37 episodes

Have you ever heard of Louis Congo? What about the forgotten Downwinders or The Devil’s Bible? These are just a few examples of people, events, and things from our past that have been lost to time. They’re important in the greater context of our understanding of the world and how our past shaped our present, yet they never made it into history books. In this bi-weekly podcast, freelance journalist, Crystal Ponti, digs up extraordinary excerpts of forgotten history, bringing her passion and love of storytelling to each episode. Recently honored as one of the best history podcasts of 2018 (Uproxx), listeners have likened “Historium Unearthia” to “60 Minutes” and said, “Crystal’s narration is concise and enrapturing, and the production value of her stories holds the audience’s attention like only the best of radio programs. She delivers interesting and entertaining stories from the lost parts of history, and, not only does she unearth them, she brings them to life.”

Historium Unearthia: Unearthing History's Lost and Untold Stories Crystal Ponti

    • History
    • 4.6 • 103 Ratings

Have you ever heard of Louis Congo? What about the forgotten Downwinders or The Devil’s Bible? These are just a few examples of people, events, and things from our past that have been lost to time. They’re important in the greater context of our understanding of the world and how our past shaped our present, yet they never made it into history books. In this bi-weekly podcast, freelance journalist, Crystal Ponti, digs up extraordinary excerpts of forgotten history, bringing her passion and love of storytelling to each episode. Recently honored as one of the best history podcasts of 2018 (Uproxx), listeners have likened “Historium Unearthia” to “60 Minutes” and said, “Crystal’s narration is concise and enrapturing, and the production value of her stories holds the audience’s attention like only the best of radio programs. She delivers interesting and entertaining stories from the lost parts of history, and, not only does she unearth them, she brings them to life.”

    Episode 34: The Government Program that Imprisoned "Promiscuous" Women

    Episode 34: The Government Program that Imprisoned "Promiscuous" Women

    In the United States, the war against women took a particularly dark and secretive turn in the early 1900s—around the start of World War I. Under a government-sponsored “social hygiene” campaign, to protect newly recruited soldiers, tens of thousands of women were arrested on “suspicion” of having a venereal disease. Sex workers were the prime targets, but any woman who raised an eyebrow could be apprehended. The women were subjected to invasive gynecological examinations. If they tested positive for an STI, they were incarcerated in hospitals, reformatories, and prisons, without any semblance of due process.


    Once imprisoned, the women became test subjects—receiving painful injections of mercury and other ineffective treatments. Many were beaten and forcibly sterilized. Most were held indefinitely until they were deemed “cured” or “reformed.” The program persisted for decades, well into the 1950s, and even shades of this discriminatory practice are present today.
    Have you ever heard of the American Plan?


    Credit:


    It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Scott Stern, author of The Trials of Nina McCall, the first book-length history of the American Plan, and Jeana Jorgensen, a scholar and sex educator who has written extensively, from a feminist angle, on the impacts of the American Plan.


    Sources:


    The Trials of Nina McCall: Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison "Promiscuous" Women; Stern, Scott W.; Penguin Random House; May 15, 2018.


    The American Plan: The U.S. Government's Forgotten Plan to Lock Up Women and Free the Country from the Scourge of Disease; Stern, Scott W.; Yale University; 2015.


    The U.S. Detained 'Promiscuous' Women in What One Called a 'Concentration Camp.' That Word Choice Matters; Stern, Scott W.; TIME; May 15, 2018.


     The American Plan and World War I; Jorgensen, Jeana; Patheos; January 1, 2019.


    The Impact of the American Plan; Jorgensen, Jeana; Patheos; January 1, 2019.


    American Social Hygiene Association History and a Forecast; Virginia Commonwealth University, Social Welfare History Project; Retrieved May 2019.


    Brief History of Syphilis; Tampa, M; Journal of Medicine and Life; March 25, 2014.


    Sexually Transmitted Disease Control in the Armed Forces, Past and Present; Emerson, Lynn A.C.; Military Medicine; 1997.

    • 29 min
    Episode 33: This Influential Female Author and Anthropologist Blazed a Trail for Women

    Episode 33: This Influential Female Author and Anthropologist Blazed a Trail for Women

    This trailblazer became the most successful and significant black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century. In the 1970s, during the second wave of feminism, Alice Walker helped revive interest in this pioneer’s writings, bringing them back to public attention. Have you ever heard of Zora Neale Hurston?
    DOWNLOAD NOW
    Credit:
    It was a deep honor and absolute pleasure to speak with Valerie Boyd, author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, and DaMaris Hill, a professor at the University of Kentucky and author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, for this episode.
    Sources:
    Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston; Boyd, Valerie; Scribner; February 3, 2004.
    Dust Tracks on a Road; Hurston, Zora Neale; Harpers; 1942, updated 2017.
    A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland; Hill, DeMaris; Bloomsbury Publishing; January 15, 2019.
    Zora Neale Hurston; Official Website; Maintained by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust; Retrieved February 2019.
    Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography; Hemenway, Robert; University of Illinois Press, September 1, 1980.

    • 40 min
    Episode 32: This Strange Civil Disturbance Changed How Americans Study Medicine

    Episode 32: This Strange Civil Disturbance Changed How Americans Study Medicine

    In the US, doctors are held in high esteem. But that wasn’t always the case. There was time when the medical field was riddled with controversy and public scrutiny. Tensions between the world of medicine and society reached a boiling point in New York City during April of 1788, when resurrection, the common practice of grave robbing, came under scrutiny.
    Have you ever heard of the New York Doctors Riot?
    DOWNLOAD NOW
    Credit:
    I want to give a special thanks to Andrea Janes, owner and founder of Boroughs of the Dead LLC, a boutique tour company dedicated to dark and unusual walking tours of New York City, and Bess Lovejoy, journalist and author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses.
    Sources:
    The Gory New York City Riot that Shaped American Medicine; Lovejoy, Bess; Smithsonian Magazine; June 17, 2014.
    Doctors' riot, New York, 1788; Bell, Whitefield J.; American Association for the History of Medicine; December 1971.
    Grave Robbing And The Doctors Riot of 1788; Hernandez, Miguel; The New York History Blog; December 20, 2016.
    The Doctors’ Riot of 1788; Ancestry.com; Retrieved February 2019.
    American resurrection and the 1788 New York doctors' riot’; de Costa, Caroline and Miller, Francesca; Perspectives, The Art of Medicine; January 22, 2011.
    Prelude and Aftermath of the Doctors' Riot of 1788: A Religious Interpretation of White and Black Reaction to Grave Robbing; Swan, Robert J.; New York History, Fenimore Art Museum; Vol. 81, No. 4 (October 2000), pp. 417-456.
    American Heritage Book Selection: The Body Snatchers; Gallagher, Thomas; American Heritage Magazine; June 1967.

    • 42 min
    Episode 31: Before Modern Medicine, These Female Healers Cured What Ailed

    Episode 31: Before Modern Medicine, These Female Healers Cured What Ailed

    In the days before modern medicine, the sick, injured, and expecting often relied on community healers to perform the services of doctors and midwives. Women largely fulfilled these roles. Whether their practices were rooted in scripture, nature, or common sense, there’s no denying their quintessential place in the history of medicine. Have you ever heard of the Ozarks’ Granny Women?
    DOWNLOAD NOW
    Credit
    Janet Allured, a professor of history and the Director of Women’s Studies at McNeese University in Louisiana, and Vincent Anderson, historian and author of multiple books on the Ozarks’ region.
    Sources
    Granny Women: Healing and Magic in Appalachia; Burns, Phyllis Doyle; RemedyGrove; March 11, 2018.
    Women’s Healing Art: Domestic Medicine in the Turn-of-the-Century Ozarks; Allured, Janet L.; Gateway Heritage, Spring 1992, Vol. 12, No. 4; Missouri Historical Society; Retrieved January 2019.
    The “Granny-Woman” in the Ozarks; Rayburn, Otto Ernest; Midwest Folklore, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn, 1959), pp. 145-148, Indiana University Press; Retrieved January 2019.
    Last of the Ozark Granny Women; Shannon Country Coordinators; Shannon County, Missouri GenWeb; Retrieved January 2019.
    Mozark Moments: Tales of Granny Women and Yarb Doctors; Johns, Paul; CCHeadliner.com; March 20, 2011.

    • 33 min
    Episode 30: The Mysterious Life and Supposed Murder of Vincent van Gogh

    Episode 30: The Mysterious Life and Supposed Murder of Vincent van Gogh

    On July 27, 1890, a painter sustained a single gunshot wound to the abdomen and died a few days later. This infamous event has carried through time as a suicide. After his death, the deceased became one of history’s most iconic and celebrated artists. Yet, we are only now learning the truth about his life and untimely death. Have you ever heard of the mysteries surrounding Vincent van Gogh?
    DOWNLOAD NOW

    Credit:
    I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Irving Arenberg, a prominent (retired) ear surgeon and author of the new book Killing Vincent: The Man, The Myth, and The Murder, and Louis van Tilborgh of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
    Source:
    Killing Vincent: The Man, the Myth, and the Murder; Arenberg, Irving Kaufman; Amazon Digital Services; October 24, 2018.
    Van Gogh: The Life; Naifeh, Steven and Smith, Gregory White; Random House LLC; October 18, 2011.
    Meet Vincent; Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam; Retrieved December 2018.
    Vincent Van Gogh; Historical Figures; BBC; Retrieved January 2019.
    Vincent Van Gogh Biography; The Van Gogh Gallery; Retrieved January 2019.NOW

    • 47 min
    Episode 29: All You've Needed to Know and Then Some Since 1818

    Episode 29: All You've Needed to Know and Then Some Since 1818

    Throughout history there have been countless methods for forecasting the weather. In 1818, David Young, a poet and an astronomer from Morristown, New Jersey, launched a publication that would help take the guesswork out of this tricky task...and then some. Have you ever heard of the Farmers’ Almanac?
    DOWNLOAD NOW
    Credit:
    Peter Geiger, publisher and editor at the Farmers’ Almanac, joined me for this wonderful episode on the history of a timeless publication. I’m grateful for his insight and stories.
    Image Copyright: Almanac Publishing Company
    Sources:
    Farmers’ Almanac History; Farmers’ Almanac; Retrieved December 2018.
    Agriculture, Food, and the Environment; Brosnan, Kathleen A. and Blackwell, Jacob; Oxford Research Enclyopedias; April 2016.
    What is an Almanac?; Wonderopolois; Retrieved December 2018.
    Farmers’ Almanac Timeline; Farmers’ Almanac; Retrieved December 2018.
    History of American Agriculture; Bellis, Mary; ThoughtCo.; October 3, 2018.
    A Visit to the Past; Duncan, Sandi; Farmers’ Almanac; December 10, 2012.
    Time Travel Anyone?; Duncan, Sandi; Farmers’ Almanac; November 12, 2013.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
103 Ratings

103 Ratings

GTTHPod ,

Wonderful History Podcast

As someone who's recently gotten into learning about history, this podcast is the perfect one to rely on. Beautifully produced, written, and performed, Crystal does an excellent job relaying information and making the subject matter very interesting. I look forward to every episode and cannot recommend this podcast enough!

curious1961 ,

Pronunciation Errors Abound

A nice podcast with interesting information, but goodness, the narrator needs to check her pronunciation of key terms or names. For example, “Gaugin” is not pronounced “Gog-oh-winn” but “Goh-gann”. Also, it is “Protestantism” and not “Protestism”. These kinds of errors dampen the erudite listener’s enjoyment of the material.

SultanJo ,

Awesome!

What a great resource and so very interesting!! LOVE IT!!

You Might Also Like

iHeartPodcasts
The Dark Paranormal
NBC News
Dan Cummins
NOISER
The Moth