1. Every dress worn to the Oscars by a Best Actress winner - a fantastic infographic from Mediarun Digital.


  2. theatlantic:

    How America Pays Taxes—In 10 Not-Entirely-Depressing Charts

    The appropriate thing to say about taxes on April 15 is that they’re absolutely terrible. And yes, sure, they are, in a way. Filling out taxes is miserable (especially considering the IRS could probably do it all for you), watching money leave your bank account stinks, and seeing the difference between your adjusted gross income and your take-home pay is depressing.

    But perhaps more than any other law, taxes are a keen reflection of what we value as a country. You know what you’re paying this year. Here’s some information about where your money’s going—and where it would go if you lived in Spain, or France … or in the U.S. 50 years ago.

    Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

    The Atlantic offers some context - and some history - for Tax Day. Listen to our show "Paying Up" for more on the history of taxes in America.


  3. Ready for ‪#‎TaxDay‬ tomorrow? Or need a soundtrack for some last-minute filing? Take a listen to our show on the history of taxation!

    Image: “An Emblem of the Effects of the STAMP,” Pennsylvania Journal, October 1764 (from the New York Public Library, via Wikimedia Commons).


  4. To mark the beginning of baseball season, Steven Goldman over at SBNation has put together the definitive guide to understanding American history - through presidential first pitches! This post looks at 1910-1945, covering Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and FDR, and we’ve got to say, the pitches alone seem like a pretty good window on presidential style! Also, is it just us, or is there a zombie in the front row at Taft’s game?


  5. As mentioned in our post yesterday, a young lady’s lament for her late pet squirrel, “Phil.” A tragic tale for #SquirrelWeek!

    Read the full text on our blogImage from the Virginia Gazette, December 15th, 1768.


  6. In 18th Century America, the humble squirrel was a desirable (and fashionable) pet! One young woman in Virginia was so distraught at the loss of her squirrel that she composed a poem for the Virginia Gazette (December 15th, 1768):

    Relentless tyrant! Who could kill
    A thing so pretty as my PHIL,
    A thing so sprightly and so queer,
    The pet I lov’d so very dear,
    To rob me of the pretty elf,
    I wish that he had dy’d himself

    Where now, enraptur’d, shall I see,
    My PHILLY skip from tree to tree!
    Caper and gambol in the air
    Suspended from the earth as far
    As where the topmost shoot makes out,
    There frisk, and dance, and turn about!
    Then chatter at me (saucy thing)
    And be so haughty as a King!

    And though I sooth’d, and might entreat,
    He’d pluck his acorns, sit and eat,
    E’er he would to my arms retreat.
    Then did I stroke him, scratch his head,
    And in my bosom made his bed;
    For my affection was and still
    Is all engrossed by charming PHILL;

    For him I mourn, for him I cry,
    For him alone I daily sigh;
    For him I’ve lost each night’s repose,
    Nothing enjoying but my woes.
    Oh could my squirrel but survive,
    Ecstatick pleasure me ‘twould give;

    But he is gone ! ne’er to return!
    And useless ‘tis to sigh and mourn.
    I’ll therefore seek another pet,
    A husband I may surely get…

    So celebrate Squirrel Week with more on the pet squirrels of early America, from our interview with historian Sarah Hand Meacham: 

    Image: Portrait of Deborah Hall (and squirrel), by William Williams (1766), from the Brooklyn Museum.


  7. congressarchives:

    The committee appointed to report on the rules and orders of proceedings of the House on April 2, 1789 issued its first report on April 7. The report included duties of the Speaker of the House, rules of decorum and debate, rules for bills, and rules for the Committee of the Whole House. The House adopted the rules with little debate.

    House Journal Showing the Rules for the House, 4/7/1789, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (NAID 115130)


  8. At the turn of the 20th Century, the once massive western herds of bison had been decimated by hunting. While the bison were ultimately saved from extinction by concerted conservation efforts, other species native the United States - like the passenger pigeon - weren’t so lucky. We’re exploring extinction in American history on an upcoming show - asking how we’ve contributed to the demise of various species, and how their disappearance has affected American life. We’d love to get your thoughts as we work on this show.

    Image: “The far west - shooting buffalo on the line of the Kansas-Pacific Railroad,” in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 32 No. 818 (June 3rd, 1871), from the Library of Congress.


  9. obitoftheday:


    Obit of the Day (Historical): Jesse James (1882)

    One hundred forty years ago on April 3, 1882 Robert Ford, a member of Jesse James’ gang and living in James’ house, came up behind the famed outlaw and shot him in the head. Ford had hoped to claim the reward for James’ capture. 

    Jesse and his brother, Frank, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War as members of “Quantrill’s Raiders” a group of guerilla fighters who gained a reputation for killing unarmed soldiers and abolitionists. After the war there were rumors of the James’ getting involved in various bank robberies- which often involved the murder of one or more people - throughout their home state of Missouri, but no confirmation.

    The first robbery that Jesse James was confirmed to have taken part in occurred in 1869 when he and another man (presumably Frank) robbed the Daviess County Savings Bank in Gallatin, Missouri. James shot a teller for killing James’ former commander, “Bloody” Bill Anderson, during the war. Tragically, it was a case of mistaken identity and James shot an innocent man.

    The James brothers, along with the Younger brothers (John, Jim, Bob, and Clell), would rob stagecoaches and banks throughout the Midwest untilt he mid-1870s. In 1874, the Pinkerton Detective Agency was hired to find the James-Younger gang, instead the Pinkertons, led by founder Allen Pinkerton, so bungled the case (including the attempted arson of the James’ home - which killed a half-brother and took off Jesse’s mother’s arm) that the James brothers actually gained sympathy. (It also helped that the editor of the Kansas City Star, had an agreement with James to report the James-Younger gang as modern day “Robin Hoods” in exchange for the exclusive stories.)

    The James-Younger gang came to a crashing halt though with failed robbery attempt in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. Jesse was not there, but the Younger brothers, who were drunk, lost two men and killed two other innocent bystanders. Eventually the state authorities hunted down and arrested the Youngers while the James’ escaped into hiding.

    By 1882, the James’ were done with robbery but still wanted for various crimes in Missouri. Robert “Bob” Ford was more interested in money ($5000 for the capture of Jesse) than loyalty. After Ford killed Jesse he wired the governor of Missouri for his reward. Instead Ford, and his brother Charley, were arrested, charged and found guilty of murder but the governor pardoned the brothers…who also received a share of the bounty. Missourians were outraged.

    James was only 35.

    Random note: Bob Ford would open a saloon in Colorado. In 1892, Edward Kelley walked into the saloon, said “Hello, Bob,” and shot Ford in the throat. Kelley was sentenced to life in prison, having his death sentence commuted because of a petition signed by those who still hated Ford. Kelley was pardoned in 1902.

    Random note 2: Jesse James’ son, Jesse James, Jr., would become a lawyer.

    Random note 3: Jesse James’ last grandchild died in December 1991. She never knew her grandfather but knew her uncle, Frank.

    Additional sources: thepioneerwoman.com, geneaology.com

    (The image, above, is a stereoscope of Jesse James’ body on display. The other men are unidentified. The image is courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

    Reblogged from 2012.

    (Source: Wikipedia)


  10. A perfect day to take a listen to our history of money show!



    With the passage of the Coinage Act by Congress on April 2, 1792, the U.S. Mint was established and they began regulating coinage of the United States.

    Photograph of eight San Francisco Mint employees in the basement area with gold ingots