20th Century

Commercial Aviation in the U.S., Part 2

In this episode, we’ll go from the international agreement that prepared for a global airline industry up to the deregulation of U.S. commercial aviation in the late 1970s. And then we have a special guest -- John Hodgman came by the studio for a visit!

Commercial Aviation in the U.S., Part 1

Since the possibility of air travel became a reality, many entrepreneurs were trying to figure out a way to make flight into a business. This first of two parts covers those early efforts, and the growth of the airline industry up to WWII.

The Black Sox Scandal

Some of the Chicago White Sox players confessed to taking a bribe to lose the 1919 World Series on purpose, but they never admitted to actually underplaying. And the collective memory about this whole scandal is very different from how it all played out.

The 1954 Guatemalan Coup Part 1

The 1954 coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Guatemala was orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Part one will outline the various influences leading up to the coup, including the involvement of United Fruit Company. 

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. 

A Brief History of Thalidomide, Part 2

We’re finishing out our two-parter on thalidomide. This episode covers the response, including criminal trials, changes to drug laws, and debates about the legality of abortion, and how this has continued to evolve for thalidomide survivors until today.
 

A Brief History of Thalidomide, Part 1

Thalidomide has been described as the biggest man made medical disaster of all time. This first part covers what thalidomide is, the animal testing that lead its manufacturer to market it as safe, and its release into the market.

The Port Chicago Disaster

This was the worst stateside disaster in the United States during World War II. Apart from being a horrific tragedy, the disaster itself and its aftermath were threaded through with racism and injustice. 

Sylvia of Hollywood – Beauty Consultant to the Stars

In the 1920s and 1930s, Sylvia was famous for shaping up starlets, cementing the idea that Hollywood’s beauties were aspirational figures for the average woman. Many of Sylvia's ideas about fitness were totally sensible, but she could also be quite harsh
 

Marie Laurencin: Avante-garde Painter of Paris

Laurencin is a difficult painter to study. In addition to her work not quite falling in line with the artists who were her contemporaries, her personal papers are difficult to access, are censored, and have strict limitations put on their use.