152 episodes

A podcast about people and events in American history you may not know much about. Yet.

Unsung History Kelly Therese Pollock

    • History
    • 4.8 • 74 Ratings

A podcast about people and events in American history you may not know much about. Yet.

    Log Cabin Republicans and the Gay Right

    Log Cabin Republicans and the Gay Right

    In 1977, a California state senator named John Briggs took to the steps of City Hall in San Francisco to announce a ballot initiative that would empower school boards to fire gay teachers based only on their sexual orientation. In response, gay activists around California mobilized, including gay Republicans, who formed among the first gay Republican organizations. In 1990, several of those California groups, together with groups across the country, combined into the Log Cabin Federation, which by 1992 had grown to 6000 members across 26 chapters.  

    Joining me in this episode to discuss this story and the longer history of Gay Republicans is historian, writer, and podcaster Dr. Neil J. Young, author of Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode music is “Funky_30sec” by Grand_Project from Pixabay; the music is free for use under the Pixabay Content License. The episode image is “Arguments at the United States Supreme Court for Same-Sex Marriage on April 28, 2015,” taken by Ted Eytan, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED.

    Additional Sources:

    “How 1970s Christian crusader Anita Bryant helped spawn Florida's LGBTQ culture war,” by Jillian Eugenios, NBC News, April 13, 2022.“Column: How 2.8 million California voters nearly banned gay teachers from public schools,” By Nicholas Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2021.“How Log Cabin Republicans Keep Out Of The Closet,” by NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, April 20, 2011.“Kevin McCarthy should meet the Ronald Reagan of 1978,” by John Kenneth White, The Hill, June 3, 2021.“Our History,” Log Cabin Republicans.“The bizarre history of Log Cabin’s presidential endorsements,” by Chris Johnson, The Washington Blade, August 21, 2019.“Melania Trump is set to make a return to her husband's campaign with a rare political appearance,” by Stephany Matat, The Washington Post, April 20, 2024.


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    • 45 min
    American Posture Panic

    American Posture Panic

    For several decades in the 20th Century, American universities, including elite institutions, took nude photos of their students, sometimes as often as twice a year, in order to evaluate their posture. In some cases students had to achieve a minimum posture grade in order to graduate. How did that practice develop, and how did it end? This week we’re discussing Americans’ obsession with posture with Dr. Beth Linker, the Samuel H. Preston Endowed Term Professor in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode music is “Debutante Intermezzo,” composed and performed by Howard Kopp in 1916; the audio is in the public domain and is available via the Library of Congress National Jukebox. The episode image is from “The posture of school children, with its home hygiene and new efficiency methods for school training,” from 1913, by Jessie H. Bancroft; the image is in the public domain and is available via Wikimedia Commons.

    Additional sources:
    “Correct Posture League.; Will Educate Children and Adults to Stand Up Straight,” The New York Times, April 2, 1914."College Slouch" Proved By Orthopedic Tests,” The Harvard Crimson, March 8, 1917.“The Rise and Fall of American Posture,” by David Yosifon and Peter N. Stearns, The American Historical Review 103, no. 4 (1998): 1057–95. “The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal,” by Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Times Magazine, January 15, 1995, Section 6, Page 26.“It’s Not Too Late to Fix Your Posture,” by Thessaly La Force, Vogue Magazine, January 18, 2024.“Six ways to improve your posture,” by Rebecca Newman, Financial Times, March 26 2024.“Learn how to correct your posture in only 60 seconds,” by Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest, February 9, 2024.“How to promote good posture and avoid becoming hunched over,” by Michele Stanten, The Washington Post, December 11, 2023.

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    • 47 min
    The History of DARE

    The History of DARE

    In the fall of 1983, the LAPD, under Chief of Police Darryl Gates and in collaboration with the LA Unified School District, launched Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), sending 10 police officers into 50 elementary schools to teach kids how to say no to drugs. By the time DARE celebrated its 10-year anniversary, there were DARE officers in all 50 states, teaching 4.5 million students. The program was praised by presidents and supported by major corporate sponsors, but in the 1990s social scientists started to question its effectiveness, eventually leading to a precipitous decline in the numbers of school districts participating in the program.

    Joining me in this episode is Dr. Max Felker-Kantor, Associate Professor of History at Ball State University and author of Dare to Say No: Policing and the War on Drugs in Schools.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode music is “Back to the 80s”
    by Roman Oriekhov from Pixabay; it is available via the Pixabay Content License. The episode image is “Children from Sterling Heights Elementary school recite the pledge of allegiance at the Drugs Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) graduation on Kadena Air Base (AB), Okinawa, Japan,” taken on February 28, 2003; the image is released to the public and is available via the National Archives (NAID: 6642856).

    Additional Sources:
    “D.A.R.E.’s Story as a Leader in Drug Prevention Education,” D.A.R.E. America.“DARE Marks a Decade of Growth and Controversy : Youth: Despite critics, anti-drug program expands nationally. But some see declining support in LAPD,” by Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1993.“How effective is drug abuse resistance education? A meta-analysis of Project DARE outcome evaluations,” by ST Ennett, NS Tobler, CL Ringwalt, and RL Flewelling, American Journal of Public Health 1994;84(9):1394-1401. “Just Say No to D.A.R.E.,” by Dennis P. Rosenbaum,  Criminology and Public Policy, 6(4), 815-824.“DARE: The Anti-Drug Program That Never Actually Worked,” by Rosie Cima, Priceonomics.“Just Say No?” by Scott Lilienfeld and Hal Arkowitz, Scientific American Mind, 15552284, Jan/Feb2014, Vol. 25, Issue 1.“A brief history of DARE, the anti-drug program Jeff Sessions wants to revive,” by Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, July 12, 2017.“Proclamation 5854 -- National D.A.R.E. Day, 1988,” by Ronald Reagan, September 8, 1988, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.“Proclamation 8648—National D.A.R.E. Day, 2011,” by Barack Obama, April 11, 2011, The American Presidency Project.


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    • 44 min
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his eldest child, 17-year-old Alice, rose quickly to celebrity status. The public loved hearing about the exploits of the poker-playing, gum-chewing “Princess Alice,” who kept a small green snake in her purse. By the time she died at age 96, Alice, whose Dupont Circle home included an embroidered pillow with the phrase  “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me,” was such an institution in DC politics that she was known as The Other Washington Monument.

    Joining me in this episode is Dr. Michael Patrick Cullinane, Professor of U.S. History and the Lowman Walton Chair of Theodore Roosevelt Studies at Dickinson State University in North Dakota, author of several books on Theodore Roosevelt, and host of the The Gilded Age and Progressive Era Podcast.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode music is “Alice Blue Gown,” from the musical comedy “Irene,” composed by Harry Tierney with lyrics by Joseph McCarthy; the soloist is Edith Day, and the recording from February 2, 1920, is in the public domain and available via the LIbrary of Congress National Jukebox. The episode image is a photograph of Alice Roosevelt with a family parrot, taken around 1904; the photograph is in the public domain and is available via the Library of Congress. 

    Additional Sources:
    Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker, by Stacy A. Cordery, Penguin Books, 2008.“'Princess' Alice Roosevelt Longworth,” by Myra MacPherson, The Washington Post, February 21, 1980.“From a White House Wedding to a Pet Snake, Alice Roosevelt’s Escapades Captivated America,” by Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian Magazine, November 18, 2022.“Alice Roosevelt Longworth at 90,” by Sally Quinn, The Washington Post, February 12, 1974.“Alice Roosevelt Longworth: Presidential Daughter and American Celebrity,” by Lina Mann, The White House Historical Association, October 10, 2017.“A Presidential Daughter You Could Pick On: Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the sassiest offspring ever to occupy the White House,” by Carol Felsenthal, Politico, December 3, 2014.“The Last Time America Turned Away From the World,” by By John Milton Cooper, The New York Times, November 21, 2019.“The ‘First Daughter’ in Asia: Alice Roosevelt’s 1905 Trip,” The Association for Asian Studies.


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    • 45 min
    Eleanor Roosevelt's Visit to the Pacific Theatre during World War II

    Eleanor Roosevelt's Visit to the Pacific Theatre during World War II

    In August 1943, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt set off in secrecy from San Francisco on a military transport plane, flying across the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t until she showed up in New Zealand 10 days later that the public learned about her trip, a mission to the frontlines of the Pacific Theater in World War II to serve as "the President's eyes, ears and legs." Eleanor returned to New York five weeks and nearly 26,000 miles later, having seen an estimated 400,000 troops on her trip and producing a detailed report on American Red Cross activities in the Southwest Pacific for Norman Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross.  

    Joining me in this episode is journalist Shannon McKenna Schmidt, author of The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode audio is from the December 7, 1941, episode of Over Our Coffee Cups, a weekly 15-minute radio show hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt on the NBC Blue network; in 1942, these recordings were donated to the Library of Congress as a gift from the sponsor, the Pan-American Coffee Bureau; the audio clip can be accessed on the C-SPAN website. The episode image is “Eleanor Roosevelt, General Harmon, and Admiral Halsey in New Caledonia,” taken on September 16, 1943; the image is in the public domain and is available via the National Archives, NAID: 195974.

    Additional Sources:
    “This Is What Eleanor Roosevelt Said to America’s Women on the Day of Pearl Harbor,” by Lily Rothman, Time Magazine, Originally published December 7, 2016, and updated on December 6, 2018.“ER and the Office of Civilian Defense,” Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project.“In the South Pacific War Zone (1943),” Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project.“Eleanor Roosevelt: American Ambassador to the South Pacific,” by Glenn Barnett, Warfare History Network, July 2006.“A First Lady on the Front Lines,” by Paul M Sparrow, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, August 26, 2016.“Eleanor Roosevelt and World War II,” National Park Service.“Eleanor Roosevelt: South Pacific Visit [video],” clip from The Roosevelts by Ken Burns, September 13, 2014.


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    • 42 min
    Eliza Scidmore

    Eliza Scidmore

    Journalist Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore traveled the world in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, writing books and hundreds of articles about such places as Alaska, Japan, China, India, and helping shape the journal of the National Geographic Society into the photograph-heavy magazine it is today. Scidmore is perhaps best known today for her long-running and eventually successful campaign to bring Japanese cherry trees to Potomac Park in Washington, DC.

    Joining me in this episode is writer Diana Parsell, author of Eliza Scidmore: The Trailblazing Journalist Behind Washington's Cherry Trees.

    Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-episode music is “My Cherry Blossom,” written by Ted Snyder and performed by Lanin’s Orchestra on May 12, 1921, in New York City; audio is in the public domain and is available via the Discography of American Historical Recordings. The episode image is "Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore [signature]," The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1895 - 1910. 

    Additional Sources:
    “Cherry blossoms’ champion, Eliza Scidmore, led a life of adventure,” by Michael E. Ruane, The Washington Post, March 13, 2012.“Eliza Scidmore,” National Park Service.“Beyond the Cherry Trees: The Life and Times of Eliza Scidmore,” by Jennifer Pocock, National Geographic,March 27, 2012.“The Surprisingly Calamitous History of DC’s Cherry Blossoms,” by Hayley Garrison Phillips, Washingtonian, March 18, 2018.“Cherry Blossoms, Travel Logs, and Colonial Connections: Eliza Scidmore’s Contributions to the Smithsonian,” by Kasey Sease, Smithsonian Institution Archives, August 18, 2020.“Celebrating Eliza Scidmore: Nat Geo’s First Female Photographer,” by Kern Carter, Writers are Superstars, May 14, 2023.“The American Woman Who Reported On Japan’s Entry Into World War I,” By Diana Parsell, Doughboy Foundation, August 8, 2023.“The woman who shaped National Geographic,” National Geographic, February 22, 2017.“Photo lot 139, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore photographs relating to Japan and China,” National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution


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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

Kacky07 ,

What You Need To Know

Excellent Podcast! I’m really enjoying learning so many things about our History. TY for creating this space!

her half of history ,

Great Topics

I loved learning about women and events that were completely left out of my education like Patsy Mink and the National Women's Conference.

Loganfool ,

Thanks Beans

This is great. Right up my alley!

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