20th Century

Julian Eltinge, Greatest of All Impersonators of Women

Eltinge was one of the highest-paid and most famous actors of the early 20th century, and acted alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino. What made him famous was his skill at female impersonation.

The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. She was luminous on camera and an excellent singer, with a personality much larger than her small stature.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett connects to a lot of episodes in our archive. She fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn’t common at all for a woman, especially a woman of color, to become such a prominent journalist and a speaker.

Winsor McCay, Part 2

Even as his career in comics was at its zenith, Winsor McCay continued to explore other business ventures for his art. He added vaudeville performances to his busy schedule, and then became an animation pioneer. 

James Whale

James Whale created iconic films in the early half of the 20th century. He's one of the main reasons that Universal Pictures became synonymous with the horror genre. But his interests as a creator were far wider than creating gothic spook stories.

Nisei in World War II: The MIS, 100th and 442nd

The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were segregated units for soldiers of Japanese descent that were created during WWII. The story of these units is closely intertwined with the Military Intelligence Service as well. 

Lotte Reiniger's Shadow Animation

Lotte was interested in silhouettes and paper cutting from the time she was a child. And she developed that interest into animation, and created the first feature-length animated film in the 1920s.

The Bisbee Deportation

The 1917 Bisbee Deportation has elements of a labor strike, a wartime hysteria, a vigilante mob, and a mass propaganda effort, all rolled into one. It took place in Bisbee, Arizona, southeast of Tucson and close to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 2

Scott eventually managed to break into NASCAR racing, becoming the first black driver to do so. His career was a constant struggle, as he paid his own way and often had to be his own pit crew while competing against sponsored drivers. 

Wendell Scott: Black NASCAR Driver in the Jim Crow Era, Pt. 1


Wendell Scott was a black driver from the early days of NASCAR. After driving a taxi, working as a mechanic, and hauling moonshine, he started racing in the Dixie Circuit and other non-NASCAR races in Virginia.