Articles From This Author
Who Is Cupid?
The mention of Cupid typically conjures up images of a cherubic infant wielding a bow and arrow, but this wasn’t always the case. Long before the Romans adopted and renamed him—and way before his association with Valentine's Day—Cupid was known to the Greeks as Eros, the handsome ...read more
How long was the Hundred Years’ War?
The series of intermittent conflicts between France and England that took place during the 14th and 15th centuries wasn’t classified as the “Hundred Years’ War” until 1823. Traditionally, the war is said to have begun in 1337 when Philip VI attempted to reclaim Guyenne (part of ...read more
Was there a real Mother Goose?
If you’ve ever visited the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston, Massachusetts, you may have stumbled upon the tombstone of Mary Goose, a woman believed by some to be the infamous author of countless cherished nursery rhymes: Mother Goose. Visitors toss coins at her tombstone, ...read more
5 Things You May Not Know About Nostradamus
1. Nostradamus was expelled from medical school. Nostradamus enrolled in the University of Avignon in 1519 at the age of 15, but was forced to leave a year later when the town was stricken by plague and the university closed its doors. He subsequently spent eight years traveling ...read more
Who were the Molly Maguires?
In the latter half of the 19th century, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, was an area rife with violence. Between 1861 and 1875, a series of violent assaults, arsons and murders was blamed on a secret society of Irish immigrants known as the Molly Maguires. The group had ...read more
What does it mean to call someone a “Benedict Arnold”?
Shortly after the Revolutionary War broke out in April of 1775, Benedict Arnold set out as captain of the Connecticut Militia Company to join the Continental Army in Massachusetts. Together with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York ...read more
Who created the first alphabet?
Before the alphabet was invented, early writing systems had been based on pictographic symbols known as hieroglyphics, or on cuneiform wedges, produced by pressing a stylus into soft clay. Because these methods required a plethora of symbols to identify each and every word, ...read more
Thomas Jefferson: America’s Pioneering Gourmand
Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, appropriator of the Louisiana Purchase, gastronome…? Of the numerous extraordinary contributions Thomas Jefferson made to the United States of America, one that is often overlooked ...read more
Did Betsy Ross really make the first American flag?
Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross is famous for making the first American flag. But is the account of her contribution to the American Revolution simply a legend? Although she purportedly sewed the first flag in 1776, Ross wasn’t credited with this work during her lifetime. In fact, her ...read more
What Was Operation Paperclip?
As World War II was entering its final stages, American and British organizations teamed up to scour occupied Germany for as much military, scientific and technological development research as they could uncover. Trailing behind Allied combat troops, groups such as the Combined ...read more
Six Times M&Ms Made History
M&Ms were first released in 1941, and since then have had an oversized impact on American popular culture. From their beginnings as snacks for World War II soldiers, to their time aboard both the first and last NASA space missions, here are some of the highlights in their long ...read more
America’s Patriotic Victory Gardens
During World War I, a severe food crisis emerged in Europe as agricultural workers were recruited into military service and farms were transformed into battlefields. As a result, the burden of feeding millions of starving people fell to the United States. In March of 1917¬—just ...read more
Food Rationing in Wartime America
World War I Following nearly three years of intense combat since the onset of World War I, America’s allies in Europe were facing starvation. Farms had either been transformed into battlefields or had been left to languish as agricultural workers were forced into warfare, and ...read more
Who invented the elevator?
Although elevators may seem like a modern invention, devices used to transport people or goods vertically have been around for thousands of years. According to the writings of Vitruvius, the Greek mathematician Archimedes created a primitive elevator in 236 B.C. that was operated ...read more
Was the Oregon Trail a Real Trail?
Even before Oregon Country—the disputed area claimed in the early 1800s by both Great Britain and the United States—was officially claimed by Congress as a United States territory in 1846, pioneers had been traveling west to explore its bounty. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark ...read more
Why do actors avoid the word “Macbeth”?
If you’ve ever had a career in the arts, or know someone who has, you are likely aware that saying the word “Macbeth” inside a theatre is strictly taboo unless one is rehearsing or in the midst of performing Shakespeare’s dark tragedy. Doing so is almost universally believed to ...read more