BackStory

The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

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History Behind the Headlines – Armistice Day

November 11 is the 100thanniversary of Armistice Day. It is an international commemoration of the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany, ending hostilities on the Western Front on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. Armistice Day sits as a historical anchor for collective […]

5 BackStory Episodes on Citizenship and Immigration

Immigration and citizenship have been on the forefront of the political debate most of this year and especially recently. On Tuesday, President Trump announced his intention to end birthright citizenship with an executive action. This comes one day after the Pentagon announced plans to send more than 5,000 American troops to the Southwest border to […]

Q & A with Neil Perry Gordon

The news of the past week has largely revolved around questions of immigration and citizenship. With that in mind, a recently released novel caught our eye: “A Cobbler’s Tale,” by Neil Perry Gordon, explores his family’s struggle for survival as Jewish immigrants passing through Ellis Island into the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the […]

Bodies on the Floor

As World War I wound down in the Spring of 1918, soldiers around the world began getting sick with something flu-like. But this form of influenza far outpaced the normal illness, spreading quickly from city to city. Its progression through a single patient was very rapid in many cases. By the time the pandemic ended, […]

HOW TWO ADVENTURE-HUNGRY GERMANS BECAME THE FIRST TO DEPICT THE GRAND CANYON IN THE MID 19TH CENTURY AND HOW A FILING ERROR CAME TO HAUNT ONE OF THEM (Part 3)

This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Read the previous installment here.  Back in Berlin, Möllhausen was invited to live in Humboldt’s household for a while. He married his fiancé, Caroline Seifert, met King Frederick William IV, who was interested in hearing first-hand accounts about the American West and even bought some of the […]

How Two Adventure-Hungry Germans Became the First to Depict the Grand Canyon in the Mid 19th Century and How a Filing Error Came to Haunt One of Them (Part 1)

Adapted from Looking for Humboldt & Searching for German Footprints in New Mexico and Beyond by Erika Schelby Few Americans are aware of the long-standing fascination Germans have for the American West. Even fewer know that it was two Germans, Heinrich Balduin Möllhausen and Friedrich Wilhelm von Egloffstein who were the first to depict the […]

Escape From Libby Prison

The American Civil War proved to be one of the bloodiest, most devastating wars in United States history, claiming more than 600,000 lives within four years. However, twice the number of soldiers who lost their lives in battle died as a result of disease. Poor sanitation and unsophisticated medical care contributed to the contraction of […]

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