20th Century

The Sinking of the SS Princess Sophia

The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia was a massive tragedy for both Canada and the United States. But it was also really overshadowed by the end of World War I and the flu pandemic, so it’s been nicknamed the unknown Titanic of the West Coast.

Vernon Lee

Violet Paget, more often known by her pen name Vernon Lee, was a historian and an art and literary critic, and she wrote on myriad subjects including music, travel, aesthetics, psychology and economics. And she was well known for her ghost stories.

Alvin York

We’re coming up on the centennial of the act of heroism that earned Alvin York the Medal of Honor. His name is known thanks to the 1941 film “Sergeant York,” but it takes a lot of liberties, and omits what he believed was his greatest accomplishment. 




Peg Entwistle, Ghost of Hollywood

Her story is often told in a sort of sloppy shorthand: She went to Los Angeles to become an actress, failed, and then became desperate. But that isn’t a really accurate picture of Peg Entwistle at all. 





Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 2

In part two of this interview, Mindy busts some myths about women and their work in the Walt Disney Studio, and shares some stories of how new techniques were developed by color animators. The topic also turns to the  1941 labor strike at the Walt Disney Studios that forever changed the company. 

Interview: Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney, Pt. 1

Mindy Johnson has spent years tracking down the stories of the women who shaped Walt Disney's life, and the success of the Walt Disney Studios. She contextualizes the lives and contributions of these women in the larger historical picture. 




Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science

Magnus Hirschfeld was a groundbreaking researcher into gender and sexuality in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was dedicated to scientific study with the hope of dispelling stigma around homosexuality. 



A Condensed History of Air Conditioning

From hand fans to today’s high-end air conditioning technology, people have always found ways to deal with heat and humidity. And as mechanical cooling became more ubiquitous, some of the cultural practices for keeping cool were made obsolete. 



The Battle of Ambos Nogales

Two cities, both named Nogales, were established, one on each side of the U.S.-Mexico border, after the Gadsden Purchase but before Arizona’s statehood. In the summer of 1918, ongoing tension led to a battle at the border between the two.

Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal on the 'Lady Astronaut' Duology

Mary Robinette Kowal’s work has inspired several episodes of the podcast. She has just written a pair of books that are called the Lady Astronaut duology, and Tracy got the chance to speak with Mary about her work and its historical settings.