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American History

“My dear Stanford…” Letters from Tesla at the New York Public Library

Here’s a little inside look on some of the fun stuff that we sometimes get to do while researching a podcast: Tom headed over to the New York Public Library while researching our show on Nikola Tesla and got the opportunity to looking into the library’s rich trove of original documents from the Manuscripts and […]

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American History

Life in New York City 1935-1945: Heavenly images from Yale University

Yale University has sprung a beautiful present onto the Internet — a searchable database of over 170,000 public-domain photographs created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information, documenting the aftermath of America of the Great Depression and World War II. The photos, dating from between the years 1935 to 1945, include of […]

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American History

Remembering the Wall Street bombing of 1920

Lunchtime down on Wall Street today is chaotic mess of brokers and bankers on cell phones, tour groups, messengers on bikes, police, construction workers, people delivering lunch and the stray old lady walking her dog. Ninety-five years ago today, in 1920, it would have practically been the same, sans the cell phones. So it’s particularly disturbing […]

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American History

Blackout! One ugly night in 1977

REVIEW The evening of July 13, 1977, will be remembered as one of the worst in New York City history, a catastrophic electrical blackout that plunged an already-weakened city into terrifying anarchy. Meanwhile, up on the top floors of the World Trade Center, they were having a party. The thrilling new documentary Blackout — making its […]

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American History

Terror Spree: Harvard professor bombs U.S. Capitol, shoots JP Morgan

In the early days of July 1915, the United States was preparing for a subdued celebration of America’s 139th Independence Day.  It was hardly a festive time. War was still raging in Europe, and America was debating its entry on the side of Britain, Italy and France. The deaths of 128 Americans aboard the RMS Lusitania on May 7 […]

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American History

New York’s Poignant Memorial to Lincoln’s Death Is In A Very Odd Place

Abraham Lincoln died 150 years ago today in a Washington DC rowhouse, shot and killed by the actor John Wilkes Booth while the president was attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater the previous evening. The news hit the North as some sort of horrible dream.  Confederate general Robert E Lee had just surrendered […]

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American History

History in the Making 4/9: The Appomattox Surrender Edition

“PEACE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SO DISTANT”: One hundred and fifty years ago today,  Robert E Lee surrendered the Virginia army to Ulysses S. Grant. This ended the American Civil War, more or less. It took several days for the news to get around of course. The last recognized battle of the Civil War […]

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American History

“Right Makes Might”: The Cooper Union Speech 1860

The announcement that Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, would deliver an address in Cooper Institute, last evening, drew thither a large and enthusiastic assemblage. — New York Times, February 28, 1860 One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, a novice politician named Abraham Lincoln took to the stage at Cooper Institute (Cooper Union) and gave […]

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American History

History In The Making 8/19: White House Down Edition

Above: An engraving the gutted Capitol building by William Strickland (LOC) Two hundred years ago this week (on August 24, 1814), the British invaded Washington DC and torched not just the White House, but a great many other government buildings. “Of the Senate house, the President’s palace, the barracks, the dockyard, etc., nothing could be […]

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American History Wartime New York

It’s the 150th anniversary of the 1863 Civil War Draft Riots. Why should we care?

Police try to restore order in front of the New York Tribune building, a pro-Lincoln publication being attacked by rioters. Why are there no permanent remembrances of any significant kind in New York City to the Civil War Draft Riots?   It was the most grave, the most tumultuous event in New York City history […]

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American History Wartime New York

Calm before the storm: Saturday before the Draft Riots, an ominous silence before New York’s most violent days

   A list of the nine draft offices where lotteries would occur that Monday, July 13th. It would have already begun in Jamaica and at the Ninth District Office that Saturday. One hundred and fifty years ago today, on July 11, 1863, the first round of lotteries to select able-bodied men for conscription into the Union Army […]

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American History

Queen Elizabeth visits New York City

What do you buy a queen on her Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years on the British throne? Well, most royal figures are quite difficult to buy for, but luckily, Queen Elizabeth has already revealed her preference in local department stores. For back in 1976, the woman who never goes shopping found herself one late afternoon […]

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American History

Doctor Alice, the Saks heiress, and the accidental nanny: Fascinating New York women who survived the TItanic

The Waiting Game: Down at the White Star Line’s Broadway offices near Bowling Green, anxious New Yorkers line the streets waiting for news about the sunken vessel. 1912 Over fifteen hundred people died the night the Titanic sank, April 14-15, 1912. The early reports from the New York newspapers, of course, spent their time mourning […]

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American History

Fiasco! New York’s first Republican presidential primary

One hundred years ago yesterday, New York hosted its first-ever Republican presidential primary. Not only was it an organizational failure of epic proportions, but the results handed a stunning and rare defeat to one of New York’s most iconic politicians. Making the 1912 primary a unique contest was that it was between two presidents — the […]

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American History

As Garfield fights for life, Arthur lays low in Murray Hill

There are several enemies in Candice Millard‘s ‘Destiny of the Republic‘, the terrific narrative history of the assassination of President James Garfield during the summer of 1881. The most obvious foe is the delusional Charles Guiteau, who believed himself the nation’s savior when he shot President Garfield twice at a Washington DC train station on […]