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Retropod

English, History, 1 season, 486 episodes, 1 day, 15 hours, 51 minutes
About
Retropod is a show for history lovers, featuring stories about the past, rediscovered. Host Mike Rosenwald introduces you to history’s most colorful characters - forgotten heroes, overlooked villains, dreamers, explorers, world changers. Available every weekday morning.
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Earthrise

On Christmas Eve in 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts captured an image that symbolizes hope and inspired environmentalism.
12/31/20195 minutes, 21 seconds
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Hair peace. Bed peace.

On March 25, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were a few days into their marriage when they invited the press to join them at their honeymoon suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
12/30/20195 minutes, 54 seconds
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The jazz queen who chose home over fame

Jazz singer Ethel Ennis’s voice wowed audiences and won praise from critics. But when she was faced with the opportunity to become a superstar, Ennis chose a different path.
12/27/20196 minutes, 34 seconds
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Clara Barton, America's most famous nurse, broke boundaries to treat Civil War victims

The nurse who founded the American Red Cross had no formal training in medicine. She tended to countless wounded soldiers.
12/26/20197 minutes, 8 seconds
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The military's famous Santa Tracker began with a wrong number

In the 1950s, a child trying to call Santa Claus accidentally called NORAD and changed Christmas Eve forever.
12/25/20196 minutes, 27 seconds
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The 'Toy King' who never aspired to the throne.

Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus had no idea how big the toy industry would become.
12/23/20196 minutes, 21 seconds
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Last Seen Ads

After the Civil War, formerly enslaved people placed notices in black-owned newspapers across the country to find their loved ones.
12/20/20196 minutes, 53 seconds
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How 'Broadway Joe' redefined the NFL

A few days before his team took the field as huge underdogs in Super Bowl III, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath made what was seen as an insane prediction at the time: "The Jets will win Sunday," he said. "I guarantee it."
12/19/20196 minutes, 33 seconds
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The game show contestant who cheated his way to fame

In the 1950s, Charles Van Doren, a quiet professor in New York City, became wrapped up in one of the biggest television quiz show scandals in history.
12/18/20196 minutes, 48 seconds
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How food found its way into the freezer

While on a research trip to the Arctic in the early 20th century, scientist Clarence Birdseye — a name you might recognize from the frozen food aisle — made an observation that would go on to change the way we eat.
12/17/20196 minutes, 22 seconds
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The day before the Chernobyl disaster

Disasters don’t just happen. Like anything in life, there’s usually a buildup. In the case of the Chernobyl disaster, the series of failures stretched back more than a decade. But what happened the day before the explosion?
12/16/20197 minutes, 22 seconds
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The most difficult job Robert Mueller ever had

Serving as special counsel is probably only the third hardest job Robert Mueller has held. His life in public service started when he just 23 years old, as a Marine lieutenant in the Vietnam War.
12/13/20196 minutes, 12 seconds
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Queen Arawelo

Growing up in Somalia, a country where stories are handed down through generations, one of the first tales that children are told is about an ancient queen who fought to give women power by castrating men.
12/12/20197 minutes, 11 seconds
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The nurse who picked up a rifle

During World War I, British nurse Flora Sandes put down her nurses bag to fight with the Serbian Army.
12/11/20194 minutes, 16 seconds
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George Taliaferro, the first black player drafted to the NFL

He thought being drafted into the National Football League was so unlikely that he signed with an African American league team. Then, the NFL called.
12/10/20196 minutes, 18 seconds
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The summer men rebelled against their shirts

It doesn't seem like a big deal today, but 1930s America lived in fear of the male nipple.
12/9/20195 minutes, 29 seconds
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America’s forgotten Iranian hostage

Nine months before the Iran hostage crisis, Kenneth Kraus was held hostage in Iran for eight days.
12/6/20195 minutes, 17 seconds
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A bridge of ice at Niagara Falls

Once upon a time, people walked between the U.S. and Canada over a frozen Niagara Falls. But one day, that all changed forever.
12/5/20195 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Soviet officer who stopped World War III

In 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, trusted his gut and averted a global nuclear catastrophe.
12/4/20195 minutes, 16 seconds
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Why isn’t lynching illegal?

It is one of the worst expressions of racism in American history. And there’s no federal law to prevent it.
12/3/20196 minutes, 35 seconds
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A letter from home

A German woman discovered that her childhood home was stolen from a Jewish family who fled Nazi Germany. Last year, she tracked down the address of one of the children, and wrote him a letter.
12/2/20193 minutes, 31 seconds
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The test that changed childbirth

In the 1950s, Dr. Virginia Apgar created a quick test that nurses have since performed on millions of babies just after birth. She is considered one of the most important figures in modern medicine — a world that almost pushed her away.
11/29/20196 minutes, 41 seconds
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A debate that went into extra innings: Can baseballs curve?

Beginning in the earliest days of baseball, fans, journalists and even physicists disputed whether or not pitchers could make a ball curve.
11/28/20197 minutes, 14 seconds
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Benjamin Franklin's complicated relationship with turkeys

Benjamin Franklin, the most colorful of America's Founding Fathers, had a misunderstood, electrical and ultimately homicidal relationship with turkeys.
11/27/20195 minutes, 56 seconds
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The cranberry crisis that changed how we see our food

Weeks before Thanksgiving, 1959, cranberries were declared unsafe to eat. The race was on to save America’s favorite holiday side dish.
11/26/20195 minutes, 56 seconds
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How Anita Hill’s testimony led to the "Year of the Woman"

No women served on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. The ugly Anita Hill hearings changed that.
11/25/20196 minutes, 24 seconds
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The man who filmed JFK's assassination

For many, memories of that devastating day quickly revert to that silent, flickering sequence captured by Abraham Zapruder. It is as chilling as it is familiar: the approaching convertible, the waves of a crowd about to lose its innocence.
11/22/20193 minutes, 48 seconds
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The 'Night Witches'

During World War II, around 80 Russian women took to the skies and risked their lives to fight against the Germans.
11/21/20194 minutes, 56 seconds
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Robert Morris, the creator of the subpoena

The history of subpoenas, and the fiery congressional hearings that have captivated Americans for centuries began with a Founding Father raising his hand to say, “Investigate me!”
11/20/20196 minutes, 5 seconds
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Lee Harvey Oswald's final hours before killing Kennedy

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy devastated the nation. But the day before the shooting was just a normal day. It was particularly calm and uneventful for the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.
11/19/20193 minutes, 54 seconds
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Ketamine in the mainstream

Once a party drug, ketamine has found its way into modern medicine.
11/18/20195 minutes, 53 seconds
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The first 'Queen of the Air'

Four years before Amelia Earhart ever got into a plane, Ruth Law was already making a name for herself in the skies.
11/14/20196 minutes, 38 seconds
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Judy Garland and the long history of 'Me Too' in Hollywood

Sexual harassment has been existed in showbiz as long as there have been bright lights.
11/13/20196 minutes, 13 seconds
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Jim Crow and the rise of blackface

Back in the 1830s, Jim Crow wasn't yet a symbol of inequality. He was a fictional character in minstrel shows who, to entertain his audiences, performed in blackface.
11/12/20196 minutes, 13 seconds
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The policeman who arrested a president

After receiving complaints about carriages driving too fast, Washington D.C. policeman William H. West arrested a presidential speed demon.
11/11/20196 minutes, 1 second
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A history of the U.S.-Mexico border

For decades, the boundary between Mexico and the United States was little more than an imaginary line in the sand.
11/8/20197 minutes, 42 seconds
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The godmother of the open office

If you work in an office without offices, with just about everyone working in a large spare space full of stylish desks, straight lines and papers stored in a credenza, then you have met Florence Knoll Bassett.
11/7/20196 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Wicked Bible

A full year after the King James Bible was printed in 1631, people discovered an error.
11/6/20195 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Confederate spy who evaded capture

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, John Surratt traveled across three continents, wore disguises and used fake names for nearly two years to escape authorities.
11/5/20198 minutes
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Pinball’s sordid past

Pinball was once so vilified that it was banned in cities across the United States.
11/4/20196 minutes, 46 seconds
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The last person to step foot on the moon

When Eugene Cernan walked on the moon, he didn’t know he’d be the last astronaut to make the journey.
11/1/20195 minutes, 38 seconds
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A history of hats in the House

In the early days of the House, some congresspeople thought hats had no place atop the heads of representatives debating the great issues of the day. Hats, they argued, weren’t dignified.
10/31/20196 minutes, 57 seconds
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Tenure for life

When Alexander Hamilton argued in favor of lifetime tenures for Supreme Court justices, he probably didn’t foresee them living past their prime.
10/30/20197 minutes, 51 seconds
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How Lego took over the toy world

Lego started as a company that made wooden toys, and grew into an empire of plastic building blocks.
10/29/20197 minutes, 11 seconds
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The researcher whose rats predicted the Internet

John Calhoun’s rodent experiments revolutionized the way we think about social behavior and the impact of growing populations.
10/28/20197 minutes, 28 seconds
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A brief history of presidents visiting troops in combat

Presidents throughout history have visited battlefields to better grasp conditions, reverse public doubt and signal that the country took war efforts seriously.
10/25/20196 minutes, 51 seconds
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William Howard Taft's housekeeper kept track of his weight

White House maid Elizabeth Jaffray not only cleaned up after presidents, she had an amazing insight into their appetites.
10/24/20194 minutes, 39 seconds
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In 1939, the 'American Hitler' took the stage at Madison Square Garden

Fritz Kuhn was the leader of the pro-Nazi group known as the German American Bund. He was a hero to his audience, and a scourge on the world to most others.
10/23/20195 minutes, 39 seconds
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The astronomer who took gay rights to the Supreme Court

After being fired from his job for being gay, Frank Kameny took his battle for equality to the nation’s highest court.
10/22/20195 minutes, 42 seconds
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The first campus shooting

A professor at The University of Virginia was fatally shot by a student in 1840.
10/21/20194 minutes, 15 seconds
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The origins of the Unknown Soldier

The story of how the anonymous soldier came to rest inside the famous tomb is almost as unknown as his identity.
10/18/20196 minutes, 8 seconds
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America and warfare were never the same after World War I

Along with staggering death tolls, the "Great War" generated memorable literature, geopolitical upheaval, hope, disillusion, the Russian Revolution and the seeds of World War II.
10/16/20194 minutes, 55 seconds
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The campus massacre before Kent State

The first mass police shooting on a U.S. college campus happened two years before the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University.
10/15/20195 minutes, 9 seconds
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Mark Twain's complicated relationship with the typewriter

Mark Twain first laid eyes on a “newfangled typing machine,” as he called it, sometime in the early 1870s.
10/14/20195 minutes, 23 seconds
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The presidential pardon the country never forgot

When Gerald Ford took over the presidency after Richard Nixon’s resignation, he soon made a controversial choice: he pardoned Nixon.
10/11/20195 minutes, 21 seconds
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How the Greeks once used a lottery system to select government officials

Some believed that a lottery was more democratic than a vote.
10/10/20195 minutes, 30 seconds
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Mary Ann Van Hoof and her Marian apparitions

In 1950, Mary Ann Van Hoof gathered an estimated 100,000 people to see the Virgin Mary on a farm in Necedah, Wisconsin.
10/9/20196 minutes, 4 seconds
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Close encounters with the Capitol's Demon Cat

From the mid-1800s to well into the 20th century, the Capitol’s Demon Cat was the top dog of Washington ghost stories.
10/8/20194 minutes, 22 seconds
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New York's mad bomber

In 1956, New York City’s bomb squad used criminal profiling to catch a terrorist known as “The Mad Bomber.”
10/7/20197 minutes, 20 seconds
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The unstoppable Fannie Lou Hamer

Civil rights crusader Fannie Lou Hamer rivaled Martin Luther King Jr. in her command of audiences.
10/4/20195 minutes, 42 seconds
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The photographer and the busboy

Photographer Boris Yaro shot the haunting photograph of Bobby Kennedy lying fatally wounded in the arms of Juan Romero, a busboy.
10/3/20195 minutes, 25 seconds
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The time America invaded Britain

In 1777, Captain John Paul Jones hatched a plan to take the American Revolution to Britain’s shores.
10/2/20194 minutes, 16 seconds
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Abraham Lincoln says he owes everything to his 'angel mother' and 'mama'

President Abraham Lincoln had two loving and supportive mothers in his lifetime. The second helped him cope with the tragic loss of the first.
10/1/20195 minutes, 27 seconds
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The search for the anonymous author of a 1996 political novel

Before an unnamed senior official in the Trump administration published the opinion piece, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration" in the New York Times, another mysterious anonymous author lit up Washington.
9/30/20195 minutes, 47 seconds
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Woodrow Wilson's secret letters to another woman

Family and friends had known about the president’s intimate relationship with Mary Peck for years, but whispers about their involvement were growing.
9/27/20195 minutes, 55 seconds
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The body of Emmett Till

Emmett Till’s mother opened his casket and sparked the civil rights movement.
9/26/20194 minutes, 3 seconds
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The origins of the Waterloo teeth

More than 50,000 soldiers died during the Battle of Waterloo, but their teeth lived on.
9/25/20194 minutes, 29 seconds
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In the 1850s, navigating Ice Alley was deadly for ships

Despite warnings of icebergs, the John Rutledge set sail from Liverpool, England, to New York.
9/24/20195 minutes, 21 seconds
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How the teddy bear was born

In the fall of 1902, a year into his presidency, President Teddy Roosevelt set off to Mississippi for a bear-hunting vacation. It ended differently than planned.
9/23/20194 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Saturday Night Massacre

The one night that changed President Nixon’s fate has stuck with us as a reminder of the limits of presidential power.
9/20/20194 minutes, 46 seconds
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How a solar eclipse made Albert Einstein famous

It may be hard to believe, but one single event rocketed Einstein to fame.
9/19/20194 minutes, 54 seconds
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How a renovation made the Supreme Court a friendlier place

One simple change to how the Supreme Court bench was designed made a world of difference to how the justices communicated.
9/18/20194 minutes, 29 seconds
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The heroine of Lime Rock Lighthouse

Ida Lewis saved as many as 25 people during her service at the lighthouse. But her deeds have largely been forgotten.
9/17/20193 minutes, 59 seconds
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The assassin who wore braids and killed Nazis

Freddie Oversteegen was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance.
9/13/20195 minutes, 15 seconds
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Colonel Blood, the scoundrel who tried to steal Great Britain's crown jewels

Thomas Blood had somewhat of a shady past. According to Ireland’s History magazine, he had a reputation for espionage and conducting terrorist campaigns — though many of his plans were foiled just in time.
9/12/20193 minutes, 32 seconds
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The rookie pilot who was ready to give her life on Sept. 11

Heather Penney was among the first female combat pilots in the country. On Sept. 11, 2001, she got a mission: Bring down the fourth hijacked plane hurtling towards Washington.
9/11/20195 minutes, 8 seconds
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Between Lincoln and Washington, only one was a great poet

Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln wrote poetry. But only one had a way with words.
9/10/20194 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Nazi stone

A mysterious stone memorial was found in 2006 in Washington, D.C. But who placed a memorial to Nazi spies on government property? And why?
9/9/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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Paul Jennings, the former slave who disputed a legend from history

According to James Madison’s Virginia mansion Montpelier, Paul Jennings’ account reveals, “how the racial and gender hierarchies of the time complicate the way we understand roles in historic events.”
9/6/20194 minutes, 23 seconds
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Winnie and Nelson Mandela's marriage survived prison but not freedom

Their 38-year marriage endured his incarceration and hers.
9/5/20194 minutes, 46 seconds
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The dark history of the pill

A group of poor women in Puerto Rico were the first test subjects for the birth control pill. Were they guinea pigs or pioneers?
9/4/20194 minutes, 27 seconds
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Were the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler friends?

Was the Duke of Windsor a Nazi sympathizer? Did he plot to dethrone his brother, King George VI? Did he really suggest more German bombings of Britain might end World War II?
9/3/20193 minutes, 59 seconds
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The day anti-Vietnam War protesters tried to levitate the Pentagon

In October 1967, antiwar protesters announced that they would march en masse to the front steps of the Pentagon. and levitate it. And then they would try to levitate it.
9/2/20193 minutes, 45 seconds
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The worst presidents

Besides President Trump, whom do scholars scorn the most?
8/30/20195 minutes, 2 seconds
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The surprise hurricane that devastated the Florida Keys

In 1935, the Florida Keys ignored the threat of a looming hurricane. When the Category 5 storm made landfall, it left a wake of death and destruction.
8/29/20194 minutes, 17 seconds
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Being a maverick almost stopped John McCain from becoming a public servant

At the Naval Academy, McCain was in a group called the “Bad Bunch” as he rebelled against his father’s expectations.
8/28/20194 minutes, 38 seconds
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LBJ's political bombshell

By 1968, things were going badly for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Morale around the Vietnam War was sinking, and in Washington, political sharks were circling.
8/27/20195 minutes, 4 seconds
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The most romantic day

All over the country, couples rushed to Las Vegas to get married. The demand for quickie weddings was at a fever pitch. But it wasn't Cupid's arrow causing the frenzy. It was the Vietnam War.
8/26/20193 minutes, 41 seconds
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The French aviators who almost beat Charles Lindbergh

In 1927, the world watched as two French aviators attempted the world’s first transatlantic flight.
8/23/20194 minutes, 30 seconds
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The photographer who helped end child labor in America

Lewis Hine posed as a Bible salesman or machinery photographer to expose the hardships of child labor.
8/22/20195 minutes, 23 seconds
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The performance that saved Johnny Cash's career

In a year of extraordinary, chaotic moments this was a hopeful one - a beat-up country music star recording an album live at a troubled maximum security prison in California.
8/21/20194 minutes, 30 seconds
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When Olympic silver beats gold

Ski jumping involves flying more than 800 feet in the air and then landing on two feet, without dying. Where on earth did this sport come from?
8/20/20194 minutes, 31 seconds
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Meet Paul Manafort's century-old forefather, who also liked fancy suits

Samuel Cutler Ward, also known as the “King of the Lobby,” is credited with shaping the craft of lobbying. And like lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, he also had some seriously expensive tastes.
8/19/20194 minutes, 52 seconds
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How Hollywood's first major blockbuster revived the KKK

"The Birth of a Nation" depicted life after the Civil War in a way that glorified Klansmen. The film and its cultural impact led one man to conclude that the time was right to bring back the Klu Klux Klan.
8/16/20194 minutes, 35 seconds
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The biscuit tin that protected the crown jewels

It’s World War II, and you’re King George VI of England. You fear a Nazi invasion of England could come at any moment. How do you protect the crown jewels? Not even Queen Elizabeth II knew how her dad did it - until recently.
8/15/20193 minutes, 21 seconds
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Rosie the Riveter isn't who you think she is

An American in the 1940s would not recognize the woman from the “We Can Do It!” poster as Rosie the Riveter.
8/14/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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Reagan's most historic speech took a few years to make an impact

When President Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” it was not seen as a historic moment. It took the actual fall of the wall to resurrect the speech and drill the quote into the nation's political consciousness.
8/13/20193 minutes, 40 seconds
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How the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds began

The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild family date all the way back to The Battle of Waterloo.
8/12/20195 minutes, 10 seconds
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The first congresswoman's vote

In April 1917, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, faced an agonizing choice: should she, or should she not, vote for the United States to enter World War I?
8/9/20195 minutes, 24 seconds
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The day the nation's capital welcomed the KKK

In 1925, 30,000 Klansmen descended on Washington, D.C. The city cheered their arrival.
8/8/20195 minutes, 24 seconds
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The man and the coconut that saved JFK

William Liebenow rescued John F. Kennedy from an island filled with coconuts.
8/7/20194 minutes, 58 seconds
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The first daughters

Ivanka Trump might be the only first daughter in American history to score a West Wing office, but she’s not the first presidential daughter to wield power in the White House.
8/6/20194 minutes, 2 seconds
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The time a senator won an Emmy for grilling witnesses at a hearing

In 1951, a televised Senate hearing caught America’s attention.
8/5/20195 minutes, 2 seconds
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The fact and fiction of Prince Philip

The most recent British royal wedding puts all eyes on the Windsor family. But perhaps no royal is as controversial as Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip.
8/2/20194 minutes, 29 seconds
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What Operation Pied Piper taught us about family separations

Millions of British children were evacuated from London and other cities to escape the horrors of war. But the family separations seemed to impart long-term trauma that was in many cases as severe as if they had stayed behind and faced the bombs.
8/1/20195 minutes, 23 seconds
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The teen who tied a Virginia election

In 1971, Stephen Burns was 18 years old and a newly minted voter. He was so jazzed to be a part of the Democratic process.
7/31/20193 minutes, 55 seconds
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The books the presidents read

People have long been fascinated by the books presidents choose to read. But how much do reading habits actually reveal about a president?
7/30/20194 minutes, 32 seconds
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How God became part of the pledge

For over 50 years, the phrase “under God” was not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. One sermon changed that.
7/29/20194 minutes, 47 seconds
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How Harry S. Truman went from being a racist to desegregating the military

When Harry Truman became president in 1945, Southern members of Congress were delighted. They thought he’d be sympathetic to segregationists. He proved them wrong.
7/26/20196 minutes, 13 seconds
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The U.S. government recruited black men to watch them die

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is a horrific piece of American history.
7/25/20194 minutes, 30 seconds
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The femme fatale

For the past 100 years, Mata Hari has been revered as the quintessential glamorous spy. But the real Mata Hari was much more complicated.
7/24/20194 minutes, 27 seconds
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The congressman who shot a waiter

A hungry congressman didn’t get the breakfast he ordered. So he shot the waiter.
7/23/20194 minutes, 59 seconds
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The children's crusade

The movement organized by survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is not the first time that kids have taken a stand. H
7/22/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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Introducing Moonrise

Host Lillian Cunningham's next podcast explores the real story of why we went to the moon -- a darker, but truer story than the one you've heard before. Listen to this trailer, and subscribe on your favorite podcast app or at washingtonpost.com/moonrise
7/19/20195 minutes, 3 seconds
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The time Truman met with Stalin and it went well

Back in 1941, a get-together that should have been fraught with uneasiness didn't turn out that way, which is surprising given the participants: President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.
7/18/20195 minutes, 11 seconds
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Mrs. Graham

Katherine Graham's leadership in the decision to release the Pentagon Papers was the subject of the Stephen Spielberg film "The Post." But it was her leadership during the pressman's strike in 1975 that is perhaps the most gripping moment of her life.
7/17/20194 minutes, 33 seconds
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The storied past of Alderson federal women's prison

The Alderson Federal Prison Camp has a history filled with powerful women. Some pushed for the prison to be built. Others served time there.
7/16/20194 minutes, 30 seconds
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The deaf men who helped NASA send humans to space

In a largely forgotten experiment, a group of students from Gallaudet University spent years helping NASA understand the mechanisms of motion sickness and how to prevent it.
7/15/20194 minutes, 17 seconds
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The first shark attacks

For most of American history, no one was scared of sharks. One week--and one shark--changed people's opinions of the marine creatures.
7/12/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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The oldest surviving banjo recording

Charles Asbury’s digitized songs serve as a time capsule to the music of the 19th century.
7/11/20195 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Jedwabne massacre

Raw questions of complicity versus compulsion have surrounded the 1941 murders of a Polish village's Jewish residents.
7/10/20193 minutes, 42 seconds
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The long-lost 'Laws of Baseball'

On display in Washington, D.C. are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and another document that details a fundamental institution in American life: baseball.
7/9/20194 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Quaker abolitionist who was disowned for condemning slave owners

Benjamin Lay wrote one of the first treatises against slavery in Colonial America, a time when many prosperous Pennsylvania Quakers were slave owners. But the Quakers disowned Lay for speaking out.
7/8/20196 minutes, 27 seconds
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Meet Yvonne Burke, the first congresswoman to give birth in office

Sixty years after Congress welcomed its first woman, it welcomed its first baby.
7/5/20193 minutes, 57 seconds
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Thomas Jefferson's last letter

Somehow, in the depths of his personal misery towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson once again found his powerful way with words.
7/4/20193 minutes, 15 seconds
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The epic bender that launched America

George Washington and his fellow partiers racked up a hefty bill--$15,000 in today’s currency--celebrating the completion of the Constitution.
7/3/20193 minutes, 47 seconds
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The time we thought an asteroid might kill us all

In 1998, the world briefly panicked over an asteroid that seemed headed straight for Earth.
7/2/20193 minutes, 22 seconds
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Suzanne Lenglen, the first goddess of tennis

Suzanne Lenglen was physically ferocious, always fashionable and a disrupter of convention.
7/1/20193 minutes, 8 seconds
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The first pride parade

The very first pride parade was held in 1964 and was a bit calmer than what we think of today.
6/28/20193 minutes, 28 seconds
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The rainless flood that destroyed a city

In 1868, Ellicott City, Md. flooded. The lack of rain made the natural disaster totally bizarre and unexpected.
6/27/20194 minutes, 41 seconds
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How Eleanor Roosevelt invented the modern idea of a first lady

Eleanor Roosevelt held news conferences just for female reporters. The men were not impressed.
6/26/20194 minutes, 23 seconds
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The complicated story of Linda Brown and the fight for desegregated schools

Linda Brown and her father Oliver Brown are heroes of the civil rights movement. The backstory of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education is more complicated than what you learned in school.
6/25/20193 minutes, 58 seconds
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The origins of the National Rifle Association

When the NRA was founded in 1871, its primary concern was not gun rights or the Second Amendment.
6/24/20194 minutes, 45 seconds
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How a textile shortage led to the invention of the bikini

Designer Louis Réard left automotive engineering to work in his mother’s lingerie business. He decided to compete with another design to create the world’s smallest swimsuit.
6/21/20194 minutes, 47 seconds
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The man who won World War II

Andrew Higgins wasn't in the Army. He wasn't a paratrooper. He was a wild and wily genius, a tough, crafty, businessman. And he built the built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
6/20/20194 minutes, 33 seconds
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Oregon was America’s first and only state to begin as 'whites-only'

Oregon’s original constitution banned black people from the state, and the law stayed in the constitution for well over 100 years.
6/19/20195 minutes, 7 seconds
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Publishers hated ‘A Wrinkle in Time,' and Madeleine L'Engle never forgot the rejections

'A Wrinkle in Time' author Madeleine L'Engle said she received 26 rejection letters from publishers.
6/18/20193 minutes, 55 seconds
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This security guard discovered the Watergate break-in, but nobody remembers him

The man who called the police on the Watergate burglars never received the credit he deserved.
6/17/20193 minutes, 33 seconds
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A history of extreme makeovers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

When the White House was built over 200 years ago, it lacked certain modern conveniences. A hodgepodge of improvements have been added over the years.
6/14/20194 minutes, 14 seconds
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The unlikely start of the Boy Scout movement

The Boy Scout movement began 110 years ago on a tiny island just off the southern coast of England.
6/13/20194 minutes, 37 seconds
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Eartha Kitt confronted the first lady and it nearly ruined her career

At a White House luncheon, actress Eartha Kitt would not let the president or the first lady avoid the issue of the Vietnam War. She paid a heavy price for her boldness.
6/12/20195 minutes, 11 seconds
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The 'temporary insanity' legal defense started with an affair

If you love gossip, drama and D.C. politics -- this story is the gift that keeps on giving.
6/11/20194 minutes, 25 seconds
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Eisenhower’s famous speech to U.S. troops the day before D-Day

On the day before D-Day, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the troops that totally masked how nervous he actually was.
6/10/20194 minutes, 22 seconds
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The painter who became the CIA’s master of disguise

The spy business is all about masking the truth. One CIA agent’s deceptions and sham identities were so enterprising that he earned the nickname “Master of Disguise."Related episodesThe rat that helped win the Cold WarThe pistols that almost fell from the sky The pistols that almost fell from the sky That time the CIA stole a Russian submarine The ax that killed Leon Trotsky
6/7/201910 minutes, 11 seconds
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The ax that killed Leon Trotsky

Joseph Stalin wanted his political rival dead. When bullets didn’t do the job, his intelligence service tried something even more gruesome.Related episodesThe rat that helped win the Cold WarThe pistols that almost fell from the sky The pistols that almost fell from the sky That time the CIA stole a Russian submarine
6/6/20199 minutes, 25 seconds
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That time the CIA stole a Russian submarine

When a Russian sub sank at the height of the Cold War, the CIA got help from Howard Hughes and created a fictitious mining operation to snag the vessel at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.Related episodesThe rat that helped win the Cold WarThe pistols that almost fell from the sky The ax that killed Leon Trotsky
6/5/20199 minutes, 12 seconds
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The pistols that almost fell from the sky

During World War II, U.S. intelligence operatives devised a plan to airdrop one-shot handguns, nicknamed the Liberator pistol, to allies in Europe in hopes of ending the war quickly.Related episodesThe rat that helped win the Cold WarThat time the CIA stole a Russian submarine The ax that killed Leon Trotsky
6/4/20195 minutes, 34 seconds
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The rat that helped win the Cold War

In the first of a weeklong series of episodes about spies, subterfuge and intelligence, a look at how the CIA used dead rats to send secret messages in the former Soviet Union.Related episodesThe pistols that almost fell from the skyThat time the CIA stole a Russian submarineThe ax that killed Leon Trotsky
6/3/20197 minutes, 32 seconds
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The test that changed childbirth

In the 1950s, Dr. Virginia Apgar created a quick test that nurses have since performed on millions of babies just after birth. She is considered one of the most important figures in modern medicine — a world that almost pushed her away.
5/31/20196 minutes, 41 seconds
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Amid rising tension between the U.S. and Cuba, Hemingway's widow went on a literary rescue mission

When author Ernest Hemingway killed himself in 1961, the political strain between the United States and Cuba was escalating. In the midst of that struggle, Hemingway's widow scrambled to recover the author's work from his beloved home in Cuba.
5/30/20198 minutes, 29 seconds
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Frank Lloyd Wright tried to create a perfect house for an imperfect world

In 1939, an unknown copy editor from Washington, D.C., begged famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design his family a home. The result was a modern house that stood decades ahead of its time.
5/29/20199 minutes, 49 seconds
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Rising from ruin: The many rebuilds of Notre Dame

The world watched Notre Dame as it burned in April. But the cathedral has endured a lot in its 856 years.
5/28/20194 minutes, 50 seconds
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A debate that went into extra innings: Can baseballs curve?

Beginning in the earliest days of baseball, fans, journalists and even physicists disputed whether or not pitchers could make a ball curve.
5/24/20197 minutes, 14 seconds
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How food found its way into the freezer

While on a research trip to the Arctic in the early 20th century, scientist Clarence Birdseye — a name you might recognize from the frozen food aisle — made an observation that would go on to change the way we eat.
5/23/20195 minutes, 49 seconds
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The man who helped create the first measles vaccine didn’t vaccinate his own son

In the 1950s, millions of people suffered from measles every year. David Edmonston, an 11-year-old student, became the cure.
5/22/20195 minutes, 23 seconds
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Clara Barton, America's most famous nurse, broke boundaries to treat Civil War victims

The nurse who founded the American Red Cross had no formal training in medicine. She tended to countless wounded soldiers.
5/21/20196 minutes, 37 seconds
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Why Naval Academy students climb a greased up obelisk every year

Every year, freshmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis take part in an annual tradition where they must climb a 21 foot high obelisk covered in vegetable shortening and place a hat at the very top.
5/20/20194 minutes, 4 seconds
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The forgotten pioneers of the first American utopia

More than a decade ago, bestselling historian David McCullough stumbled upon an important name from the past that even he’d never come across before. What he discovered was the story of pioneering American idealists.
5/17/20195 minutes, 41 seconds
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The game show contestant who cheated his way to fame

In the 1950s, Charles Van Doren, a quiet professor in New York City, became wrapped up in one of the biggest television quiz show scandals in history.
5/16/20196 minutes, 16 seconds
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The unlikely beginning of paint-by-number

Paint-by-number was a national phenomenon. And then, the paint sets disappeared from the shelves.
5/15/20195 minutes, 27 seconds
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The jazz queen who chose home over fame

Jazz singer Ethel Ennis’s voice wowed audiences and won praise from critics. But when she was faced with the opportunity to become a superstar, Ennis chose a different path.
5/14/20196 minutes, 3 seconds
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The most difficult job Robert Mueller ever had

Serving as special counsel is probably only the third hardest job Robert Mueller has held. His life in public service started when he just 23 years old, as a Marine lieutenant in the Vietnam War.
5/13/20196 minutes, 12 seconds
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Anna Jarvis spent years fighting to create Mother's Day, then lost everything trying to protect it

Anna Jarvis would absolutely hate what Mother's Day has become.
5/10/20193 minutes, 21 seconds
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John Brown's prophecy

Abolitionist John Brown made a prophecy before he was executed.
5/9/20193 minutes, 45 seconds
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The books presidents read

People have long been fascinated by the books presidents choose to read. But how much do reading habits actually reveal about a president?
5/8/20194 minutes, 11 seconds
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The original Alcoholics Anonymous book was auctioned for millions, but its author was never paid

The original manuscript was auctioned off for $2.4 million to an NFL owner, after almost a year of legal wrangling.
5/7/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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The invention of sarin

Weevils, a voracious beetle found in fields and orchards, were the original target of sarin gas.
5/6/20193 minutes, 35 seconds
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May the Fourth be with you

Mark Hamill, the actor known for playing Luke Skywalker, shares stories from Star Wars history.
5/3/20195 minutes, 5 seconds
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Need a job? Ask Ulysses S. Grant.

While President Grant had an impressive resume on the battlefield, he was known to be a patsy when it came to helping job hunters. People used to walk right into the White House and ask the president to find them a job.
5/2/20193 minutes, 18 seconds
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Meet the Press

At the beginning of the television age, “Meet the Press” dented the dominance of newspapers and thrilled news junkies with the power of live broadcasting.
5/1/20193 minutes, 25 seconds
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The mother who made George Washington miserable

George and his mother had an unusual relationship for the 1700s.
4/30/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Sullivan brothers

Five brothers fought and died together on the same ship during World War II. Their final resting place was discovered in 2018.
4/29/20193 minutes, 41 seconds
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Elaine Brown, the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party

Elaine Brown's takeover in 1974 was a pivotal moment for a woman in the black power movement. Although women had been a dynamic force for social and racial justice, they had often been overshadowed by men.
4/26/20193 minutes, 34 seconds
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Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was once just for daughters

Mike is joined by a special guest to talk about how Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day began.
4/25/20192 minutes, 44 seconds
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These guys were college jocks, and then became presidents of the United States

We dug through The Washington Post's archives and consulted the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring you a rundown of the best presidential ballers.
4/24/20194 minutes, 2 seconds
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The truth is out there

Area 51's secrets may not be alien in nature, but that doesn't make it any less mysterious.
4/23/20194 minutes, 38 seconds
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One broadcast helped turn Americans against the Vietnam War

Walter Cronkite's calm but authoritative voice carried so much weight that in 1968 one single news report helped persuade the American public that we weren't winning the war in Vietnam.
4/22/20194 minutes, 45 seconds
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Egg Roll

One day a year, the White House grounds are turned over to kids for the Easter Egg Roll.
4/19/20193 minutes, 52 seconds
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Chillicothe, Missouri: The town that invented sliced bread

The town of Chillicothe, Missouri, discovered they have a surprising claim to history: the creation of sliced bread.
4/18/20193 minutes, 37 seconds
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The black power protest that shook the world

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, one of the most iconic moments of that chaotic year unfolded on television screens around the world.
4/17/20192 minutes, 57 seconds
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History's most fascinating misquote

The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.” Here’s why you think they did.
4/16/20193 minutes, 45 seconds
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Hate the IRS? Blame Abraham Lincoln.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln was in a financial bind. Also, he was in a war. To raise money, he pushed for and won passage of an income tax and, a year or so later, established the Internal Revenue Bureau to collect what was owed.
4/12/20193 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Mouth of the South

Martha Mitchell was the wife of President Nixon's attorney general. Nixon blamed Mitchell for Watergate.
4/12/20195 minutes, 54 seconds
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Hair peace. Bed peace.

On March 25, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were a few days into their marriage when they invited the press to join them at their honeymoon suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
4/11/20195 minutes, 54 seconds
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Queen Arawelo

Growing up in Somalia, a country where stories are handed down through generations, one of the first tales that children are told is about an ancient queen who fought to give women power by castrating men.
4/10/20196 minutes, 39 seconds
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The man who killed Bonnie and Clyde

It was April of 1934. The multi-state crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde came to an end in an ambush on a winding country road in Louisiana. The man who finally hunted them down was Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a legendary lawman from the Wild West.
4/9/20196 minutes, 58 seconds
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Ketamine in the mainstream

Once a party drug, ketamine has found its way into modern medicine.
4/5/20195 minutes, 56 seconds
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From handsaws to parades: D.C.’s cherry blossom trees weren’t always beloved

Over one million people attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival each year. But the cherry blossom trees, and Japanese culture, were not always embraced in the United States.
4/5/20196 minutes, 22 seconds
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The day before the Chernobyl disaster

Disasters don’t just happen. Like anything in life, there’s usually a buildup. In the case of the Chernobyl disaster, the series of failures stretched back more than a decade. But what happened the day before the explosion?
4/4/20196 minutes, 50 seconds
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Last Seen Ads

After the Civil War, formerly enslaved people placed notices in black-owned newspapers across the country to find their loved ones.
4/3/20196 minutes, 21 seconds
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Earthrise

On Christmas Eve in 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts captured an image that symbolizes hope and inspired environmentalism.
4/2/20194 minutes, 49 seconds
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George Taliaferro, the first black player drafted to the NFL

He thought being drafted into the National Football League was so unlikely that he signed with an African American league team. Then, the NFL called.
4/1/20195 minutes, 46 seconds
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The first 'Queen of the Air'

Four years before Amelia Earhart ever got into a plane, Ruth Law was already making a name for herself in the skies.
3/29/20195 minutes, 26 seconds
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A spy in the Confederate White House

During the American Civil War, a former slave smuggled secrets from the Confederate President to help the North to victory. Her name was Mary Bowser.
3/28/20196 minutes, 38 seconds
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The nurse who picked up a rifle

During World War I, British nurse Flora Sandes put down her nurses bag to fight with the Serbian Army.
3/27/20194 minutes, 16 seconds
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The 'Night Witches'

During World War II, around 80 Russian women took to the skies and risked their lives to fight against the Germans.
3/26/20194 minutes, 56 seconds
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The extraordinary life of Civil War veteran Albert Cashier

On August 6, 1862, a shy young man from Belvidere, Illinois, signed up to fight for the North in the Civil War. His name was Albert Cashier.
3/25/20197 minutes, 12 seconds
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The first black senator and America’s brief biracial democracy

Hiram Rhodes Revels came to the Senate after the Civil War in a shining moment of triumph — a black man taking over the seat once held by Jefferson Davis. It didn’t last.
3/22/20195 minutes, 49 seconds
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Why isn’t lynching illegal?

It is one of the worst expressions of racism in American history. And there’s no federal law to prevent it.
3/21/20196 minutes, 3 seconds
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Robert Morris, the creator of the subpoena

The history of subpoenas, and the fiery congressional hearings that have captivated Americans for centuries began with a Founding Father raising his hand to say, “Investigate me!”
3/20/20196 minutes, 5 seconds
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Judy Garland and the long history of 'Me Too' in Hollywood

Sexual harassment has been existed in showbiz as long as there have been bright lights.
3/19/20195 minutes, 1 second
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A rich piece of scandal

In the 19th century, publications both reputable and scandalous routinely blackmailed society figures caught in compromising circumstances.
3/18/20195 minutes, 44 seconds
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The godfather of bracketology

Some 50 million people are projected to fill out a March Madness bracket this year. As you finish filling out yours, you might want to tip your pencil and say thanks to the late and loud Staten Island bar owner Jody Haggerty.
3/15/20194 minutes, 6 seconds
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To ban a 'Mockingbird'

Harper Lee's classic novel has been causing controversy for as long as its been in print. Here's a look at the history of banning "To Kill a Mockingbird."
3/14/20194 minutes, 19 seconds
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The history of epic North Korean insults

North Korea has long been a superpower when it comes verbal attacks.
3/13/20193 minutes, 5 seconds
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Special delivery!

There’s one thing that you can’t have delivered anymore that was totally normal to send by mail in the early 1900s.
3/12/20192 minutes, 46 seconds
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Why Thurgood Marshall asked an ex-Klan member to help him make Supreme Court history

Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court, took the constitutional oath of office from Hugo Black, a white associate justice who had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
3/11/20193 minutes, 46 seconds
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The glass ceiling

In 1978, Marilyn Loden gave new meaning to an image women have fought for decades.
3/8/20193 minutes, 37 seconds
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The woman behind Lisa Ben

Edythe Eyde, also known by her pen name Lisa Ben, was a visionary who fought to make lesbians visible in pop culture decades before most others had the guts to do the same.
3/7/20194 minutes, 10 seconds
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The night America burned

The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history wasn’t in California.
3/6/20193 minutes, 51 seconds
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Was Mary Todd Lincoln a leaker?

President Abraham Lincoln had to worry about the first lady being a leaker, and it was quite a scandal.
3/5/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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The forbidden question

If the order for a nuclear attack is issued, the soldiers operating the launch machine have no choice but to fire. Or do they?
3/4/20193 minutes, 34 seconds
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The best birthday card ever

In 1926, the United States received a birthday card signed by 5.5 million Polish people.
3/1/20192 minutes, 52 seconds
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The houses built by slaves

Buildings that stand as symbols of American democracy - the White House, Mount Vernon and Monticello, to name a few - were erected with the labor of those who were not free.
2/28/20193 minutes, 13 seconds
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How are you, Grandmama?

A dog and a cadaver deserve credit for their contributions to the invention of the telephone.
2/27/20193 minutes, 47 seconds
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The crooked picture

Jesse James, the most famous outlaw in history, was eventually foiled by a picture hanging crooked on a wall.
2/26/20194 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Limping Lady

President Trump made history when he nominated a woman to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But while a woman leading the CIA was once unthinkable, female spies have made enormous, overlooked contributions in espionage.
2/25/20193 minutes, 42 seconds
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And the winner is...

Oscars night is probably the one moment around the world when people become really interested in envelopes.
2/22/20195 minutes, 9 seconds
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What hath God wrought?

The history of social media began in 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse sent a message from Washington to Baltimore. It said, "What hath God wrought?"
2/21/20194 minutes, 6 seconds
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The ice queen

Sonja Henie won three Olympic gold medals and 10 world championships, and turned her star power into as career as one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars. Meet figure skating's first megastar.
2/20/20194 minutes, 52 seconds
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The electric rivalry

To understand the gruesome history of the death penalty, it is essential to comprehend how badly Thomas Edison wanted to zap George Westinghouse.
2/19/20193 minutes, 47 seconds
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All the Presidents' Ghosts

Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.
2/18/20193 minutes, 38 seconds
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The spy plane

Historians and national security analysts have been re-examining one particular forgotten moment in the history of U.S. and North Korea conflict.
2/15/20194 minutes, 9 seconds
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Before the Lovings, another interracial couple fought to marry

The Kinneys married in Washington, D.C., in 1874. Then, they were arrested back home in Virginia for violating the state’s laws. They fought the ruling in higher and higher courts but never won the right to stay married in their home state.
2/14/20193 minutes, 50 seconds
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Dr. Spock

Dr. Spock - not the guy from Star Trek - was at one time America's most beloved pediatrician. A whole generation of children was raised on his medical advice. But not even his popularity could save him from being indicted by the federal government.
2/13/20194 minutes, 32 seconds
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The first female Marine

During World War I, the Marines Corps needed help on the home front while men were fighting overseas. Opha May Johnson was the first woman in line.
2/12/20193 minutes, 3 seconds
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Philadelphia's plumbing revolution: wood pipes

In 1812, Philadelphia was outfitted with the latest in plumbing technology - a network of wooden pipes to carry water throughout the city.
2/11/20193 minutes, 35 seconds
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Jim Crow and the rise of blackface

Back in the 1830s, Jim Crow wasn't yet a symbol of inequality. He was a fictional character in minstrel shows who, to entertain his audiences, performed in blackface.
2/8/20195 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Wicked Bible

A full year after the King James Bible was printed in 1631, people discovered an error.
2/7/20194 minutes, 27 seconds
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How the State of the Union went from speech to spectacle

The president's State of the Union started as a simple report on the condition on the nation; overtime, the address became a moment to rally Congress and the public.
2/6/20196 minutes
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Winifred Stanley, a forgotten equal pay pioneer

The woman who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress had to fight to be taken seriously — and often failed.
2/5/20193 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Soviet officer who stopped World War III

In 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, trusted his gut and averted a global nuclear catastrophe.
2/4/20194 minutes, 58 seconds
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How 'Broadway Joe' redefined the NFL

A few days before his team took the field as huge underdogs in Super Bowl III, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath made what was seen as an insane prediction at the time: "The Jets will win Sunday," he said. "I guarantee it."
2/1/20196 minutes, 15 seconds
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The godmother of the open office

If you work in an office without offices, with just about everyone working in a large spare space full of stylish desks, straight lines and papers stored in a credenza, then you have met Florence Knoll Bassett.
1/31/20195 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Confederate spy who evaded capture

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, John Surratt traveled across three continents, wore disguises and used fake names for nearly two years to escape authorities.
1/30/20197 minutes, 3 seconds
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The rise of supermarkets

If you’re like most Americans, you probably visit a grocery store once or twice a week. But you probably don’t know that one single grocery item is responsible for the rise of supermarkets as we know them.
1/29/20193 minutes, 34 seconds
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How the Doomsday Clock came to be

Over the past seven decades, the Doomsday Clock has served as a metaphorical measure of humankind’s proximity to global catastrophe. Every year, scientists and nuclear experts set the clock's time after grappling over the state of geopolitical affairs.
1/28/20194 minutes, 15 seconds
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Pinball’s sordid past

Pinball was once so vilified that it was banned in cities across the United States.
1/25/20195 minutes, 48 seconds
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The man inside the minds of a million consumers

In the 1950s, Lester Wunderman became the king of direct mail advertising — the ancestor of today’s online targeted ads.
1/24/20195 minutes, 29 seconds
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A history of hats in the House

In the early days of the House, some congresspeople thought hats had no place atop the heads of representatives debating the great issues of the day. Hats, they argued, weren’t dignified.
1/23/20195 minutes, 59 seconds
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The last person to set foot on the moon

When Eugene Cernan walked on the moon, he didn’t know he’d be the last astronaut to make the journey.
1/22/20194 minutes, 41 seconds
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How Martin Luther King Jr. got his name

The name on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth certificate was not Martin. Nor did the document include the middle name Luther.
1/21/20196 minutes, 23 seconds
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Tenure for life

When Alexander Hamilton argued in favor of lifetime tenures for Supreme Court justices, he probably didn’t foresee them living past their prime.
1/18/20196 minutes, 53 seconds
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The hatchet wielding leader of the anti-alcohol movement

More than a century ago, Carry Amelia Nation — hatchet in hand — chopped the country toward temperance.
1/17/20196 minutes, 11 seconds
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A bridge of ice at Niagara Falls

Once upon a time, people walked between the U.S. and Canada over a frozen Niagara Falls. But one day, that all changed forever.
1/16/20195 minutes, 8 seconds
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The only person Hitler loved

Adolf Hitler's mother may be the only person he genuinely cared for.
1/15/20194 minutes, 52 seconds
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A history of the U.S.-Mexico border

For decades, the boundary between Mexico and the United States was little more than an imaginary line in the sand.
1/14/20196 minutes, 44 seconds
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A presidential emergency that didn't end well

When a steel industry strike threatened military production during the Korean War, and Congress couldn’t come to an agreement, President Truman had a solution — declare a national emergency.
1/11/20196 minutes, 47 seconds
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How Lego took over the toy world

Lego started as a company that made wooden toys, and grew into an empire of plastic building blocks.
1/10/20196 minutes, 32 seconds
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The summer men rebelled against their shirts

It doesn't seem like a big deal today, but 1930s America lived in fear of the male nipple.
1/9/20195 minutes, 30 seconds
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The researcher whose rats predicted the Internet

John Calhoun’s rodent experiments revolutionized the way we think about social behavior and the impact of growing populations.
1/8/20196 minutes, 49 seconds
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One of the greatest astronomers of her generation

Nancy Grace Roman was one of NASA’s first female astronomers and was a key figure in the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.
1/7/20195 minutes, 55 seconds
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How one World War II veteran lived to be a centenarian

At 112-years-old, Richard Overton was the oldest living World War II veteran.
1/4/20195 minutes, 3 seconds
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A wooden mallet with a colorful history of being shattered

Throughout American history, speakers of the House have pounded their gavels so hard in search of order that they wind up smashing the gavel itself into smithereens.
1/3/20195 minutes, 37 seconds
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The rabble rouser who inspired Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Dorothy Kenyon was an early leader in the legal fight for women's rights.
1/2/20196 minutes, 33 seconds
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Mourning Bobby Kennedy

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, we look back on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
1/1/20196 minutes, 26 seconds
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The story of the real Charlotte of ‘Charlotte's Web’

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, an episode co-hosted by Madeline Daly, who won our Retropod trivia contest at the 2018 National Book Festival.
12/31/20186 minutes, 32 seconds
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The day Martin Luther King Jr. died

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, our episode marking the date Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, 50 years ago this April.
12/28/20187 minutes, 46 seconds
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Doughnuts, the most patriotic of the junk foods

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, doughnuts. They aren’t just delicious. They also helped America win a war.
12/27/20184 minutes, 1 second
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Ida B. Wells, the woman who never gave up

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, Ida B. Wells, who was an investigative journalist, an anti-lynching activist, a suffragette and a teacher.
12/26/20186 minutes, 39 seconds
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Big Bird and the genius inside

We're taking a little break over the holidays to look back on some of the best Retropod episodes from 2018. Today, the story of Caroll Spinney and his iconic character Big Bird.
12/25/20186 minutes, 43 seconds
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The military’s famous Santa Tracker began with a wrong number

In the 1950s, a child trying to call Santa Claus accidentally called NORAD and changed Christmas Eve forever.
12/24/20186 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Christmas Truce

During the first Christmas of World War I, a miracle took place all along the Europe’s Western Front.
12/21/20185 minutes, 47 seconds
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A piece of punctuation that failed to leave its mark

A new punctuation mark called the interrobang found its way onto some typewriters in the 1960s, but it never caught on.
12/20/20185 minutes, 48 seconds
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President Grant fired his own special prosecutor

In 1875, Ulysses S. Grant hired a special prosecutor to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. Furious with his findings, Grant had him fired.
12/19/20186 minutes, 28 seconds
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The first presidential press conference

Before 1913, the presidential press conference didn’t exist. But a president who liked reporters changed that.
12/18/20185 minutes, 22 seconds
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The astronomer who took gay rights to the Supreme Court

After being fired from his job for being gay, Frank Kameny took his battle for equality to the nation’s highest court.
12/17/20185 minutes, 42 seconds
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The policeman who arrested a president

After receiving complaints about carriages driving too fast, Washington D.C. policeman William H. West arrested a presidential speed demon.
12/14/20186 minutes, 16 seconds
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One of the ugliest speaker fights in congressional history

In 1859, the House went to war over Rep. John Sherman’s bid for leadership.
12/13/20184 minutes, 58 seconds
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The evangelist and convicted cat burglar who galvanized gay rights

In Houston, Ray Hill was a colossal character. He even adopted "citizen provocateur" as a formal title.
12/12/20185 minutes, 45 seconds
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In 1939, the 'American Hitler' took the stage at Madison Square Garden

Fritz Kuhn was the leader of the pro-Nazi group known as the German American Bund. He was a hero to his audience, and a scourge on the world to most others.
12/11/20185 minutes, 54 seconds
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The cranberry crisis that changed how we see our food

Weeks before Thanksgiving, 1959, cranberries were declared unsafe to eat. The race was on to save America’s favorite holiday side dish.
12/10/20186 minutes, 15 seconds
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The 'Toy King' who never aspired to the throne.

Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus had no idea how big the toy industry would become.
12/7/20186 minutes, 9 seconds
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America’s first black Catholic priest

Augustus Tolton’s miraculous life took him from slavery to the brink of sainthood.
12/6/20186 minutes, 17 seconds
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John Adams was eulogized before his son even knew he died

News traveled so slowly in 1826 that the former president was buried days before his son, sitting president John Quincy Adams, got word of his death.
12/5/20185 minutes, 59 seconds
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George H.W. Bush was a president and a prankster

Bush, who died last week, is being fondly remembered for his cool demeanor and a boundless sense of humor.
12/4/20186 minutes, 9 seconds
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The unlikely friendship between George H.W. Bush and Dana Carvey

George H.W. Bush had a lot of humility. So much that he developed a friendship with the comedian who impersonated him on SNL, Dana Carvey.
12/1/20185 minutes, 12 seconds
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William Howard Taft’s housekeeper kept track of his weight

White House maid Elizabeth Jaffray not only cleaned up after presidents, she had an amazing insight into their appetites.
11/30/20184 minutes, 39 seconds
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The National Christmas Tree

One of the grandest events the president presides over every year is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
11/29/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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The trials and tribulations of being a cat

Cats have endured some really mean stuff throughout history. Dogs should be thankful.
11/28/20182 minutes, 57 seconds
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Then they came for me

Martin Niemoller's simple and haunting words are often quoted in moments of intolerance. The story behind them is much more complicated.
11/27/20184 minutes, 32 seconds
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A brief history of presidents visiting troops in combat

Presidents throughout history have visited battlefields to better grasp conditions, reverse public doubt and signal that the country took war efforts seriously.
11/26/20185 minutes, 39 seconds
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Benjamin Franklin’s complicated relationship with turkeys

Benjamin Franklin, the most colorful of America's Founding Fathers, had a misunderstood, electrical and ultimately homicidal relationship with turkeys.
11/21/20185 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Green Book

In the 1930s, traveling the nation's highways while black was fraught with peril. One postal worker, Victor Green, wrote a guidebook for African Americans after he faced discrimination on a road trip.
11/20/20185 minutes, 1 second
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The origins of the Unknown Soldier

The story of how the anonymous soldier came to rest inside the famous tomb is almost as unknown as his identity.
11/19/20186 minutes, 8 seconds
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Mark Twain's complicated relationship with the typewriter

Mark Twain first laid eyes on a “newfangled typing machine,” as he called it, sometime in the early 1870s.
11/16/20185 minutes, 41 seconds
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Food stamps were born out of a surplus of food

The idea of food stamps was born out of a complicated paradox.
11/15/20186 minutes, 6 seconds
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William Rehnquist's proposal to Sandra Day O'Connor

Rehnquist proposed. O'Connor said no.
11/14/20185 minutes
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The first lady who couldn’t get her memoir published

Julia Grant didn't a have particularly good experience in the world of publishing. In fact, her memoir wasn’t even published in her lifetime.
11/13/20185 minutes, 27 seconds
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Joachim Ronneberg, the saboteur who crippled Nazi atomic bomb project

Ronneberg started speaking about his experience in history in recent years.
11/12/20185 minutes, 2 seconds
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America and warfare were never the same after World War I

Along with staggering death tolls, the "Great War" generated memorable literature, geopolitical upheaval, hope, disillusion, the Russian Revolution and the seeds of World War II.
11/9/20184 minutes, 55 seconds
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Wong Kim Ark's Supreme Court fight for birthright citizenship

In 1895, the United States tried to deny an American citizen entry to the country even though he was born on U.S. soil.
11/8/20186 minutes, 25 seconds
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How the Greeks once used a lottery system to select government officials

Some believed that a lottery was more democratic than a vote.
11/7/20185 minutes, 30 seconds
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The makings of an electoral heist

Gerrymandering became a real electoral cudgel with a project called REDMAP.
11/6/20186 minutes, 48 seconds
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Rahm Emanuel, Howard Dean and the midterm elections of 2006

Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had two different approaches to taking back the House of Representatives. Their feud wasn't pretty.
11/5/20185 minutes, 37 seconds
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Fall back, spring forward

Why, oh, why is daylight savings a thing? It's because for roughly two decades after World War II, no one had any clue what time it was.
11/2/20183 minutes
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Mary Ann Van Hoof and the Marian apparitions

Van Hoof said she also has seen George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc.
11/1/20186 minutes, 4 seconds
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Close encounters with the Capitol’s Demon Cat

From the mid-1800s to well into the 20th century, the Capitol’s Demon Cat was the top dog of Washington ghost stories.
10/31/20184 minutes, 22 seconds
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How Pittsburgh's Mister Rogers talked to children about tragedy

Mister Rogers’s approach to dealing with grief began with an American tragedy.
10/30/20186 minutes, 42 seconds
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New York's mad bomber

In 1956, New York City’s bomb squad used criminal profiling to catch a terrorist known as “The Mad Bomber.”
10/29/20187 minutes, 20 seconds
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The sword pulled from history

An 8-year-old found an ancient sword in a Swedish lake. Does that make her the queen?
10/26/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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A love supreme: Ruth Bader and Martin Ginsburg

She was short. He was tall. Her family wasn't well off. His was. She was a worrier. He had not a care in the world. If you looked up mismatch in the dictionary, Ruth Bader and Martin D. Ginsburg fit the definition perfectly.
10/25/20186 minutes, 6 seconds
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The unstoppable Fannie Lou Hamer

Civil rights crusader Fannie Lou Hamer rivaled Martin Luther King Jr. in her command of audiences.
10/24/20185 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Sultan of Swat wasn’t always known as a slugger

Before becoming a legendary big hitter, Babe Ruth was one of baseball’s best from the mound.
10/23/20184 minutes, 21 seconds
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Big Bird and the genius inside

Caroll Spinney and his iconic character were inseparable for almost 50 years.
10/22/20186 minutes, 3 seconds
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Woodrow Wilson's secret letters to another woman

Family and friends had known about the president’s intimate relationship with Mary Peck for years, but whispers about their involvement were growing.
10/19/20185 minutes, 55 seconds
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The metamorphosis of Jackie O

As Jacqueline Kennedy transitioned from wife-in-chief to widow-in-mourning, there was tension between whom she had been and whom she was allowed to become.
10/18/20186 minutes, 4 seconds
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The body of Emmett Till

Emmett Till’s mother opened his casket and sparked the civil rights movement.
10/17/20184 minutes, 3 seconds
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The photographer and the busboy

Photographer Boris Yaro shot the photo of Bobby Kennedy lying fatally wounded in the arms of Juan Romero, a busboy. The photo would haunt both of them.
10/16/20185 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Romanovs, Russia's 'odious' autocratic family

If you think your family is overrun with controlling lunatics, please meet the Romanovs.
10/15/20185 minutes, 55 seconds
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The gory origins of the Waterloo teeth

More than 50,000 soldiers died during the Battle of Waterloo, but their teeth lived on.
10/12/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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How the teddy bear was born

In the fall of 1902, a year into his presidency, President Teddy Roosevelt set off to Mississippi for a bear-hunting vacation. It ended differently than planned.
10/11/20184 minutes, 46 seconds
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The first black female White House reporter held the powerful accountable on civil rights

It was rare to be a woman or African American covering the White House in the 1940s. Alice Dunnigan was both.
10/10/20185 minutes, 9 seconds
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The teenage girl who caught a Nazi monster

In the fall of 1957, as the world was moving on from World War II and the extermination of 6 million Jews, Sylvia Hermann knocked on the door of a modest home in Buenos Aires.
10/9/20186 minutes, 6 seconds
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The complicated history of swimsuits and Miss America

The debate was always about more than swimsuits.
10/8/20185 minutes, 38 seconds
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The assassin who wore braids and killed Nazis

Freddie Oversteegen was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance, though with her long, dark hair in braids she looked at least two years younger.
10/5/20185 minutes, 15 seconds
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The surprising history of the 25th Amendment

The 25th Amendment passed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
10/4/20186 minutes, 19 seconds
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In the 1850s, navigating Ice Alley was deadly for ships

Despite warnings of icebergs, the John Rutledge set sail from Liverpool, England, to New York.
10/3/20185 minutes, 21 seconds
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America’s forgotten Iranian hostage

Nine months before the Iran hostage crisis, Kenneth Kraus was held hostage in Iran for eight days.
10/2/20184 minutes, 45 seconds
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The heroine of Lime Rock Lighthouse

Ida Lewis saved as many as 25 people during her service at the lighthouse. But her deeds have largely been forgotten.
10/1/20183 minutes, 59 seconds
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How accusations against Supreme Court nominees were once handled

In 1890, Henry Brown sailed through the confirmation process after being accused of shooting and killing someone in self defense.
9/28/20184 minutes, 26 seconds
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The man and the coconut that saved JFK

William Liebenow rescued John F. Kennedy from an island filled with coconuts.
9/27/20184 minutes, 35 seconds
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Rosie the Riveter isn’t who you think she is

An American in the 1940s would not recognize the woman from the “We Can Do It!” poster as Rosie the Riveter.
9/26/20184 minutes, 28 seconds
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The presidential pardon the country never forgot

When Gerald Ford took over the presidency after Richard Nixon’s resignation, he soon made a controversial choice: He pardoned Nixon.
9/25/20185 minutes, 21 seconds
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How Anita Hill’s testimony led to the "Year of the Woman"

No women served on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. The ugly Anita Hill hearings changed that.
9/24/20185 minutes, 53 seconds
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The thin-skinned president who made it illegal to criticize his office

The Alien and Sedition Acts passed under President John Adams led to the arrests of more than two dozen people.
9/21/20185 minutes, 7 seconds
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The photographer who helped end child labor in America

Lewis Hine posed as a Bible salesman or machinery photographer to expose the hardships of child labor.
9/20/20185 minutes, 23 seconds
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Only half of George Washington’s Supreme Court justices showed up on time

All of George Washington’s Supreme Court nominees were confirmed in only two days, but half of them didn't show up on time.
9/19/20185 minutes, 19 seconds
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Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s marriage survived prison but not freedom

Their 38-year marriage endured his incarceration and hers.
9/18/20184 minutes, 55 seconds
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The day the nation's capital welcomed the KKK

In 1925, 30,000 Klansmen descended on Washington, D.C. The city cheered their arrival.
9/17/20185 minutes, 2 seconds
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The search for the anonymous author of a 1996 political novel

Before an unnamed senior official in the Trump administration published the opinion piece, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration" in the New York Times, another mysterious anonymous author lit up Washington.
9/14/20185 minutes, 47 seconds
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The surprise hurricane that devastated the Florida Keys

In 1935, the Florida Keys ignored the threat of a looming hurricane. When the Category 5 storm made landfall, it left a wake of death and destruction.
9/13/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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How a solar eclipse made Albert Einstein famous

It may be hard to believe, but one single event rocketed Einstein to fame.
9/12/20184 minutes, 54 seconds
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The rookie pilot who was ready to give her life on Sept. 11

Heather Penney was among the first female combat pilots in the country. On Sept. 11, 2001, she got a mission: Bring down the fourth hijacked plane hurtling towards Washington.
9/11/20185 minutes, 8 seconds
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Abraham Lincoln says he owes everything to his ‘angel mother’ and ‘mama’

President Abraham Lincoln had two loving and supportive mothers in his lifetime. The second helped him cope with the tragic loss of the first.
9/10/20185 minutes, 27 seconds
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The story of the real Charlotte of ‘Charlotte's Web’

This episode is co-hosted by Madeline Daly, who won Retropod trivia last Saturday at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
9/7/20185 minutes, 50 seconds
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Roe v. Wade’s forgotten loser

Dallas prosecutor Henry Wade never intended to become a central figure in Supreme Court history.
9/6/20184 minutes, 46 seconds
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The French aviators who almost beat Charles Lindbergh

In 1927, the world watched as two French aviators attempted the world’s first transatlantic flight.
9/5/20184 minutes, 30 seconds
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The campus massacre before Kent State

The first mass police shooting on a U.S. college campus happened two years before the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University.
9/4/20185 minutes, 9 seconds
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The time the United States illegally deported 1 million Mexican Americans

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover started a program that would result in the illegal deportation of 1.8 million people to Mexico by the end of the 1930s. Of those people, 60 percent were U.S. citizens.
9/3/20185 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Quaker abolitionist who was disowned for condemning slave owners

Benjamin Lay wrote one of the first treatises against slavery in Colonial America, a time when many prosperous Pennsylvania Quakers were slave owners. But for speaking out, the Quakers disowned him.
8/31/20186 minutes, 48 seconds
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Ida B. Wells, the woman who never gave up

Ida B. Wells was an investigative journalist, an anti-lynching activist, a suffragette and a teacher.
8/30/20186 minutes, 17 seconds
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How a Supreme Court clerk changed the decision on Clay v. United States

Muhammad Ali was so close to going to jail for evading the draft. He has a Supreme Court clerk to thank for his freedom.
8/29/20186 minutes, 6 seconds
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Colonel Blood, the scoundrel who tried to steal Great Britain's crown jewels

Thomas Blood had somewhat of a shady past. According to Ireland’s History magazine, he had a reputation for espionage and conducting terrorist campaigns — though many of his plans were foiled just in time.
8/28/20183 minutes, 53 seconds
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Being a maverick almost stopped John McCain from becoming a public servant

At the Naval Academy, McCain was in a group called the “Bad Bunch” as he rebelled against his father’s expectations.
8/27/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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Paul Jennings, the former slave who disputed a legend from history

According to James Madison’s Virginia mansion Montpelier, Paul Jennings’ account reveals, “how the racial and gender hierarchies of the time complicate the way we understand roles in historic events.”
8/24/20184 minutes, 23 seconds
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What Operation Pied Piper taught us about family separations

Millions of British children were evacuated from London and other cities to escape the horrors of war. But the family separations seemed to impart long-term trauma that was in many cases as severe as if they had stayed behind and faced the bombs.
8/23/20185 minutes, 1 second
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Reagan's most historic speech took a few years to make an impact

When President Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” it was not seen as a historic moment. It took the actual fall of the wall to resurrect the speech and drill the quote into our consciousness.
8/22/20183 minutes, 40 seconds
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A president’s lions and the emoluments clause

The greatest emoluments-clause dilemma of the 1800s involved two lions.
8/21/20185 minutes, 15 seconds
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How Harry S. Truman went from being a racist to desegregating the military

When Harry Truman became president in 1945, Southern members of Congress were delighted. They thought he’d be sympathetic to segregationists. He proved them wrong.
8/20/20185 minutes, 52 seconds
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The long-lost 'Laws of Baseball'

On display in Washington, D.C. are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and another document that details a fundamental institution in American life: baseball.
8/17/20184 minutes, 32 seconds
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The congressman who shot a waiter

A hungry congressman didn’t get the breakfast he ordered. So he shot the waiter.
8/16/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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The time Truman met with Stalin and it went well

Back in 1941, a get-together that should have been fraught with uneasiness didn't turn out that way, which is surprising given the participants: President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.
8/15/20184 minutes, 50 seconds
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Meet Paul Manafort’s century-old forefather, who also liked fancy suits

Samuel Cutler Ward, also known as the “King of the Lobby,” is credited with shaping the craft of lobbying. And like lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, he also had some seriously expensive tastes.
8/14/20184 minutes, 52 seconds
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An aviation flop was a stamp collector’s dream and the U.S. Postal Service’s nightmare

A stamp collector’s discovery of the “Inverted Jenny” stamp created a headache for the U.S. Postal Service.
8/13/20184 minutes, 53 seconds
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How Mister Rogers talked to children and families about tragedy

Mister Rogers’s approach to dealing with tragedy began with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
8/10/20186 minutes, 28 seconds
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The storied past of Alderson federal women’s prison

The Alderson Federal Prison Camp has a history filled with powerful women who both pushed for the walls to be built there and served time within them.
8/9/20184 minutes, 13 seconds
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Rebels, turn out your dead!

During the American Revolution, more patriots died as prisoners of war in or around New York City than died in combat.
8/8/20184 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Saturday Night Massacre

The one night that changed President Nixon’s fate has stuck with us as a reminder of the limits of presidential power.
8/7/20184 minutes, 46 seconds
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The dark history of the pill

A group of poor women in Puerto Rico were the first test subjects for the birth control pill. Were they guinea pigs or pioneers?
8/6/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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Meet Yvonne Burke, the first congresswoman to give birth in office

Sixty years after Congress welcomed its first woman, it welcomed its first baby.
8/3/20183 minutes, 57 seconds
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The unlikely start of the Boy Scout movement

The Boy Scout movement began 110 years ago on a tiny island just off the southern coast of England.
8/2/20184 minutes, 37 seconds
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How the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds began

The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild family date all the way back to The Battle of Waterloo.
8/1/20184 minutes, 48 seconds
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The first campus shooting

A professor at The University of Virginia was fatally shot by a student in 1840.
7/31/20184 minutes, 15 seconds
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How God became part of the pledge

For over 50 years, the phrase “under God” was not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. One sermon changed that.
7/30/20184 minutes, 25 seconds
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How a textile shortage led to the invention of the bikini

This episode addresses the history of the bikini in, naturally, two parts.
7/27/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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The complicated story of Linda Brown and the fight for desegregated schools

Linda Brown and her father Oliver Brown are heroes of the civil rights movement. The backstory of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education is more complicated than what you learned in school.
7/26/20183 minutes, 58 seconds
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The time a senator won an Emmy for grilling witnesses at a hearing

In 1951, a televised Senate hearing caught America’s attention.
7/25/20184 minutes, 40 seconds
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The rainless flood that destroyed a city

It did not rain, at least not in Ellicott City, Md. That’s what made the 1868 flood so bizarre and unexpected.
7/24/20184 minutes, 41 seconds
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How a renovation made the Supreme Court a friendlier place

One simple change to how the Supreme Court bench was designed made a world of difference to how the justices communicated.
7/23/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Mountaintop

On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were protesting for their civil rights. It was there that King delivered his last speech.
7/20/20184 minutes, 48 seconds
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The most romantic day

From all over the country, couples rushed to Las Vegas to get married. The demand for quickie weddings was at a fever pitch. But it wasn't Cupid's arrow causing the frenzy. It was the Vietnam War.
7/19/20183 minutes, 52 seconds
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The night America burned

The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history wasn’t in California.
7/18/20184 minutes, 3 seconds
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All the presidents' ghosts

Whether you believe in this stuff or not, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history.
7/17/20183 minutes, 21 seconds
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Don't mess with Harriet Tubman

She was just 5 feet tall. There was once a $40,000 bounty on her head. She suffered seizures throughout her life. She never gave up. She never gave in.
7/16/20184 minutes, 46 seconds
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The epic bender that launched America

Washington and his fellow partiers racked up a bill of $15,000 in today’s currency celebrating the completion of the Constitution.
7/13/20183 minutes, 47 seconds
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A Supreme Court justice morally opposed abortion, but voted to legalize it

The justice who helped persuade a majority of the Supreme Court to legalize abortion found the practice unthinkable — personally, but not constitutionally.
7/12/20185 minutes, 36 seconds
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Eartha Kitt confronted the first lady and it nearly ruined her career

At a White House luncheon, actress Eartha Kitt would not let the president or the first lady avoid the issue of the Vietnam War. She paid a heavy price for her boldness.
7/11/20184 minutes, 56 seconds
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Oregon, America’s first and only state to begin as "whites-only"

Oregon’s original constitution banned black people from the state, and the law stayed in the constitution for well over 100 years.
7/10/20184 minutes, 53 seconds
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How Eleanor Roosevelt invented the modern idea of a first lady

Eleanor Roosevelt held news conferences just for female reporters. The men were not impressed.
7/9/20184 minutes, 23 seconds
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The time America invaded Britain

Spoiler: It did not go well.
7/6/20184 minutes, 16 seconds
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The teen who tied a Virginia election

In 1971, Stephen Burns was 18 years old and a newly minted voter. He was so jazzed to be a part of the Democratic process.
7/5/20183 minutes, 31 seconds
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Thomas Jefferson's last letter

Somehow, in the depths of his personal misery towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson had found his powerful way with words again.
7/4/20183 minutes, 15 seconds
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The U.S. government recruited black men to watch them die

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is a horrific piece of American history.
7/3/20184 minutes, 9 seconds
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The deaf men who helped NASA send humans to space

In a largely forgotten experiment, a group of students from Gallaudet University spent years helping NASA understand the mechanisms of motion sickness, and how to prevent it.
7/2/20183 minutes, 55 seconds
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That time we thought an asteroid might kill us all

In 1998, the world briefly panicked over an asteroid that seemed headed for a close call with Earth. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
6/29/20183 minutes, 22 seconds
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The femme fatale

For the past 100 years, Mata Hari has been revered as the quintessential glamorous spy. But the real Mata Hari was much more complicated.
6/28/20184 minutes, 5 seconds
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The first congresswoman’s vote

In April 1917, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, faced an agonizing choice. Should she, or should she not, vote for the United States to enter World War I?
6/27/20185 minutes, 2 seconds
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How Hollywood’s first major blockbuster revived the KKK

"The Birth of a Nation" depicted life after the Civil War in a way that glorified Klansmen. The film and its cultural impact led one man to conclude that the time was right to bring back the Klu Klux Klan.
6/26/20184 minutes, 35 seconds
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The first pride parade

The very first pride parade was held in 1964 and was a bit … calmer … than what we think of today.
6/25/20183 minutes, 28 seconds
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The oldest surviving banjo recording

Charles Asbury’s newly digitized songs serve as a time capsule to the music of the 19th century.
6/22/20185 minutes, 57 seconds
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The worst presidents

Besides President Trump, whom do scholars scorn the most?
6/21/20185 minutes, 2 seconds
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Doughnuts, the most patriotic of the junk foods

Doughnuts aren’t just delicious. They also helped America win a war.
6/20/20183 minutes, 18 seconds
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The first shark attacks

For most of American history, no one was scared of sharks. One week - and one shark - changed that.
6/19/20184 minutes, 20 seconds
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Between Lincoln and Washington, only one was a great poet

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two great presidents, had a lot in common: Both lost a parent as a child, both had a serious demeanor, and both dabbled with writing poetry. But only one was any good at poetry.
6/18/20184 minutes, 19 seconds
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This security guard discovered the Watergate break-in, but nobody remembers him

The man who called the police on the Watergate burglars never received the credit he deserved.
6/15/20183 minutes, 14 seconds
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Thomas Jefferson’s iftar dinner and the long history of Ramadan at the White House

In December 1805, a handful of prominent politicians receive invitations to join President Thomas Jefferson for a White House dinner. The occasion was the arrival of a Tunisian envoy to the U.S., Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, who was observing Ramadan.
6/14/20183 minutes, 11 seconds
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The biscuit tin

It’s World War II, and you’re King George VI of England. You fear a Nazi invasion of England could come at any moment. How do you protect the crown jewels? Not even Queen Elizabeth II knew how her dad did it - until recently.
6/13/20183 minutes, 21 seconds
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Before Loving, another interracial couple fought to marry

The Kinneys married in Washington, D.C. in 1874. Then, they were arrested back home in Virginia for violating the state’s laws. They fought the ruling in higher and higher courts, but never won the right to stay married in their home state.
6/12/20183 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Jedwabne massacre

The controversy around the murders of a Polish village's Jewish residents has centered on raw questions of complicity versus compulsion.
6/11/20183 minutes, 42 seconds
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Tennis's first goddess

Suzanne Lenglen was physically ferocious. Always fashionable. A disrupter of convention.
6/8/20183 minutes, 8 seconds
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The White House makeover

When the White House was built over 200 years ago, it lacked certain modern conveniences. They got added in a hodgepodge of improvements over the years.
6/7/20183 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Order of the Day

On the day before D-Day, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the troops that totally masked how nervous he actually was.
6/6/20184 minutes, 8 seconds
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The “temporary insanity” legal defense started with an affair

If you love gossip, and drama, and D.C. politics - this story is the gift that keeps on giving.
6/5/20184 minutes, 11 seconds
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History’s most fascinating misquote

The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.” Here’s why you think they did.
6/4/20183 minutes, 45 seconds
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Mourning Bobby Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy's death, which came just weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., shocked the nation, especially those who looked to him to continue the national discussion over racial inequality.
6/1/20185 minutes, 30 seconds
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The black power protest that shook the world

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, one of the most iconic moments of that chaotic year unfolded on television screens around the world.
5/31/20182 minutes, 57 seconds
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LBJ's political bombshell

By 1968, things were going badly for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Morale around the Vietnam War was sinking, and in Washington, political sharks were circling.
5/30/20185 minutes, 4 seconds
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One broadcast helped turn Americans against the Vietnam War

Walter Cronkite's reputation, his calm but authoritative voice, carried so much weight that in 1968 one single report helped persuade the American public that we weren’t winning the war in Vietnam.
5/29/20184 minutes, 45 seconds
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The performance that saved Johnny Cash's career

In a year of extraordinary, chaotic moments this was a hopeful one - a beat-up country music star recording an album live at a troubled maximum security prison in California.
5/28/20184 minutes, 52 seconds
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Publishers hated ‘A Wrinkle in Time,' and Madeleine L'Engle never forgot the rejections

'A Wrinkle in Time' author Madeleine L'Engle said she received 26 rejection letters from publishers.
5/25/20184 minutes, 4 seconds
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When Ronald Reagan visited a family targeted by the KKK

In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan wasn’t exactly known for his racial sensitivity. But when he read about a family whose house was targeted by the KKK, he and the First Lady flew out to comfort them.
5/24/20183 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Nazi stone

A mysterious stone memorial was found in 2006 in Washington, D.C. But who placed a memorial to Nazi spies on government property? And why?
5/23/20184 minutes, 20 seconds
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Elaine Brown, the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party

Elaine Brown's takeover in 1974 was a pivotal moment for a woman in the black power movement. Although women had been a dynamic force for social and racial justice, they had often been overshadowed by men.
5/22/20183 minutes, 34 seconds
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The man who filmed JFK's assassination

For many, memories of that devastating day quickly revert to that silent, flickering sequence captured by Abraham Zapruder. It is as chilling as it is familiar: the approaching convertible, the waves of a crowd about to lose its innocence.
5/21/20183 minutes, 16 seconds
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Princess Diana's final hours

When Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle are married this weekend, there will be one other royal on the world’s minds - Harry’s mother, the beloved Princess Diana.
5/18/20184 minutes, 1 second
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The enigmatic Prince Philip - separating fact from fiction

The British royal wedding puts all eyes on the Windsor family - this time, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But perhaps no royal is as controversial as Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip.
5/17/20184 minutes, 8 seconds
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Wallis Simpson, the last American divorcee who married a British royal

Another British royal wedding is coming up, so over the next few days, we'll explore a few moments from the history of royal marriages in Great Britain. Today, we meet Wallis Simpson, the last American divorcee to marry a British royal.
5/16/20183 minutes, 37 seconds
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The truth is out there

Area 51's secrets may not be alien in nature, but that doesn't make them any less mysterious.
5/15/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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John Brown's prophecy

Abolitionist John Brown wrote made a prophecy before he was executed.
5/14/20183 minutes, 45 seconds
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She spent years fighting to create Mother's Day, then lost everything trying to protect it

Anna Jarvis would absolutely hate what Mother's Day has become.
5/11/20183 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Sullivan brothers

Five brothers fought and died together on the same ship during World War II. Their final resting place was discovered earlier this year.
5/10/20183 minutes, 41 seconds
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Lee Harvey Oswald's final hours before killing Kennedy

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy devastated the nation. But the day before the shooting was just a normal day. It was particularly calm and uneventful for the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.
5/9/20183 minutes, 54 seconds
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To ban a "Mockingbird"

Harper Lee's classic novel has been causing controversy for as long as its been in print. Here's a look at the history of banning "To Kill a Mockingbird."
5/8/20184 minutes, 4 seconds
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The original Alcoholics Anonymous book was auctioned for millions, but its author was never paid

The original manuscript was auctioned off for $2.4 million this weekend to an NFL owner, after almost a year of legal wrangling.
5/7/20184 minutes, 30 seconds
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May the Fourth be with you

Mark Hamill himself shares stories from Star Wars history. You can hear the full interview with Hamill on the Cape Up podcast with Jonathan Capehart.
5/4/20185 minutes, 6 seconds
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The battle between Old Waddy and the press

Believe it or not, the relationship between politicians and the press has been worse. A lot worse.
5/3/20183 minutes, 15 seconds
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Were the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler friends?

Was the duke a Nazi sympathizer? Did he plot to dethrone his brother, King George VI? Did he really suggest more German bombing of Britain might end World War II?
5/2/20183 minutes, 59 seconds
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Need a job? Ask Ulysses S. Grant

Grant had an impressive resume on the battlefield, he was known to be a patsy when it came to helping job hunters. People used to walk right into the White House and ask the president to find them a job
5/1/20183 minutes, 18 seconds
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How the Doomsday Clock came to be

The Doomsday Clock was created not by a scientist, but by an artist.
4/30/20183 minutes, 53 seconds
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Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was once just for daughters

Mike is joined by a special guest to talk about how Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day began.
4/27/20182 minutes, 46 seconds
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These guys were college jocks - and then became Presidents of the United States

We dug through The Washington Post's archives and consulted the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring you a rundown of the best presidential ballers.
4/26/20184 minutes, 2 seconds
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The only person Hitler loved

Adolf Hitler's mother may be the only person he genuinely cared for.
4/25/20184 minutes, 37 seconds
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Philadelphia's plumbing revolution: wood pipes

In 1812, Philadelphia was outfitted with the latest in plumbing technology - a network of wooden pipes to carry water throughout the city.
4/24/20183 minutes, 8 seconds
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Chillicothe, Missouri, the town that invented sliced bread

The town of Chillicothe, Missouri, recently discovered they have a surprising claim to history: the creation of sliced bread.
4/23/20183 minutes, 37 seconds
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Barbara Bush’s remarkable commencement address

In 1990, students protested the choice of the first lady as their commencement speaker, calling it anti-feminist. Her speech silenced the critics.
4/20/20184 minutes, 10 seconds
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The day anti-Vietnam War protesters tried to levitate the Pentagon

In October 1967, antiwar protesters announced that they would march en masse to the front steps of the Pentagon. and levitate it. And then they would try to levitate it.
4/19/20183 minutes, 45 seconds
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The history of epic North Korean insults

North Korea has long been a superpower when it comes verbal attacks.
4/18/20182 minutes, 48 seconds
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Hate the IRS? Blame Abraham Lincoln.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln was in a financial bind. Also, he was in a war. To raise money, he pushed for and won passage of an income tax and, a year or so later, established the Internal Revenue Bureau to collect what was owed.
4/17/20183 minutes, 36 seconds
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The mother who made George Washington miserable

George and his mother had an unusual relationship for the 1700s, more like what you might see in a sitcom from the 1970s. She was indispensable to him, but intolerable.
4/16/20184 minutes, 30 seconds
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Why Thurgood Marshall asked an ex-Klan member to help him make Supreme Court history

Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court, took the constitutional oath of office from Hugo Black, a white associate justice who had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
4/13/20183 minutes, 31 seconds
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A letter from home

A German woman discovered that her childhood home was stolen from a Jewish family who fled Nazi Germany. Last year, she tracked down the address of one of the children, and wrote him a letter.
4/12/20183 minutes, 31 seconds
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Was Mary Todd Lincoln a leaker?

President Abraham Lincoln had to worry about the first lady being a leaker, and it was quite a scandal.
4/11/20184 minutes, 6 seconds
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Winifred Stanley, a forgotten equal pay pioneer

The woman who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress had to fight to be taken seriously -- and often failed.
4/10/20183 minutes, 28 seconds
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The invention of sarin

Weevils, a voracious beetle found in fields and orchards, were the original target of sarin gas.
4/9/20183 minutes, 35 seconds
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The spy plane

Over the past few months, historians and national security analysts have been re-examining one particular forgotten moment in the history of U.S. and North Korea conflict.
4/6/20184 minutes, 9 seconds
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The toughest job in politics

The most thankless job might be that of the White House press secretary. Just ask Ron Ziegler.
4/5/20182 minutes, 58 seconds
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The day Martin Luther King Jr. died

Fifty years ago today, the civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. Riots broke out across the country, but in Indianapolis, there was peace.
4/4/20187 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Mountaintop

On April 3, 1968, 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were protesting for their civil rights. It was there that King delivered his last speech.
4/3/20184 minutes, 21 seconds
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The books the presidents read

Throughout history, the reading of books has been a sort of armchair way measuring someone's intelligence. Here are stories of three former presidents at opposite ends of the reading spectrum. You can decide for yourself.
4/2/20184 minutes, 11 seconds
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Egg Roll

One day a year, the White House grounds are truly turned over to the people - well, the kids. That day is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and it began as the solution to a problem that Victorian children created.
3/30/20183 minutes, 52 seconds
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The girl who struck out Babe Ruth

One of baseball's most enduring mysteries surrounds a 17-year-old girl name Jackie Mitchell.
3/29/20183 minutes, 9 seconds
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The first daughters

Ivanka Trump might be the only first daughter in American history to score a West Wing office, but she’s not the first presidential daughter to wield power in the White House.
3/28/20184 minutes, 2 seconds
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Meet the Press