The infamous House Un-American Activities Committee, associated with the excesses of the Second Red Scare in the popular imagination, perhaps should have investigated one of its own members. Samuel Dickstein, a Democratic congressman from New York from 1923 to 1945, was well-known as a fierce interrogator of communists and especially fascists. His conduct during hearings was extreme even by the general standards of the Committee, … Continue reading Samuel Dickstein: Congressman, New York judge, HUAC Committee member… and Soviet spy
The early iterations of association football did not receive a warm welcome in medieval Britain. Continue reading Why British royals banned soccer
The French martyr of the Hundred Years’ War was not the fierce warrior most imagine today. Continue reading Joan of Arc never fought in battle
When asked which year was the worst in history to be alive, many historians are quick to mention 536 AD. It might seem surprising that these historians can pinpoint a specific year as a clear winner, considering how fraught human history is with suffering. Perhaps it is less surprising, however, when the events of 536 are described. Due to a heavy fog, many portions of … Continue reading Worst year to be alive? Try 536 AD, not 2020
Many people think so, at least to a limited extent. For many decades, the theory rested on the presence of sweet potatoes in Polynesia, a food that has its origins in the Americas. Recently, however, more concrete evidence of the interactions between Native Americans and Polynesians has emerged due to genetic testing. Polynesians in French Polynesia, for instance, carry DNA associated with Native Americans. Studies … Continue reading Did Native Americans settle Polynesia?
Numerous candidates for both the presidency and vice presidency have faced questions regarding their eligibility for the top job based upon the Constitutional requirements for the position, which require a president to be a “natural born citizen of the United States.” Most allegations tend to dissipate quickly, but one has stuck around for over 150 years. Chester Alan Arthur, the twenty-first President of the United … Continue reading Chester A. Arthur: The Canadian President?
Settling into retirement, the Founding Father lived off the profits of an entirely different Spirit of ’76. Continue reading George Washington, King of American whiskey
Classical Japanese swimming, also known as Nihon Eiho, is composed of several centuries-old aquatic activities, which include writing calligraphy while treading water and swimming in a 40-pound suit of armor. Continue reading The modern Japanese sport of samurai swimming
It is 1738, and the Catholic Church has just banned its members from partaking in freemasonry. How are freemasons in a region known for its love of secret societies to react? Against this backdrop, the Order of the Pug was formed. The Order of the Pug retained many of the conventions of masonry, but used a different name in order to skirt the Catholic Church’s … Continue reading The Order of the Pug: Meet Bavaria’s bizarre secret society
Both thespians, the Wilkes brothers played drastically different parts off-stage. Continue reading When the brother of John Wilkes Booth saved Lincoln’s son