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The Women Behind the Woman Who Inspired the Environmental Movement


Nestled beside an ad for mayonnaise in the July 1956 edition of the Woman's Home Companion, ecologist Rachel Carson pens an appeal to mothers to foster an interest of the natural world in their children. She reassures even the most skeptical matriarch that "exploring nature with your child is largely a matter of becoming receptive to what lies all around you." 

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John Paul Stapp and the Ghosts that Never Happened


In 1954, Dr. John Paul Stapp--then a brash, celebrity lieutenant-colonel in the United States Air Force--was perusing air crew fatality records when something dawned on him: far more pilots were dying in car crashes on Air Force bases than in airplane crashes. For nearly a decade, Stapp had been conducting exotic and dangerous research into the capacities of human beings to endure extreme dynamic force.

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The Front Porch Campaign of 1880


In 1880, the “surprise” presidential nomination of Ohioan James A. Garfield by the Republicans resulted in a campaign that, unlike any before it, regularly brought citizens and the candidate face-to-face. It was conducted on the front porch of Garfield's home.

Prior to 1880, it was considered undignified for anyone to actively seek the presidency. Nominees did not travel from state to state or city to city to tell voters that they had the solutions for the country's problems. Expected to emulate the example of George Washington, they were to remain above the fray. The sitting president, Rutherford B. Hayes, spoke to this tradition when he advised Garfield to "sit cross-legged and look wise until after the election."

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An Uncomfortable History: Coming to Terms with the Mine Wars


My Grandmother hated it when her father-in-law came to visit. Frank Keeney usually came by every other weekend or so, travelling by bus from Charleston to Alum Creek. My father tells me he can still remember seeing the bus pull away to reveal his grandfather standing at the bottom of the hill wearing a suit and lighting a cigarette like it was yesterday.

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Pilgrim Ancestors: Something to be Proud of Even 13 Generations Later


So, how important is Mayflower ancestry, really? To me, it’s a point of pride and reflection. Someone had the courage to make the equivalent of what would be a Mars mission today – and how many of you have signed up for that? Yet, they had a lot less information about their destination and the natives they would encounter.

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Two Conversations with Rebel Soldiers


On a visit to Cuba in early 2001, I was told William Morgan’s name and something of his story. I had no idea then that this passing moment would lead me on my own quest to track down an Ohio man’s remarkable life. A short time later, however, I began an investigation that took me into a murky world of contested history where I met scholars committed to uncovering facts, bureaucrats whose jobs seemed to be to keep secrets, and aging Cuban Rebel soldiers attempting, after all these years, to make sense of their own lives.

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