Harry Houdini Goes to Washington

Never before had a congressional hearing been described as “UPROARIOUS,” until master magician and escape artist Harry Houdini provided expert testimony in which he delivered a lively and compelling case against the supernatural. For years, Houdini had worked tirelessly to debunk spirit mediums who claimed to communicate with the dead. He viewed them as “ghost […]

Getting the Picture

Could a picture be worth more than a thousand words? For anyone trying to find an elusive photograph, illustration, or comic in a historic newspaper – the answer might be yes! Searching for these types of images is dramatically easier thanks to digitization efforts, such as the National Digital Newspaper Program, which makes millions of […]

Hungry for Hippo?

If hippopotamus was on the menu, would you try it? That’s what America almost did in 1910! Corporate beef monopolies, stricter regulations, and meat shortages all combined to create soaring meat prices nationwide.  Senator Robert Broussard proposed a solution: import African animals to the U.S. for meat (61st Cong. 2nd sess. H.R. 23261). Broussard brought […]

Baseball Headlines & Heroes! Help Us ID Ten Players

How could my thoughts not turn to baseball on the day of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game? Plus it’s being played right here in Washington, DC. Plus it’s only a couple weeks after the opening of Baseball Americana, the major exhibit at the Library of Congress. My thoughts often turn to comics and newspapers […]

Have a “Safe and Sane” Fourth of July

Lost limbs and fingers, burns, blinding explosions, lockjaw and death. In the early 1900s, fireworks had not yet been perfected. Dangerous concoctions of explosives were used as an exciting way to celebrate our country’s independence, but the price was steep. Giant firecrackers, cannon fire, firearms, and rockets were just some of the loud and bright, […]