Via unlockinghistory.com

The Hilltop School in Somersworth has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Its predecessor was Great Falls High School, the first public high school in New Hampshire constructed in 1849 after a law that cleared the way for municipalities to develop centralized school districts and build schools.

By the 1920s, that building was in disrepair. The school board secured funding for a new school.

Marc Nozell via Flickr / Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/3MY97U

 When it comes to presidential primaries, New Hampshire is always first. But that used to only be part of the slogan printed on bumper stickers and buttons. 

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Dozens of presidential hopefuls – household names and obscure names alike – have been visiting to the New Hampshire statehouse to file for the state’s first in the nation primary.

Candidates have made these trips for decades, but this year, Secretary of State Bill Gardner has added something new to the tradition – or. perhaps we should say, something old.

Lovepro via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/eHkThL

Cher, Chuck Norris, and Angelina Jolie all claim to be part Cherokee. Today, we’re asking why so many Americans believe they descend from the Cherokee people - among the most commercially popular Native American tribes. And, another indigenous population that once roamed the American plains…from the cave art of early humans to abandoned mustangs on a New Hampshire farm, explore the resilience, intelligence and fierce sociability of horses.

Courtesy Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, Bowdoin College Library

Despite the proliferation of online sources for recipes, cookbooks are still big sellers. They’re inspiring and often beautiful, but are they worth studying? Maybe when you have a massive collection spanning hundreds of years, like the one Bowdoin College acquired this summer.

Aleks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/bpcW4g

Prior to the Civil War, images of war were the stuff of legends and mystery – then came the photographs of Alexander Gardner. Today, the legacy of a photographer who captured the graphic violence of war, and inspired questions about the power and ethics of war photography that are still being discussed today.  Plus, we’ll dive into a collection of more than 700 antique cookbooks to find out what scholars can learn by looking at food - and get a taste for some unusual recipes from back in the day. 

Ventura County Democratic Party / Flickr/CC

From Adams to Kennedy to Bush and Clinton, our guest Stephen Hess says that politics as the “family business” is nothing new. In his book, he profiles eighteen of these political clans: how power passes on, how it can be lost, and why many Americans are so uncomfortable with this concept. 


These days lotteries are everywhere. Walk into most convenience stores and you’ll see scratch tickets on sale. Big Powerball payouts stretching across state lines make headlines, but fifty years ago the idea that lotteries were sinful and contributed to society’s moral decay was more widespread than it is today.

You may be surprised to learn that in the 1960s New Hampshire was the first state to launch a legal lottery. It came after a fight involving politicians of opposing sides, religious moralists, mob members, and the FBI.

OZinOH via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4iiMnW

The US says it will open its doors to at least 10,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in Syria, but that doesn’t mean open arms. Today, we’ll learn about the detention process that keeps asylum seekers behind bars for months – even years – in hidden facilities across the country. Plus, a look at the upcoming lineup for this weekend’s New Hampshire Film Festival – including a documentary about the Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley debates that turned televised political debates into blood sport. 

Kent Wang / https://flic.kr/p/tiQF7

On January 16, 1920, Americans took their last legal drink for 13 years. In New York City, gadflies wore black clothes and funeral robes in anticipation of the Volstead Act kicking off Prohibition at midnight. Reporters for the Daily News imagined the last words of John Barleycorn: “I’ve had more friends in private and more foes in public than any other man in America.” 

10.11.15: Sportsball

Oct 9, 2015
Drew Geraets via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/769ED3

From dreaming of the big leagues to a roller derby revival— today, we enter the wild and wacky world of sports, starting with the origin story of the most successful non-carbonated beverage in the US and a staple of the pro sports sidelines: Gatorade. Plus, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

Earth Touch via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fsQZH8

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time …which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case. Today, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, more than 30,000 African elephants are poached every year, mostly out of East Africa. In an effort to understand the illegal ivory trade, a journalist commissioned a tusk made of fake ivory with a GPS tracker inside. We speak with the man behind that tusk.

Nathan Rupert via flickr CC / flic.kr/p/aEtJLV

As schools across the country struggle to meet the new national common core standards, one controversial aspect of education is not part of the curriculum: sex education. On today’s show: the evolving debate around sex ed, and why it’s not strictly an American phenomenon. Plus, from false confessions to inadequate defenses, wrongful convictions can happen for many reasons. We’ll look at faulty eyewitness testimonies, the number one contributing cause of wrongful convictions.

8.17.15: The Fight That Changed TV & The Speechwriter

Aug 17, 2015
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures / http://bit.ly/1MtHysd

The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago is remembered for protests and violence, but one radical decision that came out of that convention has changed the nature of debate in this country. Today, how the face-offs between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley turned television debates into a blood sport. We’ll also speak with a speechwriter for Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor who added “hiking the Appalachian trail” to our lexicon. 

Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC / bit.ly/1PkMiA1

At 5,525 miles, the US and Canadian border is the longest and friendliest in the world, but the long relationship between the two nations is not without conflict. Today, a history of US-Canadian skirmishes and why a war between neighbors isn’t out of the question. Then, with immigration a focal point in the presidential primary circuit, a commentator takes a tongue in cheek look at the rarely talked about immigration crisis that’s playing out north of the border. Plus, researchers in Virginia may be turning a long held belief about early America on its head. 

Tom Gill via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/LNxeQ

America's first blockbuster: a depiction of the Civil War and early Reconstruction that featured  white actors in blackface, portraying feeble-minded or rapacious slaves, culminating with masked Klansmen galloping in to save the South. On today show, we talk about the film that set of a resurgence of savage Klan activity and has had an enduring influence on American racism and politics. Then, vexillogists, people who study flags. Here's a trick: if you want to design a great flag, start by drawing a one-by-one-and-a-half inch rectangle on a piece of paper. And finally -- what happened to surrender? It's becoming increasingly rare. 

Jacob Carozza/NHPR

The twenty-fifth annual American Independence Festival brought hundreds of visitors to Exeter this weekend. The festival aims to show visitors what life was like in the colonial period. 

For the professionals in colonial garb, like milliner Tara Raiselis, it is a place to show their unique skills and teach curious visitors.

"A milliner in the eighteenth century was sort of your fashion emporium," Raiselis explained. "Think of it as your miniature department store."

American author Erskine Caldwell was born in Georgia in 1903. His most famous novel, 1932’s Tobacco Road, boldly addressed the South’s inequalities during the Great Depression.

“He was writing about racial relations when one did not write about racial relations," said Phillip Cronenwett of Dartmouth College in 1989. "He was writing about the difference between the rural wealthy and the rural poor when one did not talk about that sort of thing.”

This week, we’re taking a fresh look at Caldwell, whose writing depicted what he saw as the realities of society – however unpleasant those realities might be.

Marius Watz via Flickr CC / //flic.kr/p/2xBqFt

Fifty-five years ago, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird gave the nation a glimpse of the deep south. Soon afterwards the author and the town that inspired the classic book disappeared from public imaginations. Today, we take a look at the conflicted history of a town that produced two great American authors. Then, the skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. We’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 

bulbocode909 via Flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/b7u4np

This week, South Carolina’s senate debates whether the Confederate flag should be removed from public view at the state capitol. We're looking at the film that helped resuscitate the confederacy after the Civil War – D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. Then, when NBC canceled Hannibal earlier this summer, fans hardly had time to complain before rumors began to circulate about the show being picked up by one of the online streaming services now keeping shows alive long after networks give up on them. Finally, a Supreme Court case that was overshadowed by an historic slate of decisions. A California farm challenged a Depression-era law that allows the government to forcibly appropriate food crops to control prices.

7.05.15: Celebrating the American Legacy

Jul 3, 2015
Logan Shannon for NHPR

Historians often interpret the Civil War in terms of important battles, and number of lives lost. But what about  food? Today, we explore a history of the war through the lens of a cookbook. Then, a man who decided to do what nobody has done in more than a century ... cross the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. Finally, the 4th of July marks the annual Mountain Men Revival in Pinedale, Wyoming. There, dozens of rugged-looking men wearing animal skins shake off the yoke of civilization, tether their horses to trees, make camp, and join others over grilled buffalo meat.

Ken Rudin for NHPR

July 1, 1995 – In the race for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole holds a 39-point lead over Sen. Phil Gramm in an average of national polls.

6.29.15: Crossing the Oregon Trail and Civil War Food

Jun 29, 2015
Baker County Tourism via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/uxQVku

Historians often interpret the Civil War in terms of important battles, and number of lives lost. But what about  food? Today, we explore a history of the war through the lens of a cookbook. Then, a man who decided to do what nobody has done in more than a century ... cross the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. And finally, we take a look at Overtraining Syndrome, a debilitating disease that can cause strange pain, loss of appetite, and even the symptoms of leukemia.

6.25.15: The Lost Art of Surrender & Still Dreaming

Jun 25, 2015
Jan Jacobsen via Google Images Creative Commons / http://www.worldpeace.no/THE-WHITE-FLAG.htm

“From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever…” from Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce to General Lee, the act of surrender has a noble past. We look at the history of surrender in warfare and discover why waving the white flag has become increasingly rare. Then, we talk to two filmmakers who set up cameras at an assisted living facility for artists whose performing days are far behind them. Their new documentary follows the cast of residents as they rehearse for a public performance of a Shakespearean classic. 

Listen to the full show. 

Paul L. Dineen via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/ebu1fU

“Birthday suit”, “in the buff”, “wearing nothing but a smile.” Call it what you will, on today’s show we’ll strip bare the American nudism movement and we’ll explore the progressive-era origins and continuing tensions over what it means to take it all off.

Then, we’ll hear about two young men who embarked on a bold crime spree, stealing thousands in gold and weapons. The hitch? It all went down in a video game. 

5.25.15: Happy Memorial Day

May 25, 2015
Peter Miller via flickr Creative Commons| / flic.kr/p/aezcJU

Each Memorial Day, the country comes together to remember the fallen – but history hasn’t always been so kind. When President Lincoln was assassinated, many people publically celebrated his death, and not just in the south. On today’s show, the myth of a country united in mourning. Plus, a look at why some important historical events go altogether unremembered – like the sinking of The Sultana, America’s deadliest maritime disaster. And a Vietnam veteran says thank you to the comrade who saved him – not from bullets, but from himself.

Michael Rosenstein / Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/NjzDI

  There’s an interesting provision in New Hampshire state law. Title III, Chapter 51 requires that once, every seven years, members of a town's selectboard or their designees must physically walk and inspect the borders of each town or city, and see that they're well maintained. 


The Red Sox and the Yankees, Ali versus Frazier, the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers. These are some of America's most notable sports rivalries, but they’ve got nothing on international cricket. On today’s show, we explore the epic sports rivalry between India and Pakistan.

Plus, everybody knows about the Titanic - so how come nobody remembers the sinking of the Sultana, the deadliest maritime disaster in American history?  We explore why some of the biggest historical events don’t take up much space in the history books. 

xlibber via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/c6iABC

Serving today’s ultra-rich may not be so much about finicky Downton Abbey-esque table settings, but it often involves lots of unexpected duties. On today’s show, we’ll talk to a writer who enrolled at the nation’s foremost “Butler Boot Camp,” where students learn to navigate the whims and habits of today’s elite. Then, the story of Sylvester Graham and his signature snack: the graham cracker, which was borne out of philosophy that promoted chastity, temperance, and the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and spices. All of which could excite our animal desires.