Category Archives: american history

A boxing legend but a towering American cultural figure, Muhammad Ali lived a life beyond adjectives, indeed beyond superlatives, and that’s just what he set out to do. Tributes to the Greatest have filled the Internet since we heard word … Continue reading

The Stone Age had its cavepeople and thyroidal mammals, the Bronze Age its Hoplites and long poems, the Iron Age its hillforts and bog mummies. The Steel Age seldom gets its due. Oh, it overlaps with the Iron Age, there … Continue reading

Olympic advertising is in full swing. It is a good time to recall that, not long ago, an Olympic year meant far more than corporate tie-ins and moody video of winsome young athletes. The Olympic Games meant war, albeit by other means, … Continue reading

Fleeing debt, John Deere made his way from Vermont to Illinois with a dream: to earn big money making tools. The blacksmith settled in the charmingly-named Grand Detour, Illinois, and he soon lived up that town’s name by eventually turning … Continue reading

Camille Bégin is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She answered some questions about her book Taste of the Nation: The New Deal Search for America’s Food. Q: What … Continue reading

On May 13, 1905, the War of 1812 passed finally out of memory, for Hirum Cronk, the last surviving veteran of that still-misunderstood conflict, died in Ava, New York, aged 105. The career shoemaker stood in defense of Sackets Harbor, New York, in 1814. … Continue reading

On May 4, 1927, balloonist Hawthorne C. Gray, a captain in the Army Air Corps, reached new heights in human endeavor. Literally. Taking off from Scott Field near Belleville, Gray ascended to 42,270 feet in a silk, rubberized, aluminum-coated balloon. … Continue reading

Sensing Chicago: Noisemakers, Strikebreakers, and Muckrakers by Adam Mack has been given an award for Superior Achievement by the Illinois State Historical Society. The awards committee noted, “This scholarly book offers a fresh look at the dynamics between the working … Continue reading

For a boring sport, baseball sure produces a lot of interesting writing. Maybe because writers have a lot of time to think, take notes, nap, and so on waiting for something to happen during a game. And then when something … Continue reading

“My family is American, and has been for generations, in all its branches, direct and collateral.” April 27 marks the 194th anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, victor of the Civil War and somewhat unsuccessful president of the … Continue reading