March 25, 2023

Gatekeeper: Sarah Childress Polk

Wife to eleventh president James Polk, Sarah Childress Polk enjoyed much more freedom than her contemporaries. Without children and more educated that many other women, Mrs. Polk used her charms in furtherance of her husband'...

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March 18, 2023

Making Americans with Jessica Lander

Join me this week as I sit down with educator and author Jessica Lander to review her new book Making Americans: Stories of Historic Struggles, New Ideas, and Inspiration in Immigrant Education. Lander takes readers on a historical journey through the ways in which education for immigrants has evolved in the United States and contrasts it with some of the amazing work still being done by educators and students alike. To learn more about Jessica, please head to her website at www.jessica…

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March 11, 2023


Touted as the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland is one of the most iconic and well known amusement parks in history. Originally opening in 1955, the Disney brand has gone through a massive expansion to include parks throughout the world. But how did it all start? Tune in as I dive into the history of Disneyland. How did the idea originate? How did Walt get the funding? And how has it evolved over the years?

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March 4, 2023

Mourning the Presidents with Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky

Joining me this week is presidential historian and author, Dr. Lindsay M Chervinsky to discuss her latest work, Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture. In this episode we talk about how national mourning practices have evolved, what we can learn about our reactions to various presidential deaths and what the role of the media has meant to our understanding of their legacy.

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Feb. 25, 2023

The Mexican-American War

In the 1840s, the United States was in a mad dash to expand its borders under the guise of manifest destiny, or the belief that it was God's will for the United States to extend its territory and spread democracy far and wide. In 1846 this desire for increased territorial control led to military conflict with Mexico over the area including what would become California, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and New Mexico which ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Mexico ceding nearly half …

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Feb. 18, 2023

Surfing the South with Steve Estes

Join me this week as I interview historian, surfer, and author Steve Estes about his latest book, Surfing the South. In this episode we talk about oral history, what you can learn about United States history by studying the evolution of surfing, and how a historian puts together his material. Steve Estes is a Professor of History at Sonoma State University and is a trained oral historian. Surfing the South is available at all fine bookstores.

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Feb. 11, 2023

Dark Horse? James Polk

Eleventh President James K Polk is often touted as America's first "dark horse" candidate. Considered a man who was plucked from relative obscurity to command the republic, Polk's administration not only oversaw one of the last pushes for territorial expansion for the United States, but also fulfilled his campaign promises by accomplishing his stated priorities all in a single term. Tune in as I dive into the presidential administration of James Polk. Was he really a dark horse? And what doe…

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Feb. 4, 2023

Alice Walker (Listener Request)

A prolific writer, essayist, and poet, Alice Walker's career spans over five decades.  Her most famous work to date, The Color Purple, won her both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award and made her one of the most famous authors of her time. Despite her fame and influence, Walker has come under fire for her controversial statements.  This week, I am diving into a listener request and covering the work and life of Alice Walker. How did she get into writing? And what comments put her …

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Jan. 28, 2023

The Smithsonian

The largest museum complex in the world, The Smithsonian boasts over twenty museums, a zoo, and several archives open to scholars and researchers. But how did the Smithsonian begin? How has it evolved? And what is next for the educational institution? Tune in to find out.

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Jan. 21, 2023

Explosive Love: The USS Princeton & Julia Gardiner Tyler

Widowed while in office, John Tyler remarried just a few short years after his wife passed at the age of 51. Though he'd been courting Julia Gardiner for several months, it was a catastrophic accident aboard the warship the USS Princeton that prompted Julia to reconsider. So just what happened on board the USS Princeton? And how did it lead to marital bliss? Tune in to find out.

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Jan. 14, 2023

Letitia Tyler

The first First Lady to die in the White House and the first of two wives of tenth President John Tyler, Letitia Tyler was pivotal in her husband's success. Staying behind to manage their plantation and raise their large family, Letitia Tyler oversaw the finances and ensured the Tyler children were well cared for. Suffering a series of strokes, her time as First Lady was limited. So just who was Letitia Tyler? Tune in to find out.

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Jan. 7, 2023

Presidential Transitions with David Marchick

Despite our fascination with presidents and their administrations, historically little attention was paid to the transition process -- what happens between election night and Inauguration Day. The delays witnessed after the 2020 election brought to light the need for an effective, streamlined, and productive presidential transition process. But just what does that entail? Join me this week as I chat with David Marchick about his book, The Peaceful Transfer of Power: An Oral History of Am…

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Dec. 31, 2022

A Man Without A Party: John Tyler

The first Vice President to assume the Presidency in the aftermath of the death of William Henry Harrison, John Tyler made a significant contribution to the functions of American democracy. Amidst the chaos over the death of the president while in office, Tyler asserted his authority in a plain and steadfast manner, much to the chagrin of his critics. So just who was John Tyler? And what did his actions mean for future accidental presidents? Tune in to find out.

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Dec. 24, 2022

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Miracle)

Happy Holidays! In December 1965, CBS aired a Peanuts holiday special they were sure was going to bomb with audiences. It was considered so bad there was doubt as to whether it would ever see the light of day. Instead, A Charlie Brown Christmas has become one of the most treasured holiday specials in cultural history.  So why was everyone convinced the children's holiday special would fail? And how did Peanuts originate?  Tune in to find out all of this and more.

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Dec. 17, 2022

Double Shot: Ethan Healey & Mastering History

This week I welcome fellow graduate student and good friend Ethan Healey to the show. In this episode we provide a peek behind the curtain at the trials, tribulations, and high points of pursuing a Master's degree in the humanities. Tune in to hear why we consider historians like Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky celebrities, how reading has forever changed for us, and what advice we would give ourselves having survived our first semester.

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Dec. 10, 2022

Anna Symmes Harrison

Wife of one president and grandmother to another, Anna Symmes Harrison was the backbone to her family, maintaining both the house and finances as her husband built his political career. But who was Anna Symmes Harrison? Tune in this week to find out.

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Dec. 3, 2022

William Henry Harrison

The man who holds the record of shortest presidential administration in United States history and the first President to die in office, William Henry Harrison is a man of many stories - and a few myths. A military commander originating from the southern planter class, Harrison had a long journey to the presidency and his campaign forever altered the ways in which candidates sought to appeal to voters. So who was William Henry Harrison? And what were his impacts? Tune in to find out.

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Nov. 26, 2022

Fort King with Kathleen Ramirez

Located in central Florida, Fort King was a central site during the Seminole Wars and is a National Historic Landmark where visitors from across the globe can visit and learn about the indigenous tribes of the area and experience a sense of what life was like at the fort. Kathleen Ramirez is the historical program coordinator and sat down with me to share her passion for history, what you can expect when visiting Fort King and her thoughts on how we can better involve indigenous voices. Tun…

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Nov. 21, 2022

Podcast Friendsgiving Spectacular (Bonus Episode)

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Join me as I chat with three other super amazing hosts for a history podcast Friendsgiving. Kenny from Abridged Presidential Histories, Howard from Plodding Through the Presidencies and Jerry from the Presidencies of the United States and I all sat down to ask each other questions and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

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Nov. 19, 2022

The United States Post Office

One of the oldest federal institutions in the country, the Post Office is as American as apple pie. Originally intended as a method to ensure communication between the colonies and Britain, the post office has evolved and expanded right along with the nation itself. So this week I am diving into the history of the post office. When was it started? How was it changed over the years? And is it something we still need?

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Nov. 12, 2022

California Tycoon: William Leidesdorff

One of the founders of the city of San Francisco, very little is known about William Alexander Leidesdorff. Born on the island of St. Croix in 1810, Leidesdorff helped pave the way for the sleepy pueblo town known as Yerba Buena to become a bustling, thriving port city. Join me this week as I dive into the life of William Leidesdorff.

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Nov. 5, 2022

Time for a Woman: Sandra Day O'Connor (Intelligent Speech)

Over the summer I had the wonderful opportunity to present at the virtual conference Intelligent Speech. The theme of the conference was crossings and so I selected a woman from history who crossed gender lines: Sandra Day O'Connor. The first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, O'Connor helped pave the way for the women who came after her. But just who was O'Connor? And why was she so polarizing during her tenure? Tune in to find out!

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Oct. 29, 2022

John Carpenter's Halloween

In 1978, a young unknown director put together a small independent horror movie that took place on one of the scariest nights of the year: Halloween. The film, named after the holiday it takes place on, went on to become one of the biggest horror movie franchises is movie history. Join me this week as I wrap up October with a look at the history of Halloween. How did the film come about? Why does it have such staying power? And what influence did it have on movies?

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Oct. 22, 2022

American Horror Story: Edgar Allan Poe

One of the most notorious horror writers in history, Edgar Allan Poe produced a voluminous collection of work before his untimely death at the age of forty. His life was a series of sad events and lost opportunities. From being orphaned before he could walk, to losing the love of his life to the same disease that killed his mother, it is no wonder Poe took to writing about the dark and creepy to help get him through the trauma. But just who was Poe? And was he is as spooky and aloof as …

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