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 a 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 Santa Claus and kids all over the world are making their lists and checking them twice. The children of yesteryear were no less excited than their modern-day counterparts about a stranger breaking into their 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

Five Tips for Getting Your Fan Letter to the Top of the Pile

Fan mail has been around as long as the postal system itself, and as celebrities of any era could tell you, admirers aren’t shy about making their opinions known. Thanks to developments in technology and communication, it’s easier than ever to reach out to those in the public eye. But given the volume of fan Read More

A History of Manspreading

Odds are, those of you who frequently ride public transportation have at some point been the perpetrator or victim of manspreading. The practice of taking up more than one seat by sitting with your legs wide apart has been the subject of fierce public debate, spurring poster campaigns in New York City and Seattle and Read More

A Cinderella Story

No, not that Cinderella story. If you’re here for an insightful analysis of the teen flick starring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, you’re most welcome but likely to be disappointed. However, if you can forgive the lack of teen angst, read on. Today’s fairy tale comes to us from a 1911 newspaper blurb. Our Read More

How to Pull Off the Greatest Practical Joke Ever in Four Easy Steps

Step 1: Infiltrate the West Virginia State Poultry Association’s chicken show. For the uninitiated, this is a big deal. The annual exhibit brings together “the best of the blue blooded aristocracy of the barnyard” and awards prizes “worth shipping stock a considerable distance to compete for.” With a sales pitch like that, I’m crushed I Read More

A New Page

On January 12, 1912, Abner and Mary Hammond stepped off a ferry in San Francisco and did what courageous people have done since the dawn of time: They left their old lives behind in search of a fresh start. It wasn’t a unique story. What made them notable, according to the newspapers that covered their Read More

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