19th Century

Robert Liston, Surgical Pioneer

Liston is most known for a tale about how multiple deaths resulted from one of his surgeries. But that means that his entire biography as a surgeon is dominated by the apocryphal events of one day. So today we’ll unpack his career and ethics.



The Great English Convent Case of 1869

This case fed an already growing anti-Catholic movement in England in the 1860s. Additionally, it played on the shock of women being incredibly cruel to one another – something that was even used by the plaintiff’s legal team when speaking to the jury.

Sarah Josepha Hale & Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book was the most popular magazine in the U.S. in the middle of the 19th century. Although it’s most well-known for its hand-tinted fashion plates, its content included poetry, fiction, household tips, music, and etiquette.

The Rise of the Traffic Light

There are multiple contenders when it comes to the question of who invented the traffic light. This episode looks at a few of the moments in traffic light history that got us to where we are today, as well as what made them a necessity in the first place. 

The Peterloo Massacre

The Peterloo Massacre took place during a peaceful protest for parliamentary reform in Manchester, England. And there was a lot feeding into why people in Britain, and specifically in the region around Manchester, thought that reform was needed.

William Maclure and New Harmony’s Boatload of Knowledge

When Robert Owen founded his utopian community, he wanted to have the best minds he could find running the educational system. He recruited William Maclure, who in turn brought many great minds with him. Their boat was nicknamed the Boatload of Knowledge.

SYMHC Live: The New Harmony Utopias

We did a live show for the Indiana Historical Society about the town of New Harmony, Indiana in the window from 1815-1827. In that period, two different communal societies occupied the town, one right after the other. But one was far more successful.

Fearless, Feisty and Unflagging: The Women of Gettysburg

Military history rarely focuses on the women who lived through conflict and worked on recovery efforts. This episode covers women who assisted troops, buried the dead, nursed the wounded, and managed to survive the fighting in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. 





Thomas Cook, John Cook, and the Rise of the Tourism Industry

Thomas Cook and his son John Mason Cook were pioneers of the idea of a travel agency to manage tourist holidays. But Thomas Cook was initially motivated by his support of the temperance movement and his deeply held religious beliefs. 






Packard v. Packard, Pt. 2

After being forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by her husband, Elizabeth Packard began advocating for herself as well as the improvement of treatment in such facilities. After her release, she lobbied for reform to the asylum system.