Presidential Pardon

Even if you didn’t have the day off work, the onslaught of mattress sale commercials should have reminded you that this past Monday was Presidents’ Day. Along with National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, it’s a busy month. In honor of the holiday, let’s explore a footnote in the administration of one of our more Read More

You’ve Got Mail

Hope your National Thank a Mail Carrier Day celebrations were first class! If you didn’t know this was a thing, perhaps your invitation was lost in the mail. In honor of this underrated holiday, I have for your reading pleasure an anecdote about a dead—that is to say, undeliverable—letter belonging to Henry Ward Beecher. If Read More

The Twin with the Nine Toes: Part Two

Welcome back! Pull up a chair, and if you’re reading in a region as cold as the one I’m writing in, settle in by a warm fire with a piping hot drink. And I do mean settle in—it’s a long one. When we last heard from Alfred Oliver in Part One, it was February of Read More

The Twin with the Nine Toes: Part One

Upon seeing the front page of the Day Book on the morning of February 23, 1914, Chicago readers could have been forgiven for rubbing their eyes and wondering if they were still dreaming. They weren’t the only ones who might have reached for a cup of coffee to jolt themselves awake. A real-life Comedy of Read More

A Guide to Healthy Eating

If your holiday festivities were anything like mine, they were filled with delicious meals and celebratory drinks, quickly followed by a painfully tight belt buckle and a fervent promise to eat better next year. But before we resolve in 2019 to say goodbye to snacks, sweets and other indulgences, the early 20th century press has Read More

Dear Santa

The holiday season is upon us—and has been upon us since before you unwrapped your first piece of Halloween candy—which means that Santa Claus and kids all over the world are making their lists and checking them twice. The children of yesteryear were no less excited about Santa’s arrival than their modern-day counterparts, although their Read More

Insults from Ipswich

These days, everyone from presidents and celebrities to CEOs and your cousin’s girlfriend’s ex-best friend can—and often do—trade barbs over social media in full view of their fans and detractors. However, my newly discovered favorite gossip rag shows that publicly airing grievances, dirty laundry and other entertaining unpleasantness isn’t a 21st century fad but rather Read More

Missing Person’s Report

More than 100 years ago, a young woman disappeared under mysterious circumstances. However, the police can’t help solve this cold case. If you’re an historian who sits in front of your television night after night watching reruns of “Law & Order: SVU,” dust off your archival gloves and put on your “Rocky” soundtrack because this Read More

‘Til Death Do Us Part

Much has been written about the divorce rate in the Western world, and psychologists and nosy relatives alike have spent many hours pondering its causes. Although science tells us criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling are the most reliable harbingers of a relationship’s end, not all doomed marriages die of natural causes. In fact, if the Read More

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