“Baby, It’s Cold Outside:” Context & Controversy

Last holiday season controversy erupted over a radio station's decision to ban "Baby, It's Cold Outside." And this year, John Legend & Kelly Clarkson's new version has stirred up opinions on the song once again. What is the controversy all about? And what's the context for the original song's lyrics? Read more below about the…

The Monster Mash: 3 Interesting Facts About the Halloween Classic

Monster Mash. It was a graveyard smash. Monster Mash was released in 1962. Written by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi and recorded by Pickett and “the Crypt-Kickers.,” the single hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from October 20-27, 1962 and has been a Halloween favorite ever since. The song features Pickett doing an […]

“I Put a Spell on You:” From Radio Ban to Disney Movie Favorite

What are the origins of a popular song that has become a Halloween favorite? A breakup, a blues singer, and a drunken recording session. A song many know because of its numerous cover versions, "I Put a Spell on You" is now included on Halloween playlists, owing partly to its inclusion in the movie Hocus…

#19forthe19th: Women at Work

Women have always worked. But the nature of that work and where it took place has changed over time. In the United States, before the late 19th century, the majority of women's work was domestic, but as economic and social changes took place, women began working outside of the home and in more varied roles.…

National Museum of African American History & Culture: A Rave Review

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is one of those museums that pulls you in and keeps pulling you in. From the outside, it stands out, strikingly different from all of the other museums, monuments, and buildings on the National Mall, creating a welcome visual focal point. Entering feels like going into…

#PlayLikeAGirl: 5 Pioneering Female Drummers

The US National Archives' #19forthe19th Instagram Challenge is highlighting women's history for 19 weeks in celebration of the centennial of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. This week's theme? #PlayLikeAGirl I decided to take a look at pioneering female musicians who play instruments specifically female drummers, who continue to remain a…

#19forthe19th: Women Abolitionists

Fittingly, the US National Archives Instagram Challenge in honor of the centennial of the 19th Amendment has assigned the theme of Women Abolitionists to fall on June 19th, Juneteenth, the day that remaining enslaved people were emancipated in the state of Texas in 1865 after the end of the Civil War. The celebration of freedom…

District Sights: The National Air & Space Museum

Reflections of a Public Historian in a Science Museum My husband and I recently took a long weekend trip to Washington, D.C. to visit my brother and see the sights. We had both been twice before and seen the monuments and some of the major museums, so this time we had a pretty specific list…

History in Song: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots

On this day in 1992 the Los Angeles riots broke out in response to two specific incidents in the city and general mounting racial tensions. Just over a year prior an African American man, Rodney King, was beaten and tasered by police during a traffic stop/chase resulting in the officers involved being charged with excessive…

‘Unconventional’ Mothers: Latina Immigrants in the Early & Late 20th Century U.S.

During women's history month, I highlighted not only trailblazing, pioneering, "noteworthy" or famous women, but also controversial, lesser-known, and everyday women. All women have been a part of history and, like men, deserve to be remembered, documented, studied, and presented in all of their complicated, multifaceted glory. Today's post explores the ultimate woman in many…