Category Archives: Historical

What is the Slave Narrative Collection?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — George Santayana During the Great Depression, the Federal Government instituted a number of programs to provide employment and boost the economy. Perhaps best remembered were the public-works projects like building roads, dams, and bridges that created desperately-needed blue-collar jobs. However, white-collar workers needed jobs, too.

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Happy Birthday: Wilhelm Grimm

Wilhelm Grimm, a writer and story collector who, along with his brother Jacob, were known as the “Brothers Grimm” was born in Hanau, Germany on February 25, 1786. According to The Writer’s Almanac: “…The brothers complemented each other: Jacob was quiet, a better scholar than his brother, and preferred to be alone; Wilhelm was an

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Vaccine Diplomacy

COVID-19 has clearly become a world-wide challenge. To vanquish it will require a long-term commitment to a coordinated international effort. But so far, it seems many countries are prioritizing protecting their own populations before sharing vaccine doses and resources. This does not bode well for hundreds of millions of people living in the Third World.

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The Real Reason for the Nobel Prizes?

I have always known Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist who invented dynamite, and later used the wealth his work created to found the Nobel Prizes (https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred-nobel/). What I never realized was why. It may have all started with a case of mistaken identity. In 1888, Nobel’s brother Ludvig died in France from a heart

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When Children Were Sent Through The Mail

My favorite law is the Law of Unintended Consequences. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, as today, private companies were doing a brisk business delivering packages. The Post Office’s answer to this competition was Parcel Post, shipping packages through the mail, which began on January 1, 1913. It was a major innovation. Now almost

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The Kidnapping Club

I’ve found another unknown chapter in the sordid U.S. history of systemic racism — in the 1830s until the Civil War, neither runaway slaves nor free Blacks were safe in New York City. This story actually begins with the Constitution. Article IV Section 2 contains the (now obsolete) “Fugitive Slave Clause” — “No Person held

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