Season 1

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'...

Listen to the episode

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…

Listen to the episode

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?

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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 …

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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…

Listen to the episode

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 …

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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…

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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…

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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?

Listen to the episode

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.

Listen to the episode

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!

Listen to the episode

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?

Listen to the episode

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 …

Listen to the episode

Oct. 15, 2022

This is the Zodiac Speaking: Part Two

Join me this week as I wrap up the story of the infamous serial killer who terrorized the Bay Area in late sixties. In this episode, I discuss the crimes against Cecelia Ann Shephard, Bryan Hartnell and Paul Stine. I also discuss the ongoing desire for media attention by the Zodiac and the other crimes he may be linked to.

Listen to the episode

Oct. 8, 2022

This is the Zodiac Speaking (Part One)

One of the most infamous crime sprees in United States history, the man who would be known as the Zodiac terrified the sleepy Northern California community in the late sixties. Taunting police with letters and coded messages, the Zodiac has never been caught.  A topic that was one of my first listener requests, I thought it fitting to discuss the details of this case and review why the Zodiac continues to fascinate people over fifty years later. Thanks to Amanda for making the request and I …

Listen to the episode

Oct. 1, 2022

Lost to History: The Van Buren Women

Hannah Van Buren never lived to see her husband take the oath of office as the eighth president of the United States. Passing away decades before he hit the national stage, very little is known about the woman who would have become the first First Lady to be born a United States citizen. Instead, Van Buren came to rely on his daughter in-law, Angelica Singleton Van Buren. Both of these women played important roles in Van Buren's life, however very little is known about either of them. …

Listen to the episode

Sept. 24, 2022

Martin Van Buren

The eighth president of the United States is likely a mystery to most casual history lovers, however his impact and legacy can be felt today. So just who was Martin Van Buren? How did he get into politics? And how did his work lead to the creation of party politics? Tune in to learn all of this and more.

Listen to the episode

Sept. 17, 2022

Sisters in Arms: Women Anti Slavery Conventions

Women were a dominating and powerful force when it came to abolition. Though they were largely overlooked in male driven abolitionist societies, women pushed ahead and established their own networks and organizations aimed at ending the practice of slavery. As groups popped up throughout the country, they decided to meet as a collective and streamline their efforts. These meetings, held between 1837 and 1839 are historic for a number of reasons.

Listen to the episode

Sept. 10, 2022

The Second Seminole War

At the height for the push to relocate thousands of indigenous Americans, a conflict erupted between the Seminole of central Florida and the United States. Known as the Second Seminole War, this conflict took place between 1835 and 1842. So what was the Second Seminole War? Tune in to find out.

Listen to the episode

Sept. 3, 2022

Public Spaces: A Conversation with Holley Snaith

This week I am joined by Holley Snaith, public historian and writer who has participated in projects with the National Park Service, The Richard Nixon Foundation and much more. In this episode, she and I discuss the field of public history and dive into some of her fascinating exhibits. If you want to learn more about Holley, head to her website at

Listen to the episode

Aug. 27, 2022

Harriet Tubman: Part Two

Join me as I wrap up the narrative of Harriet Tubman; abolitionist, Underground Railroad conductor and Civil War spy. In this episode I dive into her time on the railroad, her efforts to help the Union Army achieve victory in the Civil War and her later efforts at establishing a home to care for the elderly in her home of upstate New York.

Listen to the episode

Aug. 20, 2022

Harriet Tubman (Part One)

One of the most mythical women found in American history, the name Harriet Tubman is synonymous with the Underground Railroad. But Tubman, who singlehandedly liberated over one hundred slaves during her time as a conductor, is so much more than what we learned in school. Join me this week as I dive into part one of the life of this amazing woman.

Listen to the episode

Aug. 13, 2022

Debtors Prisons (Listener Request)

In the early days of the republic, thousands of European settlers made the journey to the new world, often without any money with which to support themselves or the costs associated with crossing The Atlantic. To pay for this cost, many individuals entered into indenture service contracts to work it off until their balance was paid in full. However, as credit expanded and debts soared, so too did the punishment for failure to pay. Debtors prisons, as they became known, were a product of…

Listen to the episode

Aug. 6, 2022

Nat Turner's Rebellion

One August night, under the cover of darkness, a small band of enslaved men quietly struck a blow against the system that claimed ownership of their bodies. As they moved from house to house, silently killing the families who lorded over them, they instigated in one of the bloodiest slave uprisings in American history. Join me this week as I dive into the history of Nat Turner's rebellion. Who was Nat Turner? What was his rebellion? And what were its impacts?

Listen to the episode

July 30, 2022

The Liberty Line: The History of the Underground Railroad

Many learned about the Underground Railroad in their history classes. Often described as a super secret network filled with tunnels and various stops along the route to freedom, the Underground Railroad has become a thing of mythic proportions. But would you believe me if I told you the railroad was not all that secret? Join me this week as I dive into the history of the Underground Railroad. How did it come about? How successful was it?

Listen to the episode

July 23, 2022

The Grimke Sisters: A Conversation with Broadly Underestimated

Sarah and Angelina Grimké were well known abolitionist activists who not only worked tirelessly in their pursuit to end the institution of slavery, but also advocated for the rights of women.  However, much of the legacy and story of The Grimke Sisters remains untold. Join me as I welcome Kristyn from Broadly Underestimated as we dive into the lives, influences and impacts of these two amazing women in history.  You can find more of Kristyn on her amazing show, Broadly Underestimated.

Listen to the episode

July 16, 2022

The Case of Henrietta Wood (Listener Request)

The topic of reparations has been a contentious debate since the end of the Civil War over a century ago. But in the immediate aftermath of the war, one woman successfully sued a man she claimed illegally kidnapped her and forced into servitude. Her name? Henrietta Wood. Join me this week as I dive into the history of Henrietta Wood and her judgment as the largest reparations payment ever awarded in United States history.

Listen to the episode

July 9, 2022

Unspoken: Healthcare Before Roe

In May, news leaked of a draft Supreme Court decision regarding a Mississippi ban on abortion. As written, the opinion seeks to overturn two landmark Supreme Court cases regarding women's healthcare rights: Planned Parenthood v Casey and Roe v Wade. As the opinion hit the news, I received several requests to cover the topic of abortion in the United States. As I mention in the episode, I think the topic is too nuanced and far reaching to cover adequately in one episode. However, I felt it wa…

Listen to the episode

July 2, 2022

Unexpected Bravery: A Conversation with A.J. Schenkman

Join me this week as I sit down and chat with author, historian and educator A.J. Schenkman about his recent book, Unexpected Bravery. His book tells the stories of women and children who made the commitment to join in the fight of the Civil War and the steps they took to serve their country, despite the societal and sometimes legal norms of the time. A.J. Schenkman is the author of several books and historical articles. You can find more information about him, including how to order hi…

Listen to the episode

June 25, 2022

The Almost First Lady: Rachel Jackson

In the final edition of the Andrew Jackson series, I am taking a look at the life of his wife and soulmate, Rachel Donelson Jackson. Though she passed away before Jackson assumed office, the marriage between Rachel and Andrew Jackson was one for the ages. Though their relationship started in scandal, a scandal that would came to haunt them as Jackson pursued national politics, it was also one of true dedication and admiration of one another. So tune in and hear about just who Rachel Jac…

Listen to the episode

June 18, 2022

Andrew Jackson: A Discussion with Presidencies of the United States

This week is a continuation of the series on Andrew Jackson and this time I am welcoming a special guest, Jerry from the Presidencies of the United States Podcast. Andrew Jackson has a complicated and nuanced legacy. He was the original outsider and man of the people; he was a man who held tightly to his sense of honor and was unafraid to fight for what he believed in. His was also the administration that put a mighty steak through the heart of the indigenous tribes who lived within territo…

Listen to the episode

June 11, 2022

The Indian Removal Act of 1830

During his eight years as president of the United States, Andrew Jackson passed one major piece of legislation: the Indian Removal Act of 1830. A bill set up to allow negotiations between the federal government and tribal nations for land exchanges, it quickly set the precedent of forced indigenous removal. So what was the Indian Removal Act? And what were its impacts? Don't forget the Intelligent Speech Conference is just a few weeks away - be sure to grab your tickets at www.intelligen…

Listen to the episode

June 4, 2022

The Original Outsider: Andrew Jackson

Happy June Peeps! This month is going to be all about Andrew Jackson. I knew when I started plotting out my coverage of the seventh president of the United States a single episode just wasn't going to cut it - so get ready for a Jackson bonanza. This week, I am starting with the life and political rise of the man himself. Who was Andrew Jackson? Why was he so popular? And what impacts did he leave on the nation? Tune in to find out all of this and more. As a reminder, this is th…

Listen to the episode

May 28, 2022

Missing: The Kidnapping of Black Americans

Although the international slave trade was outlawed in 1808, the demand for free labor continued to escalate as the country expanded and the cotton crop overtook tobacco as the country's most in demand export. When the domestic slave trade proved insufficient, or too expensive, many planters resorted to purchasing their labor on the black market. These individuals were often free young men and women who were kidnapped from their homes in the north and forced into a life of servitude. Jo…

Listen to the episode

May 21, 2022


Join me this week as I dive into another listener request: the history of the epic music festival, Woodstock. In the summer of 1969, four young men put on what came to be the most memorable music festival of a generation. For four days, thousands of young Americans enjoyed the performances of the artists that came to define sixties: Jefferson Airplane, Credence Clearwater Revival and Jimi Hendrix. But what was the inspiration of Woodstock? How did it come together? And why does it still rem…

Listen to the episode

May 14, 2022

The Freedom's Journal

Join me this week as I dive into the history of the Freedom's Journal, the first black owned and operated newspaper in American history. Started by two free men in 1828, The Freedom's Journal influenced a generation of writers, editors and artists by providing a platform for black voices. For the first time in history, their newspaper was nonpartisan and strove to provide both sides of an argument. What was the Freedom's Journal? And who were the men behind the pages? Find all of that o…

Listen to the episode

May 7, 2022

The Adams Men (with Abridged Presidential Histories)

Welcome to episode 100 peeps! Join me this week as I chat with presidential history podcast host extraordinaire, Kenny Ryan, about John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. Both men had strikingly similar careers and both go mostly unrecognized in popular culture, despite their immense contributions to history. Kenny Ryan is the host of Abridged Presidential Histories, a podcast dedicated to sharing the life and impacts of our past presidents. He expertly weaves a concise narrative and …

Listen to the episode

April 30, 2022

The Chosen Son: John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States, elected in a "corrupt bargain" when the House of Representatives voted him into office, despite Andrew Jackson winning both the popular and electoral votes. Adams' presidency was not one for the record books, but his diplomatic career was one for the ages. Join me this week as I dive into the life and career of John Quincy Adams. From the Treaty of Ghent to his opposition to the annexation of Texas, John Quincy Adams was a man …

Listen to the episode

April 23, 2022

Resilient: Louisa Adams (Part Two)

Join me as I wrap up the life of Louisa Catherine Adams. In this episode, I explore her time overseas with her husband while he served as Minister to Russia and her efforts to get John Quincy Adams elected president. I also cover her time as First Lady, what her thoughts were about Adams' resurgence in the House of Representatives and her legacy.

Listen to the episode