Fierce Philanthropy: Students Hold Fashion Show to Raise Money for LGBTQ Youth

It all started with Blanche DuBois. Grayson Cooke ’15 was first introduced to the art of fashion design by a freshman theatre assignment — create two dresses for DuBois, the main character of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Now, as a senior, Cooke’s first clothing line, Alter Altar, made its debut this past Friday. “I came […]

A New Pitch: Tribetones Prove Key Addition to the A Cappella Community

  College a cappella — it’s a community made famous by “Pitch Perfect,” often portrayed as groups of quirky, model-like individuals who are liable to burst into song at any moment. This semester, a newly founded group at the College of William and Mary — the Tribetones — is attempting to break into the world […]

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage: A Bunch of Goofballs

He heard of her before he met her — it was during middle school, and she was “absolutely infamous.” They didn’t meet, however, until a shared 10th grade class. At that point, he didn’t like her. “She held up the class, and I wanted to get my learning in,” he said. By the next year, […]

Seeing Double: Twins on Campus

The University of St Andrews is renowned for its vibrant student body, and the numerous sets of twins who attend the school exemplify this quality. Amongst the twins at St Andrews, you will find identical twins who embarked on a cross country American road trip together, a brother-and-sister duo whose shared love of theater led […]

Four years, two universities, one student

  While most students opt for the traditional path of spending four years at one university, sometimes with a semester or year abroad added into the mix, students enrolled in the joint degree programme between St Andrews and the College of William and Mary follow a less linear path. The programme, which began in the […]

How High Are Your Grades? An In-Depth Look at Grade Inflation in Loudoun County

In an area where many students’ end goal is to receive an acceptance letter from top schools such as the University of Virginia, there is little question that high achievement is the norm. But when students at the top of their class have GPAs upwards of 4.5 on what was once a 4.0 scale, there […]

71569: Anita Schorr’s Account of the Holocaust

The line trudged forward, bringing Anita Schorr closer to Dr. Josef Mengele. She was fourteen years old, standing between countless women equally emaciated, but  closer to the eighteen years she claimed to be. Her heart pounded madly as she strained to hide her underdeveloped body while processing the horror of the last several minutes: separation […]

Let’s Get Naked For Art

The spotlight in room 107 hints at an upcoming event, although its subject remains vague. It grows clearer, however, when Madeline Lewis ’16 enters the room, removes her clothes, and ascends to the stage. Lewis is not the star of a raunchy cabaret act. Instead, her performance is highly desexualized. She’s a nude model for […]

9 Jobs You Won’t Believe You Can Get Paid to Do

Job seekers, open your eyes—and your minds. You can find career inspiration in just about every scene of metropolitan life. Most fields employ a variety of workers in fascinating and underpublicized supporting roles that don’t require specialized training. That advertisement for nail polish? A hand model at work. The restaurant featuring a tasty new menu […]

Remembering the Name Game

Despite the fact that my freshman orientation was only a year ago, I remember about five percent of the information shared during my first days of college. Instead, what stands out among the lessons on MLA style and making “Tribe Choices” is a common aspect of adjusting to a new environment: getting-to-know-you activities with the […]

Celebrating Raisin: St Andrews’ Booziest Tradition

Last Monday morning, I went to my mom’s house, put on a Cowardly Lion costume and walked to a giant foam fight with my family. That’s a sentence I certainly never would’ve written at the College of William and Mary, but after experiencing Raisin Weekend at the University of St Andrews, it makes perfect sense. […]

More Potatoes, Less Talking, and Other Differences Across the Atlantic

Over the past weekend, I received more Snapchats of my friends’ pets than I can count. It was fall break at the College of William and Mary, which meant that while I was working on my first St Andrews essay, my friends were back home for a well-deserved break from midterms. I’ve reached the point […]

Students Speak Out

In an effort to address the current racial climate at the College of William and Mary, Taylor Mack ’15 and Brittney Harrington ’15 have created the Call to Community Action: A Request for Administrative Response to Racial Bias Instances. Directed toward the administration and the Board of Visitors, the document seeks to confront administrative inaction […]

College’s Title IX Data Released in Task Force Report

Between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years, the number of sexual harassment or assault reports at the College of William and Mary rose from 17 to 30, according to Title IX data included in the William and Mary Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment report released in September. In the 2013-2014 […]

Students Organize Mental Health Initiatives

Students at the College of William and Mary organized two mental health initiatives — “William and Mary Walk: One Tribe, One Family” and “Release: An SA Event on Healthy Grieving” — April 29 in the wake of three student suicides this academic year. At 4:30 p.m., students gathered at the sundial across from Earl Gregg […]

The St Andrews Decision

At the end of last summer, I visited the College of William and Mary to say goodbye to my friends and the place I had called home for the last year. It was a surreal experience—I sat in on my friends’ classes, ate at the dining halls, and explored the Matoaka Woods when everyone else […]

Alex Budman on Jimmy Fallon, “unprofitable” degrees and storytelling: a career in journalism and documentaries

As a first year at St Andrews, 2012 graduate Alex Budman wrote an essay on the importance of sharing in hunter gatherer communities. She received a score of six, along with her tutor’s rather disparaging feedback scribbled in the margins: “I want to kill myself.” Two years later, Ms Budman earned a 19 on her […]

Where Clinton and Trump Stand On 9 Issues Affecting Your Pocketbook

We all may be weary of the politics of 2016. But the policies that Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump say they’ll bring to the White House could have a dramatic impact on your wallet, your job, your health care and your retirement. Here’s where the two candidates stand on major economic and financial […]

11 Ways to Cut the Cost of College Tuition

There are lots of smart ways to save for college — including tax-advantaged 529 plans and Coverdell accounts. But the best way to pay less for college is also the most obvious solution: Find ways to cut your tuition bills. Depending on where you’re willing to take classes and how hard you’re willing to work to […]

Hidden histories

The town of St Andrews has all the makings of a Victorian Gothic novel: imposing stone buildings watch over the shores of the North Sea, and medieval ruins linger in the background of every evening stroll. Add in the role St Andrews played in Scotland’s long history of religious conflict, and you have the core […]

Little-Known Ways to Save Hundreds Year-Round With Your Student ID

Hey, we all like free things from time to time. But for college students living on part-time wages and handouts from Mom and Dad, free is a way of life. The lure of free food brings many teenagers to events they wouldn’t typically attend, and the endless supply of free T-shirts is half the fun […]

Where You Can Use 3-D Printers

The miracles of 3-D printing range from restaurant-caliber ravioli to human body parts. Ordinary consumers are increasingly gaining access to the technology at their local public libraries, where they can produce low-cost tools, toys or even shoes. You’ll find libraries with printers in 35 states, in cities ranging in size from Denver and Washington, D.C., […]

Marina Abramovic and the legacies of controversial artists

A central question in the idolisation of celebrities, whether they are musicians, actors or athletes, is the distinction between the individual as a person and the individual as a public figure. The lines between these categories often blur, leaving the public unsure of how to connect their idols to bodies of work. For example, are […]

The costs of studying abroad

You are one application away from a semester spent traversing Icelandic lagoons, walking in the footsteps of American presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, or admiring Renaissance art in Padua. Only one obstacle stands in your way: the fear of not being able to afford a study abroad experience. Luckily for you, time […]

Race in academia

According to a Freedom of Information request obtained by The Saint, only one black academic (defined as a staff member with both teaching and research responsibilities) worked at the University of St Andrews during the majority of years between 2010 and 2015. An exception is found in the 2013-14 school year, when the University had […]

Inside the hospitality industry: a culture of harassment?

By Richard Joseph with Meilan Solly and Jonathon Skavroneck Editor’s note: This semester, The Saint conducted a substantial two-month investigation into the culture of exploitation and harassment in St Andrews’ hospitality industry. Our article includes quotes from eight student sources, some of whom were willing to be named. However, to protect these sources’ identities and […]

Damien Hirst: the art of decadence and death

Few artists attract the ire of contemporary critics as readily as Damien Hirst. After all, the general populace may not fully understand Pablo Picasso’s cubist paintings or Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 Fountain (a literal urinal turned on its side and signed with the pseudonym “R. Mutt), but they appreciate the works’ significance. Hirst’s brand of art […]

The merits of international joint and dual degree programs

You might think the question “Where do you go to school?” is a simple one. For me, the answer always devolves into a convoluted explanation.

How to Extend Your Vacation With Travel Stopovers

The next time you book an overseas trip, add a stopover to visit an extra destination for free or a typically low cost. Unlike layovers, which leave you stranded at an airport for several hours, stopovers allow you to take an extended break — usually one or two nights, but sometimes closer to a week […]

The Best Jobs for Introverts

Standing out as an introvert in an extroverted world can be difficult, especially in social situations. For example, you may have recently chosen a Netflix night-in over a party or hidden in the bathroom to avoid small talk. Finding ways to escape stressful interactions is something most introverts perfect by their 20s, but they’ll need […]

How to Build Your Credit Score as a Young Adult

When someone mentions credit cards, do you envision mountains of debt incurred during Confessions of a Shopaholic-style purchasing sprees? If so, know that the reality of these flashy pieces of plastic includes more than the risk of debt. For college students and 20-somethings, credit cards are one of the best ways to build and maintain […]

Smithsonian’s Behind-the-Scenes “Sidedoor” Podcast Returns for Second Season

New episodes explore a 150-year-old cold case, the history of beer, war photography and more Back in the 1850s, the red sandstone Smithsonian Castle was home to the Institution’s first secretary, Joseph Henry, as well as a group of rowdy young scientists. The mysterious Alaska death of one of those residents, Robert Kennicott, is the first […]

Colorized Footage Is a Vivid Reminder that History Didn’t Happen in Black and White

America’s longest-serving president almost missed his first day in office. On February 15, 1933, President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt was nearing the end of an impromptu speech in Miami when he was interrupted by six rounds of gunfire. Thanks to an unlikely hero––housewife Lillian Cross, who used her handbag to knock the gun off target––Roosevelt escaped […]

The Whimsical, Chameleon-like Figure Behind the Myth of Sylvia Plath

Contrary to popular belief, Sylvia Plath approached life with a sense of wonder. She found joy in everyday moments, noting in her journal “the illicit sensuous delight I get from picking my nose,” and had a unique sense of humor, famously biting future husband Ted Hughes on the cheek (even drawing blood) the night they […]

Why Religious Freedom and Diversity Flourished in Early America

In theory, Reverend John Eliot’s 1663 scripture was the perfect proselytizing tool. Entitled Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New; Translated into the Indian Language, the text was adapted for an indigenous audience and, ostensibly, had an advantage over opaque English sermons. Eliot learned Algonquian in order to translate the Bible, but unfortunately […]

This Is the Gear You Need to View the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

On August 21, North America will experience the first total solar eclipse visible across the continent in nearly a century––and, while it may seem illogical, this period of semi-darkness is an important time to practice sun safety. That’s because while during an eclipse, you won’t want to tear your eyes away from the show, staring directly at the sun can lead […]

New Video Game Parodies What it Means to Be an Art World Star

The art world can be unforgiving. Just ask Vincent van Gogh: His masterful self-portraits and landscapes adorn the walls of world-class galleries but received little acclaim during his lifetime. On the other hand, there’s Damien Hirst, a contemporary art giant whose success derives from bedazzled skulls and animal carcasses. One thing is for sure—the formula for art world success is unpredictable, but thanks to […]

Auschwitz Museum Announces First Traveling Exhibition of Artifacts

In 2016, more than 2 million people visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, Poland. The museum and accompanying memorial, which occupy the site where the Nazis murdered approximately 1.1 million prisoners, preserve Auschwitz’s history through powerful exhibitions—display cases fill the blocks that once housed inmates and highlight everything from mounds of hair and shoes taken from gas […]

Tate Modern’s Modigliani Exhibition Ventures Into Virtual Reality

This November, Tate Modern is unveiling the U.K.’s most comprehensive Amedeo Modigliani retrospective. But the show, simply titled “Modigliani,” is more than a survey of the artist’s work: It’s also an immersive experience complemented by the museum’s first foray into virtual reality. The retrospective, which runs from November 23 to April 2, 2018, includes almost 100 works by the modernist artist. According to Maev Kennedy […]

Take an Exclusive Sneak Peek Inside the Renovated Freer Gallery, Reopening in October

At the turn of the 20th century, European art dominated the market—and the walls of world-class galleries. Although railroad magnate Charles Lang Freer appreciated the work of these Old Masters, he wanted to define a new aesthetic: high-quality art that was equally beautiful and technically masterful but far more obscure. The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, an eclectic cross-cultural […]

Lost Play By J.M. Barrie Discovered in Texas Archive

Peter Pan is best known as the boy who refused to grow up, but his creator, J.M. Barrie, was less willing to remain stuck in the past. The Scottish author wrote numerous stage productions throughout his life—and they were mostly works aimed at adults, including one farcical drama that was never performed or published until it resurfaced in the latest issue of […]

This Dachau Survivor’s Harrowing Art Is on Display for the First Time

Dachau, the Nazis’ first official concentration camp, held more than 188,000 prisoners during its 12 years of operation. In addition to its Jewish inmates, Dachau housed political offenders, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, Roma and those deemed asocial: nonconformists, vagrants and, in Bavarian artist Georg Tauber’s case, addicts. Sukhada Tatke of Atlas Obscura reports that Tauber, an advertising illustrator who suffered from a […]

This Replica of a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat Is Spurring Dialogue About Digitization

Initially, the Killer Whale clan crest hat, or Kéet S’aaxw, seems indistinguishable from the model beside it. Both depict a killer whale emerging from the ocean, vividly rendered in shades of red and turquoise as streams of water, represented by abalone shells and hair, flow over its body. Though there are minor differences in texture and edge […]

Dreamers rally for DACA

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Sept. 5 decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the future of 23 College of William and Mary students protected under the act is uncertain. However, members of the community, from College President Taylor Reveley to Student Assembly President Elijah Levine ’18, as well as […]

College Burned By FIRE: Civil Liberties Group Awards College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy “D” Rating

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting civil liberties on college campuses, awarded the College of William and Mary’s sexual misconduct policy a D rating in its Sept. 5 survey of due process at the nation’s 53 top universities. FIRE defines due process as an individual’s right to fair, […]

Fitting back into a familiar world as a WaMStA

The College of William and Mary campus has undergone notable changes over the past two years: Millington Hall and the Lodges are remnants of the past, Tyler Hall and the Integrated Science Center are fully-functioning buildings rather than fenced-in construction zones, and many of the students who populated the College’s brick paths two years ago […]

Title IX Investigation Focuses On Student Complaint

Department Of Education Opens Second Case In Less Than Four Years In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released a list of 55 postsecondary institutions — including the College of William and Mary — under investigation for their handling of sexual violence and harassment. Today, the department’s ongoing Title IX […]

Out Of The Blue

Over Two-Year Period, Police Responded To 49 “Blue Light” Activations Where No One Was At Phone Or In Area The 90 “blue lights” scattered across the College of William and Mary’s campus are ubiquitous reminders of university safety measures, but the ever-growing prevalence of cell phones has rendered their role more symbolic than utilitarian. “They’re […]

Home Is Where the Corpse Is—At Least In These Dollhouse Crime Scenes

The “godmother of forensic science” didn’t consider herself an artist. Instead, Frances Glessner Lee—the country’s first female police captain, an eccentric heiress, and the creator of the “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”—saw her series of dollhouse-sized crime scene dioramas as scientific, albeit inventive, tools. Lee created the Nutshells during the 1940s for the training of budding forensic investigators. […]

Law Students Allege Student Health Center Mishandled Depression Screening Data

(Note: Starred names have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy.) During her first year at the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law, Rachel* J.D. ’19 had frequent panic attacks that left her lying on the floor of her room, paralyzed by anxiety. She coped by holding “cry confession” sessions with a fellow […]

Revisiting the Myth of Mata Hari, From Sultry Spy to Government Scapegoat

A century after her death, the Dutch-born exotic dancer deemed “the greatest woman spy of the century” by her prosecutor is finally getting the record cleared. Throughout her life, femme fatale Mata Hari perpetuated myths of her own creation and was the target of endless rumors. But she only committed espionage once, for the French. Nevertheless, the French government accused her of being […]

Now You Can Read the Stamp-Sized Story That May Have Inspired Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando”

The hero of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography, is an androgynous, seemingly ageless figure who mingles with the likes of Elizabeth I, Charles II and the great English poet Alexander Pope. Comparatively, the hero of Vita Sackville-West’s 1922 children’s tale, A Note of Explanation, is an ageless sprite who witnesses key moments in fairy-tale history, including […]

Envisioning Vermeer, Master of Genre Painting, at the National Gallery of Art

Johannes Vermeer’s paintings are populated largely by women. Some gaze out at the viewer, seemingly caught in a moment of quiet contemplation; others engage in the mundane activities of daily life—reading and writing letters, playing a musical instrument—without acknowledging the artist’s intrusion. Vermeer has long been considered the master of Dutch genre painting. His depictions […]

These Fall Exhibitions Explore the Origins of Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party”

The 1,038 women featured in ​​Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” form an eclectic and dynamic group. Among them, there’s Aspasia, an Athenian philosopher who holds a place of honor alongside such luminaries as German poet Hrosvitha, Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and reproductive rights activist Margaret Sanger. The pseudo-banquet’s long list of attendees often get eclipsed by the work’s central motif, though, which appears on […]

Above the Fold and Beyond

At the beginning of high school, my journalism experience was limited to screenings of the movie Newsies and trips to the Newseum. Still, I was convinced that reporting was my life’s calling, so I joined the student newspaper and set myself several goals: first, become editor-in-chief of The Husky Headline, next, editor of my college paper, and, eventually, […]

The Sultry Spy and the Coverup

JUST BEFORE a French military firing squad executed her 100 years ago this October, prosecutors described Mata Hari as “perhaps the greatest woman spy of the century” whose treachery led to the deaths of someIt was after her marriage ended in 1902 and her abusive husband, a Dutch Army captain, gained custody of their 4-year-old […]

Russian Local Discovers Frozen Remains of Extinct Lion Cub

On Wednesday, scientists in the frigid Russian republic of Yakutia revealed an impressive find: the remains of an extinct cave lion cub, likely hidden in permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, for thousands of years. According to The Siberian Times, a local resident discovered the cub on the banks of the Tirekhtykh River this September. Researchers estimate that the […]

Discovering David Dessler

NOTE: The Flat Hat’s “Discovering David Dessler” series was published in four installments, each including two articles. Part one, “Something really weird and nearly incomprehensible has happened,” provides initial background and student perspectives. Part two, “Unconscionable incarceration for presumed mental illness,” provides the rest of the story background and additional student perspectives. Part three, “A standing […]

‘HALO’ Makes Art Out of Subatomic Particle Collisions at Art Basel

“HALO,” a 13-foot-tall, 33-foot-wide cylinder encircled with stretched-out piano strings that emulate the sounds of protons colliding, is simultaneously a goldmine of advanced scientific data and a transcendent experience designed to overwhelm the senses. The site-specific installation, commissioned by Swiss watch company Audemars Piguet for the 49th iteration of Art Basel, is the brainchild of Brighton-based artist duo […]

Why Artists Have so Much Trouble Painting Lightning

Photography has long been touted as a medium unparalleled in its objectivity. As theorist Susan Sontag wrote in the seminal text On Photography, “Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.” While Philadelphian William Jennings worked as a photographer roughly a century before On […]

Arsenic-Laced Books Discovered in University Library

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark were struggling to make sense of medieval manuscript fragments detected within the covers of three tomes dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries when they made a deadly discovery—poison, lurking in the guise of an emerald green pigment. In an article published on The Conversation, research librarian Jakob Povl Holck […]

Automata History Comes Alive in the ‘Marvellous Mechanical Museum’

It’s fitting that the European renaissance of automata, or kinetic sculptures designed to mimic human movement, began with a clockmaker—like their timekeeping counterparts, automata operate on cue, launching into carefully choreographed routines that blur the boundaries between mechanical oscillations and that intangible spark of life. It was Swiss-born watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s 1770s creation, “The Writer,” that […]

How the Brits Refuted Nazi Germany’s Degenerate Art Exhibition

Like most European Expressionists, Wassily Kandinsky was entranced by the power of color. His abstract paintings feature a calligraphic style evocative of musical symphonies, further accentuated by violently clashing shades that reveal, in Kandinsky’s own words, “color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand […]

European Dogs Devastated Indigenous American Pup Populations

The first humans to populate the Americas arrived from Siberia via the Bering land bridge around 16,000 years ago. Man’s best friend, the domesticated dog, didn’t arrive for another 6,000 years or so, crossing over just in time to avoid the land bridge’s collapse, but archaeological evidence suggests that the two species lived in harmony […]

Particle Accelerator Reveals Hidden Faces in Damaged 19th-Century Daguerreotype Portraits

Ironically, the core purpose of portrait photography—inscribing identity in an “irrefutable assertion of existence,” as theorist Roland Barthes noted in Camera Lucida—is often rendered defunct by decades of damage to the physical image. Such was the case with two 19th-century daguerreotypes housed at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). Obscured by tarnish and miscellaneous defacements, the plates offered […]

NYC Fireboat Rebranded in Vibrant Dazzle Camouflage to Commemorate WWI

This summer, visitors to New York Harbor may encounter an unusual sight: fireboat John J. Harvey, newly cloaked in red-and-white patterns evocative of a candy cane. The historic ship, which first docked in the city in 1931 and is now a museum and education center, is one of five boats featured in a centenary World War […]

Library of Congress Puts Spotlight on 440 Snapshots Culled From Archive of 14 Million

The photograph’s caption says it all: “Nice Feather Dusters.” Three of these eponymous cleaning tools appear clasped in the right hand of a late 19th-century peddler whose untidy pseudo-necktie undermines his straight-laced expression. Another is poking awkwardly out of a bag by his left side, looking not like a feather duster, but the back end of […]

Why Gala Dalí—Muse, Model and Artist—Was More Than Just Salvador’s Wife

Gala Salvador Dalí: A Room of One’s Own in Púbol, a new exhibition at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona, derives its name from Virginia Woolf’s similarly titled 1929 essay, which proclaims that “a woman must have money and a room of her own” to create. To Gala Dalí, this room of one’s own was Púbol, […]

Did This Couple Steal a $160 Million de Kooning?

It was the day after Thanksgiving 1985 when the couple arrived at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Both were wrapped in thick winter coats—hers red, his blue. It was just after opening, and as the woman began chatting with a security guard, the man slipped away to the second floor. Less than 10 minutes passed […]

Archaeologists Are Excavating Sheffield Castle, One-Time Prison of Mary, Queen of Scots

By all accounts, England’s Elizabeth I never should’ve made it to the throne. Bastardized following the 1536 execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn, young Elizabeth’s childhood was marred by the ever-changing whims of her father, Henry VIII. Following his death in 1547, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession, eligible to rule only in the unlikely event that […]

‘Baroque’s Leading Lady,’ Artist Michaelina Wautier, Finally Gets Retrospective

Some 300 years before the Guerrilla Girls came around, a Belgian artist named Michaelina Wautier upended male-dominated representations of the female nude by turning her gaze onto the male body. The result—a monumental scene of pagan debauchery entitled “The Triumph of Bacchus” (c. 1643-59)—depicts the god of wine, capturing every fold of the fleshy, corpulent fat that […]

You Can Now Watch the Whitechapel Fatberg’s Decay on Livestream

Toward the end of summer 1888, a monster stalked the streets of London’s Whitechapel district, butchering five women and ensuring the neighborhood’s name would be forever linked with that of Jack the Ripper. Some 130 years later, darkness returned to Whitechapel—only this time, the monster lurked underground, stretching to a length of 850 feet and weight […]

Researchers Unlock Secrets of Basel Papyrus

Upon his father’s death in 1562, Basilius Amerbach inherited an eclectic collection of curiosities. The elder Amerbach, a Swiss scholar named Bonifacius, had acquired the menagerie of paintings, engravings, coins and various antiquities over the course of his career—amongst other claims to fame, Bonifacius was a friend and patron of portraitist Hans Holbein the Younger and sole heir of […]

24,000 Documents Detailing Life of Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted Now Available Online

When 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was 14 years old, his natural affinity for the rural New England outdoors took a dangerous turn when a brush with poison sumac left him half-blinded. With long-held plans to attend Yale University put on hold, Olmsted set out to explore the world—a task he doggedly pursued over […]

Christie’s Is First to Sell Art Made by Artificial Intelligence, But What Does That Mean?

On Thursday, the AI-generated “Portrait of Edmond Belamy” sold for $432,500—some 45 times its estimated value—in a sale trumpeted by Christie’s as the first auction to feature work created by artificial intelligence. It’s a moment likely to be marked in the timeline of both AI and art history, but what, exactly, does the sale signify? […]

Fall Down the Rabbit Hole With the New York Public Library’s Instagram Version of Classic Tales

It’s been 153 years since the protagonist of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland first offered a pointed literary indictment: As she asks in the novel’s opening lines, “What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” Luckily for Alice, Carroll’s text is a whirlwind fantasy that practically demands both illustrationand ample discussion. In fact, Alice’s Adventures […]

The Wreck of a WWII Fighter Plane Will Be Unearthed from a Greenland Glacier

During the summer of 1942, American forces converged on the Pacific en masse, settling in for a long campaign of island hopping and guerrilla warfare. As the United States scored decisive victories over the Japanese at Midway and Guadalcanal, military leaders halfway across the world prepared for the eventual Allied invasion of Europe, building up the number of […]

63 Works By Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele Are at the Center of the Latest Nazi-Looted Art Dispute

On December 31, 1940, Austrian cabaret star Fritz Grünbaum graced the stage for the final time. It had been two years since he last performed as a free man, appearing on a pitch-black stage and proclaiming, “I see nothing, absolutely nothing. I must have wandered into the National Socialist culture.” Grünbaum’s last show, held in the Dachau concentration camp […]

Lead Poisoning Wasn’t a Major Factor in the Mysterious Demise of the Franklin Expedition

In September 1854, a Scottish explorer named John Rae published a harrowing account of the Franklin Expedition’s “melancholy and dreadful” end. His report, based largely on first-hand testimony from the local Netsilik Inuits, was corroborated by artifacts salvaged from the doomed mission. Despite this proof, Rae was roundly condemned by individuals ranging from Charles Dickens […]

Five Things We’ve Learned Since Brazil’s Devastating National Museum Fire

It’s been just under a week since an inferno blazed through Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum, razing the historic institution and reducing the majority of its collection to ashes. Researchers are still awaiting permission to enter the building’s smoldering remains to assess the extent of the damage, but the Associated Press’ Marcelo Silva de Sousa and Mauricio Savarese […]

The Lost Children of the Lidice Massacre

In 1947, eight-year-old Václav Zelenka returned to the Czech village of Lidice as the last of the town’s lost children. Five years earlier, he and the rest of Lidice’s 503 residents had been viciously attacked by the Nazis, but the young Zelenka had few recollections of the event. He had spent the remainder of World War II living with […]

Archaeologists Unearth Foundations of Wolf Hall, Where Henry VIII Fell for Jane Seymour

The day after Anne Boleyn lost her head, her lover-turned-executioner Henry VIII became formally betrothed to Jane Seymour. Ostensibly demure, Jane appeared to be the polar opposite of the Tudor king’s second wife, whose fiery temperament and quick wit had so entranced Henry that he abandoned his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon and broke with the Catholic Church just to be […]

Local Council Approves Plan to Turn Portion of Battle of Bosworth Site Into Driverless Car Testing Track

In the early morning hours of August 22, 1485, 331 years of Plantagenet rule over England came to an abrupt end as Henry Tudor’s upstart band of Lancastrians and foreign mercenaries overwhelmed Richard III’s royal forces. Although the Yorkist ruler’s army vastly outnumbered that of the insurgent, the Battle of Bosworth Field unexpectedly turned in Tudor’s favor. By the end of […]

The True Story of Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s “Outlaw King”

Six weeks before he seized the Scottish crown in March 1306, Robert the Bruce murdered his closest political rival. He’d arranged to meet longtime opponent John “the Red” Comyn at a priory in Dumfries in southern Scotland, ostensibly to discuss “certain business touching them both,” but quickly changed tactics, accused Comyn of treachery and struck him down. As Comyn […]

Relive Medieval London’s Bloody Murders With This New Interactive Death Map

The majority of homicides catalogued on the map occurred in public places, including crowded streets and markets (Violence Research Centre/University of Cambridge) It was the priest in Dunstan Parish with the small knife, the brother in the Tower of London with the stave, the Welsh tailor in St. Mary Woolnoth with the broad-bladed knife—or so the […]

The True Story of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I

“Mary, Queen of Scots,” after Nicholas Hilliard, 1578 (National Portrait Gallery, London) Mary, Queen of Scots, towered over her contemporaries in more ways than one. Not only was she a female monarch in an era dominated by men, she was also physically imposing, standing nearly six feet tall. Her height emphasized Mary’s seemingly innate queenship: Enthroned as […]

These Ants Immobilize Prey With Acid Then Drag Them Back to Nest for Dismemberment

Floridian Formica archboldi ants have eclectic interior decorating tastes, to say the least: Whereas most ant species are content to cozy up in sand- or soil-filled mounds, F. archboldi prefer to litter their underground nests with the dismembered limbs and decapitated heads of hapless prey. This behavioral tic has baffled scientists since the species’ discovery in 1958, but as […]

What Did Elizabeth I Actually Look Like? This Artist Has a Suggestion

In the “Armada Portrait,” Elizabeth appears serene, omnipotent and incredibly youthful for a woman of roughly 55 (Public domain) During her 45-year reign, England’s Elizabeth I carefully cultivated her public image. She did such a good job of managing it that nearly 500 years after her rise to power, her imperial majesty continues to be depicted with a […]

From Obscurity, Hilma af Klint Is Finally Being Recognized as a Pioneer of Abstract Art

Af Klint saw herself as a “holy transcriptionist, a technician of the unknown” whose work was simply a stepping stone in the pursuit of knowledge (David Heald) The arrival of artistic abstraction has long been attributed to a triumvirate of male painters: Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian Expressionist whose improvisational creations translated musical compositions into cacophonies of color; Kazimir […]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Unpublished World War II Scrapbook Reveals Origins of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’

When he was an American prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Kurt Vonnegut famously survived the 1945 aerial bombing of Dresden by hiding in the meat locker of a slaughterhouse—a harrowing experience that closely informed the plot of his masterful 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. During his lifetime, Vonnegut commented extensively on this wartime episode, cataloguing the destruction of “possibly the world’s most beautiful […]

All Hail the Renaissance of Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Baroque masterpieces are all about the women. More specifically, they show women in action, actively asserting female agency and defying the alternately lecherous, murderous and feckless men surrounding them. Even in paintings lacking a male presence—for example, the 1615-17 “Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria,” which finds the artist clasping a broken torture wheel as […]

Museum to Be Built at Site of Nazi-Occupied France’s First Concentration Camp

At the beginning of World War II, French officials established Pithiviers, a camp situated in the southern region of Loiret, to house an anticipated influx of Nazi prisoners of war. But the plan abruptly changed once France fell to Nazi Germany in the fall of 1940. Instead of housing enemy POWS, Pithiviers became a refugee camp. […]

Henry VII’s Marriage Bed May Have Spent 15 Years in a British Hotel’s Honeymoon Suite

The bed that symbolized the denouement of medieval England’s Wars of the Roses—a series of bloody conflicts that pitted factions of the royal Plantagenet family against one another in a three-decade battle for the the throne—nearly ended up in the trash after spending 15 years masquerading as a Victorian poster bed in a Chester hotel’s wood-paneled […]

Remembering the Forgotten Female Artists of Vienna

Teresa Feodorowna Ries’ marble sculpture of a nude young woman clipping her toenails with a pair of garden shears catapulted her to fame overnight. Tastemakers had actually derided the puckish work, titled “Witch Doing Her Toilet on Walpurgis Night,” as “atrocious,” tasteless” and a “grotesque apparition” when it was first exhibited at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus in the spring […]

Notebook of Poetry Penned by Bonnie and Clyde Set to Go on Auction

Bonnie Parker’s poetry has long provided a portal into the fleeting lives of Depression-era America’s most notorious pair of outlaws. But as Alison Flood reports for the Guardian, a newly revealed notebook once owned by the couple suggests Parker wasn’t the only one to try her hand at creative writing. The volume, set to go on auction this April […]

New Book Chronicles the Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims

All too often, murder victims’ stories are relegated to the footnotes of history, overshadowed by not only their violent ends, but the looming specter of their killers. In The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, historian Hallie Rubenhold sets out to correct this imbalance, placing the focus on Polly Nichols, Annie […]

Metal Detectorist Unearths Gold Hatpin Potentially Owned by Edward IV

On the morning of February 3, 1461, the Lancastrian and Yorkist armies gathered for the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross witnessed the spectacular sight of three suns blazing in the sky overhead. Eager to capitalize on this alternately ominous and inspiring sign—now understood to be the result of a meteorological phenomenon known as a parhelion—Edward Plantagenet, Duke of […]

Five Things We’ve Learned in the Aftermath of the Notre-Dame Fire

At 6:20 p.m. on Monday, April 15, an alarm interrupted mass at Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral. But for nearly half an hour, evacuated worshipers and tourists believed it had been a false alarm. Then, a second alarm sounded, and visible flames started flickering across the scaffolding surrounding the Gothic church’s iconic spire. At 7:49 p.m., the 295-foot, lead-covered wood tower collapsed. The […]

Did Elizabeth Woodville, England’s ‘White Queen,’ Die of the Plague?

When Elizabeth Woodville died in 1492, she was buried with little of the pomp and circumstance befitting a woman of her rank. Despite the fact that she was Edward IV‘s queen consort, mother of the missing princes in the tower—Edward, Prince of Wales, and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York—and grandmother of Henry VIII, just five attendants transported […]

Five Things to Know About Botswana’s Decision to Lift Ban on Hunting Elephants

Botswana, home to the world’s largest African elephant population, has lifted its five-year suspension of elephant hunting, attracting the ire of conservationists while placating those who argue that the land giants, known to kill livestock and destroy crops, are wreaking havoc on locals’ livelihoods. In a statement detailing the reversal, Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism cited […]

The National Zoo’s Female Asian Water Dragon Successfully Reproduced Without a Male

A female Asian water dragon housed at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo has successfully produced healthy offspring without the assistance of a breeding male. As researchers led by Kyle Miller, an animal keeper at the Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center, report in the journal PLoS ONE, the unusual occurrence—officially known as facultative parthenogenesis—marks the first time this behavior has […]

Historian’s New Novel Raises Controversial Theory: Henry VIII Divorced Anne of Cleves Because She’d Already Given Birth

A new novel by Tudor historian Alison Weir outlines a controversial alternative to the oft-cited account of Henry VIII’s divorce from his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. As Sarah Knapton reports for the Telegraph, Weir’s Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait, the fourth installment in the non-fiction and fiction writer’s Six Tudor Queens series, theorizes that the notoriously mercurial […]

How to Enjoy a Medieval Feast at Borthwick Castle, Former Refuge of Mary, Queen of Scots

Scotland’s feuding nobility was none too pleased when Mary, Queen of Scots, married James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, a man who had been accused of—and acquitted of in a legally suspect trial—murdering her syphilis-stricken second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, just three months earlier. Given the unsavory implications of such a match, it’s unsurprising that soon after […]

Is This the Childhood Home of Lady Jane Grey?

Few figures in Tudor history evoke the same level of pathos as Lady Jane Grey, the short-lived queen who ruled for just nine days and lost her head to the executioner’s axe in 1554 when she was 16 or 17. But long before Jane emerged as a key player in the battle for England’s throne, she […]

How the Camera Introduced Americans to Their Heroines

Prior to the advent of photography, the main method of preserving one’s likeness was posing for a painting or sculpture—a decidedly expensive process accessible only to those in the upper echelons of society. But with Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s 1839 invention of the daguerreotype and subsequent advances in photographic technology, portraiture became increasingly democratized, enabling those with limited resources […]

Infinite Space

ARTECHOUSE’s summer exhibition is Instagram-friendly art at its finest. Dubbed Infinite Space, the show—Refik Anadol’s first major retrospective—unfolds across four galleries featuring eight works, including immersive data sculptures and digital paintings. Each exemplifies the artist’s signature scientific rigor, transforming data on subjects including urban wind patterns, photographs of Mars, and machine learning algorithms into monumental visual […]

The Six Wives of Henry VIII Are Coming to Broadway

The Broadway-bound musical Six opens with a twist on Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango.” Rather than introducing “the six married murderesses” of Cook County Jail, “Ex-Wives” introduces the six wives of Henry VIII: “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.” This catchy cadence has long cemented the fates of the Tudor king’s queens—Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine […]

Smithsonian Scientists Are Using Ginkgo Leaves to Study Climate Change––and They Need Your Help

The next time you venture into the great outdoors, keep an eye out for Ginkgo biloba trees, which can be easily identified by their distinctive fan-shaped leaves. If you find one—and you likely will, as the native Chinese plant is now ubiquitious in the United States—take a moment to pluck a few leaves, snap some photographs of […]

Three Things to Know About the Fires Blazing Across the Amazon Rainforest

Since January, a staggering 74,155 fires have broken out across Brazil, the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported Wednesday. This figure—an 85 percent uptick from the same point in 2018—includes more than 9,000 blazes spotted within the past week and represents the highest rate recorded since documentation began in 2013. Crucially, environmentalists point out, the vast majority of the infernos are not wildfires, but rather intentional […]

The True Story Behind the Harriet Tubman Movie

Harriet Tubman’s first act as a free woman was poignantly simple. As she later told biographer Sarah Bradford, after crossing the Pennsylvania state boundary line in September 1849, “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and […]

The True Story of Henry V, England’s Warrior King

Henry V was a man of contradictions. In youth, he was reportedly an “assiduous cultivator of lasciviousness,” but upon ascending to the throne of England in the early 15th century, he won plaudits for his piety. Henry was a formidable warrior—perhaps the greatest the country has ever seen—but thanks to his closely cropped haircut, looked […]

Who Were the Real ‘Peaky Blinders’?

British screenwriter Steven Knight took inspiration from his father’s stories of “incredibly well dressed,” “incredibly powerful” gangsters active in turn-of-the-century England when he invented the Shelby clan—the family of razor blade-wielding mobsters at the heart of his BBC drama “Peaky Blinders.” But it turns out that the Birmingham gang that lends the series its name actually existed, albeit in […]

The True Story of the Aberfan Disaster

Jeff Edwards’ primary school teacher had just started the day’s math lesson when an ominous rumble sounded in the distance. “The next thing I remember was waking up,” he later recalled. “My right foot was stuck in the radiator and there was water pouring out of it. My desk was pinned against my stomach and a […]

The Genre-Bending, Death-Defying Triumph of Charlotte Salomon’s Art

A few weeks after her June 17, 1943, wedding, a young Jewish artist named Charlotte Salomon entrusted her friend and doctor, Georges Moridis, with a trove of carefully wrapped papers. “Keep these safe,” she said. “They are my whole life.” Salomon’s directive was far from an exaggeration. As Toni Bentley writes for the New Yorker, the bundles contained […]

Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print

The Smithsonian Institution’s 3-D digitization portal currently features 124 interactive artifact models. Of these offerings—among others, the list includes Amelia Earhart’s flight suit, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and the remnants of a supernova—just under 100 are available for download as 3-D print-ready files, making it easy for art, history and science lovers alike to obtain their very own copies of objects from the Smithsonian’s extensive […]

The True Story of the Battle of Midway

“At the present time we have only enough water for two weeks. Please supply us immediately,” read the message sent by American sailors stationed at Midway, a tiny atoll located roughly halfway between North America and Asia, on May 20, 1942. The plea for help, however, was a giant ruse; the base was not, in fact, […]

Mary I

The Myth of 'Bloody Mary'

The first woman to rule England in her own right didn’t simply inherit the throne. She seized it with unprecedented ambition from those who sought to thwart her. Historian Sarah Gristwood describes the ascension of Mary I as a “staggeringly bold” course of action undertaken with little chance of success. Still, she rode into London on August […]

Smithsonian Leaders Reflect on the Legacy of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

To Rep. John Lewis, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was more than simply a building. As he explained during the museum’s September 2016 dedication ceremony, “It is a dream come true.” This sentiment was both an acknowledgement of the century-long campaign to establish a repository of black history on the National Mall and a deeply […]

When Henry VIII and Francis I Spent $19 Million on an 18-Day Party

For two-and-a-half-weeks in June 1520, two of Renaissance Europe’s greatest monarchs—England’s Henry VIII and France’s Francis I—convened for a celebration of unmatched proportions. Named after the gold-embellished fabric used to craft the tents, costumes and decorations, the Field of Cloth of Gold cost the modern equivalent of some £15 million pounds, or almost $19 million. Ostensibly organized as an affirmation of the […]

The True Story Behind Hulu’s Catherine ‘The Great’

Catherine the Great is a monarch mired in misconception. Derided both in her day and in modern times as a hypocritical warmonger with an unnatural sexual appetite, Catherine was a woman of contradictions whose brazen exploits have long overshadowed the accomplishments that won her “the Great” moniker in the first place. Ruler of Russia from […]

When Catherine of Aragon Led England’s Armies to Victory Over Scotland

She was, in the words of historian John Edwards, Henry VIII’s “greatest queen.” But though Catherine of Aragon’s marriage to the Tudor king lasted 24 years—collectively, his five other marriages spanned just 14 years—she has long been overshadowed by her successors. The daughter of Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catherine came to England as the bride of Henry’s […]

Who Were America’s Enslaved? A New Database Humanizes the Names Behind the Numbers

The night before Christmas in 1836, an enslaved man named Jim made final preparations for his escape. As his enslavers, the Roberts family of Charlotte County, Virginia, celebrated the holiday, Jim fled west to Kanawha County, where his wife’s enslaver, Joseph Friend, had recently moved. Two years had passed without Jim’s capture when Thomas Roberts published a […]

Remembering the Khatyn Massacre

Viktor Andreevich Zhelobkovich was 8 years old at the time. He’d recall decades later that the invading Nazi troops and their collaborators forced him, his mother and the other residents of Khatyn, a tiny village in Belarus, to wait in a barn for about an hour while the enemy plotted outside. Though they tried to convince […]

The Enduring Nostalgia of American Girl Dolls

Growing up, Sydney Rose Paulsen often viewed the world through a specific lens: namely, American Girl dolls and books. “I read [the stories] dozens of times,” the 23-year-old recalls. “They were my context for how people who didn’t have my background or grew up in my time lived. … They were so much my point of reference for everything.” […]