20th century

The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how abundant species can quickly become extinct.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Gertrude Stein is an icon in the world of modernist literature. Alice B. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but she was also published writer, and “assistant” really doesn't cover how important she was to Stein’s life and work.

Pauline Sabin

The battle over Prohibition is often framed as a battle of the sexes, with women serving as the “moral” voice of sobriety. But a woman named Pauline Sabin is often credited as being one of the major activists behind Prohibition’s repeal.

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Memphis sanitation workers stayed off the job starting January 12, 1968 in a strike that lasted for nine weeks. This was the strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated on April 4 of that year.

Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton

Mary-Russel Ferrell Colton was a painter, author and educator. But she's most famous for co-founding of the Museum of Northern Arizona and related programs and projects intended to preserve and continue the art traditions of the Colorado Plateau.

Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service

We have talked before on the show about pioneers who advanced the medical field specifically as it relates to infants, and today’s subject is definitely another to add to that list. But, there are some problematic elements to her story.

Unearthed!: The USS Indianapolis

Today, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is most known for its crew’s horrifying wait for rescue after being torpedoed following a secret mission at the end of World War II. But the ship’s history goes back much farther than that.

NORAD Tracking Santa: A Cold War History

The story that circulates about how NORAD started tracking Santa is pretty heart-warming, but doesn’t completely hold up. So there’s some myth-busting here, and maybe the tiniest bit of bah-humbug.

Three Astonishing Belles

This episode features three unique women, all of whom are notable in their own way. The two things they have in common: They each have a surprising aspect to their stories, and they each have the name Belle.

The Lumière Brothers, Part 2

Despite the huge impact the Lumières made with their multi-function motion picture camera, they didn't stay in the movie business. Louis went back to photography, and Auguste took a very different path.