History

Joanne Froggatt as Mary Ann Cotton; H. H. Holmes. Photo: ©JustinSleePhotography2015/MASTERPIECE

Prodigies of Wickedness

Masterpiece: Dark Angel follows the life of Mary Ann Cotton, Britain's first female serial killer. Chicago had its own "first": H. H. Holmes, America's first serial killer, otherwise known as "The Devil in the White City." Learn about the disputed mythology surrounding this shady figure.
The British 'Princes of the Palace'

Meet the 'Princes of the Palace'

Princes of the Palace examined the lives of five British princes, from Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip all the way down to his great-grandson Prince George. Which of the princes was named a best-dressed man by GQ?
A still from the original WTTW documentary about Pilsen, 'Port of Entry.'

From the Archive: Pilsen

Revisit a 1981 WTTW documentary about Pilsen in advance of a new documentary about the community called My Neighborhood. Many of the issues remain the same, but the community has also been transformed in the more than thirty years between the shows.
Barbara, Trixie, and Patsy of 'Call the Midwife.' Photo: Neal Street Productions 2016

Modern Midwifery: A Conversation with a Midwife-in-Training

Many people probably assume midwives are a thing of the past. A midwife-in-training at the Yale School of Nursing shows otherwise, explaining the various roles midwives play today and surveying the recent history of midwifery.
An anti-German cartoon from World War I. Image courtesy Joseph Gustaitis

How World War I Transformed Chicago

World War I helped trigger huge shifts in Chicago, with the rapid Americanization of Germans, an influx of African Americans, Mexicans, and single women, Prohibition, and more all occured or began because of developments during the Great War.
A mural in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen. (Ken Carl)

My Neighborhood: Pilsen

“I believe if you connect people deeply enough to the experiences of others, they will have the opportunity to discover in themselves their potential to create change.” This could be the mission statement of WTTW's My Neighborhood: Pilsen initiative.
The Chicago Flag.

How Much Do You Know About the Chicago Flag?

April 4th was the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Chicago flag, which was rated the second-best city flag in the US in 2004. Did you know that not only do the stars have meaning, but also the colors and stripes?
"Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann" at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. (Ron Gould Studios)

"A Universal Jurisdiction Over Genocide": The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

The exhibit "Operation Finale," at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, examines one of the most notorious war criminals and his sentencing to death. The effects of his trial on postwar justice and Holocaust consciousness were profound.
Fred Rogers on WTTW's Chicago Tonight in 1985.

From the Archive: Happy Birthday Mister Rogers!

Mister Rogers would have turned 89 on March 20. In 1985, he appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss 30 years on television and offer some wisdom in his characteristic thoughtful manner.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Hull House, Alice Hamilton, Jane Addams.

The Groundbreaking Women of Hull House

Celebrate the pioneering achievements, landmark reforms, and impressive careers of some of the women who resided at Jane Addams' social-minded Hull House in the early twentieth century.
A statue of Queen Njinga outside the Fortaleza de São Miguel in Luanda, Angola. (Courtesy of Cécile Fromont)

Africa's Global Objects: Cécile Fromont at the Art Institute

Cécile Fromont is a professor of Art History at the University of Chicago specializing in Central Africa and Brazil who appears in the new, three-part documentary Africa's Great Civilizations
Charles Elmé Francatelli, Queen Victoria's chef.

Victorian Cooking with Francatelli

The chef who takes an interest in Skerrett on Victoria, Francatelli was a real-life cook who worked in the hottest restaurants and published several cookbooks, making him one of the first celebrity chefs. Baked sheep's head or bullock heart, anyone?
Emma Green, Anne Hastings, and Mary Phinney of Mercy Street. (Courtesy of Erik Heinila/PBS and Antony Platt/PBS)

Enlarging the Historical Framework: Pamela D. Toler's Look at the Amazing Women of the Civil War

The author of Heroines of Mercy Street discusses the determination and accomplishments of female Civil War nurses, the importance of writing about women in history, and her broad historical interests.
(Library of Congress)

DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis

DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis airs Thursday, February 16 at 8:00 pm. Explore web-exclusive content here.
Various forms of transit in 1904 at State and Madison Streets, with two cable car trains. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)

Buried History: Chicago’s Forgotten Cable Cars

Chicago had the largest cable car system in the world, in terms of riders and equipment. The city's adoption of the new transit system sparked a nationwide boom in cable cars--but it lasted for less than 25 years.
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