20th Century

Transatlantic Cruising Before the Titanic

Ships were of course carrying cargo for centuries before the idea of carrying passengers in any sort of vacation sense existed. But once the Black Ball line decided to prioritize passenger comfort, the development of the cruise industry began. 

The Rabbit Test

After the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, new methods of pregnancy testing were developed. Some of these involved animal use, but how did the rabbit test work, and when did it get replaced?

Mary Winston Jackson, NASA Engineer

Jackson is most well known as the first black woman to become an engineer at NASA. But she also worked to clear the way for other underrepresented people at NASA, in particular black women.



The Perdicaris Incident

The Perdicaris kidnapping happened in Morocco in the early 20th century, but impacted American history significantly. It has been fictionalized in writing and film, but it is plenty dramatic all on its own. 

Teresa Carreño

Not only was Teresa Carreño the most famous pianist of her day, she is considered to be Venezuela’s first international super star. And her personal life was just as compelling as her public persona. 


Unearthed: Francisco Franco

We’re taking a look at Francisco Franco and the Spanish Civil War. We've talked about Spain’s parliament voting to exhume the remains of dictator Francisco Franco and relocate them to a state-funded mausoleum, and we’re giving that entire situation more context.

Buddy Bolden and the Birth of Jazz

Bolden is often referred to as the first jazz performer, and his playing is legendary. But his life story, cluttered by lack of documentation and misinformation, played out tragically after his ascension to the apex of the New Orleans music scene. 




Nell Donnelly Reed

Nell Donnelly Reed built a successful business starting before women even had the right to vote in the U.S. Her story combines fashion, education, workers’ health and safety, kidnapping, and marital scandal. She is, like any historical figure, complicated. 





The Rise of the Straw Hat and the Riot of 1922

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is a strange piece of history, and it all centered around the boater hat. How did how the boater become so important to men’s fashion in the early 20th century? And how did that lead to a very bizarre conflict in the 1920s?




Auguste Escoffier

Any chefs in our listening audience undoubtedly know about Auguste Escoffier, but people who haven’t studied cuisine may not realize that this one man revolutionized food preparation and restaurant dining in ways that are still part of almost any meal you may be served today.