The 4th of July – in June!

Think you’re a firecracker on American history? Bet you didn’t know that… …George Washington stood nearly 6 foot 3. …John Adams was all about the girth of a nation; the man weighed in at 200 pounds. …Thomas Jefferson was a shy and aloof young man, “known to cross his arms over his chest” during the deliberations that led to the Declaration of Independence. Don’t feel bad – I didn’t know any of that either. At least not until I read …

July 4th: What a Weekend for TV Marathons

Ah, the Fourth of July. Cue patriotic music, barbecues, fireworks, and TV marathons for couch potatoes of all interests who may just want to stay inside all long weekend. There’s the traditional Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy (8 a.m. July 4 through 6 a.m. July 5), a Turner Classic Movies’ patriotic marathon, and a U.S.A. documentary marathon (including the acclaimed America The Story of Us), on History, H2 and The Military Channel.  AMC is offering three days of all-American zombies with …

Are We Teaching Our Next Generation the Right Stuff?

I was on break from college, and proud to tell dad about my new major. “General Studies in the Humanities” sounded cool to me, but he was less impressed. “What the hell use will that be in world?” he wanted to know. “I’ll be a better human,” I snarked, stumped for a better answer. A report released today would have helped my case with dad. The Heart of the Matter comes from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission …

George Aratani: A WWII Internee Turned History Buff

George Aratani was as personally well-known as the  imported products sold by the companies he founded – most notably, the Mikasa line of dinnerware, and Kenwood home audio equipment. Nevertheless, Aratani helped ensure that Americans knew the larger the story of the injustice inflicted on him and 122,000 Japanese Americans at the outbreak of World War II, when they were forced to leave their homes and live behind fences and under armed guard in internment camps, often losing their property and businesses …

Women Have Come a Long Way Since 1932 Olympics

Helen Johns Carroll, now 97, was only 17 years old when she represented the United States in swimming at the 1932 Summer Olympics. That makes the gold medal she won 80 years old–and Carroll the product of a much different Olympic era.

The Takeaway: Just-Released 1940 Census Data Could Reveal Family Histories

Data from the 1940 U.S. census became available to the public online yesterday””and interest was so great it nearly crashed the National Archives website.