U.S. History

Italian Hall Disaster

The Italian Hall disaster happened during a strike in Michigan’s copper country, which lasted from the summer of 1913 to the early spring of 1914. On Christmas Eve, a tragic event played out that claimed the lives of dozens of people in Calumet, Michigan.

SYMHC Live: A Brief (U.S.) History of Barbecue

In November, we toured Texas! So we selected the very apt topic of barbecue. Barbecue is deeply tied to language and history and culture, especially in the South – so this episode is about a lot more than meat.

Behind the Scenes Minis: Occupation of Alcatraz

Tracy and Holly talk about the episodes that made up this week's two-parter on the Occupation of Alcatraz, including how they learned about Native American history in elementary school.

The Occupation of Alcatraz, Part 2

The Occupation of Alcatraz started 50 years ago on November 20, 1969 and went on for a year and a half. Last time, we talked about context and the events that led up to the occupation. Today we'll cover how the occupation itself played out.

The Occupation of Alcatraz, Part 1

This episode gives context for the Occupation of Alcatraz, including a brief survey of U.S. government policy toward Native people from the colonial period through the 1950. It also covers some Alcatraz history and an earlier occupation in 1964.

San Francisco 1906: The Great Quake and Fires

On the morning of April 18, 1906, an event that lasted less than a minute changed San Francisco forever. An earthquake and a series of fires devastated much of the city and had long-term ramifications. 

The Photography of Frances Benjamin Johnston

Fannie Johnston is tied to SO MANY people and events that we have talked about on the show before. She’s like a history nexus point. And she was able to make a very nice living for herself as a photographer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dr. Couney's Baby Sideshow

Couney ran incubator sideshows, featuring premature babies. This is complicated -Couney was making money from these attractions, and his medical experience was questionable. But at the same time, premature babies weren’t getting a lot of care otherwise.

SYMHC Live: William Mumler's Spirit Photography

In the 1860s, Mumler rose to fame as a photographer of spirits. Whether Mumler was earnest or was just fleecing people is a tricky question, in part because while evidence mounted against him, he always professed his innocence. 

The Greenbrier Ghost

The story of Zona Heaster Shue's death and subsequent appearances to her mother as an apparition are often referred to as the only case in the U.S. when a ghost’s testimony convicted a murderer. But of course, there’s a lot more to the story.