Boston Harbor Islands Among 11 Most Endangered Places in U.S.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation today named the Boston Harbor Islands among the 11 most endangered historic places in the U.S. As I write about in my book The Boston Harbor Islands: Discovering the City’s Hidden Shores, these 34 islands have had a front-row seat to some of the seminal moments in American history:…

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How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War

Nearly 150 years before the advent of texts, tweets and e-mail, President Abraham Lincoln became the first “wired president” by embracing the original electronic messaging technology—the telegraph. The 16th president may be remembered for his soaring oratory that stirred the Union, but the nearly 1,000 bite-sized telegrams that he wrote during his presidency helped win…

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When Mexico and France Went to War Over Baked Goods

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Contrary to what many people think, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s September 16) or even a public holiday in Mexico. Instead, it marks Mexico’s May 5, 1862, victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Cinco de Mayo is a reminder that France…

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March 2020 Issue of The Throwback

Did you know that the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t Irish? Indeed, St. Patrick grew up in present-day Wales and was kidnapped int o slavery in Ireland. At least, that’s St. Patrick’s version of the story that he penned in his short autobiography, the Confessio. One historian, however, says that it’s more likely that St.…

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Ulysses S. Grant’s Greatest Battle

Engaged in a furious race against time as cancer attacked his body, Ulysses S. Grant wrote his memoirs with military efficiency, churning out as many as 10,000 words in a single day. (Take it from me–that’s an insane level of output.) Grant was desperate to finish his memoirs, which Mark Twain would publish, before dying…

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Why You Have Teddy Roosevelt to Thank for the Super Bowl

In this month’s edition of The Throwback history e-newsletter, find out why you have Teddy Roosevelt to thank for the Super Bowl, test your history knowledge, watch historians discuss contested presidential elections, and learn about a book that chronicles the epic futility of the early years of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Click here to read.

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Has a president ever skipped a successor’s inauguration?

Donald Trump is not the first American president to fail to attend the formal swearing-in of a successor. In 1801, there was no tradition for a president who lost re-election appearing at the inauguration of the winner. And John Adams wasn’t about to set it. Adams, the second president of the United States, departed the…

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November 2020 Issue of the Throwback

Did you know that the Pilgrims’ intended destination was not Massachusetts but the mouth of the Hudson River? Just imagine how American history might have differed if the pious Pilgrims had been the first Europeans to colonize Manhattan instead of the Dutch merchants who arrived in 1624. Would New York City have ever become the…

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October 2020 Issue of the Throwback

The October issue of The Throwback, my monthly history-themed e-newsletter, takes a look back at the last time the U.S. government fast-tracked a vaccine development during an election year, one writer’s exploration of statues in the public square, a podcast about New York City, and a PBS documentary on women’s suffrage. Click here to find…

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