American Historian Gary Gerstle

    Meghan Markle Followed in My Footsteps

    Gary Gerstle is a political and social historian of the 20th-century United States with a particular interest in ethnicity, race, and nationhood. Since 2014, he has taught at the University of Cambridge, where he is the Paul Mellon ...

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The Postage Stamps That Flew Amelia Earhart Across the World

In the 1930s, Collectors—Including FDR—Helped American Explorers Achieve Their Dreams 

by Sheila A. Brennan

Americans looking to bankroll adventures in the early 20th century had to get creative. Expeditions were not cheap, and even wealthy individuals needed financial assistance to pay for equipment and crews. But two notable explorers got especially imaginative by relying on an early version of crowdfunding that piggybacked on a budding American craze: collecting stamps.
 Antarctic explorer Navy Rear Admiral Richard Byrd and transatlantic pilot Amelia Earhart made thousands for their journeys by selling postmarked souvenir envelopes and stamps that commemorated their travels. They were helped along by “Stamp-Collector-in-Chief” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a devoted philatelist, who made supporting American exploration as easy as buying a stamp ...


How Three Texas Newspapers Manufactured Three Competing Images of Immigrants

In Depression-Era San Antonio, Polarized Portraits of Mexicans Appealed to the Biases of Readers

by Melita M. Garza

In August 1930, an editorial writer for the largest newspaper chain on Earth proclaimed: “THE FARMER rids his barn of rats, his hen-house of weasels … the government of the United States should clean house and get rid of undesirable human vermin.”
 The writer went on to demand that Congress make citizenship harder to obtain, so the government would be protected “against the vicious and criminal, the incompetent and the unfit.”
 Sound familiar?
 The Trump administration’s endless, bigoted campaign against immigrants may seem shocking. But the rhetoric accompanying that campaign, down to the metaphors comparing immigrants to small, loathsome animals, is nothing new. Much ...

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