 September 2015).

Virginia Surtees, “Siddal, Elizabeth Eleanor (1829-1862)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2004).

The Complete Writings and Pictures of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Hypermedia Archive, Jerome McGann, ed.

"Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti", The Pall Mall Gazette, (21 April 1870) via British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900."

Pre-Raphaelite Sisters Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

"Rossettis Poems", The Graphic, (14 May 1870) via British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

Nov 02, 2019
History for Halloween VI

(Christine, Elizabeth, Kristin, Lesley, and Lucy) Ghosts, vampires, and more lurk in this year's installment of History for Halloween. Join us for our traditional episode featuring bits of history perfect for the creepiest time of the year.

Oct 19, 2019
The Chinese Exclusion Act

(Nathan) In the 19th century, the Qing government of China faced major setbacks in the wake of military conflicts with European powers, spurring economic downturn and an immigration exodus out of the country. Increasing numbers of Chinese began to arrive on the West Coast of the United States, drawn by the California Gold Rush and seeking new economic opportunities to support their extended families back in China.  Soon, however, American economic conditions began to take on racist overtones, as public opinion began to turn against the Chinese.  In this episode, we look at the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, its increasing legal restrictions, and the long-term consequences of the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Oct 05, 2019
The Life and Travels of Newport Gardner

(Kristin) In the 1760s, Occramer Marycoo was taken to the American colonies against his will. When he re-crossed the Atlantic in 1826, he was a free man who also went by the name Newport Gardner. In between, he was a composer, a teacher, a small-business owner, and a prominent member of Newport, Rhode Island Free African community. In this episode, Kristin follows the remarkable journey of the man, who bought his freedom and returned to Africa, known as both Occramer Marycoo and Newport Gardner.  

Sep 21, 2019
Evil Humors and the Common Cold

(Lucy) Ache in the head, running of the nose, and the throat being pierced by pain like a spear: medieval descriptions of common ailments are often familiar, as well as startlingly vivid. This podcast episode looks at everyday remedies in medieval Europe. From chicken and barley to spiced wine, many such remedies were delicious and nutritious. Administering medicine — from comfort food to careful concoctions — was based on both education and experience.

Sep 07, 2019
Revolutionary Notre-Dame de Paris
(Christine and Elizabeth) In April 2019, a fire at the French cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris had people around the world glued to their news feeds and televisions. Join Christine and Elizabeth for a discussion about some significant events that took place at Notre-Dame during one of France’s most turbulent periods, the span from the French Revolution to the exile of Napoleon III.
Aug 24, 2019
The Emu War
(Lesley) Of all the wars in the 20th century, no loss was more frustrating than the military operation against the emu in Western Australia in 1932. Learn about the treatment of these enormous flightless birds as an organized military formation and the subsequent disaster as no amount of military force could successfully and effectively defeat these warriors of the animal world.
Aug 10, 2019
An Extraordinary Medicine Called Theriac
(Kristin) Theriac was a medicine of legendary origins, multiple ingredients, and a reputation for efficacy that extended for hundreds of years. It was said to be able to cure everything from migraines to the plague. In this episode, Kristin looks at some of the ingredients and processes that went into making theriac, where it could be found, who was selling it, and whether there was anything behind its extraordinary claims.
Jul 27, 2019
Purgatory is Not the Medium Place
(Nathan) The landscape of the Christian afterlife has never been static, and over the last 2,000 years, the theology of what the hereafter looks like has evolved drastically. In this episode, we trace the origins and medieval development of one of the most significant and controversial Christian beliefs: Purgatory.
Jul 13, 2019
Jessie Pope, (In)Famous Poet of World War One
(Elizabeth) One of the most famous poets of WWI is largely unknown today. In this episode, Elizabeth reviews the life and poems of Jessie Pope to determine who she was, why Wilfred Owen hated her so, and why we don't know more about her today.
May 18, 2019
The Woman Who Signed the Declaration of Independence
(Lesley) The Declaration of Independence has many well-known men's names on it, especially that of John Hancock. But what of the woman whose name appears on the printed version of this auspicious document? In this episode, Lesley explores the life and role of early American printer Mary Katharine Goddard. An important contributor to the fledgling American government, Goddard's name should be better known for politics, journalism, and revolution.
May 04, 2019
King John and His Dogs
(Kristin) King John is often remembered as one of England’s most inept and disliked rulers. By the time he was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, John lost authority, territory, and a lot of friends. Some, however, did remain loyal. In this week’s episode, Kristin looks at King John and his dogs. 
Apr 20, 2019
Harlem Renaissance Man: James Weldon Johnson
(Lucy) Diplomat and hymn-writer, Broadway lyricist, activist, and historian, James Weldon Johnson was an early figurehead of the NAACP. This week's episode explores his life and multifaceted legacy.
Apr 06, 2019
Henry II and Thomas Becket, Part II: Rivals
(Christine) Not all friendships are meant to last, but some go the extra mile and turn into bitter rivalries. Picking up where we left off at the end of Part I, this episode follows the relationship between King Henry II and Archbishop Thomas Becket to the violent ending that left only one man standing.
Mar 23, 2019
Henry II and Thomas Becket, Part I: Friends
(Christine) Being King of England isn't an easy task, but Henry II was aided by his good friend, Thomas Becket, serving as Chancellor. Then, Henry saw an opportunity to place Thomas in the highest position of power in the English church. What could go wrong?
Mar 09, 2019
The History of Grading
(Nathan) B-, 3.85, 16/20, upper second--modern methods of gauging a student's performance in a class can vary widely from country to country. But most of these systems are shockingly recent developments, and for much of human history "grades" as such didn't exist. In this episode, we'll look at the history of American systems of educational evaluation from their emergence in the 18th century to their standardization in the 20th.
Feb 24, 2019
The End is Nigh! The Apocalypse in the Renaissance
(Lucy) At the dawn of the 1500s, Europe was enjoying more wealth than ever before. Consumption was conspicuous, luxury was accessible… and sin was rife. Preachers like Savonarola foretold the end of the world, and people listened. In this episode of Footnoting History, learn about falling church towers, divine portents, papal curses, and how the European populace dealt with new identities and new opportunities at the opening of the early modern period.
Feb 10, 2019
American Indian Prisoners of War ​
(Elizabeth) Wars between British colonizers and American Indians were a constant part of life in Colonial America. In this episode, Elizabeth explains the myriad ways American Indians became prisoners of war as well as how they were treated, including being sent as slaves to Barbados and other places.
Jan 26, 2019
Mao and His Mango
(Lesley) In 1968, an act of diplomacy between the Government of Pakistan and China’s Chairman Mao set off a series of actions that would create a cult around the mango fruit. Chairman Mao did not taste this fruit. Instead, he passed it on to workers as a symbol of his gratitude for their allegiance to him. What followed was a stunning spread of the mango throughout China. Set against the backdrop of famine and the “Four Pests,” the worship of this single fruit created complexity and controversy in 20th century China.
Jan 12, 2019
Potosí: The Silver Mine that Changed the World
(Nathan) In 1545, a new Spanish mining town was founded in the Andes mountains of modern-day Bolivia, and for next 250 years, the mines of Potosí would fund the Spanish crown and its imperial ambitions. But what the Spanish did not know is that having too much silver could have disastrous consequences. In this episode, we will examine the history of New World silver and its effect on the world economy, the lives of the people who mined it, and how Bolivian silver contributed to global economic inflation.
Nov 17, 2018
King Henry I of England and the White Ship
(Christine) In 1120, just when King Henry I of England thought he had achieved a much-needed peace, tragedy struck. What happened to the White Ship that broke the king's heart and changed the trajectory of the English monarchy? Find out on this episode.
Nov 03, 2018
History for Halloween V
(Christine, Lucy, Elizabeth) It's that time of year again! Hauntings, mayhem, and spooky happenings abound and we are here to feed your dark side with some creepy bits plucked from history.
Oct 20, 2018
How to Make a Fortune in Fictional Poyais
(Lesley) While the brave, the curious, and the outlawed began new lives in New World colonies, industrialists in Europe began searching for investment opportunities. The realities of travel, however, meant that leaps of faith were common for investors. In this episode, Lesley digs deep into the story of a confidence trickster who fabricated an entire country in need of investment. Unfortunately, exotic Poyais did not exist. Who wants to buy the Brooklyn Bridge when you could buy a country the size of Wales instead?
Oct 06, 2018
The Legend of Pope Joan
(Nathan) One of the most famous stories about the medieval papacy is that, supposedly sometime in the 9th or 11th century, there was a woman named Joan who disguised herself as a man and became Pope John. While it might sound like a modern, anti-Catholic creation, this story was actually invented in the Middle Ages. In this episode, Nathan returns to the realm of medieval conspiracy theories to talk about the medieval origins and development of the myth of Joan, as well as the social role of conspiracy theory.
Sep 30, 2018
Escape from Slavery: The Story of Mary and Emily Edmonson
(Elizabeth) Mary and Emily Edmonson were two of the youngest passengers who attempted to escape slavery on the ill-fated Pearl voyage in 1848. Join Elizabeth as she and a descendant of the Edmonson family discuss the role of these young women in not only the escape but also the abolition movement and Reconstruction.
Sep 08, 2018
Beyond the Trenches: Other Fronts of WWI
(Lucy) In popular memory and on the big screen, the First World War was fought in the mud of northern France — or maybe in the skies above it. But what about the war beyond the irreverently-nicknamed trenches? This episode will explore the war as it was fought in the wheat fields of Romania, in the plains of Cameroon, the waters of the Mediterranean, and the deserts of Libya. Examining lesser-known fronts of WWI will also show us different experiences, and different soldiers, as the imperial maps of the late nineteenth century were permanently altered.
Aug 25, 2018
How to Avoid Serving in Napoleon's Army
(Christine) Napoleon Bonaparte built his career and maintained his empire with soldiers at his back. Often, the fate of the France seemed to hinge on his military success, but that did not mean every man in the country was eager to join the fight. In this episode, Christine looks at some of the ways men avoided serving in Napoleon's army.
Aug 11, 2018
Who Was Bass Reeves?
(Samantha) Bass Reeves was born a slave but escaped from his master and lived as an outlaw in the Indian Territory until the Emancipation Proclamation officially made him a free man. He went on to use the knowledge he gained during his time in hiding to become one of the most successful U.S. Deputy Marshals of his day.
Jul 28, 2018
Ancient Authoritative Animals
(Lesley) Today's modern economy allows those with resources to lavish love and attention on their pets. In 2017, the pet industry represented $96 billion in sales in the US alone. Countless hours are spent calming our anxiety by watching cute cat videos. Is this behavior so new and modern? In this episode, Lesley explores the ancient world and three case studies when an adored pet was lavished with unparalleled praise and opportunity -- our animals have always had a special meaning in our hearts.
Jul 14, 2018
Special Edition: The Marriage of John Quincy and Louisa Adams
(Christine and Elizabeth) This weekend Britain celebrates the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, and we at Footnoting History are thrilled. Join us as we mark the occasion by discussing another cross-Atlantic union: the marriage of US President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Johnson of London, England.
May 19, 2018
The Blazing World of Lady Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle
(Nathan) Poet, playwright, philosopher, science theorist, and science fiction author--just a few of the occupations held by the 17th-century noblewoman, Lady Margaret Cavendish. One of the towering intellects of her day, Cavendish was a prodigious writer who was by her own account painfully shy, but whose works were revolutionary in their imaginativeness and insight. In this episode, we will explore the life of this remarkable woman, the story of her family during the tumult of the English Civil War, and how she navigated the male-dominated intellectual world of Stuart England.
May 05, 2018
Yolande Du Bois and the Weight of W.E.B. Du Bois's Dreams
(Elizabeth) In the 20th Century, W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the leading intellectuals of the movement to gain equality for African-Americans. His daughter, Yolande Du Bois, found much of her life shaped by her father's desire for his daughter to be the exemplar of the abilities and potential of African-Americans. In this episode, Elizabeth examines Yolande's life and to what it extent it was shaped by her father.
Apr 22, 2018
Ambition, Anxiety, and the Unseen Universe: Science and Victorian Fiction
(Lucy) It’s a truism to say that the Victorian age was a period of rapid technological and social change. It was also a period when science, increasingly, posited proofs for the unseen, from bacteria to mental illness to sexual orientation. Scientific discoveries and debates were cause for anxiety, as well as excitement. Whether through fictional scientists or science fiction, literature could be a place to explore society’s complex relationships to scientific change.
Apr 07, 2018
Evacuating the Loyalists
(Christine) During the American Revolution, not everyone living in the rebellious colonies wanted to separate from Great Britain. In this episode, find out how loyalists (those still devoted to King George III) coped with the war ending and the colonies achieving independence.
Mar 24, 2018
Hoelun the Stolen Bride
(Samantha) Some time before 1162, a Mongol girl named Hoelun was kidnapped and taken as a bride. A short time later she gave birth to a future emperor. Although the details of her story are shrouded in mystery, the tales that are told of her reveal a wealth of information about steppe culture and hint at the motivations of her son as he rewrote the very fabric of that society.
Mar 10, 2018
The Papal Pornocracy
(Nathan) When popes are elected today, the cardinals of the Catholic Church meet in secret conclave. But it wasn't always so. In the 9th through 11th centuries, control of the Chair of St. Peter was fiercely contested between several Roman families, who put their sons, brothers, and lovers on the papal throne. In this episode, we will look at the murders, depositions, adultery, illicit relationships, trials of papal cadavers, and debauched behavior that allegedly characterized this period, as well as the important role played by two Roman noblewomen--Theodora and Marozia Theophylacti--that led some 19th century German historians to label this as a "pornocracy."
Feb 25, 2018
Censorship in Reformation England
(Lesley) The arrival of the printing press on the scene of early modern Europe helped to spread seditious ideas that became the Protestant Reformation. Monarchs across Europe and beyond had to establish new policies governing regarding the publication and distribution of potentially dangerous ideas. In this episode, Lesley describes a few laws designed to keep information under control and shares what might happen when a printer ignored the law to publish radical, challenging ideas.
Feb 10, 2018
Jewish Fighters of Medieval Europe
(Elizabeth) When we think of medieval Europe, knights, jousting, and sword fights come to mind. New light has been shed on fighting practices in medieval Europe, however, by the discovery of treatises, some of which describe the techniques employed and taught by Jewish fighting masters. Join Elizabeth as she delves into this little known field of fighting styles, and learn about how you too can learn to fight like a medieval European.
Jan 27, 2018
How to Be a Beguine
(Lucy) In late medieval Europe, groups of women called beguines assembled in twos and threes, or in large communities, to practice the religious life. They lived simply, served the poor and sick, and sometimes engaged in business. But unlike nuns, they didn’t take vows. So what did it mean to be a beguine? This episode takes on that question, on which both medieval authorities and modern scholars have disagreed.
Jan 13, 2018
Back of Every Great Work: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling
(Samantha) According to a plaque on the Brooklyn Bridge “back of every great work we can find the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman.” Indeed, when John Roebling died and his son, Washington, was struck ill, it was Washington’s young wife, Emily Warren Roebling, who worked day and night to ensure that the Brooklyn Bridge was built.
Dec 16, 2017
Napoleon Bonaparte's Near-Fatal Christmas
(Christine) December may be a celebratory time for many, but in 1800 it caused Napoleon Bonaparte a giant headache. This episode is all about the attempted Christmas Eve assassination of France's future emperor.
Dec 02, 2017
The Malleus Maleficarum
(Nathan) In 1486, two German inquisitors published a treatise on the nature and prosecution of witches: the Malleus Maleficarum or "Hammer of the Witches."  This work overturned centuries of Catholic teaching regarding sorcery and witches, turning them into dark agents of evil who drew power from sexual union with the Devil himself. In this episode, we look at the origins of this text and how it led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Nov 19, 2017
Distrust of Chinese-Americans in Early 20th-Century New York City
(Elizabeth) In 1910, Ida Delancey lost custody of her niece because her neighbors complained to child services that Ida, a white woman living in Brooklyn, was known to move in the same circles as Chinese-Americans. Elizabeth explores why this was a cause to have the child removed and how fears had increased after a 1909 murder of a young woman in New York City.
Nov 04, 2017
History for Halloween IV
(Christine, Lesley, Lucy) German ghosts, medieval inspirations, and horrors in the attic abound! We're back with bite-sized eerie tales in our fourth installment of History for Halloween.
Oct 21, 2017
Cemeteries: Washington Park Cemetery and Early 20th-Century Atlanta
(Elizabeth) In this episode, we return once again to the stories of three people buried in a cemetery in the Atlanta metro area. Second-sight, sharecropping, and a street called Auburn Avenue provide context for the lives of three people interred at Washington Park Cemetery.
Oct 07, 2017
Belle Gunness, Black Widow Serial Killer
(Nathan) In the quiet town of La Porte, Indiana at the beginning of the 20th century lived a widow farmer with three children. Originally from Norway, Belle Sørenson Gunness was, like many widows in the period, in search of a husband to help work her lands and provide for her family--until one night, a tragic fire revealed that all was not as it appeared. In this week's episode, we examine the grisly tale of how the outwardly unassuming Belle killed at least nine male suitors and probably two husbands, and the terrible methods that she used to evade capture.
Sep 23, 2017
John Dee: Astrologer, Courtier, Mystic...Spy?
(Lucy) ​John Dee has been variously described as a visionary, a philosopher, and a “real-life Gandalf.” Internationally renowned, he served at the Elizabethan court as a consultant on matters worldly and otherworldly. The possessor of a legendary library, Dee himself was a legend in his own day, and has remained so ever since. Scholar and scientist, he was also convinced that he could talk to angels. This episode attempts to disentangle fact from fiction.
Sep 09, 2017
The Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie
(Samantha) Who doesn’t love the chocolate chip cookie? Today, chocolate chip is the most popular variety of cookie in the United States, but it did not exist until the 1930s. This episode traces the confection from its invention in the kitchen of Mrs. Ruth Wakefield to your own home.
Aug 26, 2017
The Murderess in History
(Lesley) Serial killers can be fascinating subjects. The men who hunt strangers are terrifying and interesting studies of the human mind. Yet women in history have also killed, and in some cases they have killed in large, unexpected numbers. In this episode, Lesley discusses five lesser-known serial killers from throughout history and analyzes how the female motivations from the past may differ from the more famous serial killers of modern day.
Aug 12, 2017
Cemeteries: Local History of Mid-20th Century Atlanta
(Elizabeth) Taphophilia is the love of cemeteries and headstones. In this episode, Elizabeth indulges her taphophilia as she uses stories from East View Cemetery on the outskirts of Atlanta to learn about life in the city in the early to mid-20th century as she traces the lives of three people buried there. Golf, textile mills, and military service help us complete the picture.
Jun 17, 2017
Guy de Montfort and Dante’s Inferno
(Christine) When your grandfather was a leading crusader and your father was a famous rebel, what is left for you to do? For Guy de Montfort the answer was to earn a spot in one of the circles of hell imagined by Dante in his Inferno. Find out how this medieval man came to such a fate in this episode.
Jun 03, 2017
Secret Santa: The History of Santa Claus
(Nathan) We kick off the Christmas season and celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6th) with a look at the history of Santa Claus, from his origins as a fourth-century bishop to the creation of Rudolph in the 20th century.
May 23, 2017
The Husband-Killing She-Wolf: The Life of Joanna of Naples
(Nathan) Joanna I of Naples led a fascinating life marked by both triumph and tragedy.  Orphaned as a child, married four times, and rumored to have had her first husband killed outside her own bedchamber, she was a controversial figure even in her own day.  Join us as we examine the ups and downs of one of the most powerful (yet oft-forgotten) women of the fourteenth century.
May 23, 2017
The One-Legged Nazi-Fighting Jesuit: Rupert Mayer
(Lucy) Fr. Rupert Mayer’s pastoral career ranged from serving as a chaplain for German troops during the First World War, to finding people jobs and housing. Then, after Hitler came to power, Fr. Mayer defied the Gestapo, and lived to tell the tale.  Join Lucy for an episode about this remarkable Nazi-fighting Jesuit.
May 20, 2017
Jumbo the Elephant
(Christine) In May of 2016 the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ elephants performed for their final time before entering retirement. Over 130 years earlier, in 1882, Jumbo the elephant left London for New York and joined P.T. Barnum’s traveling menagerie. In this episode, Christine explores Jumbo’s life as one of the Victorian era’s most famous animals.
May 06, 2017
How to Punish a Witch in 16th-Century England
(Lesley) We've all seen movies burn witches at the stake. But how did England's lawmakers propose to punish these evil-doers? You might be surprised. This week, we explore the various ways a sorcerer or witch could be punished in early modern England.
Apr 22, 2017
The Great Unpleasantness? World War One in Whodunits
(Elizabeth and Lucy) The First World War was, infamously, a source of both transformation and trauma. In this episode, Lucy and Elizabeth find evidence of the ways in which the War to End all Wars influenced some of the greatest British mystery novels of the mid-20th century, especially how experiences of WWI were normalized, memorialized, or condemned within their pages.
Apr 08, 2017
Curious George Escapes Nazi Europe
(Samantha) Everyone knows the beloved children’s character Curious George, but how many of us know about his creators? When Hans and Margaret Rey created the mischievous monkey, they were German Jews living in Paris. As the Nazis swept through Europe, the dynamic pair escaped with their precious manuscript on a homemade bicycle.
Mar 25, 2017
Early American Newspapers and Freedom of the Press
(Nathan) In the First Amendment to the US Constitution, tucked between the freedom of speech and right of assembly, is a protection of the freedom of the press. But why did the Framers feel the need to include it? The answer lies in the early history of the newspaper, when broadsheet publications were small-time startup operations that were sometimes suppressed by the British government. In this week's episode, we'll look at the early history of print media in the United States, the role of libel and censorship, and the trial of a German immigrant printer that changed it all.
Mar 11, 2017
A Royal Son: Henry the Young King
(Christine) What is it like to be a king but still have to answer to your father? In the twelfth century, Henry the Young King lived in the shadow of one of Europe’s most powerful monarchs: Henry II of England. This episode delves into the life of a man who was crowned twice but never ruled the kingdom.
Feb 25, 2017
The Trotula and Medieval Gynecology
(Nathan) Imagine you were a medieval woman suffering from fertility problems or an irregular period. How would you deal with these issues, and what kinds of treatments might your physician prescribe? To what lengths would you be willing to go, what substances would you be willing to ingest or insert in order to solve menstrual cramps? In this week's episode, we'll talk about one of the most famous manuals of medieval gynecology and the ways women in the Middle Ages cared for their health.
Feb 11, 2017
Tuxedo Park: Inside the Gate
(Elizabeth) At the end of the 19th century, one of the earliest planned communities in the United States was created just over an hour north of New York City. Learn about the founding of Tuxedo Park, some of its more famous inhabitants, why the tuxedo is named after it, and the role it played in radar innovation during WWII.
Feb 03, 2017
The Woman and the 20-Pound Tumor
(Lesley) In the age before anesthesia, what would you do with a pregnancy that would not end? Would you accept a doctor's diagnosis of death or would you press to find any possible treatment? This episode follows the story of Jane Todd Crawford, who traveled 60 miles by horseback to end a two-year "pregnancy"... and rode herself into the history books.
Jan 28, 2017
54° 40' or Fight: How a Latitude Line became a Rallying Cry
(Elizabeth) How could a line of latitude become a rallying cry for war in the 19th century? Elizabeth examines the Oregon Border Dispute and explains the myths and passions surrounding the slogan.
Jan 14, 2017
Ghosts of Christmas Past
(Lucy) The Victorians gave the English-speaking world a lot of Christmas traditions: trees, the exchange of cards… and, less famously, ghost stories. This week’s episode looks at the historical origins of Victorian England’s Christmas hauntings, and how they expressed the beliefs and anxieties of the age, and even, sometimes, its sense of humor as well.
Dec 17, 2016
Olga Nethersole and the Sapho Scandal
(Christine) ​In early 1900, actress Olga Nethersole and several of her colleagues were indicted for their roles in the production of a play. Find out what caused them to be called "of wicked and depraved mind and disposition" when Christine covers the scandal that made New York City headlines.
Dec 03, 2016
Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon
(Elizabeth) How did passenger pigeons, which numbered in the millions in the mid-19th century, become extinct in just over 50 years? Elizabeth explains the birds’ sudden decline as she discusses the life and death of Martha, the last passenger pigeon.
Nov 19, 2016
The Un-Engagement of Jane Austen
(Christine) Jane Austen’s novels contain many courtships and brides, but the author herself never married. In this episode, Christine will delve into the time in Jane’s life when she could have become a wife and introduce you to Harris Bigg-Wither, the man who sought her hand.
Nov 05, 2016
History for Halloween I
(Elizabeth, Lucy, and Christine) Stories are spookier when they are rooted in reality. In celebration of Halloween, some of our podcasters have collected strange-but-true tales to get you through the night when the link between the living and the dead is believed to be the strongest. Join us for a selection of ghastly and ghostly factual anecdotes you can share at your Halloween party.
Oct 24, 2016
History for Halloween II
(Liz, Christine, Lesley, Lucy, Nathan)  Last year we brought you History for Halloween, a trio of short true tales perfect for the spookiest of holidays. Join us this year for a real ghost story, a haunted house, a Victorian haunting story, a tale of the Oxford Brasenose Hellfire Club, and a 15th century demonic invocation.
Oct 24, 2016
History for Halloween III
​(Christine, Lucy, Lesley) We're celebrating the creepiest of holidays with our third edition of History for Halloween. Join us for a selection of (true!) tales covering everything from haunted farmers to the bizarre fate of Oliver Cromwell's head.
Oct 22, 2016
Poison in Colonial India
(Lesley) Datura is a beautiful flower found throughout India. It is also a minor poison which has a storied past in local folklore. How did locals use this plant in medicine and local conflict? Join us as we explore local tradition and crime through the eyes of British officials.
Oct 08, 2016
The (Failed) Republic of Fredonia
(Nathan) Most people think of Fredonia as the fictitious country of the Marx Brothers film, Duck Soup, but Fredonia was actually a country...sort of.  In 1826, a hot-tempered Virginian 'colonist' named Haden Edwards created an alliance with a local Cherokee tribe and led a short-lived rebellion against Mexican rule in East Texas that resulted in his proclamation of the Republic of Fredonia, which existed for just over a month. In this episode, we explore the circumstances surrounding Edwards' rebellion, the colony he created, and the aftermath of Fredonia's collapse.
Sep 25, 2016
Tycho Brahe: The Astronomer with a Copper Nose
(Samantha) Tycho Brahe was born into the Danish aristocracy at a time when noblemen normally didn’t follow academic pursuits. But he found himself so fascinated by astronomy that he decided to flout tradition as he did with his marriage and many other aspects of his personal life. His observations changed the way scientists perceived the heavens, even if he didn't get things quite right.
Sep 10, 2016
The Rise of the British Spy Novel
(Lucy) Death rays, invasions, and bombs, oh my! From Kipling’s “Great Game” to John Buchan’s 39 Steps, the rise of espionage in fiction mirrored British anxieties about the world and its place in it. Idealism and social criticism were often closely linked, with unlikely heroes (and sometimes heroines) being plucked from obscurity to save the day… and sometimes the world. This episode discusses how the tropes of British spy fiction were formed and transcended in the first half of the twentieth century.
Aug 27, 2016
The Murder of Sweden's King Gustav III
(Christine) Louis XVI of France wasn't the only European king to die at the hands of his subjects in the 1790s. In this episode Christine examines the life and dramatic assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden.
Aug 13, 2016
The Life of Beatrice de Planissoles
(Nathan) In the hills of Southern France in the fourteenth century lived a woman named Beatrice de Planissoles, whose story remained largely unknown until the mid-20th century. In this episode, we will explore her remarkable life--her sexual affair with the town priest, her relationships with her neighbors, the contraceptive device she wore, the contents of her purse, her abuse at the hands of powerful men, and her trial for heresy--and how it changed the study of medieval history.
Jun 18, 2016
Desert Queens? Women at the Edges of Empire from Hester Stanhope to Gertrude Bell
(Lucy) Notorious eccentrics, esteemed researchers, loose-cannon diplomats: this episode looks at the histories of the British women who were travelers and archaeologists in the Middle East and India in the early twentieth century. As women, their accomplishments were often assessed by British audiences in terms of respectability. As British women, however, they often reinforced imperial control and imperial ideas.
Jun 04, 2016
The Life and Crimes of Caravaggio
(Samantha) One of the most inventive painters of his day, Caravaggio’s work is remembered for its ingenious use of light and shadow. Much like his work, Caravaggio’s life was lived in the shadows as he became involved in one criminal activity after another, which eventually culminated in his exile and death. This episode sheds a ray of sunshine into the darkened canvas of Caravaggio’s story.
May 21, 2016
Al Capone's Pineapple Primary
(Lesley) Many Americans are familiar with Al Capone's mobster rule over the city of Chicago during the Prohibition Era, but few know about his violent involvement in the so-called "Pineapple Primary." How far would Capone go to see his chosen man elected, and how many lives would be lost in the process?
May 07, 2016
Easter Rising, Part II: Aftermath
(Christine and Elizabeth) In Part II of their examination of the rebellion, Christine and Elizabeth follow Patrick Pearse and his associates from the GPO to Kilmainham Gaol, take a look at how Britain handled the rebels, and assess what it all meant.
Apr 23, 2016
Easter Rising, Part I: Origins

(Christine and Elizabeth) For the centennial of the Easter Rising, Christine and Elizabeth look back to the mythology and reality behind the 1916 Irish rebellion. ​
Apr 09, 2016
Disney and the Space Race
(Elizabeth) In the 1950s, Walt Disney hired German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, to help make the Tomorrowland section of his developing theme park as accurate as possible. This relationship, however, had greater implications for the United States and its place in the Space Race.
Mar 26, 2016
Evelyn Nesbit and the Crime of the Century

(Samantha) In December 1900 the beautiful, fifteen year old Evelyn Nesbit arrived in New York. Within a year she became the “glittering girl model of Gotham,” the first iconic American sex-goddess. Her fame would transform into notoriety after June 25, 1906 when her millionaire husband, Harry Thaw, murdered Evelyn’s one time lover, Sanford White, in what was known by contemporaries as “the crime of the century.”
Mar 12, 2016
The Eleven Lost Days
(Nathan) In the eighteenth century, the British Parliament undertook the task of fixing the calendar. Due to a problem with the Julian Calendar, which had been in use since ancient Rome, the calendar was eleven days off of where it should fall in reference to the solar cycle. In this episode, we'll trace the history of the Julian and Gregorian calendars and how it took nearly 500 years to (almost) universally implement.
Feb 27, 2016
After Napoleon: Josephine Divorced
(Christine) What happens when one of the most powerful men in Europe ends your marriage? What do you do when you're replaced as Empress of France? In this episode, we delve into Josephine Bonaparte’s life as the ex-wife of Emperor Napoleon.
Feb 13, 2016
Medieval Animal Trials
(Lesley) Humans and animals have developed a symbiotic relationship over the past 30,000 years. From the earliest domesticated dogs to sign-language speaking apes, animals have worked with humans throughout history. Yet the relationship is not always a positive one; predators and vermin make life very difficult. In this podcast, Lesley explores one innovative method of dealing with animals that make a nuisance of themselves: by bringing them up on charges in Court.
Jan 30, 2016
Sherlock Holmes in Popular Culture
(Lucy) Sherlock Holmes is not only the world's only private consulting detective, he's also arguably the world's longest-running pop culture phenomenon. Pastiches, parodies, and fanfic have multiplied from the 1890s onwards. Holmes films have been around almost as long as the technology itself. This week, we look at some of the factors in the great detective's immense--and immensely versatile--presence in pop culture beyond the canon.
Jan 16, 2016
The Great Medieval Canon Law Forgery
(Nathan) In the mid-9th century, a group of Frankish bishops created one of the greatest forgeries in medieval history, making up an entire collection of fake letters and church law. Attributed to a Spanish author, "Isidore the Merchant," this canon law collection was cited and reused for almost 600 years before the forgery was discovered. In this episode, we'll uncover the motivations for this little-known forgery and how the authors managed to pull it off.
Dec 06, 2015
The Origins of "I Am A Man"
(Elizabeth) In 1868, the striking sanitation workers of Memphis carried signs declaring "I AM A MAN." This statement answered a question asked by abolitionists and supporters of Civil Rights since the late 18th century.
Nov 21, 2015
Apples in America
(Samantha) “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Or does it? Americans have grown apples in plentitude since colonization, but we used to drink them much more often than we ate them. From the early settlers, to Johnny Appleseed, to the temperance movement and the global market place, learn about how societal changes in the United States have impacted apple growing and consumption.
Nov 07, 2015
Hospitals in the Victorian City
(Lucy) From the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in the 1830s, to her death in 1901, the social landscape of Britain was profoundly changed. The evolution of hospitals’ form and function was not the least of these. Under the influence of social reformers, innovative architects, and, not least, medical practitioners themselves, the theory and practice of hospital care were adapted to changing ideas about physical and moral hygiene. This podcast focuses on the development of one such institution: the General Infirmary in the industrial powerhouse of Leeds, which expanded along with the city’s population. Its buildings, designed by George Gilbert Scott, represented the most up-to-date medical theory--and most grand architectural invention--of late Victorian Britain, and served as a monument to how this prosperous society desired to see itself.
Oct 10, 2015
Papal Residences: The Lateran, The Vatican, and Castel Gandolfo
(Nicole) What was the main papal headquarters in Rome before the Vatican? Where do Popes go on vacation? Find out in this episode's exploration of papal residences in Rome.
Sep 26, 2015
The Royal Teeth of Louis XIV
(Christine) King Louis XIV of France may be known as the "Sun King" but not everything about his life was bright and splendid. In this episode we discuss the crippling dental difficulties that plagued Louis and possibly increase your appreciation of modern anesthesia.
Sep 12, 2015
The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots
(Lesley) The lives of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I of England may be seen as a contrast in social expectations during early modern Europe worthy of scholarship, and television dramas. Perhaps lesser known is the story of Mary's trial and the legacy of her execution. Go behind the romanticism of Mary's life and learn about her death and the legacy of Elizabeth's final action to end of the life of her "Sister Queen."
Aug 29, 2015
The Invention of Canning
(Nathan) Diversity is the key to any well-rounded diet, but variety can be hard to come by if food has to be rapidly consumed to avoid spoilage. Millenia-old methods of salting, pickling, and curing only worked with certain foods and were greatly limited in terms of their applications. It wasn't until the French Revolution that modern methods of food preservation were discovered by a French chef, Nicolas Appert. In this episode we explore the military needs that spurred Appert's innovation and the ways in which his "canning" approach was improved over the course of the next century.
Aug 15, 2015
Big History?
(John) What do the universe, galaxy, Sun, Earth, and state formation have in common? In this episode John discusses Big History and how it can help better define state formation.
Aug 01, 2015
Comic Books and Thrill-Killers? An Interview with Mariah Adin
(Elizabeth and Mariah)  This week, Elizabeth interviews Mariah Adin about her book The Brooklyn Thrill-Kill Gang and the Great Comic Book Scare of the 1950s to explore why juvenile delinquency kept so many parents up at night in the US in the 1950s.  Were comic books leading kids to lives of crime?
Jul 18, 2015
Independence from Whom? The American Revolution and Europe
(Kirsti) On July 4, we tend to think about America's birth as a product of plucky colonial grit and determination, but could it have succeeded without the support of Britain's enemies? What did American independence mean for European politics? This week we look at the American Revolution as a continuation of power struggles in Europe.
Jul 04, 2015
Nuts: James Mulligan, Anthony McAuliffe, and the Notion of Surrender
(Ryan) More than eighty years before General Anthony McAuliffe gave his famous response of "Nuts" or "Go to hell!" to the German ultimatum to surrender the besieged city of Bastogne in World War II, another officer, Colonel James Stephens, issued a similar reply to Confederate forces who had surrounded his small command at Lexington, Missouri.
Jun 20, 2015
Dogs: The Final Frontier
(Christina) The first animals to be domesticated, for centuries dogs helped their humans conquer the world. So perhaps it was only natural, as humans began to look toward other worlds, that their minds turned back to their first and most loyal companions. In this installment of Doggy History, we will examine the heroic animals (canines and others) sent into space during the mid-20th century.
Jun 06, 2015
Opium Wars and Peace
(John) What if I were to tell you that the Opium Wars weren't really about opium? What if I told you that they were about trade, tea and silver? And what if one of the companies that began trading opium in the mid-nineteenth century is on the London Stock Exchange today? On this episode of Footnoting History, John explores the opium trade and how it led to open markets and the collapse of the Qing dynasty.
May 23, 2015
Bonapartes in America: Jerome and Elizabeth
(Christine) As his brother Napoleon rose to power in France, Jerome Bonaparte was across the ocean in Baltimore, Maryland. While there the young Bonaparte did what many men do, he married a beautiful woman. Unfortunately his union with Miss Elizabeth Patterson was not welcomed by Napoleon, who had other plans for his little brother. In this episode we’ll examine what happened in Baltimore and how Emperor Napoleon’s disapproval changed the future of the newlywed couple.
May 09, 2015
Special Edition: British Royal Siblings
(Elizabeth and Christine) As Britain celebrates the birth of Prince George's little brother or sister, Footnoting History is pondering royal siblings who became influential figures in the country's history. Join us as we discuss how so-called "spares" ranging from Empress Matilda in the 12th century to King George VI in the 20th, found themselves in the spotlight.
May 02, 2015
Pop! Pop! Pop! A Brief History of Popcorn
(Samantha) The average American eats 68 quarts of popcorn each year - making the salty treat the most popular snack food in the country. But where does popcorn come from and how did it get so popular?
Apr 25, 2015
Cola di Rienzo: Medieval Tribune of the Roman Republic
(Nicole) Cola di Rienzo had a turbulent career in fourteenth century Rome. Find out how this son of a Roman innkeeper became embroiled in papal and imperial politics, held the ancient positions of tribune and senator, and ultimately died a violent death.
Apr 11, 2015
The Mystery of the Classic Authors
(Elizabeth) Beloved children's classics such as The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys have been appearing in print for 75 to 100 years. The authors - Laura Lee Hope, Carolyn Keene, and Franklin W. Dixon - have kept children enchanted since the early 20th century...or have they?
Mar 28, 2015
The Lepers and the London Nurse: The Remarkable Travels of Kate Marsden
(Lucy) Kate Marsden was born and died in London, but in the intervening decades, she traversed thousands of miles - and engaged the patronage of two empresses - in her efforts to ameliorate the lot of lepers, from London to the Russian steppes. Her exploits and her writings about them both inspired and scandalized society. This week's episode uses Marsden's career to discuss truth-telling, travel-writing, and Victorian ideas of virtue.
Mar 14, 2015
Jean Hardouin and the Phantom Time Conspiracies
(Nathan) What if everything you ever knew about history and classical literature was fundamentally wrong? What if there were a massive conspiracy, set in motion by medieval monks, to create entire bodies of literature and claim they were much older, or to invent centuries of history? In this episode, we trace the pseudo-history of the great "monastic conspiracy" from its origins in the writings of a French Jesuit in the 17th century to the bizarre New Chronology of a Russian mathematician in the 20th.
Feb 28, 2015
Watson, Franklin, and the Drama of DNA
(Lesley) In the 1950s, a series of discoveries allowed biologists to capture and construct the double-helio structure of DNA. For these efforts, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Francis Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. The implications of this work transformed the field of biology and led to dramatic new advancements in medicine. But the story of DNA was not so simple. James Watson's personal behavior diminished the contributions of other scientists. In this episode of Footnoting History, we learn about the complex drama behind the scenes of a landmark and transformative discovery...and the complications that continue to dog the career of a prominent scientist today.
Feb 14, 2015
Mush!: A Short History of Dog Sledding
(Christina) Each year in early March, professional mushers and their dog teams converge on Anchorage, Alaska to run the Iditarod, a grueling race to Nome, more than 1,000 miles away, ostensibly in commemoration of the 1925 "Great Race of Mercy." That first "race" consisted of heroic dogs and sledders who rushed diphtheria serum to the stricken city, and ensured the sled dog Balto his place in doggie stardom (and a statue in Central Park). But the Iditarod's legacy has not been free of controversy. Join us as we explore the guts, glory, controversy, and fluffy protagonists of the long history of dog mushing, and examine the shifting relationships between  human and canine that made it possible.
Jan 31, 2015
Empress Eugénie in Exile, Part II: Life After Empire
(Christine) The Second French Empire has fallen and Empress Eugénie fled to England, but what happened next? In this episode, we conclude our look at her life in exile, including her reunions with Napoleon III and their son, as well as the lasting piece of French imperialism she established in the English countryside.
Jan 17, 2015
Empress Eugénie in Exile, Part I: Flight from Paris
(Christine) When Napoleon III’s French Empire began to crumble in the late 19th century, his wife was trapped in Paris. Who could possibly help the Bonaparte Empress flee before the mobs got to her? An American dentist named Thomas Evans, of course. We’re kicking off the new year with a podcast about escapes and unlikely allies!
Jan 03, 2015
King Arthur's Christmas: Christianity, Paganism, and Community
(Lucy) For much of the Middle Ages, King Arthur was Europe’s model king. His court could be a space for heroism, for romance, and also for the uncanny. Often drawing on oral tradition, written for elite audiences, the Arthurian romances of the 13th and 14th centuries can be surprisingly revealing about cultural values and cultural debates. This week we'll be looking at Christmas feasts, sun-god figures, and complex debates about the morality of flirting.
Dec 21, 2014
Protest Pop and Queen Elizabeth II' s Silver Jubilee
(Esther) As the Queen celebrated her 25th year on the throne, England was restless, on the verge of anarchy, and sweating out the hottest summer in years. "God Save the Queen" went to the top of the charts, and the Sex Pistols, followed later by other acts, vented their rage at the royal family. We will revisit the tumultuous year of 1977 as our starting point to explore the British musicians who protested the monarchy in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Nov 29, 2014
Robert Bruce: Stabbings and Statebuilding
(John) Following the most recent referendum on Scottish independence, it's a perfect time to reflect on the origins of Scotland. What does the murder of John Comyn by Robert Bruce in 1306 tell us about medieval Scotland? How has history been rewritten to stress nationalist narratives? And did anyone really care about Scotland as a country or state in the early fourteenth century? All this and a murder most foul. Or moderately foul. Or perfectly justified. It's all very Scottish. But somebody was murdered and this week John takes a stab at addressing the formation of Scotland under Robert Bruce in the fourteenth century.
Nov 22, 2014
Mental Institutions, Part II: The Rosenhan Experiment
(Elizabeth) In the 1970s, Dr. David Rosenhan set out to show just how easy it is to be labeled  mentally ill.  Following the model of Nellie Bly, he and his pseudo-patients did just that.
Nov 15, 2014
Mental Institutions, Part I: Nellie Bly's Exposé
(Elizabeth) In 1887, Nellie Bly was asked to pass a week at an insane asylum. She said she would and she could and she did.
Nov 08, 2014
Guy Fawkes
(Kirsti) Remember, remember the Fifth of November! Guy Fawkes has become an iconic face of the American Occupy movement, but was the Gunpowder Plot really an effort to improve the lot of the lower classes? This week we will explore the religious terrorism that inspired a national holiday.
Nov 01, 2014
The Demon Core
(Kirsti) The Manhattan Project placed the lives of scientists and staff in New Mexico at great risk. One plutonium core in particular claimed two lives over the course of two years, earning it the epithet "The Demon Core." What happened? What did we learn from it? What was its eventual fate? We're going critical in this week's podcast.
Oct 25, 2014
Advances in the West: Grant's Army in 1862
(Ryan) In this episode, Ryan looks at the Union advances in the west from the battle of Shiloh through the Siege of Corinth and how the retreat of the Confederate forces along the Mississippi River ultimately contributed to the defeat of the South in the American Civil War.
Oct 18, 2014
Taking the Waters: Good Health Among the "Best People"
(Lucy) From the late eighteenth century to the coming of WWI, Europe's haute bourgeoisie looked to mineral waters (sipped or bathed in) as medication for their malaises and a cure for ennui. The architecture and economy of spa towns developed accordingly, creating an atmosphere for international communities to mingle socially, consume culture, and display their wealth. This episodeexamines these phenomena and the fascination they exercised for generations of literary giants.
Oct 11, 2014
Hugh O'Neill and the Tudors
(Christine) At the dawn of the 17th century, only one region of Ireland was largely outside of English control: Ulster. To change this, the Gaelic Irish heir to Ulster--Hugh O'Neill--was raised under close watch of the English crown. So what went wrong? Why did Hugh O'Neill end up in full rebellion against Tudor Queen Elizabeth I? And what exactly was the Flight of the Earls?
Oct 04, 2014
Dog Stars, Part II
(Christina and Esther)  In Part II of their look at the history of dogs in cinema, Christina and Esther talk about Lassie's patriotism, the moral implications of depicting animal cruelty on screen, and the strategic use of prosthetic dog heads.  
Sep 27, 2014
Dog Stars, Part I
(Christina and Esther) From Edison Studios’ nineteenth-century “actualities” to present day internet videos of twerking Corgis, dogs’ presence on film is as old as the medium. Join Christina and Esther in Part I of this two-part joint edition of our Doggy History and Film History series as they consider early film dogs, from Fatty Arbuckle's Luke to German Shepherd stars Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart.
Sep 20, 2014
Seeking to Punish in 17th-Century England
(Lesley) As the United States deals with a critical mass of imprisoned citizens, it might be worthwhile to consider how historical civilizations dealt with the punishment of non-violent offenders. How did England maintain order before the rise of the prison? This episode explores alternatives to long-term prison sentences by examining the origins of the US English legal system - with surprising results.
Sep 13, 2014
King Childeric of the Franks: Barbarian?
(Nicole) The fifth-century king of the Franks, Childeric, was a pagan king of a group whom Romans clearly thought of as barbarians. Nevertheless, he also held Roman authority and fought with the Romans against other barbarian groups. So, was Childeric a Roman, a barbarian, or both? In this podcast we'll explore fifth-century identity and politics.
Sep 06, 2014
Space Exploration and History ft. Asif Siddiqi
This week, Nathan spoke with Asif Siddiqi, the only historian on the "Committee for Human Spaceflight," which recently completed its two year study on the future of NASA's efforts to send human beings into deep space. They discussed the history of space exploration, the report's recommendations, and reflect on the role of historians to shape public policy.

Aug 30, 2014
Alan Turing
(Kirsti) Alan Turing has been called a lay saint, and he surely was one of the greatest minds of the Greatest Generation. His work at Bletchley Park was vital to Allied success in World War II. Why, then, did he end his life under house arrest? And did *he* end it? Mysteries abound in this week's podcast!
Aug 23, 2014
Warrior, Wife, and Mother: The Story of Sichelgaita of Salerno
(Samantha) According to Anna Comnena, the Byzantine historian, Sichelgaita of Salerno personally turned the tide at the battle of Dyrrachium when she charged at her own troops and drove them towards their enemy. But did such a thing ever happen? Who was Sichelgaita – a warrior, a wife, or a protective mother?
Aug 16, 2014
The Scientific Passions of Mary Buckland
(Lucy) In the early 19th century, ancient fossils formed the basis of cutting-edge discoveries. Geology still hovered between amateur pursuit and scientific profession. Mary Buckland, married to the dinosaur-discovering William, participated in international research networks, and was a silent partner in creating some of the new discipline's most important works.
Aug 08, 2014
Laura Bridgman, Charles Dickens, and Helen Keller
(Christine) Laura Bridgman made headlines in the 19th century when her parents enrolled her at the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Under the guidance of Samuel Gridley Howe she learned how to speak with her fingers and became the first formally educated deaf-blind person in the United States. Though we hear little about her today, she was regularly named as an inspiration by Helen Keller- so who was Laura Bridgman and what was she doing hanging out with Charles Dickens?
Aug 02, 2014
Rosamund: 6th-Century Regicide and Politics
(Nicole) The sixth century was one of serious upheaval and shifting alliance. Get a glimpse of this world as we explore the life of Rosamund, a Gepid princess who witnessed the rise of the power of the Lombards, through their final defeat of her people and their invasion of Italy, before delivering a near fatal blow to it.
Jul 26, 2014
Lawrence O'Brien: Fenians and the American Civil War
(Ryan) Who were the Fenians and what were their goals? This is a question that historians have debated for years- this podcast will trace the life of a prominent Fenian, Lawrence O'Brien, to, perhaps, help explain the origins of this rather interesting Irish American nationalist organization during the Civil War.
Jul 19, 2014
The Rise of the Studios: The Origins of the Film Industry, Part II
(Nathan) Picking up where we left off in Part I, in this episode, we'll look at where film aspect ratios come from, why production studios began to move to Southern California, how World War I affected the film industry, the role of women in editing and production, and what the advent of sound meant for motion pictures.

Jul 12, 2014
Love, Parachutes, and Käthchen Paulus
(Lucy) Käthchen Paulus was born in the late 1860s, in a German village where she supported her mother by working as a seamstress. She died in the mid-30s in relative obscurity. But in between, she ran away with an adventurer, made and lost a fortune, became an international celebrity, an entrepreneur, a WWI military advisor, and an inventor of lasting influence.
Jul 12, 2014
Alcibiades: The Bad Boy of Athens
(John) A student of Socrates, a friend of kings, a general and pirate, Alcibiades defies definition. He argued for a more aggressive policy against the Spartans only to later serve as one of their trusted advisers. He left Sparta to live in Persia where he subverted both Spartan and Athenian interests. Join as we explore how this rogue challenged democracy, governments and identity in Classical Athens.
May 31, 2014
Before Napoleon: Josephine Bonaparte's First Marriage
(Christine) May 29, 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Empress Josephine, first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Josephine’s life did not begin when she married the famous Corsican so this week, to honor her, we are looking at the time before she became a Bonaparte. Join Christine as she explores the years when Josephine answered to a different name, had a husband named Alexandre, and almost became a victim of the Reign of Terror.
May 25, 2014
The King James Bible: One Version of the Greatest Story Ever Told
(Elizabeth and Nathan) In 1611, a group of men completed what has become one of the most well-known translations of the Bible. But why did King James ask them to do it?
May 17, 2014
Nursery Rhymes, History, and Memory
(Kirsti) What kind of plums were in Jack Horner's pie? Why were the lion and the unicorn spoiling for a fight? Why did Humpty Dumpty fall? This week, Kirsti talks about the collective memory found in the nursery.
May 10, 2014
A Tale of Three Breeds
(Christina) Head to a dog park and you’re sure to see a greyhound, a pug, or a German Shepherd. Which one is most closely related to the wolf? The answer may surprise you. Through concentrated effort across continents and centuries, humans manipulated canine raw material into made-to-measure companions. In this installment of Doggy History, we'll look at the origin and evolution of these three popular breeds and along the way learn about the process by which humans sought to remake dogs in their own image.
May 03, 2014
The Birth of a Blockbuster
(Esther) Urban legend has it that when President Woodrow Wilson first saw D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), he said "it is like writing history with lightning." While the first epic movie in American film history was as deeply innovative as it was deeply racist, The Birth of a Nation ushered in a new era of blockbuster movie making in the early history of the medium.
Apr 26, 2014
Jumping the Broom: The Evolution of a Wedding Tradition
(Lesley) Weddings are ceremonies steeped in cultural traditions. From the costumes to the carefully-selected color schemes, marriage ceremonies often become orchestrated events more than a public celebration of love. But where do these traditions originate? In this episode, Lesley explores the surprising history of "jumping the broom" at wedding ceremonies throughout history.
Apr 19, 2014
From Magic Lanterns to Nickelodeons: The Origins of the Film Industry, Part I
(Nathan) For early movie-goers, film was a magical experience, but also sometimes a crowded and stuffy one. From the magic lantern shows of the eighteenth century to the heyday of the nickelodeon in the twentieth, in this episode we'll look at the origins of film as a medium and the early decades of the film industry.
Apr 13, 2014
Dr. Fredric Wertham: Hero or Super-Villain?
(Mariah) For decades, comic book fans across the globe have reviled Dr. Fredric Wertham as the man who single-handedly brought down the "Golden Age" of comics.  But is he truly the Lex Luthor he's been made out to be? Today's podcast takes a deeper look at one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century.
Apr 05, 2014
The Life and Times of Emperor Diocletian
(Nicole) Join Nicole as she discusses Diocletian’s rise from obscure beginnings and low social standing to emperor, his reign, and his decision to retire, something that no Roman emperor had done before.
Mar 29, 2014
Richard the Lionheart on Crusade
(Samantha) Richard the Lionheart hardly seems like a footnote in history. He is celebrated as a great warrior king and is commemorated in just about every film version of Robin Hood. Yet he has become so mythologized that his actual deeds have become obscured. This podcast will look at contemporary sources to re-construct Richard's journey and attempt to retake Jerusalem from the infidel.
Mar 22, 2014
Irish Family Values: The Clannrickard Burkes in the Mid-Sixteenth Century
(John) What can the experience of one family tell us about authority in early modern Ireland? Quite a bit! John will discuss how the many wives, many children and many subsequent problems of the earls of Clannrickard illustrate the complexity of authority in early modern Irish society.
Mar 15, 2014
Mademoiselle de Maupin: The Life and Afterlife of a 17th-Century Swashbuckler
(Lucy) How did a swashbuckling seventeenth-century opera singer become the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel? What does this tell us about the performance and perception of gender in both eras? And did the mysterious Mademoiselle de Maupin really run away with a nun? This week’s episode of Footnoting History looks at all that... and dueling!
Mar 01, 2014
The History of the Academy Awards
(Nathan and Esther) Full of gowns, gaffes, and gushing, the Academy Awards are the epitome of pageantry and must-see television that sometimes has little to do with the actual purpose of the ceremony: to reward outstanding achievement in film. Join Nathan and Esther in the first installment of their new Film History Series as they explore the history of the Oscars, from its origins in the labor disputes of the 1920s through its evolution into the gala spectacle of today.
Feb 21, 2014
Buck and Blanche (and Bonnie and Clyde)
(Christine) The love story of infamous American outlaw pair Bonnie and Clyde is cemented in modern pop culture- but they were not the only couple in the Barrow Gang. Clyde’s older brother, Buck, and his wife, Blanche, often traveled with their relatives and had a dynamic (and tragic) love story of their own. This week, Christine delves into the outlaw romance of the American depression era that is barely mentioned in the folk ballads and Hollywood films.
Feb 15, 2014
Brotherhood Under the Black Flag: Multiracial Pirate Crews of the Early Modern Period
(Lucy) Who were the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, and what enabled them to rise to power? In Europe, pirates could be treated as celebrities or tried as criminals. At sea, pirate crews made legal agreements covering not only the division of loot, but forms of health insurance and injury benefits. Contrary to the pirates of Hollywood, moreover, crews were often multiracial, with men (and sometimes women) from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean working side by side. In this week's episode, Lucy looks at what made piracy attractive, what made its unusual degree of equality possible, and how pirate legends have endured and been used in subsequent centuries.
Feb 08, 2014
One Year Anniversary Show: How We Became Historians
On February 2, 2013, the first episode of Footnoting History went live. To celebrate our first anniversary, Nathan conducted a series of brief interviews with several of our historians (Lucy, Nicole, Christine, and Elizabeth) to help you get to know us a bit better. Listen in to learn what makes us tick and help us celebrate the anniversary we would never have reached without your support!
Feb 01, 2014
From Union Soldier to Confederate Bushwacker: Loyalty and Disloyalty in Civil War West Virginia
(Ryan) In 1862, William, Christopher, and Phillip Raber enlisted in Company K of the 9th Regiment, Virginia Infantry. As loyal Union men, they joined nearly one thousand other volunteers for three years' service to put down the rebellion of the Confederacy. One year later, Phillip was marched before a firing squad and executed. By war’s end, Christopher was an outlaw, and their mother had been arrested and placed in the county jail. Join us as we explore the Raber family's history and what it tells us about complex nature of loyalty and disloyalty during the Civil War era.
Jan 25, 2014
Cold Noses and Oxytocin: Doggy Prehistory
(Christina) They are warm, fuzzy beings that come in many different shapes and sizes, yet they all sense our emotions and thrive in our company. But they are also descended from wolves, fierce and elusive social predators. How did dogs become so integrated into human society? And how can we reconstruct any species’ prehistory? In the first installment of our new Doggy History series, we examine several theories about how dogs left the wolf pack and became part of ours instead, and find out that humans have been blaming it on the dog pretty much forever.
Jan 18, 2014
Rilla of Ingleside and the WWI Homefront
(Elizabeth) What was life like for those on the Canadian home front during WWI? Join Liz as she uses L.M. Montgomery's final book in her Anne series, Rilla of Ingleside, to answer questions about the ones who stayed behind.
Jan 11, 2014
2:31:56*: The Rosie Ruiz Scandal
(Esther) How did an unassuming office assistant from New York fool her way to the winners' circle of the 1980 Boston Marathon? The first major cheating scandal in long-distance running had nothing to do with drugs or endorsement deals, but with the shameless moxie of a woman whose journey into cheating infamy was probably more accidental than intentional.
Jan 04, 2014
The Christmas Truce of 1914
(Samantha) In 1914 Europe's troops marched off to war expecting to be home by Christmas. When the holiday came and they found themselves stuck in the trenches for the foreseeable future many of them decided to take some time off and to fraternize with the enemy in what became known as the Christmas Truce.
Dec 28, 2013
Historical Ad Campaigns
(Lesley) Ever wonder why women shave their legs? Or why manly cigars gave way to slim, feminine cigarettes? The answer lies with people like Don Draper. Examine the history of advertising and how some of our personal traditions stem from a carefully-designed advertising campaign.
Dec 14, 2013
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Part II: Australia and New Zealand
(Christine and Elizabeth) In Part II of the life of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, we follow him as he leaves prison, picks up his pen, and chases a new goal: revolutionizing British systems of colonization. Did people listen to a convicted felon? Were his dreams of colonizing Australia and New Zealand successful? Join us for the exciting conclusion to his life's story.
Nov 30, 2013
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Part I: The Abduction
(Christine and Elizabeth) The abduction of Ellen Turner was the talk of  early 19th century England and at the center of it was Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a widower with dreams of a seat in Parliament. How did Wakefield lure the young heiress from her school and convince her to marry him? What happened when her family found out? And is there life after being British newspaper fodder? Join us for Part I of the life of Edward Gibbon Wakefield.
Nov 23, 2013
Reformation Propaganda
(Nicole)  Most people think of modern campaigns, such as propaganda posters during World War I, when they hear the word 'propaganda'. But did you know that during the Reformation Protestants and Catholics alike used images in their own propaganda campaigns? Find out more about Protestant Propaganda.
Nov 16, 2013
Living Memory: The Fall of the Berlin Wall
(Kirsti) For 28 years, the Berlin Wall stood as a monument to the division between East and West. In the summer of 1989, a the borders of Hungary, then Czechoslovakia opened, and thousands of East Germans fled westward. On the 9th of November, East Germany opened the Berlin Wall and the border, allowing free passage for the first time since 1961. What was it like to live in Germany at the time? This week, we explore history within living memory!
Nov 09, 2013
Cheating on Jesus: Bigamy in the Medieval Catholic Priesthood
(Christine) How could a priest in medieval England, who was single at the time of his ordination, be guilty of bigamy? Can a person actually cheat on Jesus? Join us today as we discuss the ins and outs of this curious clause of canon law and how it brought the dreaded sentence of excommunication down on priests like William Gybbvuns.
Nov 02, 2013
The Only Running Footman
(Esther) Country roads were rough, tough, and uneven. But the agile, handsome, and (sometimes) opulently dressed running footmen traversed these treacherous roads to scout, deliver messages, and honor their masters with their ultramarathon endurance. Holding a staff, an egg, and maybe a little white wine, was the running footman the first professional runner of the modern age?
Oct 26, 2013
The Many Reformations of 16th-Century Europe
(Lucy) In the 16th century, high taxes and fears of apocalypse went hand in hand, and from the fairly common practice of calling for church reform emerged a series of movements which have become known as the capital-R Reformation. This week we’ll be discussing insults to the Pope, the problem of identifying Lutherans, and how civic and ecclesiastical leaders accidentally created an agreement that was called the most important event in the history of the world.
Oct 19, 2013
Queer Women in the Golden Age of Mysteries
(Lucy and Elizabeth) From the early to mid-twentieth century, queens of crime Sayers, Christie, Marsh, and Wentworth reigned supreme over British detective fiction. Their works not only reveal whodunit but give insight into how queer women lived in and were viewed by wider society from capital to countryside.
Oct 12, 2013
Criminalizing Sex in Early Modern England
(Lesley) In the middle of the Reformation, Parliament passed a law criminalizing some forms of sexuality. This became known as the Buggery Law of 1533. Why would the government be interested in regulating sex? An investigation into official records reveals that it had less to do with the bedroom and everything to do with power, privilege, and piety.
Oct 05, 2013
Medieval Gift Elephants
(Nathan) An elephant may seem a strange thing to give as a gift, but these exotic animals--along with giraffes, lions, polar bears, and hyenas--were prized inhabitants of medieval and early modern menageries.  Join us as we look at the history of five pachyderms, including, Abul-Abbas, given as a gift to Charlemagne, and Hanno, the pet elephant of Pope Leo X.
Sep 28, 2013
Hernán Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico
(John) How did Hernán Cortés and his “300” soldiers topple the Aztecs? What motivated these conquistadores, and what legal justifications did they use to legitimize this conquest? Find the answer to these questions and more as we explore the clashing of the Aztec and Spanish empires.
Sep 21, 2013
The Strategic Failure of the Habsburg Chin
(Kirsti) What’s the best approach to consolidating power and land within your family? The ambitious Habsburgs achieved greatness through marrying close relations—surely a sound policy that could have no consequences at all! This week we’ll talk about love (or the lack thereof), marriage, and the chin that sparked a war.
Sep 14, 2013
Popular Protest in Late Antique Ravenna
(Nicole) When many people think of Late Antique society, they think of powerful secular and ecclesiastical rulers; mighty emperors and archbishops. While the Archbishop of Ravenna certainly was a powerful person within the city, answering in theory only to the emperors' representative, the exarch, he had his fair share of problems with both the lay people of Ravenna and even his clergy! Find out more about the archbishop and exarch's struggles.
Sep 07, 2013
Confucius and Jesus: The Jesuit Mission to China
(Elizabeth) The Jesuits were tasked with a large order: convert the Chinese to Christianity. Their nontraditional methods ended up getting them in a lot of trouble.
Aug 31, 2013
Napoleon, Part II: Life in Napoleonic Society
(Christine and Nathan) What on earth is a city of smugglers? Why did Napoleon like to tease his Second Consul so much? And what would you have seen if you attended Napoleon’s coronation? This week we move beyond Napoleon the man to the experiences of his subjects answering these questions and more!
Aug 24, 2013
The Origin of the Marathon: Linking Past to Present
(Esther) The story of the most popular long-distance event, from its origins in ancient literature to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and how a young farmer, Spyridon 'Spyros' Louis (1873-1940), became an unlikely national hero.
Aug 17, 2013
The Mau Mau Insurgency
(Samantha) In June 2013 the British government agreed to pay approximately £20 million in reparations to individuals tortured during the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya in the 1950s. But who were the Mau Mau? What was the emergency? And why do the British feel they should owe a debt?
Aug 10, 2013
Mozart's Zombie, the Runaway Priest, and the Emperor's Opera
(Lucy) In Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus and Lorenzo da Ponte created opera's most famous antihero. Find out how Mozart and Da Ponte were influenced by the philosophical ideas and social concerns of their day in forging a tale of class conflict and libertinism, violence and seduction, private passions and public space... and find out why this opera without a genre had different endings in the two greatest cities of the Holy Roman Empire.
Aug 03, 2013
Emperor Akbar, the Mughal Empire, and Divine Faith
(Lesley) The religious consequences of the European Reformation are often part of our education. But the 16th century saw reformations across the globe: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Aztec beliefsAt the heart of this change was Mughal Emperor Akbar, who combined all of these beliefs into a single new global religion: Divine Faith.
Jul 27, 2013
Special Edition: Royal Baby Names
(Elizabeth and Christine) The Kingdom of Great Britain is celebrating today because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed their first child, a son! In this special edition of Footnoting History, we discuss the history of royal baby names in Great Britain from the most popular to those you are not likely to see on the throne again any time soon. What must a future king and queen consider when naming their child? If your child was going to rule a country, what would you name him or her?
Jul 22, 2013
Napoleon, Part I: The Man
(Nathan and Christine) It's Bastille Day weekend so we make a return to France for today's topic.  In the third installment of our Revolutionary France series, we'll talk about the scandals, intrigues, and tragedies of Napoleon and his inner circle.
Jul 13, 2013
The Several Defenestrations of Prague
(Kirsti) The people of Prague have a unique approach to the resolution of religious and political arguments: throwing the opposition out of windows! Listen as we explore this odd tradition throughout history, starting in 1419 and continuing to 1948.
Jul 06, 2013
Entertainment in Medieval Towns
(Christine) Whether they got a day off from working at their trade or had so much money they could pay people to entertain them, everyone within the town walls wanted to have a little fun. Listen today to find out what occupants of medieval European towns did to shake off their troubles and have a good time.
Jun 29, 2013
Goethe's Werther and the Suicide Effect
(Elizabeth) Forget Nirvana or James Dean! Back in the 19th century, every angsty teen had one idol: Werther--and they would do anything to be like him ... anything.
Jun 22, 2013
Why Simon de Montfort is in the U.S. House of Representatives
(Christine) His father was a major player in the Albigensian crusade but when was the last time you heard about the man who led a rebellion against King Henry III and became the father of the modern parliament? It's time to fix that.
Jun 15, 2013
Running in the Ancient Olympic Games
(Esther) How did the Greeks monitor foot races during the ancient Olympic games without technologies such as Timex watches and slow-motion cameras? They certainly weren't worried about doping, but there were other ways runners could gain unfair advantages over their competitors.
Jun 07, 2013
Getting Skinny: A Brief History of Dieting
(Samantha) From WeightWatchers to the Atkins Diet to the Lemon Detox, Americans are obsessed with using diet to control our weight. But we’re not the first ones to be concerned with our body mass, to experiment with dieting, and to come up with some really bizarre ideas about how to get thin.
Jun 01, 2013
Lepers and Leprosy in the 13th Century
(Lucy) Reactions to medieval lepers were often extreme. Medieval romance-writers depict them as not only disease-ridden but filthy, and morally suspect to boot. Saints, on the other hand, ran around kissing them. More ordinary people just asked lepers to pray for them. Why? And if you lived in thirteenth-century Chartres, why shouldn't you eat dinner with the leper next door?
May 25, 2013
Occupy Alcatraz: Protesting Native American Autonomy
(Lesley) As an imposing fortress, Alcatraz island isolated inmates and imprisoned the most dangerous criminals like mob boss Al Capone. Yet after its closure in 1963, Alcatraz became the scene of occupying Freedom as Native Americans tried to take back land under a treaty with the US. How did an uninhabitable rock become the gateway to a bastion of freedom for American Indians?
May 17, 2013
(Nathan) In the 1630s, the tiny-but-wealthy Netherlands were gripped by a frenzy of public trading in tulip bulbs.  At the height of the craze, a single bulb could sell for a small fortune.  What caused this "tulip mania" and how did it all come to a crashing halt?
May 11, 2013
The French Revolution Countdown (Part II)
(Nathan and Christine) Picking up where they left off at the end of Part I, Nathan and Christine tackle actors' rights and changing fashions while wondering if anyone truly understood the Republican Calendar. Join them as they conclude the countdown of their top ten favorite stories and idiosyncrasies of the French Revolution.
May 04, 2013
Science, Plague, and Pericles: Reconstructing the Face of Myrtis
(Kirsti) In 430 BCE, a plague swept through ancient Athens, killing thousands. It eventually claimed even the great Pericles. But what was it? In 1994, a group of historians and scientists banded together to find out, starting with the skull of one little girl.
Apr 27, 2013
Viking Invasions and St. Edmund's Talking Head
(Nicole) In 870 A.D.,  Edmund, the king of East Anglia, was killed by a Viking army. Discover how this event was transformed from a battle between two armies into the story of a Christian martyrdom.
Apr 20, 2013
Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" and the Indian Mutiny
(Elizabeth) The Indian Mutiny had repercussions felt all over the world, but how did it affect the average Brit's feelings about the Empire? A 19th century mystery novel reveals all!
Apr 13, 2013
The French Revolution Countdown (Part I)
(Nathan and Christine) From Marie Antoinette's fake peasant village to Robespierre's botched suicide, the French Revolution is full of fascinating stories that are often omitted from textbooks. Join Nathan and Christine for Part I of a two-part countdown of their favorite quirky aspects of this vibrant period.
Apr 06, 2013
Prehistoric Runners and the 'Fall' of the Neanderthals
(Esther) Did you know that our homo sapien ancestors were altogether skinnier, weaker and dumber than our fellow hominid relatives, the Neanderthals? Some scientists theorize that it was running that saved us from extinction.
Mar 30, 2013
Drinking in Medieval England
(Samantha) Do you like to drink? Well, so did people in the Middle Ages.  Tune in to learn about what people were drinking and about the culture associated with booze 700 years ago.
Mar 23, 2013
Heresy and You: Alice Rowley and Lollardy
(Kirsti) Some people just get all the luck. Others, like poor Alice Rowley of Coventry, just can’t seem to catch a break. Join us as we explore Alice’s dedication to the Lollard community and what that meant for her in court!
Mar 16, 2013
Cruel Mind and Deadly Malice: A Murder in Early Modern England
(Lesley) Imagine hiring a man to kill off your enemy... and then pleading a defense that would allow you to walk out free. This week, we'll trace the story of a neighborly feud in Tudor England that left one man dead and an unbalanced man free, if not for the actions of a young woman in manipulating Parliament, the Privy Council, and even the Queen. Their responses would ultimately change the laws of England in order to prevent a man from getting away with murder.
Mar 09, 2013
Zombies in Thietmar of Merseburg
(Lucy) Why did commoners and kings in eleventh-century Germany keep seeing dead people? Why did a bunch of animated corpses decide to burn a priest alive? And why did a busy bishop write all this down?
Mar 02, 2013
Cathars, Templars, and The Siege of Montségur
(Nathan) What do medieval frat boys, Nicholas Cage, and Iron Maiden have in common? They're all part of one of the most popular (and far-fetched) medieval conspiracy theories. Tune in as we talk about Cathars, Templars, and the siege of Montségur.
Feb 23, 2013
Special Edition: Olaudah Equiano
(Nathan and Elizabeth) Join us for a discussion of one of the most well-known narratives of slavery used by the British Abolitionist cause in the 18th century. We examine what it reveals about identity and race in the time period but also tackle the issue of reliability and accuracy in memoirs. 
Feb 20, 2013
Henry II and the Invasion of Ireland
(Christine) The English and the Irish have been fighting (and singing) about hating one another) for as long as both sides can remember, but what brought the English to Ireland in the first place? What did the English king, Henry II, have to do with it? And why is everyone frowning at some guy named Dermot?
Feb 16, 2013
Special Edition: Papal Abdication
(Nathan) At the end of this month, Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to abdicate the papal seat. In this Special Edition of Footnoting History, we take a look at the colorful history of papal abdication and the precedents for Benedict's resignation.
Feb 11, 2013
A French Silversmith in Mongol Karakorum
(Nicole) The Mongols have a reputation for their brutal tactics in war and the fear they instilled in the peoples they conquered. But the Mongols liked nice things as well, and created a capital city with cultural influences from the many lands that they ruled. Find out what a French silversmith was doing in Karakorum, and how he and other people sent from all over the Mongol lands helped to create a cosmopolitan capital.
Feb 09, 2013
Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck
(Elizabeth) Before social security cards, driver's licenses, and DNA testing, how did you prove your identity? Join us to hear about two famous "pretenders" and their attempts to gain the English throne!
Feb 02, 2013