Insider Blog

News and updates from the Detectives and the production team.

Posts in "Viewer Mailbag

Rogue Book Update August 2, 2012 Jennifer Silverman, Series Producer During research and production for the Clint Black Rogues Book story, we tried to track down how the book may have gotten into the hands of the dealer who sold the book to Clint's wife, and we hunted in vain for an image of the Leavenworth Police Department from the 1910's.  And then a viewer, Chriss Harper, wrote us this note after we aired:I was a manager at a local grocery store in Leavenworth, Kansas (about 1989-ish). Comments (0)

Bettie Page July 30, 2012 The History Detectives Team Allen Johnson, a History Detectives viewer sent us an interesting email we wanted to share… I noticed that the slide that was the focus of your investigation appeared to be included in an "Industrial Training Presentation". Actually this was quite common in the late 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's. Comments (0)

Let Us Solve Your Mystery March 2, 2011 The History Detectives Team History Detectives producers are hunting for great cases. Do you have an intriguing item you’ve always wondered about? Series Producer, Jennifer Silverman, asks your help for the upcoming season. Comments (0)

Viewer Comment: U.S. Army Air Corps July 28, 2010 The History Detectives Team Viewer Holand Davis shared this correction about the Iwo Jima Map story aired earlier this season. During the story (which I found fascinating), it was stated that the person who took the map from the Japanese soldier was in the Army Air Corps. Comments (0)

Viewer Comment: Theremin Story July 8, 2010 The History Detectives Team Viewer Patrick MacKinnon shared this comment about the story Watched your interesting video on the theremin and learned much I didn’t know. However there is something I do know that was not mentioned in your presentation. Comments (0)

Viewer Comment: Iwo Jima Map July 6, 2010 The History Detectives Team Viewer Charles E Voigtsberger shared this information about the translation of some of the Japanese characters on the hand-drawn battle map featured in the Iwo Jima Map story. My wife reads Japanese and on the Iwo map of south island the legend that you have marked Mt. Comments (0)

Letters (and flags and maps) from Iwo Jima April 12, 2010 The History Detectives Team We’ve read about dozens of copies of the Declaration of Independence, hundreds of Revolutionary War musket balls and every variety of Lincoln relics conceivable. But perhaps the most numerous story submissions are about souvenirs brought home by men who served in Japan during WWII. Comments (0)

It Pays To Know Your History March 29, 2010 The History Detectives Team A few months ago we profiled five History Detective Careers that we found especially interesting. One of our blog readers recently emailed us a follow-up question: I would like to know the salary ranges for the careers listed. Comments (0)

Semper Fi, Soochow March 23, 2010 The History Detectives Team Viewer Marge Orozco shares a personal postscript to our China Marine Jacket story: My father was one of the China Marines and I was so thrilled to learn more about the Shanghai that he lived in. I thought you might like to have a little more information about Soochow, the little dog that lived with the Marines in Shanghai and the POW camp. Comments (0)

Detectives Video Q&A: Gwendolyn Wright March 17, 2010 The History Detectives Team It’s time for Ask The Detectives Round #3. Every season, we receive hundreds of questions for our five Detectives: How did you become a History Detective? How big is your film crew? Where is your hometown? We do our best to answer each letter and email individually, but this season we want to try something a bit different. Comments (0)

Detectives Video Q&A: Tukufu Zuberi March 8, 2010 The History Detectives Team It’s time for Round #2 of Ask The Detectives. Every season, we receive hundreds of questions for our five Detectives: How long does it take you to research a story? Where was your favorite shoot location? How do you choose which stories to investigate? We do our best to answer each letter and email individually, but this season we want to try something a bit different. Comments (0)

Remembering Howard Zinn, 1922-2010 March 2, 2010 The History Detectives Team "We interview many famous historians on our show, but when I sat down with Professor Zinn, I felt like I was about to interview the President of the United States. I could sense his passion for history when he discussed the plight of immigrant workers 100 years ago, and felt his political fire when he observed how the struggle continues today. Comments (0)

Detectives Video Q&A: Elyse Luray February 23, 2010 The History Detectives Team Every season, our viewer mailbag spills over with hundreds of questions for our five Detectives: How long does it take to shoot one scene? What is your favorite investigation? Where did you grow up? We do our best to answer each letter and email individually, but this season we want to try something a bit different. We’re going to let the Detectives respond themselves, by video, one sleuth at a time. Comments (0)

Referred by the History Detectives February 16, 2010 The History Detectives Team Our investigations have rewritten history, reunited people with their past and given voice to unknown historical figures. But we couldn’t have solved any of our mysteries without access to the many libraries, archives and museums spread across the country. Comments (0)

Fugo Story Hits Close to Home February 2, 2010 The History Detectives Team Our story about a swatch of the incendiary WWII Japanese “Fugo” balloon premiered in season 6, but it continues to air due to its popularity.  Berwyn Jones recently caught a rerun and wrote about his own blast from the past: I saw the story on the Fugo balloons, and when you showed the map of locations where they were found, I think you validated my Uncle’s story about one falling on his farm in northeastern Kansas, possibly the easternmost of the landfalls. Comments (0)

History Detective Careers January 11, 2010 The History Detectives Team Our hosts have enviable jobs. An 8th grade fan recently took notice of this and wrote: I am VERY interested in finding a career in history. Comments (0)

Remembering Avery Clayton December 8, 2009 The History Detectives Team Avery Clayton - retired art teacher, steward of African American heritage, and friend of History Detectives, died suddenly on Thanksgiving 2009 at his home in Culver City, California. He was perhaps best known for preserving his mother’s collection of hundreds of thousands of artifacts spanning the black experience from slavery to the Civil Rights era. Comments (0)

Detective Deadlines November 24, 2009 The History Detectives Team Here’s a question constantly looming over the History Detectives Team. Viewer Richard Donnelly writes: I would love to know the time it takes the History Detectives to come to a final result in their search. Comments (0)

Bloody Destructive Terminology October 19, 2009 The History Detectives Team Can the mass deaths of Native Americans at the hands of Europeans be considered genocide? Was John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry an act of terrorism? The language used to qualify historical conflicts invariably shapes our perceptions of them. A couple of lines from our Civil War pontoon bridge story caught the ear of University of Mississippi History Professor John F. Comments (0)

What Makes a Good History Detective Story? September 24, 2009 The History Detectives Team History Detectives producers are hunting for great ideas. Do you have an intriguing item locked away in your closet? Executive Producer, Chris Bryson, offers these tips that will make your submission rise to the top of the stack. Comments (0)

The Dangers of Filmmaking - Lubin Studio Photo Albums August 25, 2009 The History Detectives Team To say the films were destroyed by a fire at Betzwood, (by the route 422 Betzwood Bridge) was a bit of an understatement. One of the reasons for the move from Philadelphia to Montgomery county was to create a safer site for the flammable cellulose film. Comments (0)

Another Piece of Amelia's Airplane August 25, 2009 The History Detectives Team I thoroughly enjoyed your story on Amelia Earhart's plane. I thought you should know that the International Women's Air & Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio has part of the landing gear from the plane as well. Comments (0)

What's with the huge turntable? August 25, 2009 The History Detectives Team During high school in the sixties, I spent a lot of time with my best friend listening to records in her father's music room. He was a retired navy officer. Comments (0)

Where were the History Detectives when I needed them? August 20, 2009 The History Detectives Team I just want to tell you that "History Detectives" is an absolutely amazing show! Where were you when I was younger? In '77 my dad was remodeling (our) house and found a letter dated 1861-62, a young soldier writing to his sweetheart. All that I remember about it is him speaking of a Lieutenant Getty and friends of his having "the fever". Comments (0)

Proud of New Orleans August 20, 2009 The History Detectives Team I was very interested in the (Creole Poems) story. During the beginning of the show I mentioned to my husband that I thought the manuscript was a school notebook. Comments (0)

Where Credit is Due August 20, 2009 The History Detectives Team When listing minority aviators, you should not forget Eugene Bullard who was the first Afro-American fighter pilot. He flew for the Lafayette Escadrille in WWI. Comments (0)

Protect Valuable Documents August 20, 2009 PBS Web Tech Several times you have made suggestions about how to care for old documents. The Millard Fillmore Pardon story would have benefited from a comment about not exposing old documents to direct light and to mount them in UV glass, which is protective. Comments (0)

Not just a Storybook July 28, 2009 The History Detectives Team Friends, your story about the house with what appeared to be a railroad car in the basement brought back a warm memory from childhood. One of my favorite books was The Trolley Car Family by Eleanor Clymer. Comments (0)

Watching History Detectives Inspires Career Choices July 14, 2009 The History Detectives Team Comments from Morgan Laubach and Susan Johson: My name is Morgan Laubach and I am an anthropology and history major and the University of Pittsburgh. Watching your show has not only engaged my brain, sparked my curiosity, and, to be honest, made me giddy with the "history-nerd factor", as my family calls it, but it has also shown me the variety of careers available to someone in the history field. Comments (0)

Hey! I knew that guy, but I didn't know THAT! July 13, 2009 The History Detectives Team In our story on the Manhattan Project Patent History Detectives mentioned inventor Harold Greene. That name rang a bell with viewer Melvyn Halbert: The other inventor, Harold B. Comments (0)

Watches in History July 11, 2009 The History Detectives Team I was most interested to learn for the first time today about the federal standardization of railroad watches in 1893 because I own just such a watch, made by the Elgin Watch company in 1893, which has the newly mandated 17 jewels and is made of 14 carrot gold. It is a family heirloom first purchased by my great uncle, Dr. Comments (0)

Cemetery Alarm Story Settles Lingering Questions July 10, 2009 The History Detectives Team Phyllis Behnke had always been puzzled by her great great uncle's obituary. It reads as follows: Wooster Daily Republican 15 Oct 1894 p. Comments (0)

Map to the Famous Train Crash Site July 9, 2009 The History Detectives Team Viewer Andrew Evridge takes us to the train wreck that changed history: Thanks for producing an interesting and informative series. My comment is on the brief segment that ran immediately after the story on the watch fob. Comments (0)

Pancho Villa Watch Fob - More to the Story July 9, 2009 The History Detectives Team Comment from viewer Barclay Livker While you are correct in noting that the Punitive Expedition, the military campaign following Pancho Villa's March 1916 incursion into Columbus, NM, featured the first use of airplanes and motor vehicles in a US military operation, it was also the Army's LAST significant mounted cavalry operation. I would also like to point out that it was the first incursion of foreign troops on US soil since the War of 1812 and the last since that time. Comments (0)

Junius Brutus Booth "What is in a name?" July 9, 2009 The History Detectives Team Comment from viewer Pattie Williams: After I watched your story on the letter from John Wilkes Booth's father to Andrew Jackson, I Googled "Junius Brutus Booth" and found out he was named for Marcus Junius Brutus who was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar! I just found it ironic that this man had by his name an assassination in his past then his son was to assassinate the President of the U.S. Comments (0)

War Dogs Track The Scent of Culture? July 8, 2009 The History Detectives Team Comment from viewer Mike Flynn: During conversations (with my father) about the war in Europe it once came up that he could "smell" the Germans. I found that odd so I asked him how. Comments (0)

Meet Our Newest Detective: Eduardo Pagan June 15, 2009 The History Detectives Team Eduardo teaches history at Arizona State University, where he got his undergraduate degree. Eduardo has quite the scholarly background. Comments (0)

Ernie Pyle's Typewriter February 3, 2009 The History Detectives Team Since we first aired our story on Ernie Pyle's typewriter, many of you have written us to comment on the comparison of the type. All great observations. Comments (0)

Sitting in Bill Picket's Saddle January 23, 2009 PBS Web Tech As a former working cowboy and history buff, I really enjoyed the story on Bill Picket's saddle. Often stories about Bill Picket will have some political spin on them. Comments (0)

Viewer Plays History Detective January 8, 2009 The History Detectives Team My husband and I went to Sea Island, GA to attend a wedding this past summer. While we knew that my husband's grandfather moved to Brunswick back in 1948, we had no other information about him or Edith, his 2nd wife. Comments (0)

Thanks to History Detectives, I located my father November 1, 2008 The History Detectives Team Maryann K. (Inman) Aniversario wrote: Just wanted to say thank you. Comments (0)

Blueprint Special Aids Conservation September 25, 2008 The History Detectives Team Dan Ruggiero from Rutgers Oral History Archives emailed this comment: I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how helpful this segment was. Just a few days ago I was contacted by someone with a record from World War II. Comments (0)

Shipwreck Cannons update September 10, 2008 The History Detectives Team Bill Goddard wrote in for additional information on the Shipwreck Cannons story. The History Detectives contacted Chris Havel in Salem, Oregon, Communications officer for the Office of the Director, Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. Comments (0)

History Detectives story inspires song September 3, 2008 The History Detectives Team I make a living playing Irish, Scottish and Folk festivals - and selling records. A few years back I was inspired by one of your stories about James Hamlin, a runaway slave who worked on-board the Charles W Morgan. Comments (0)

More USS Olympia glass windows found August 21, 2008 The History Detectives Team Five History Detectives viewers from the Midwest have contacted us to say they have identical or nearly identical glass windows to the one featured in the USS Olympia Glass story that aired August 11, 2008. Nick Newman writes: I am from Omaha, where the window was made - my mother found the same (unmounted) window back in 1968, and mounted it in a frame for hanging, but not before my brother managed to have a forbidden party during which the window got cracked. Comments (0)

Japanese Balloon Bomb explosion location August 11, 2008 The History Detectives Team We were contacted by Les Reese with this question regarding the Japanese Balloon Bomb story that aired July 14, 2008: During the broadcast, Tukufu referenced Bly, Oregon as the location where one of the war balloons had landed; in May, 1945, it was found by a group of picnickers and killed them. In viewing the write-up of the program, I noticed the word "Bly" was omitted from the location in Oregon where the balloon landed. Comments (0)

Best method for copying 18th century document August 4, 2008 The History Detectives Team Dru Ransdell emailed with a question for Gwendolyn Wright: I have a document written in iron manuscript ink by my ancestor in 1752. It is a pledge of a club of about 50 teenage(!)young men to walk a Christian life. Comments (0)

Gold plated Airstream July 28, 2008 The History Detectives Team Mike Logan I am just curious as to what happened to the gold plated airstream that Wally Byam took on the historic "Cape Town to Cairo Caravan" of 1959? To answer Mike's question we contacted Wally Byam's nephew, John Dale Schwamborn Wally Byam's wife's name was Stella. Family members called her Stel. Comments (0)

How do I authenticate a document? July 24, 2008 The History Detectives Team Patti's question: I have a homestead certificate from Territory of Oklahoma and was interested if u could tell me how to tell if it is an original? It has two raised seals on it and Theodore Roosevelt's signature on it, whom was the president of the U.S. Comments (0)

Finding an Appraiser July 23, 2008 The History Detectives Team I am hoping that you could offer a suggestion to a situation that has plagued my 85 year old mother for many years. I don't know the entire story or all of the details, and she remembers them now only sporadically. Comments (0)

Japanese Balloon Story July 21, 2008 The History Detectives Team Fred Granata of Portland, OR writes in with a personal story that contradicts the contention that the presence of Japanese Balloon Bombs was "Top Secret." This concerns the Japanese balloon bomb segment of the History Detectives program last Monday, July 14, which I understand is produced by OPB. Comments (0)

An honorary detective? July 9, 2008 The History Detectives Team Sharp eyed viewer Randy Finfrock writes: On the "Do it Yourself" Overview, 3rd paragraph, 3rd line: the word census is mis-spelled. I love your show and don't mean to be picky, but it requires perfection in order to do each story justice. Comments (0)

Medal of Honor July 8, 2008 The History Detectives Team Michael Buhr writes: I love this show. One negative comment, please stop calling the "Medal of Honor" the "Congressional Medal of Honor". Comments (0)

My favorite TV show July 8, 2008 The History Detectives Team Dear Detectives, After watching History Detectives for the first time last summer on KETC here in St. Louis, I have grown to like the show more and more. Comments (0)

Finding Careers in Historical Research July 7, 2008 The History Detectives Team Gwen Wright's response to Nicole on how to become a historian was insightful. Here is a different twist on the question. Comments (0)

A viewer's response to Ernie Pyle's Typewriter April 10, 2008 The History Detectives Team Dear Detectives,I just watched the episode about Ernie Pyle's typewriter (on station KRCB in Sonoma County, California), and just had to write to thank you for airing this story. My father, Harvey Downey, was in the 77th Division on Okinawa when Pyle was there, and all his life he talked about the pain the men felt when Pyle was killed. Comments (0)

How to Become a Historian September 14, 2007 The History Detectives Team Dear Gwen, I am very interested in the work that you all do. How does one become an archivist, appraiser or historian? Do you know of things that I can do now to prepare for such careers? Nicole, 16 Hi Nicole, It's great to see you interested in history. Comments (0)

To Glove or not to Glove? July 23, 2007 The History Detectives Team As so called "laymen" or non-experts, we are always told not to touch or handle old items with our bare hands because the oils on our hands will damage the items, yet I see you people doing it all the time. Isn't that just as bad as us handling these items? James Luke, South Dakota Dear James, You've raised a fascinating question. Comments (0)

African American Genealogy July 2, 2007 The History Detectives Team Dear Tukufu, My mother is from Germany and my father from the US. My father is African American. Comments (0)

Suffrage Painting Question July 2, 2007 The History Detectives Team Dear Gwen, I have two questions prompted by your fascinating segment on the women's suffrage painting. 1) I didn't understand how you generated the short list of individuals named Dale from which you identified the actual artist. Comments (0)