History

oskay, Frank M, Rafik, and dolphinsdock via flickr Creative Commons

Guess what. (What?!). You got the better of Monday. Reward yourself with a healthy dose of Word of Mouth. Today, we're looking at mental illness in our ancient ancestors, the prudish beginnings of the graham cracker (minus the chocolate and marshmallow), Netflix documentaries, and the choreography of Doug Elkins. Dance your heart out, relax with Netflix, and replenish with a s'more. Just steer clear of the ancient hallucination-inducing furies. Listen to the full show and scroll down for more on each segment.

Pond Hockey : The Tradition Continues

Jan 27, 2014
Zach Nugent / NHPR

Pond hockey has been a favorite winter activity for many hearty New Englanders since 1883, when the first hockey game ever played in the United States happened on the ponds at St. Paul’s school right in Concord. This weekend the pond hockey tradition continued at the 4th annual Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship at White Park in Concord.


Zach Nugent / NHPR

Whether told by a campfire, or at a childhood slumber party, everyone loves a spooky story. Today on Word of Mouth we explore our ‘creepy’ appetite. And the macabre continues with the true story of the battle over Richard the III’s remains.  Although he reigned five centuries ago, his burial site has sparked a modern-day war of the roses among Britain’s Richard-files. Also on the show, the Black Ice Pond Hockey tournament celebrates its fourth year at White Park, and producer Zach Nugent sat on the bench to bring us the sights and sounds. Listen to the whole show below or click Read More to listen to individual segments.


Johnhenryf via Flickr Creative Commons

In the words of author Stephen Amidon, “no other figure is the focus of so much passion, controversy, expectation, and disappointment…” regardless of whether it is football or soccer, figure-skating or hockey, watching the world’s top athletes borders on hypnotic… and sometimes stands as proof of our ability to exceed physical human limitations and become something like the gods. That’s the name of long-time sports-lover and novelist Stephen Amidon’s new cultural history of the athlete, detailing sport from the first Olympic Games, to the rise of Lebron James.

Sara Plourde

After years of isolationism, the U.S. rose in the 20th century to become the world’s sole superpower. Today, economic growth is slow, unemployment and income inequality are rising, and political impasses have ground policy initiatives to a halt. America’s status in global manufacturing, education, and innovation is slipping. Many economists project that China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. It all sounds pretty bleak…but economist Charles Kenny paints a much rosier picture. In his book The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West he argues that Americans should stop worrying and learn to love the decline.

Craig Michaud via Wikicommons

Republican state representative Gene Charron of Chester has withdrawn a bill that would have changed the name of the Hannah Duston State Historic Memorial Site in Boscawen to the Contoocook Island State Historic Site.

wikipedia.org

Throughout the world, hundreds of caves have been discovered containing artifacts and paintings from pre-historic times. The art work found in these caves has provided a glimpse into pre-historic culture, but our guest, anthropological archeologist Margaret Conkey says they only tell part of the story of early man. For her project “Between the Caves” she has pushed archeological research beyond the caves, into the landscapes where Paleolithic people lived and thrived.  

NASA

China’s lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, landed on the moon to study the satellite’s terrain, geology, and lava flows. What else might it find? Dirty laundry, golf balls, bags of human waste, and an American flag.  There are loads of items left on the moon by NASA’s Apollo missions -- still perfectly preserved because the moon lacks a destructive atmosphere. With a handful of countries announcing plans for future lunar missions, a number of scientists are arguing that moon trash is an archeological treasure that should be preserved and studied by future generations. But with no laws or lunar governing body to protect, say, the first footprint on the moon, some worry that America’s lunar heritage could be destroyed by a new generation of explorers rushing to reach the moon.

How Should We Live?

Dec 30, 2013
Courtesy of romankrznaric.com

As the fizzy, busy holiday season draws to a close, we’re pausing to reflect on how we navigate a world so unlike that of our parents. Today, no job is a job for life... We live longer but will likely retire with less. We now interact with friends more online than in person, value is measured in page views and how we choose to live could have severe consequences for the future of the planet.

So, how to pursue a life that has meaning and richness in today’s world? Roman Krznaric suggests looking to the past. He’s out with a new book called “How Should We Live?” which peers into the near and ancient past for examples of how people through the ages approached love, work, family, time, money, death, creativity, and more.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

In a year-long series called “250 Years In The Making: Stories From 13 New Hampshire Towns," NHPR’s Keith Shields has traveled all across the Granite State, learning the unique stories of these towns and how their tales also reflect the broader narrative of new Hampshire history.

GUESTS:

pawpaw67 via flickr Creative Commons

The digital age has rendered letter writing, paperboys, and checkbooks as old-fashioned as the rotary phone. While the proliferation of e-books, e-mail, and online newspapers appear to be hastening the death of the printed page, Nicholas Basbanes argues that we are far from becoming a paperless society. Nicholas is an impassioned bibliophile and author of On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand-Year History.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

In a year-long series called “250 Years In The Making: Stories From 13 New Hampshire Towns," NHPR’s Keith Shields has traveled all across the Granite State, learning the unique stories of these towns and how their tales also reflect the broader narrative of new Hampshire history.

GUESTS:

NHPR / Michael Brindley

When you’re just driving by, they all look pretty much the same.

“The green and white markers everyone sees around our highways; to mark important events, important people, important things about New Hampshire.”

But Elizabeth Muzzey, who directs the state’s Division of Historical resources, says when you look a little closer, you find each of the state’s 236 historical markers tells a unique story.

There’s one in New Ipswich marking the first textile mill.

Courtesy of Andrew Pinard

Andrew Pinard’s website features video from the kinds of performances you might expect from a contemporary working magician: entertaining audiences at conventions, business meetings and a group of teens at a post-graduation party.

On Saturday, Andrew will take on another guise, and another century. He’ll be performing as the 19th century magician Jonathan Harrington at Canterbury Shaker Village, and he’s here to give us a preview, and a little bit of information on just who this Harrington is.

Diettogo1 via Flickr Creative Commons

Admitting to eating a bowl of cereal for dinner is like disclosing that you are lonely, lazy, or waaay to busy. Similarly, not having the whole family sitting around the table for a hot dinner of protein, a vegetable, and dessert feels like some kind of failure. When did how and what we eat become codified as right, proper, and essentially American?  How did factory work, television and advertising shape the varied diets carried by centuries of immigrants into the breakfast, lunch and dinner most of us eat today?

Abigail Carroll is a food historian and author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, which explores the history of America’s eating from the Colonial era to the present.

via Wikipedia Commons

  Fifty years after his death, the presidency, and character and memory of John F. Kennedy has been covered and re-covered and burnished in television specials, articles and at least one extraordinary radio special that you’ll be hearing tomorrow on NHPR. With each retrospective comes the revival of the Kennedy myths…pictures of the sprawling family with their giant smiles, privilege…and no holds barred ambition.

In his new book, The Last of the Doughboys, Richard Rubin reflects on the First World War through the eyes of dozens of centenarians who experienced its battles but rarely told its stories. Rubin discovers what he calls a neglected “great generation”, the overlooked and under-appreciated war they fought in, and how that conflict shaped our modern world.

Guest:

Christine Zenino via Flickr Creative Commons

Visitors to Salem, Massachusetts, have a surfeit of choices in Halloween season. They can take a “Tales and Tombstones Trolley Tour,” attend the Zombie Prom, Voodoo Ball, or a performance of “Dracula’s Guest.”

The real terror that coursed through the Massachusetts Bay colony from 1692 to ’93 was not the stuff of a night out with the family. More than two hundred people were accused of witchcraft by their neighbors. Nineteen were hanged. Another was pressed to death. Five women died in prison.  Historian Marilynne Roach examines the lives of individuals swept up in the trials through surviving documents, invoices, and objects. Her new book is called Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials.

Photo by David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

A conversation with author Bill Bryson about his new book, One Summer: America 1927 recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Writers on a New England Stage is a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall. 

In this new approach to the Civil War, Wineapple provides the reader with a sense of the passions and tragedies of the era, including character studies of the vibrant and flawed personalities behind the scenes.

GUEST:

  • Brenda Wineapple – teaches literature at both New York's New School University and Columbia University.  Wineapple is also professor of modern literary and historical studies at Union College.  Her previous book is White Heat: the Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

 A conversation with historian and biographer A. Scott Berg about his new book, Wilson, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Writers on a New England Stage is a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall. 

Courtesy Keene State College/Library of Congress

We use the phrase “long lost” more often than is probably warranted, but this story certainly qualifies.

Several years ago a contractor was cleaning out a barn in Nelson that he’d been hired to demolish. He found a 35 millimeter film projector and seven reels of nitrate film. Among those was a short film that had not been seen in decades. The film, called “Their First Misunderstanding,” stars an 18 year old woman named Mary Pickford, who would become one of Hollywood’s first and biggest stars.

smithsonianmag.com

Everybody can benefit from taking a field trip. And here’s your chance… this Saturday is Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live. Follow this link: Smithsonian's Museum Day Live to download a free ticket that will get you and a guest into any participating Smithsonian museum, including the McCauliffe-Shepard Discovery Museum in Concord, the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Manchester, and the Strawberry Banke museum…where you can learn – among other things – about Portsmouth’s long love affair with beer.  And while brewing may not be the focus of 7th grade class trip, there is plenty more to learn at Strawberry Banke.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

"World record" is a phrase that brings to mind great feats - doing something no one else has ever done.

And that’s what’s happening this Saturday on Lake Winnipesaukee- if all goes as planned, participants will break the  record for “the largest free-floating raft of canoes and kayaks on a single water body.”

The Vault DFW via Flickr Creative Commons

As the summer winds down, so will demand for lobster and its market price. Maine lobstermen are bemoaning low wholesale prices, but far from shore, say New York City’s Lobster Joint, market price today for a roll is $19…a boiled lobster will cost your $34. Today, the crustaceans are coveted, and symbolic of wealth, class, and extravagant living. Not so long ago, lobster was considered lower than the ocean floor on which it dwells. Here to trace its climb up the social ladder from grub for the poor to high-class delicacy is Daniel Luzer, Web Editor at the Washington Monthly. We found his article, “Low Lobster Got Fancy,” in Pacific Standard.

macalit via Flickr Creative Commons

Got milk tolerance? Only about one-third of adults on earth can properly digest dairy. A project uniting archaeologists, chemists and geneticist is studying the history of milk in Europe, where “lactose persistence”, the ability to digest milk as an adult, is thought to have emerged only seven and a half thousand years ago. There’s been a wave of discoveries suggesting that a number of “lactose hot spots” where ancient humans developed the genetic mutation for tolerating milk –  experienced significant advantages which allowed ancient humans to survive and changed the course of human history.  Mark Thomas is an evolutionary geneticist at University College London and co-founder of LeCHE, a collaborative research project that traces lactose persistence in early Europe.

Joe Mud via Flickr Creative Commons

Iodized salt is so common today that you may never have considered the two as separate elements. This wasn’t always the case -- in 1924 iodized salt was first sold commercially in the U.S. to reduce the incidence of goiter – or swelling of the thyroid gland. Within a decade the average I.Q. in the United States had risen three and a half points. In areas that had been iodine deficient, I.Q. levels rose an average of fifteen points. A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research traces this leap in I.Q. back to iodized salt.  We spoke with Max Nisen, war room reporter for Business Insider, where he wrote about I.Q. increases as a result of iodized salt.

Jeff Houck/John Stavely via Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s Aerospace Economic Development Agency is making plans to build a new commercial spaceport not far from the Kennedy Space Center – home of NASA’s now retired shuttle program. There’s just one problem: the land is already occupied.  To learn more, producer Taylor Quimby caught up with Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittmanwho wrote about Space Florida’s proposal to build on top of an  18th century sugar factory and archaeological site called the Elliott Plantation.

teachernz via flickr Creative Commons

For four decades, Dr. Gerald Cohen has pored over documents, texts and pop culture to study etymology--the history and origins of words and how their meanings change over time. Working with the world’s top language historians, Dr. Cohen publishes “Comments on Etymology,” a journal of the peculiar origins of words and phrases like ‘brainstorm’ and ‘hot dog’. The journal cannot be found online, or even at university libraries…its circulation is under one hundred, and it’s published on paper. Gerald Cohen is professor in the Department of Arts, Languages and Philosophy at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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