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Illustration of a waitress with serving tray

The American Language

A historical database of English in the U.S.

illustration of Solomon Northup by Gary Kelley

From American Playhouse to 12 Years a Slave

From American Playhouse to 12 Years a Slave, two films give different views of the same story.

Folding screen.

New Money in New Spain

Colonial opulence had to be displayed behind closed doors.

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche

Culture War

Hitler's propagandists co-opted key intellectual figures in the Western canon to suit their political agenda.

Photo of E. B. White at his typewriter

The White Pages

America's greatest personal essayist was more than a little shy and intensely self-conscious

John Adams portrait by Gianni Dagli Orti

Paper Trail

On letters, diaries, and other records of the American story at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Hamlet pondering Yorick's skull

To Be or Not to Be

In a digital archive of Hamlet quartos, classic Shakespearean words come and go.

Host and writer Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Africans in America

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross tells the story of a people whose sense of identity is distinctly apart and distinctly American

A depiction by Achille Devaria of Voltaire greeting  Ben Franklin and his nephew

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Using modern technology to understand a network of eighteenth-century thinkers.

photo of a dog-sled team

Dog vs. Airplane

The race to save Nome from a diphtheria outbreak