U.S. History

Tillie Black Bear accepts congratulations from President Bill Clinton after receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in December 2000.

Women Who Shaped History

Tillie Black Bear Was the Grandmother of the Anti-Domestic Violence Movement

The Lakota advocate helped thousands of domestic abuse survivors, Native and non-Native alike

Helen Gibson once remarked, “I certainly do get angry when I hear someone say, ‘I bet she didn’t do that herself.’”

Women Who Shaped History

Hollywood's First Professional Stuntwoman Jumped From Planes and Swung Onto Trains

Dubbed "the most daring actress in pictures," Helen Gibson rose to fame in the 1910s

Now available is the Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Johnson Blues Odyssey by Robert "Mack" McCormick (above center with Spider Kilpatrick, c. 1960), and this summer, the much-anticipated book is complemented by an exhibit at the National Museum of American History, a box CD set from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and a concert celebration at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.

Legendary Bluesman Robert Johnson Had Demons. So Did His Biographer

The long-awaited “Biography of a Phantom” unravels some of the mystery and intrigue

Peter J. Ortiz receives the first of the two Navy Crosses he was awarded for extraordinary heroism during World War II.

The American Spy Who Surrendered to the Nazis to Save Civilians

In 1944, Pierre Julien Ortiz parachuted into occupied France, where the Gestapo offered a reward of half a million francs for his capture

Americans will have a few extra days to file their taxes this year.

Why Is Tax Day in April?

These are the reasons behind the timing of many Americans' least favorite holiday

Darcelle XV, Portland, Oregon, 2019

LGBTQ+ Pride

The 92-Year-Old Queen Who Shaped the History and Future of Drag

Darcelle XV, the world’s oldest performing drag queen, died in March, but her spirit will live on

A hand-colored 1892 print of the Battle of Fort Pillow

At Fort Pillow, Confederates Massacred Black Soldiers After They Surrendered

Targeted even when unarmed, around 70 percent of the Black Union troops who fought in the 1864 battle died as a result of the clash

Tens of thousands of people in the United States may be connected to this album, which museum officials say offers an "unprecedented opportunity for people of mixed heritage, especially, to access never-before-seen ancestral portraits."

Find Out If Your Ancestor Is Among These 19th-Century Silhouettes in This Newly Digitized Collection

The itinerant artist William Bache’s portraits are contaminated by arsenic, but now the National Portrait Gallery offers easy access

In 1804, jurors in New Jersey indicted Vice President Aaron Burr for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr’s friends persuaded state officials to drop the charges, but their success had nothing to do with any immunity that Burr enjoyed as an executive officer.

What the Nation's Founders Said About the Indictment of a Former President

Alexander Hamilton wrote that a commander in chief removed from office would be "liable to prosecution and punishment"

Theodore Roosevelt, right, and Cândido Rondon, second from right, led the fateful mission to map an uncharted waterway and document natural wonders.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Perilous Expedition on the Amazon

The dangerous—yet victorious—trip wouldn’t have been possible without Cândido Rondon, an icon of Brazilian history

Engineer Martin Cooper made the world's first cellphone call on April 3, 1973, using a Motorola DynaTAC.

From 'the Brick' to the iPhone, the Cellphone Celebrates 50 Years

As the technology turns 50, science fiction might hint at the cellphone's next chapter

A vintage promotional photograph commissioned and approved by Redfeather around 1915 is now held in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

The Forgotten History of Tsianina Redfeather, the Beloved American Indian Opera Singer

A portrait of the performer debuts in the exhibition “Entertainment Nation”

An elaborate dance sequence from the 1943 production, choreographed by Agnes de Mille

Behind 'Oklahoma!' Lies the Remarkable Story of a Gay Cherokee Playwright

Lynn Riggs wrote the play that served as the basis of the hit 1943 musical

The octagonal building with its tongue-in-groove peaked roof is "really a beautiful piece of architecture,” says the museum's conservator Dawn Wallace. “You can tell it was heavily used, but it’s beautiful construction.”

Crowds Roared, a Century Ago, on Opening Day for the Mighty House That Ruth Built

An original Yankee Stadium ticket booth recalls the story of that first game, which featured a thundering three-run homer from the Great Bambino

Archaeologists collect samples from a prehistoric caribou hunting site on Alpena-Amberley Ridge in Lake Huron.

America's Waterways: The Past, Present and Future

Clues to the Lives of North America's First Inhabitants Are Hidden Underwater

Submerged prehistory holds insights on the first humans to live in North America

Wong Kim Ark's departure statement

Untold Stories of American History

How the Fight for Birthright Citizenship Shaped the History of Asian American Families

Even after Wong Kim Ark successfully took his case to the Supreme Court 125 years ago, Asian Americans struggled to receive recognition as U.S. citizens

Frederick Douglass once said, “Samuel R. Ward has left no successor among the colored men amongst us, and it was a sad day for our cause when he was laid low in the soil of a foreign country.”

Untold Stories of American History

Frederick Douglass Thought This Abolitionist Was a 'Vastly Superior' Orator and Thinker

A new book offers the first full-length biography of newspaper editor, labor leader and minister Samuel Ringgold Ward

The rocky beach in Wrangell, Alaska, is decorated with more than 40 petroglyphs.

Alaska

The Mystery of This Petroglyph-Covered Alaskan Beach

The 8,000-year-old rock carvings were likely created by the Tlingit

Carrie Coon (left) as Jean Cole and Keira Knightley (right) as Loretta McLaughlin in the Boston Strangler movie

Women Who Shaped History

The Tenacious Women Reporters Who Helped Expose the Boston Strangler

A new film explores Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole's efforts to unmask a serial killer believed to have murdered 13 women between 1962 and 1964

The sun sets over the Susquehanna River in northern Pennsylvania.

America's Waterways: The Past, Present and Future

America's Waterways: The Past, Present and Future

In a series of articles, <em>Smithsonian</em> magazine highlights all that draws our eyes to our nation's fresh and coastal waters

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