Scandals reveal anxiety. Through scandals, norms are articulated, defined, and defied. This podcast, created by Smith College students for the course HST 272: "American Scandal," tells the stories of forgotten scandals in the American past, from the seventeenth century to the present.
Praise the Lord (and Defraud Everyone Else)
Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were two of the most well-known religious leaders in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. They built an evangelical empire known as PTL (Praise the Lord). But it was built on a shaky foundation. After it came out that Jim Bakker had sexually assaulted a woman named Jessica Hahn and that he was committing massive fraud, their empire collapsed.
Credit: This episode was created by Smith College students Payton Armstrong, Portia Caruso, Alaina Economus-Stout, and Sophia Esparza.
Content note: This episode contains a discussion of sexual violence.
For a transcript of this episode and its sources, see https://sophia.smith.edu/hst272-sp20/ptl/
Murder in the Goat Castle
In the 1939, Gone with the Wind was released, and became one of the most popular movies of all time. It painted a portrait of a racially harmonious, genteel south. Just a few years earlier, though, the sensational death of Jennie Merrill in Natchez, Mississippi at Goat Castle offered a much bleaker image of the southern elite and the region's racial politics.
Credit: This episode was created by Ainsley Chrystal, Bailey Street, Gaia Santoro Lecchini, and Elisabye Slaymaker.
For a transcript of this episode and its sources, see https://sophia.smith.edu/hst272-sp20/the-goat-castle-murder/
The Beautiful Cigar Girl: The Death of Mary Rogers
Virtually unknown before her disappearance and death in 1841, Mary Rogers' unsolved case inspired a sensation in New York City and helped to inspire the birth of the genre of True Crime.
Credit: This episode was created by Smith College students Arielle Dede, Jess Buslewicz, Keely Clifford, and Clare McElhaney.
For a transcript of this episode and its sources, see https://sophia.smith.edu/hst272-sp20/mary-rogers/
The Randolph Family and the Fall of the Virginia Gentry
The Randolphs were among the most powerful and wealthy families in seventeenth and eighteenth century Virginia. But a scandal erupted that shook the family when Mary Harrison awoke one night in 1792 to hear her cousin screaming. Why was she screaming? And what would be the consequences for one of America's foremost families?
Credit: This podcast was created by Smith College students Annika J., Ava B., Savannah B., and Emily M.
For a transcript of this episode and its sources, see: https://sophia.smith.edu/hst272-sp20/the-randolph-family-and-the-fall-of-the-virginia-gentry/
Bad Reputation: The Life of Elizabeth Tuttle
Elizabeth Tuttle is sometimes known as the "crazy" grandmother of the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards—a stain on the theologian's reputation and family name. But was she really insane? And what can we really know about this enigmatic woman?
Credit: This episode was created by Smith College students Cara Meyer, Rehana Nazerali-Ruddy, Elisabeth Sinclair, and Rowan Wheeler.
For a transcript of this episode and its sources, see https://sophia.smith.edu/hst272-sp20/bad-reputation-the-life-of-elizabeth-tuttle/