Plus: Blockbusters and George Washington |

February 13, 2020

By Lily Rothman

With Bernie Sanders taking the top spot in this week’s New Hampshire primary, it’s clear that socialism is having a moment. That particular political philosophy has long been a third rail in American politics, but Sanders has not been held back by identifying as a democratic socialist (though he is not a member of the Democratic Socialists of America).

With that in mind, TIME’s video team took a look back at the long history of socialism in the U.S., from utopian communities in the 19th century to today. Click here to watch.

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

Washington Made History by Leaving the Presidency. That Didn't Mean He Left Politics

A new biography, Washington's End: The Final Years and Forgotten Struggle, reveals the chaos in the last two years of George Washington's life after his presidency

The Civil War Wasn't Just About the Union and the Confederacy

Native Americans played a role too

Why Hit Movies Are Called Blockbusters

Here are the wartime origins of the term

The Campaigns That Brought the Voters to the Candidates

Most campaigns today bring the candidates to the voters, but front porch campaigns took the opposite approach—with great success

The Past and Future of Punctuation Marks

In classical times there were no punctuation marks or spaces between words. Here's how that changed


Feb. 13, 1995

Today in 1995: The Stone Age

“Not since the Dead Sea Scrolls has anything found in a cave caused so much excitement. The paintings and engravings, more than 300 of them, amount to a sort of Ice Age Noah's ark-images of bison, mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses, of a panther, an owl, even a hyena. Done on the rock walls with plain earth pigments—red, black, ocher—they are of singular vitality and power, and despite their inscrutability to modern eyes, they will greatly enrich our picture of Cro-Magnon life and culture.” (Feb. 13, 1995)

Read the full story

Feb. 13, 1950

Today in 1950: Texas Boom

“Both cattle and cotton—once the main supports of Texas—are still big business; Texas plantations and ranches yield a third of U.S. cotton, 10% of U.S. beef. Texas has 25% of the nation's sheep, and raises $100 million worth of wheat. The effects of this $5 billion combination of industrial and agrarian prosperity has inspired a giant construction industry: Texas cities have not only acquired new factories, but the high, clean shafts of new office buildings, bright-roofed acres of housing for the new industrial workers, and tree-shaded mansions for the new millionaires. Dallas has a Rolls-Royce agency; its fashionable Neiman-Marcus sells more mink than any store outside New York. There is fresh paint on farmhouses and new tractors grumble across the endless Texas land. In many ways it is an astonishing phenomenon; few areas of the world have experienced so much change with such little pain.” (Feb. 13, 1950)

Read the full story

Feb. 13, 1939

Today in 1939: Pablo Picasso

“So, for 30 years, have the works of Pablo Picasso continued to delight the knowledgeable and confound the common man. Flying like a shuttlecock between the esthetic debaters of two continents, the very name of Picasso has been a symbol of irresponsibility to the old, of audacity to the young. To millions of solid citizens it has been one of the two things they know about modern art—the other being that they don't like it. " (Feb. 13, 1939)

Read the full story


Inside Baseball Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed takes a look at the latest stats on the job market for historians, finding signs of both stability and shrinkage.

The Room Where It Happens The New-York Historical Society is re-creating Ronald Reagan’s Oval Office, and Charles Passy at the Wall Street Journal has the story.

In Conversation PBS’ Judy Woodruff spoke to three historians about the end of President Trump’s impeachment trial, and you can find the tape and transcript here.

Western Story Jill Cowan’s “California Today” dispatch for the New York Times takes a look at the story of Delilah L. Beasley, who in the early 20th century helped document African-American life in California.

Revolutionary Year Another interesting one from the Times: to examine Africa in 1960, the year when 17 countries declared independence, the paper combines archival images with new words by people with connections to those places.

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