New Hampshire House of Representatives

  Deep in the state archives, a document of historical significance was recently discovered many thought had been lost forever.

The large, framed document, or broadside, is a commemoration of the centennial of the United States.

It’s dated July 4, 1876, and is signed by president Ulysses S. Grant, the Supreme Court justices, and all members of the U.S. House and Senate at the time.

The document is set to be unveiled at a ceremony in Representatives Hall at the Statehouse Wednesday morning.

Good Gig: Denim Historian Tracey Panek

Feb 26, 2015
Photo: Levi Strauss & Co. Archives

The Levi Strauss & Co. is an American icon dating back to the gold rush days in California. Today's Good Gig is Tracey Panek, denim historian for Levi Strauss.

Today would have been the 186th birthday of Levi Strauss, born Loeb Strauss in Bavaria. He came to the US to find his fortune, and made his mark on fashion and history when he patented the now iconic Levi's jeans.

Tracey told us about Levi Strauss and Co.’s New Hampshire connection:

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27bFm2

  Malaria threatens more than half the world’s people. Yet there is still no way to immunize against it. On today’s show, why a promising vaccine developed by an upstart in the biotech scene is not getting funded. 

Plus, Levi Strauss started making jeans during the gold rush, introducing the  most iconic symbol of American style. Today’s Good Gig profiles the Levi’s in-house historian who sifts through mine shafts and dusty attics to find the stories behind every crease. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Video Games & History

Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/oWwRHM

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Harold Holzer's 'Lincoln And The Power Of The Press'

Feb 17, 2015

Abraham Lincoln is most often remembered for preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, and his untimely death. But—a less- documented aspect of Honest Abe’s legacy, according to scholar Harold Holzer, was the extent of his involvement with the press, which, at the time, was coming into its own as a strong, partisan force in shaping public opinion.

This program was originally broadcast on 11/12/14.


2.16.14: Presidents' Day

Feb 16, 2015
WorldIslandInfo.com, Wystan, & U.S. Embassy New Delhi via Flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth celebrates Presidents’ Day with presidential portraits from Writers on a New England Stage. We’ll talk to three authors who took a deeper look into the complexities and motivations of American leaders throughout history.


A new book by UNH historian Jason Sokol describes what he calls the region’s 'conflicted soul’ when it comes to race. Sokol explores the discrepancies between the North’s image as haven from the segregated south, and the harsh realities that African Americans faced in black neighborhoods from Boston to Brooklyn.


Sean Hurley

For the first time in their history, the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake in Maine have authorized production of an authentic Alfred Shaker Chair.  While the Shakers will oversee the process, the actual chair will be made by Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Sandwich [Adam's story can be heard here].  

The village at Sabbathday Lake itself is not surprising.  An 18th century New England colony of red barns and white meeting houses clustered around a four story homestead where the last 3 living Shakers in the world reside.

L: Blake Patterson R: The Verge / flic.kr/p/8Z7VsR | bit.ly/1pMBf6S

In the early days of the internet, millions flocked to chat rooms to connect with like minds – and bodies -- the world over. But the group chat was soon replaced by Facebook and Twitter…or was it? On today’s show, the group chat makes a comeback.

Then, western history is dominated by stories of great men and women, but we rarely hear about those who helped them along the way. We’ll unearth history’s secret sidekicks: from the man who encouraged Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to embrace pacifism, to Julia Warhol, who set her son Andy on a path to the art world.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Jack Rodolico

 In 2015, the City of Concord will honor its 250th anniversary. 

For centuries, the Merrimack River made Concord a prime location for Native Americans first, then European settlers later.

And in the 1800s, the city was famous for Concord Coaches – horse-drawn buggies that were manufactured to-order for customers around the world.

The Modern Bra Turns 100

Nov 19, 2014
Via Wikimedia commons

Over the last 100 years they’ve been bought, sold, cherished, and burned. When Caresse Crosby filed a patent application for a "backless brassiere" in 1914, she likely never thought she'd see a day when a diamond encrusted bra worn by a super model would make headlines. From ancient Roman mosaics to Gautier's designs that Madonna famously wore, the bra has gone through a lot of changes over the years.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

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.

On today’s show, from building sewers to standardizing time, the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. And, protests in Ferguson, Missouri prompted calls for a national conversation about race and racism. A filmmaker asks: Can we have a productive discussion if the privileged majority can’t name what it means to be white?

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

“Apple Pay” came out of the gate with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure.  On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay and find out who is set to benefit – and who is not.

And, from traffic cams to EZ Pass, big brother is riding along with us more than we think. But just how much are drivers being monitored? And, after a week of historic wins and losses, we’ll sample the art of the concession speech.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

courtesy Library of Congress

A new book is shining a light on an unusual chapter in the life of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

In the second half of the 19th Century, the New Hampshire native was a wealthy and prominent public figure. But toward the end of her life, Eddy faced a legal challenge to her wealth and her fitness to manage her own affairs – and it came in part from inside her own family.

With the Roosevelts running (and running) on PBS stations across the country, NH’s most famous documentarian has again put Walpole on the map. Ken Burns and his production company Florentine Films have won dozens of awards – Emmys, Grammys, a Peabody and a Columbia-DuPont Award. Much of the success can also be attributed to writer/historian Dayton Duncan who was a key collaborator on many of Florentine’s projects including The National Parks, The Civil War and Baseball.

Jeremy Weber via flickr Creative Commons

Tesla cars…Louis Vuitton luggage…Philippe Patek watches…luxury brands are selling well. How about a $10,000 cell phone? On today’s show, we’ll learn about the new handcrafted cell phone with optional concierge service that’s become a new symbol of conspicuous consumption.

Also today, from fierce fighters in the Trojan wars to Wonder Woman, Amazons have been described as figures of myth. A classics scholar sifts through new DNA evidence and other proof that these female warriors on horseback were real.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Guldfisken / flickr, creative commons

  The Portsmouth Athenaeum’s annual book sale begins on Friday at the North Church Parish. “There’s a bumper crop this year,” says Tom Hardiman, the Athenaeum’s “keeper,” or Executive Director.

Gene Han via flickr Creative Commons

From President’s Day to Veteran’s Day, federal holidays are often an excuse for a day off and mattress sales. On today’s show: the history guys tell us how federal holidays get established, and why more recent events--like September 11th --won’t likely be among them.

Upon its opening, the gift shop at the September 11th Memorial Museum sparked controversy for such keepsakes from an FDNY rescue dog vest to “survivor tree” earrings. But the impulse to commemorate is as old as the country itself. We’ll take a historical tour of tone-deaf trinkets.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


From the early days of counting houses, when office jobs were looked down on but were still considered a refuge from factory work,  to the modern day cubicle. We talk with author Nikil Saval about his new book "Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace." (This show was originally broadcast on 7/2/14)


  • Nikil Saval - an editor of  n + 1, a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics. "Cubed" is his first book.


Simon Shek via Flickr CC

During the Depression, the face of hunger was easy to spot: gaunt, worn, and hollow-eyed. Today’s malnourished are tougher to spot. We’ll get a close up of the new face of American hunger. Plus, over 46 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The average daily benefit per person per day is four dollars. We’ll find out what living on a SNAP budget really looks like. And, how is America’s sweet tooth may be rooted in Prohibition?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

ste3ve via Flickr CC

Melissa McCarthy is hailed as a “plus-sized sweetheart,” a champion of representation for women of all sizes. But is she really just a sellout? Today we look at the difference between her roles in movies and the issues she brings to the spotlight in interviews and profiles to see if she really is the progressive comedian everyone makes her out to be. Then, it’s time for some swashbuckling history. We get answers about what’s real and what are myths when it comes to one of our favorite villains – the pirate. Plus, what is the real cost and benefit of personal privacy in a world where everything is under surveillance?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

edbrambley via Flickr CC

Studying medicine requires intelligence, discipline and considerable expense, making it one of the most prestigious professions in America. But that wasn’t always the case.  We take a look into the shady practices that lead the people of New York City to riot against doctors in the eighteenth-century. Then, for many people vacation is all about fun, sun, and relaxation…for others it’s about Kevlar vests and the front lines. We’ll take a look at the latest in adventure travel: war tourism. Plus, we speak with New Orleans musician Glen David Andrews about his newest album.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

World War I's 100th Anniversary: N.H. Reflects

Jul 28, 2014
kg12345 / Flickr/CC

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of World War I. We’ll take a look at the history lessons of that war, including the causes and the lasting impact of the war.


jbspec7 via Flickr CC

New Hampshire is often advertised as a state filled with natural attractions, famous for our mountains (Mt. Washington and Mt. Monadnock are both known world-wide), lakes, and rivers. But the state is filled with historical landmarks as well, which Lucie Bryar covers in her book Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on Back Roads and Quiet Waters. Here are some of the cultural attractions in southern NH you may not have heard about, but that you’ll definitely want to check out.

vixyao via Flickr CC

New Hampshire bills itself as having a terrain for all seasons – the mountains offer climbing and skiing, the forests shelter innumerable hiking trails, and the lakes and rivers draw people in summer and winter alike. We speak with Lucie Bryar about some the state’s best spots for exploring. And, casual dining chains have been experimenting in extreme discounts. We take a look at the logic behind it and speak with one reporter who put these policies to the test. Then, in case you’ve run out of vacation ideas, we have a list of America’s ickiest attractions.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

blieusong via Flickr CC

Today, we have a conversation with an anatomist behind a new PBS series that puts the lens on mammals who reproduce under extreme circumstances, like dolphins. And if you think it’s tough for mammals to find a mate, try finding one in the vast ocean when you’re a nearly microscopic crustacean. We’ll look into the mating rituals of copepods. And then, a different sort of nature when Chuck Klosterman tells us more about the traits of villainy.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

John Cooper via Flickr Creative Commons

High tech can sometimes mean hand stitching. We discuss the production of World Cup soccer balls in Siaklot, Pakistan with Atlantic assistant editor, Joe Pinsker. Next, a conversation about the intricacies of teaching high school English with writer and teacher Nick Ripatrazone. Then, Dr. Jordan Ellenberg takes us through the most unread books of summer using his formula, the Hawking Index. And, we talk to "Joyland" author Emily Schultz about the strange events that followed the release Steven King's book of the same title. Plus, a look into the history of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster.

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In a new book, acclaimed historian Nathaniel Philbrick offers the untold back-story to this battle, which he calls the tipping point of the American Revolution.  He introduces us to little-known but vitally important characters in this drama, who did much of the heavy lifting of the Revolution in Boston, while the founding fathers were far from the scene, in Philadelphia.

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.