Plus: Barbara Bush and Baseball |

April 19, 2018

By Lily Rothman

President Donald Trump’s announcement of airstrikes in Syria over the weekend prompted us to take a deeper look at the history of chemical weapons. And we found a complex and brutal legacy.

From the ancient Greek perception that poison was cowardly to the Cold War race to stockpile new forms of lab-made weapons, there are centuries of history—what TIME once called “the dark side of progress”—behind the international consensus on the evils of chemical weapons.

You can click here to read more.

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

The Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Is About More Than the Uprising

The widespread embrace of the uprising's story sheds light on how a good number of Americans want, and need, to remember the Holocaust

Barbara Bush's Quiet, Forceful Influence on American Politics

She seemed to walk the line between the necessarily supporting nature of the role and the personal activism expected of a First Lady

Why NYC Removed a Statue of J. Marion Sims From Central Park

Calls for the statue's removal peaked in 2017

The Disney Cartoons That Taught Americans to Like Taxes

"Taxes to beat the Axis!"

Why Scooter Libby Didn't Get a Presidential Pardon Before

George W. Bush refused to pardon Libby, a former aide to Dick Cheney


Apr. 19, 1937

Today in 1937: Inside Baseball

“In 1886, famed ‘Cap’ Anson created a furor by taking his Chicago baseball team (including Evangelist Billy Sunday) to Hot Springs, Ark. to get ready for the opening of the season. Since then, spring training has been a baseball institution. Main purpose of spring training is not to recondition baseballers but to recondition baseball addicts, by reminding them that a new season is about to start, reviving their interest in the game.” (April 19, 1937)

Read the full story

april 20, 1981

This Week in 1981: Meet Diana

“Even if Lady Diana seems deprived of her nuptial prerogatives, there is more than enough to keep her busy. Learning to accommodate herself—indeed give herself over entirely—to the royal agenda is a daunting prospect. ‘It terrified me,’ says Charles of his first forays in public. As the first Princess of Wales since 1910—and only the ninth since Joan, ‘the fair maid of Kent,’ hitched up with Edward the Black Prince in 1361—Diana is automatically down on the books for about 170 official engagements a year." (April 20, 1981)

Read the full story

Apr. 19, 1999

Today in 1999: The New Genealogy

“Once the hobby of self-satisfied blue bloods tracing their families back to the Mayflower, genealogy is fast becoming a national obsession—for new parents basking in the glow of family life, baby boomers wrestling with their first intimations of mortality, and various ethnic groups exploring their pride and place in a multicultural society. Powering the phenomenon are the new tools of the digital age: computer programs that turn the search for family trees into an addiction; websites that make it easy to find and share information; and chat rooms filled with folks seeking advice and swapping leads." (April 19, 1999)

Read the full story


Five Stars Rachel Bernstein’s JSTOR Daily piece about George Washington’s presidential travel diaries uses the fun conceit of framing Washington’s remarks on the inns where he stayed as the Yelp reviews of their time.

Identifying At Vox, political scientist Eric Schickler makes the case that those who see “identity politics” as a modern phenomenon are missing something about the earlier history of the Democratic Party.

Great Dane The Guardian has the story of how a 13-year-old boy helped make an important discovery about the history of the 10th century Danish king “Harry Bluetooth.”

Chapter and Verse Biographer Ramie Targoff talks to Chloe Schama for Vogue about her new book on Vittoria Colonna, who was—aside from being a good friend to Michelangelo—the first female poet to have her work published in Italy.

Setting an Example At the New York Daily News, Betty Lyons and Sally Roesch Wagner use the 170th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention to examine how Native American culture influenced American suffragists in their thinking on gender roles.

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