HISTORY DETECTIVES returns to explore the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
What does the evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb mean? Did two patches with the symbol belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen Wright connects a tiny swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in U.S. Civil War history. Did a neckpiece and leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this note?
Monday, May 20, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1005
HISTORY DETECTIVES steps into a family dispute: Was this picture frame crafted from the staircase banister of the Titanic, the Lusitania or neither? Then Tukufu Zuberi wonders whether Woolworth signs were part of the scene at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins. For 70 years, toy soldiers have haunted their owner with a question: Was the father of his childhood friend a Nazi spy? Then, a journal full of liquor recipes makes a man wonder if his uncle was a prohibition bootlegger.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1006
Can HISTORY DETECTIVES return the diary of a fallen North Vietnamese soldier to that veteran's family? U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta takes part in the exchange. A notebook with recipes for large volumes of liquor makes an Indiana man wonder if his rich uncle earned money bootlegging during Prohibition. What can a ledger tell us about Hollywood's treatment of Native-American actors? How did they earn their pay? Did producers treat them fairly?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1007
What are the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two African-American soldiers in World War I? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helps find the answer. Then, is this a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? And does a Tucson man own one of the first transistor radios ever made? Finally, after 70 years, a Washington man wonders whether a business card ties his father to Prohibition-era underworld crime.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1008
The History Detectives investigate four stories from the American West. Did a biography of legendary frontiersman Kit Carson once belong to members of his family? Then, from the rodeo to Hollywood, a saddle tells the story of Yakima Canutt, who made life safer for movie stunt artists. What is the meaning behind the mysterious inscription on sheet music of the popular western song "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"? Finally, did a pivotal character in the Modoc Indian wars weave this basket?
Friday, May 24, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Lauste Film Clip/Baker's Gold/Transatlantic Cable Episode # 803
"Lauste Film Clip" Did a HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer find a clip of the first talking picture? "Baker's Gold" What's the story behind Gold Rush sketches of five and eight-pound gold nuggets? "Transatlantic Cable" Did a beachcomber find a section of the first transatlantic cable?
Monday, May 27, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Fire Station, Face Artifact, Pop Lloyd's Baseball Episode # 101
FIRE STATION--Morristown, New Jersey--Did President Ulysses S. Grant stop by a Morristown, New Jersey firehouse on the Centennial of America? The HISTORY DETECTIVES are on the case to determine if and why such a visit might have occurred. By scouring through old records and speaking to various experts they hope to uncover the truth. Is the signature in the logbook authentic and if so, why was the Commander-In-Chief in town on such a historic date? FACE ARTIFACT--Mantoloking, New Jersey--Is it possible that a rock found along the beaches of the Jersey Shore could be an artifact left behind by Native Americans? The HISTORY DETECTIVES head to the home of Mrs. Betsy Colie, the lucky woman who stumbled upon the treasure, in an attempt to unlock the secrets held inside this stone with an etched face. Is it really a link to an ancient civilization or does this turn out to be just another pebble in the sand? POP LLOYD'S BASEBALL FIELD--Atlantic City, New Jersey--Why was a baseball field in Atlantic City, New Jersey named after an African-American ball-player in a time of intense racial tension? Our HISTORY DETECTIVES go to the park itself to unearth the explanation. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd was one of the greatest athletes of his time. A famed shortstop in the Negro Leagues throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century, Pop was honored with a field in his name in 1949. What was the course of reason that led to this unlikely honor in a time of blatant prejudice and racial division?
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Bonnie & Clyde, Al Ringling Theater, Sears Home Episode # 102
BONNIE & CLYDE--Brodhead, Wisconsin--Could bullets owned by a woman in a small Wisconsin town be responsible for the demise of the notorious Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow? The HISTORY DETECTIVES team travels to key cities throughout the country in an attempt to link the bullets to the murderous twosome. Along the way they chat with various experts and run extensive ballistics tests. Are these really the bullets that ended one of the most infamous crime-sprees in American history? AL RINGLING THEATER--Baraboo, Wisconsin--Is it possible that a theater in the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin could have been the country's first great movie palace? The exquisite theater, which was designed in 1915 by Chicago architects C.W. and George Rapp, is a masterpiece designed in the style of the great French Opera Houses. The HISTORY DETECTIVES enlist the help of the Theatre Historical Society of America in order to solve the great mystery of this grand edifice. Why was such an ornate theater resurrected in such an obscure location and how has it stayed relevant throughout the years? SEARS HOME--Akron, Ohio--Might an Ohio couple's residence be a long forgotten Sears home? The HISTORY DETECTIVES head to Akron, Ohio to investigate whether or not Sears & Roebuck could have built the home in question at a time when communities were springing up almost overnight to aid in the industrial boom. Does this couple live in a relic from years gone by or will they find out otherwise?
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Charles W. Morgan Whaling Ship, Witch's House, Jigsaw Puzzle Episode # 103
MORGAN WHALING SHIP--Mystic, Connecticut--Might a whaling ship docked in Mystic, Connecticut, hold secrets to the Underground Railroad? That is the basis for the HISTORY DETECTIVES investigation on this captivating episode. The team speaks with the grandson of the last captain of the ship, known as The Morgan, in an effort to shed some light on the role of these kinds of ships in that period. Does The Morgan prove to be an integral part of the Underground Railroad? WITCH'S HOUSE--Essex County, Massachusetts-- Could a house in Essex County, Massachusetts, have once belonged to an accused witch? The HISTORY DETECTIVES gang heads up to New England to research this likelihood with local historians and a descendant of the witch herself. The "witch", Martha Carrier, was executed by hanging in 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Might this woman who was called the 'Queen of Hell' have owned this home? 1909 JIGSAW PUZZLE--Worcester, Massachusetts--Were women playing contact sports in the late part of the nineteenth century? That is the question being asked by Bob and Hildegard Armstrong of Worcester, Massachusetts. A quirky jigsaw puzzle depicting women in the midst of a game of rugby or football has led to an investigation by the HISTORY DETECTIVES team. The investigation begins with a visit to a jigsaw puzzle expert and continues on to a sports historian, a magazine expert and finally to the Society for the Preservation of New England's Antiquities. Will the Armstrong's be able to put the pieces together once and for all?
Thursday, May 30, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Portrait of George Washington, Patty Cannon, Trumpet Episode # 104
PORTRAIT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON--Washington, D.C.--Could a portrait passed down a Washington D.C. family for generations actually be an authentic portrait of our nation's first president, George Washington? That is the charge for the HISTORY DETECTIVES in this fascinating episode. Our investigators attempt to prove whether or not the famed artist Gilbert Stuart, whose resume includes the portrait of Washington that appears on today's dollar bills, was the artist behind the painting in question. Might this painting prove to be a national treasure? PATTY CANNON--Frederick, Maryland--Could a Maryland family's home once have been the headquarters for the slave trade of Patty Cannon, coined 'the most wicked woman in America'? Legend has it the she was a villainous woman who stole slaves and kidnapped free African-Americans to then sell them back to plantation owners . Now the HISTORY DETECTIVES team investigates to see if they can prove once and for all that this is in fact the former home of Patty Cannon. Will they be able to draw long sought after conclusions or will the mystery remain? TRUMPET--Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Is a Philadelphia man's trumpet that he bought at a local auction somehow tied to the Revolutionary War? That is the mystery bestowed upon the HISTORY DETECTIVES to solve this time around. Inscribed with the name "Captain Lewis," the trumpet appears to have been used by the aforementioned captain during the battles that won America's independence from England. Will the trumpet prove to be a valuable piece of American history or will the team turn up empty handed?
Friday, May 31, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Lee's Last Orders, Natchez House, Napoleonic Sword Episode # 105
LEE'S LAST ORDERS--Beech Island, South Carolina--In the archives of a gentleman's club in this rural town is what is believed to be a hand-written, signed copy of one of the most famous documents in the history of the Civil War--Confederate General Robert E. Lee's farewell address, "General Order #9," composed at Appomattox, Virginia upon the surrender of his troops in April 1865. The Beech Island Agricultural Club, a social organization formed by local plantation owners in the 1840's, has owned this copy for almost 120 years. Is this really the "original" copy of "General Order #9"? NATCHEZ HOUSE--Natchez, Mississippi--There is a magnificent home on the "Spanish Esplanade" overlooking the Mississippi River that for years was believed to be the original home of one of the Spanish dons that colonized the area. The original owner was actually a free man of color named Robert D. Smith who built it himself in 1851, 14 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. The new homeowners, Ruth and Jim Coy, have been actively pursuing the history of Robert Smith and they have a question. According to a recently discovered record, Smith arrived in New Orleans on a slave ship. How did Robert Smith go from traveling on a slave ship full of captive individuals destined for servitude to owning a luxurious home? NEPOLEONIC SWORD--St. Martinville, LA--A magnificent sword that has been handed down for generations in a St. Martinville family has a mystery around it. Family lore has it that Napoleon was injured and their great-great grandfather treated Napoleon's wound. He was rewarded with this sword. Is this really the sword of Napoleon?
Monday, June 03, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
John Brown's Letters, Japanese House, Poems Episode # 106
History Detectives are in California this week tracking down the past and solving your mysteries. Does a California woman own a treasure trove of John Brown's documents? Tukufu sets out to authenticate the letters and delve into her family tree to prove if she is related to the famous abolitionist. How did an authentic Japanese house become part of the famed San Francisco World Fair just before World War II? The history detectives attempt to reveal the origins of the house and how it got there. Kathleen Wong, a second-generation Chinese-American, calls in the history detectives to trace her ancestors' perilous journey to America. She wants to know whether any of the hundreds of poems left on the walls at a West Coast detention center relate to her family.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
The Depot That Made Dallas, Mexican Peso, Pirate Spyglass Episode # 107
The Depot That Made Dallas - A local historian in Dallas, Texas, has a question about an early railroad station in the middle of Dallas. He wants to know if this building was the first railroad station in Texas - and if so, was it responsible for creating the bustling metropolis that Dallas is today? HISTORY DETECTIVES hits town to investigate this railroad mystery. Mexican Peso - A man from San Antonio, Texas, found what looked like Mexican currency among his late great-grandfather's possessions. Are they linked to the Mexican bandits Zapata and Pancho Villa? Did they play a part in the Mexican revolution in the 1910s and if so, how did they get into the hands of his great-grandfather, a quiet family man from San Antonio? Pirate Spyglass - Jean Lafitte has been called a fearsome pirate, an ingenious privateer and a war hero. His exploits are still recounted today in Texas and Louisiana. A librarian in Texas City, Texas, has a spyglass she believes may once have belonged to Lafitte. Old, but still in working condition, the object was donated to the local library by a descendent of Jim Campbell - a founder of the town and one of Lafitte's captains. Did Jean Lafitte give his trusted captain a spyglass, and if he did - is this Jean Lafitte's spyglass?
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Ventriloquist Dummy/Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot/34 Star Flag Episode # 108
Ventriloquist Dummy - An African American woman in Brooklyn, New York, has her father's black ventriloquist dummy, "Sam." Her father, John Cooper, was the first famous African-American ventriloquist. In a time of minstrel stereotypes, did "Sam" help transform how Americans viewed race in the early 20th century? How was this dummy created, and was it meant to be a protest against racial prejudice? Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot - A resident of Greenwich Village, New York, has a question about the home in which she's been living for the last few years. She's heard a rumor that John Wilkes Booth, the infamous assassin of Abraham Lincoln, spent some time in her house. Not only that, she's heard that her home is where the plot for the assassination was hatched. Is this really where Lincoln's murder was planned? 34 Star Flag - Twenty years ago, the Staten Island Historical Society received a beautiful 34-star flag and a fascinating mystery. Patched together with bits of fabric much like a quilt, the flag flew at a boarding house on Staten Island. According to local legend, an angry mob approached the owner of the boarding house. The mob claimed that one of his boarders had hung a Confederate flag outside the window. It was just before the outbreak of the Civil War, and with tensions running high the mob was threatening to burn down the boarding house. As several other buildings were already in flames, the owner knew to take them seriously. He ran back to tear down the flag, but that did not satisfy the crowd. To save his building from being burnt to the ground, he replaced the rebel flag with the 34- star U.S. flag. The Staten Island Historical Society wants to know, is there any truth to this story?
Thursday, June 06, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Sheridan's House, Mark Twain Watch, Prisoner Poem Episode # 109
SHERIDAN'S HOUSE - On a dusty back road in the town of Grand Ronde, Oregon sits what appears to be an abandoned, early 20th Century Dutch Colonial Style home. But is it? Research conducted on behalf of the Oregon State Department of Parks and Recreation recently revealed an astounding discovery. At the core of the house is a U.S. Army officer's quarters - one of four built in the 1850's at nearby Fort Yamhill on the border of a Native American reservation. The construction of these buildings was supervised by a young officer who was destined to become one of the Union Army's greatest generals and a ruthless foe for Native Americans in the Far West. Now local residents want the HISTORY DETECTIVES to find out -- was this the home of General Philip Sheridan? MARK TWAIN WATCH - An Oregon man, Jack Ainsworth Mills, has a watch that may have been a gift to his grandfather from noted American author, Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain. Mr. Mills has always wondered how his grandfather, Captain Ainsworth, a prominent Oregonian, could have met Clemens, and why he would have been given such a gift. The HISTORY DETECTIVES will follow the trail of these two adventurous men to discover if their paths could have ever crossed, to determine if the Mills family legend could be true. PRISONER POEM HISTORY DETECTIVES goes to Salem, Oregon to look into the story of a Revolutionary War poem found 25 years ago hidden in an antique trunk. The document appears to have been written by an American named Dan Goodhue while imprisoned in 1780 as a POW in England. Who was this man and how did his poem travel for over two centuries, across the sea and nation, to end up in Oregon?
Friday, June 07, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
The Love Dish, Rebel Gun, Prison Plaque Episode # 110
THE LOVE DISH - Hearts and arrows blaze across an unusual set of china at the Powel House in Philadelphia. Family legend claims the Marquis de Lafayette gave the set to Elizabeth Willing, the popular wife of the Patriot Mayor. The HISTORY DETECTIVES look into the facts and fiction behind this racy 18th century gift. REBEL GUN - Mercer County Historical Society has in its possession a late 18th century flint-lock rifle, which, according to local lore, once belonged to legendary Tory bandit Moses Doan, and was recovered after he was killed in a raid of his hideout in 1783. The Society would like to know: Was this the gun of one of the most infamous bandits operating to undermine the birth of our nation? The HISTORY DETECTIVES travel west of Philadelphia, our nation's first capital, to uncover the truth. PRISON PLAQUE - In the heart of Philadelphia, stands the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary building. Founded by Quakers in 1829, this castle-like structure set new standards for prisons across the country with its progressive ideas for rehabilitation. Recently, a group in charge of preserving this historic structure found a strange plaque discarded in a pile of rubbish. Dusting it off, they found an intriguing inscription: "In the everlasting memory of the inmates of Eastern State Penitentiary who served in World War I". Even more intriguing is that fact that they are listed not by name, but by their prison numbers. From what they know, convicted felons were prohibited from enlisting or being drafted to fight in the war. Is this an example of the prison's progressive take on prisoner reform? Or is this a sign of desperate recruiting measures for the "War to end all wars", where even prisoners are being sent into battle? The HISTORY DETECTIVES are on the case to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Monday, June 10, 2013 Length : 54 min MPT2
Civil War-Era Submarine/Red Cloud's Pipe/The Edison House Episode # 201
Civil War-Era Submarine - In Louisiana's bustling French Quarter sits a surprising remnant of American warfare - a Civil War-era submarine. Salvaged from the depths of a New Orleans lake, the origin of this vessel remains a murky mystery. As a young boy, the New Orleans contributor was fascinated by the presence of the iron-clad vessel and its unknown origin. As an adult, he discovered that one of his ancestors may have helped build this sub, contributing to the advanced military innovations spurred by the Civil War. Will the History Detectives rescue the story of this Louisiana man's ancestor and bring the early history of America's secretive underwater warfare to the surface? Red Cloud's Pipe - In California, a HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer owns an American Indian pipe that family legend suggests was given to her ancestor by the famous warrior Chief Red Cloud. The contributor knows that her great-great-grandfather was the Indian agent who moved the Oglala Lakota to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Would Chief Red Cloud have given such a gift to a U.S. government official? The quest for the answer takes HISTORY DETECTIVES back to the turbulent days of the 1870s; the team uncovers a battle of wills and political scandal reaching the highest levels of government, reverberating today. The Edison House - A Union, New Jersey, resident has heard a strange story about his home: that it was designed and built by inventor Thomas Edison. But Edison is known for inventing the motion-picture camera, electric lighting and wireless telegraphy, not house construction. History detective and architectural historian Gwen Wright investigates and discovers a surprising story of technological innovation, failed inventions and an approach to housing that was 30 years ahead of its time.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Monopoly/Japanese Internment Camp Artwork/The Lewis and Clark Cane Episode # 202
Monopoly - A man in Delaware has an old board game that bears a remarkable similarity to Monopoly, but was made 20 years before Parker Brothers patented their creation. Could he own the earliest version of the world's best-selling board game? To solve this mystery, HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates Monopoly's history and discovers a surprising story. Rather than originating in the Great Depression of the 1930s, Monopoly could be a much older game, reflecting an economic argument that - if followed - would have created a radically different economy from today's. Japanese Internment Camp Artwork - In a San Francisco historical archive, an intern recently discovered a set of 10 postcard-size watercolors of what appears to be a prison camp. Piecing them together, the intern was surprised to find they were painted on the back of a Japanese-American internment notice from 1942. What is the story behind these paintings? Who was the artist? And what was his or her fate? HISTORY DETECTIVES travels to the West Coast to solve the puzzle, uncovering the dramatic story of one of the 120,000 Americans citizens who spent years behind barbed wire, guilty only of being of Japanese descent. The Lewis and Clark Cane - A Minnesota man has an old wooden cane thathas been in his family for as long as he can remember. The family tale is that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark gave the cane to his ancestor in return for assistance they received during the famous Corps of Discovery expedition. HISTORY DETECTIVES attempts to find out if the owner of the cane is related to this early St. Louis fur trader. Is it possible that the family legend is true? Was this cane a gift from Lewis and Clark?
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
WWII Land Craft/The Abolitionist Flag/Mail OrderBrides Episode # 203
WWII Land Craft - In the harbor of Bayfield, Wisconsin, a craft used for dredging and hauling rocks may hold a dramatic secret. A local man whose father fought in the World War II claims that 60 years ago the vessel played a vital role in the D-Day landings, transporting American tanks onto the beaches of Normandy. Could this ship really be one of the 1,500 "Landing Craft Tanks" designed and built to support the amphibious landings of the war? And did it really see action off the beaches of France? HISTORY DETECTIVES goes to Wisconsin and investigates. The Abolitionist Flag - Two Michigan brothers uncovered what they believed was just an old sheet in a family trunk. But could this "sheet" have actually contributed to the end of slavery in America? Was it a flag that an ancestor may have used to campaign for the creation of Free States? Or was it used as propaganda in a pivotal pre-Civil War campaign? HISTORY DETECTIVES explores the politically charged abolition movement to reveal the unknown and surprising past of this family and their flag. Mail Order Brides - In California, a photograph collector owns four small images of women taken in Chicago in the 1890s. On the back of one of the portraits are personal details and comments about the woman's inheritance, leading this collector to believe these are advertisements for mail order brides. Could he be right? HISTORY DETECTIVES visits California and Chicago to investigate the Victorian marriage industry, and discovers a shocking story of late 19th- century extortion and corruption.
Thursday, June 13, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
The First Movie Studio/Ufa Light/King Kong Camera Episode # 204
The First Movie Studio - Lincoln Heights, a quiet neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, is located far from the glitz and glamour normally associated with Hollywood. But a resident of Lincoln Heights thinks the city's first motion picture studio may be located in her very own neighborhood park. Could a broken gateway once have been the grand entrance to the beginning of Hollywood history? The History Detectives travel to California - and it's lights, camera, action! UFA Light - When a California man bought an antique Kaschie lighter for $50 at a flea market, he didn't realize he was buying a piece of Hollywood history. The beautiful German lighter is a collectible in itself, but the engraving may make it even more valuable: "Harry Warner" on one side and "Ufatone" on the other. Harry Warner is one of the Warner brothers of the eponymous studio that produced movies aimed at garnering support for America's entry into World War II. Ufa was Germany's largest studio and Hollywood's biggest competition. So what are the names of these competitors doing on the same lighter? And what is the connection between Harry Warner, known for his anti- fascist commitment, and a studio that became the propaganda tool of the Nazi party? The History Detectives are on the case! King Kong Camera - A Washington resident owns an old movie camera he believes could have been used to film the original version of "King Kong." Released in 1933, the movie was a milestone in story-telling and special effects, and spawned several remakes, including one currently in pre-production under the direction of Peter Jackson. To investigate the camera's claim to fame, the History Detectives visit Washington State, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they meet legendary animator Ray Harryhausen and discover the true story behind the ape with a weakness for blondes.
Friday, June 14, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Dueling Pistols/Evelyn Nesbit Portrait/Little Big Horn Bayonet Episode # 205
Dueling Pistols - A San Francisco bank owns two antique pistols, allegedly used in the last great duel on U.S. soil. The duel between abolitionist Senator David Broderick and then-California Supreme Court Justice David Terry was fought in 1856. One hundred fifty years later, a bank employee wants to know if these guns are authentic - and more about the duel. HISTORY DETECTIVES is on the case to find out what really happened. Was it about slavery or honor? Did the duel influence the outcome of the Civil War? Evelyn Nesbit Portrait - A woman in New Jersey owns a portrait she believes is a lost masterpiece by one of America's greatest illustrators and artists, Howard Chandler Christy. The painting's subject may be Evelyn Nesbit, the actress and model who came to fame in 1906 when her husband killed a famous architect accused of "taking advantage" of her. The resulting scandal rocked New York in the early1900s and the subsequent legal proceedings became the "trial of the century." But is this painting authentic? Can HISTORY DETECTIVES shed light on that famous case? In a wide-ranging investigation, the detectives reveal startling conclusions about the history of American art, the scandals of "Gilded Age" society and changing ideas of female beauty. Little Big Horn Bayonet - In Cookstown, New Jersey, the family home ofthe famous military hero General Edward Godfrey holds a surprising secret. Recent renovations revealed an old bayonet hidden in the attic rafters. The mayor of the town, Sharon Atkinson, knows that Godfrey was a colleague of General George Custer and fought alongside him at the battle of Little Big Horn. HISTORY DETECTIVES sets out to determine if the bayonet could have been used in that battle. Could this town own a silent witness to one of the largest massacres of U.S. soldiers by American Indians in 19th-century history?
Monday, June 17, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Preston Brook's Riding Crop/Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot/Revolutionary War Cannon Episode # 206
Preston Brook's Riding Crop - A Long Island man owns a beautiful old riding crop he claims was given to an ancestor by the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. But this is no ordinary present. Its owner believes it was given to Preston Brooks to congratulate him for beating anti-slavery campaigner Charles Sumner senseless in the Senate - a public attack many regard as a significant moment in America's move toward division and Civil War. To find out if the story behind the crop is true, HISTORY DETECTIVES taps into New York City, Columbus, Georgia, and Sea Cliff, New York, where they unravel a startling story of politics, filibustering and mistaken identity. Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot - A resident of Greenwich Village, New York, has a question about the home she's been living in for the last few years. She's heard a rumor that John Wilkes Booth, the infamous assassin of Abraham Lincoln, spent some time in her house. Not only that, she's heard that her home is where the plot for the assassination was hatched. Is this really where Lincoln's murder was planned? Revolutionary War Cannon - A Boston woman is fascinated by an old cannon kept in a local national park storage facility. She has heard that in 1774, members of the Boston Militia stole the cannon from the Boston Armory and hid it on her ancestor's land. Could the attempt by British forces to retrieve this and other cannons have precipitated the first battle of the Revolutionary War? HISTORY DETECTIVES travels to Massachusetts to investigate exciting evidence, shedding light on events leading up to the War of Independence and the founding of the United States.
Ventriloquist Dummy - An African-American woman in Brooklyn, New York, has her father's black ventriloquist dummy, "Sam." Her father, John Cooper, was the first famous African-American ventriloquist. In a time of minstrel stereotypes, did "Sam" help transform how Americans viewed race in the early 20th century? How was this dummy created and was it meant to be a protest against racial prejudice? Witch's House - Could a house in Essex County, Massachusetts, have once belonged to an accused witch? HISTORY DETECTIVES heads to New England to research the likelihood with local historians and a descendant of the accused witch, Martha Carrier, who was executed by hanging in 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Might the woman who was called the "Queen of Hell" have owned this home? Poems - In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 250,000 Chinese immigrants attempted to enter the United States. Because of discrimination against Chinese and laws meant to impede their passage, most were detained and interrogated on Angel Island, America's West Coast immigration center in San Francisco. The experience of these immigrants is documented in hundreds of poems that have been carved into the walls of the Angel Island detention center. Many of these have been translated, but little is known about the authors. Kathleen Wong, a second-generation Chinese American, believes that her grandfather and great-grandfather spent time on the island and that her great-grandfather may have died there. She knows little about her ancestors' experience on Angel Island and their possible connection with the poems. HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates the story of her family's passage to the United States to find out if any of the poems were written by her ancestors.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Bonnie & Clyde/Revolutionary War Poem/Portrait of George Washington Episode # 208
Bonnie & Clyde Bullets - Could five .45 caliberbullets owned by a woman in a small Wisconsin town be responsible for the demise of the notorious Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow? Revolutionary War Poem - The History Detectives arrive in Salem, Oregon to look into the story of a Revolutionary War poem found 25 years ago hiding in an antique trunk. George Washington Portrait - Could a portrait passed down through a Frederick, Maryland family actually be an authentic portrait of the nation's first president, George Washington?
Thursday, June 20, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Lost Gold Ship/John Hunt Morgan Saddle/Cesar Chavez Banner Episode # 209
Lost Gold Ship - Environmentalist Gabriel Scott was working in the Copper River Delta near Cordova, Alaska, when he came across the wreckage of an old ship. According to locals, these are the remains of the SS Portland, the famous steamship that carried 68 miners and nearly two tons of gold from the Klondike River to Seattle harbor and began the great Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Could the stories be true? To find out, History Detective Elyse Luray joins a team of experts in Alaska to investigate the wreck. Mixing maritime history and forensic science, the team reveals the dramatic story of the SS Portland and confirms whether Scott has found the remains of this legendary ship. John Hunt Morgan Saddle - A man in Paris, Kentucky, owns a beautifullypreserved Western-style saddle, believed to have been used by the Confederate general, John Hunt Morgan, on his famous raid into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio in July 1863. Could this be a relic from one of the most audacious attacks launched by the South during the Civil War? History Detective Wes Cowan is on the case and reveals a surprising personal connection: Wes' great-grandfather was actually one of "Morgan's Raiders" and was captured alongside Morgan during the historic raid. Cesar Chavez Banner - A San Francisco woman has heard about a beautiful old banner owned by a local archive that, rumor has it, was carried at the head of the famous Delano Grape Boycott march led by Cesar Chavez in 1966. The banner features a painted Virgin of Guadalupe and a Union of Farm Workers Eagle, but its original ownership is a mystery. The contributor wants to know what role this banner may have played in Chavez' campaign to pursue better living conditions and rights for Mexican-American farm workers. HISTORY DETECTIVES travels to the West Coast to investigate the importance of art in one of the most famous civil rights campaigns in U.S. history.
Friday, June 21, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun/Paul Cuffee Muster Roll/Pop Lloyd Baseball Field Episode # 210
Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun - A man in La Verne, California, owns a vintage Colt automatic handgun, which family legend suggests once belonged to the Depression-era desperado, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd. According to the legend, Floyd gave the gun to the contributor's uncle who had served as the lookout for "Pretty Boy." To find out if the story behind the gun is true, History Detective Wes Cowan travels to California, Oklahoma and Missouri. In the process, he discovers why gangsters became heroes to the rural population of the Midwest and reveals the true story behind the dramatic rise and fall of a man who ranks alongside Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger as one of the most colorful bank robbers in American history. Paul Cuffee Muster Roll - A Las Vegas man owns an old Continental Armymuster roll issued by the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, in July 1780. Among the 16 men listed is "Paul Cuffee." The contributor wants to know if this could be evidence of an unknown episode in the life of Cuffee, a remarkable African American who was a whaling captain, shipbuilder and early advocate of the "Back to Africa" movement. HISTORY DETECTIVES uncovers a dramatic story of African- American achievement in the years surrounding the Revolutionary War. Pop Lloyd Baseball Field - Why was a baseball field in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named after an African-American ballplayer in a time of intense racial tension? The HISTORY DETECTIVES go to the park to unearth the explanation. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd was one of the greatest athletes of his time. A famed shortstop in the Negro Leagues throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, Pop was honored with a field in his name in 1949. What was the reasoning that led to this unlikely honor in a time of blatant prejudice and racial division?
Monday, June 24, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Charlie Parker Saxophone/Prison Plaque/Koranic School Book Episode # 211
Charlie Parker Saxophone - A woman in Oakland, California, owns a beautiful old alto saxophone that belonged to her father and according to family legend was once owned by the legendary jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker. Her late father, a white musician, told her that when they lived in Portland, Oregon, Charlie Parker came to a practice session without his horn. The story goes that when her father chided Parker for selling his instrument, Bird said, "If you want the horn so much, here's the pawn ticket." But is the story true? Did these two musicians ever meet? Would Charlie Parker abandon his horn? HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates an original American art form and the life of a troubled musical genius. Prison Plaque - In the heart of Philadelphia stands the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary building. Founded by Quakers in 1829, this castle-like structure set new standards for prisons across the country with its progressive ideas for rehabilitation. Recently, a group in charge of preserving this historic structure found a strange plaque discarded in a pile of rubbish. Dusting it off, they found an intriguing inscription: "In the everlasting memory of the inmates of Eastern State Penitentiary who served in World War I." Even more intriguing is that fact that they are listed not by name, but by their prison numbers. From what they know, convicted felons were prohibited from enlisting or being drafted to fight in the war. Is this an example of the prison's progressive take on prisoner reform? Or is this a sign of desperate recruiting measures for the "war to end all wars," when even prisoners are being sent into battle? History Detectives Tukufu Zuberi and Wes Cowan are on the case to get to the bottom of this mystery. Koranic School Book - A HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer in Mulvane, Kansas, owns a 200-year-old schoolbook with a startling secret. The book belonged to a young woman from Kentucky in 1800, but contains two translated passages of the Koran. What are they doing there? And how did this frontier farmer learn about Islam? Taking on this tough challenge, the detectives reach some startling conclusions about U.S. contact with the Muslim world and the story of Islam in America.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Body in the Basement/Newport U-Boat/Shippen Golf Club Episode # 212
Body in the Basement - While on a dig, "The Lost Towns of Anne Arundel County" Project unearthed a rather surprising discovery. Since 1991, this group of anthropologists has been studying a 17th- century settlement in Maryland that became the modern capital of Annapolis. While at work excavating a dwelling, the team uncovered a grizzly mystery: a skeleton in the basement. Was this an executed POW from an English Civil War battle deposited in the cellar of the house? Or maybe the body of a young man, murdered for his inheritance? Corey Seznec grew up on the land where the body was found and wants to know who this person was who preceded him by 350 years. With the expertise of the Lost Towns Team and a Smithsonian forensic anthropologist, the History Detectives set out to determine the identity of the skeleton and find out why it was buried in the basement. Newport U-Boat - Two Boston brothers have heard a rumor that two largepropellers on the grounds of a hotel in Newport originally came from a German submarine that sank off the coast of Rhode Island at the end of WWII. The brothers are especially interested in the story because their father, who served in the Navy during the war, was killed when a U-boat sank his ship off the coast of Maine in 1945. The brothers want to know if the Newport propellers come from a submarine, and if so, whether or not they belong to the submarine that killed their father. HISTORY DETECTIVES travels to Rhode Island to investigate this case and discovers a remarkable story of cover-ups and conspiracies that could have changed the course of WWII. Shippen Golf Club - A Scotch Plains, New Jersey, children's golf foundation recently received a surprising donation, an antique golf club. More significant than its age was the rumor that the original owner was John Shippen Jr., who competed in the 1896 U.S. Open at Long Island's Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The match - the second ever in America - was almost canceled due to the inclusion of Shippen, an African American. Hanno Shippen Smith would like to know if it is possible that this club belonged to his grandfather and if it is indeed a rare relic from that pivotal day in the career of this remarkable man. History Detectives Elyse Luray and Gwen Wright take on the case and discover a story of racial prejudice and the determination of one man to ignore the obstacle of color in the sport that he loved.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
The Spirit of St. Louis/Gary Powers' 'Suicide Pin'/Image of Apache Warrior Geronimo Episode # 301
The Spirit of St. Louis - Two brothers from Parsippany, New Jersey, grew up listening to their uncle's claim that he built the engine for the Spirit of St. Louis - the plane made famous by Charles Lindbergh'shistoric nonstop flight across the Atlantic. A letter addressed to the uncle from the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in 1927 thanks him for his "enthusiasm and outstanding cooperation" following "Captain Lindbergh's recent achievement," but makes no direct mention of his role in the event. The family legend leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to uncover the forgotten history of Lucky Lindy's legendary flight. Gary Powers' "Suicide Pin" - A toolmaker and artist in Kansas City, Missouri, found two peculiar pins, wrapped in a newspaper dated 1960, that had been manipulated to contain liquid. Could these pins be the prototypes of a poison-filled pin that U2 pilot Gary Powers was carrying when his spy-plane was shot down over the Soviet Union? HISTORY DETECTIVES takes a closer look at Cold War intrigue and the device that may have fueled the ultimate showdown. Image of Apache Warrior Geronimo - A New Mexico woman's great-great- grandfather was lieutenant governor of the New Mexico territory in the 1870s. Her only keepsake from that time is a photograph of an Indian warrior on horseback. On the back of the photo are the words, Geronimo saluting a crowd of 100,000 people and surrounded by U.S. "soldiers at Ranch 101." HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates the connection between the lieutenant governor, Ranch 101 and the legendary Apache warrior.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 Length : 55 min MPT2
Black Star Line Stock Certificates/Mickey Mouse's Origin/Pro-Nazi Newspaper in Texas Episode # 302
Black Star Line Stock Certificates - A North Carolina woman recently found two Black Star Line stock certificates that had been purchased by her great grandfather in 1919. She didn't know the significance of the documents, but what looked like a Marcus Garvey signature on the papers saved them from the trashcan. Garvey founded the steamship company through his United Negro Improvement Association in 1919. Could this document be a rare artifact from Garvey's heyday? HISTORY DETECTIVES takes a closer look at this controversial and enigmatic figure who fought for economic self-reliance and political self- determination for African Americans. Mickey Mouse's Origin - Popular history has it that Mickey Mouse was born from a drawing sketched on a napkin by Walt Disney during a train ride from New York to Los Angeles in 1928. Mickey Mouse became the biggest fictional character moneymaker in the world, bringing in over $5.8 billion annually. A San Francisco toy collector, however, believes his small mouse figurine may turn the legend of Mickey on its ears. With a red label on its chest that reads "Micky" and a patent label on the bottom of one foot that says "Pat. Aug. 17, 1926,"the figure appears to have been produced two years before Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse. HISTORY DETECTIVES traces the ancestry of America's most famous mouse and sheds light on some of the earliest bare-knuckle business fights in the toy industry. Pro-Nazi Newspaper in Texas - A resident of Hearne, Texas, recently heard rumors that a German POW camp was based in her town during World War II. A tiny printing block from a pro-Nazi newspaper, discovered by a Texas A&M archaeologist, just may hold the key to this mystery. HISTORY DETECTIVES learns more about the history of POW camps in this country and reveals a hidden episode of violent wartime Nazism inside the United States.
Friday, June 28, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1003
Host Elyse Luray floors country music singer Clint Black with the information she uncovers about his turn-of-the-20th-century book of wanted posters. Then, can Eduardo Pagan link a chunk of molten metal to the B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945? Did HISTORY DETECTIVES find a slide of Bettie Page, "Queen of Pinups," that somehow escaped the censorship of the 1950s? Finally, a six-foot metal bar tells the story behind the original iconic Hollywood sign. Rebroadcast
Friday, May 17, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 1002
Wes Cowan hunts for the identity of a man whose name is engraved on a rare matched set of Civil War-era pistols, still in the original case. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down the story behind an old 78rpm, distributed by K.K.K. Records, containing songs titled "The Bright Fiery Cross" and "The Jolly Old Klansman." And Eduardo Pagan tries to prove that James Jamerson, a bass player whose bass line drove the Motown sound, owned a battered Ampeg B-15 amp that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will display - but only if inductee Jamerson really owned it. Rebroadcast
Thursday, May 16, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Dylan Guitar, Beatles Autographs, Zappa Art
Episode # 1001
In the 10th season premiere episode, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan investigate whether they have found rock's Holy Grail, the long-lost electric Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan plugged in at the '65 Newport Folk Festival, changing rock 'n' roll forever. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down some autographs allegedly signed for two brothers in Miami Beach during the Beatles' legendary 1964 "British Invasion" tour of the United States. Finally, Gwendolyn Wright investigates a $5 thrift store find and unearths a little-known artistic side of musical iconoclast Frank Zappa. Rebroadcast
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 912
A one-of-a-kind photograph poses a jarring question: Is the African American wearing a Confederate uniform slave or free? And, did Hollywood treat the Native Americans listed in this payment ledger fairly? Then, an ornate stock certificate unlocks secrets to the earliest days of Harlem. Rebroadcast
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 911
What can a Club Continental business card tell us about California's prohibition-era underground? Then, did gangs use this shotgun in the Chicago St. Valentine's Day massacre that shocked the nation? And why is FDR on the guest list for a High Society Circus during the depths of the Depression? Rebroadcast
Monday, May 13, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Order of Leopold, Suffragette Pennant, Wb Cartoon
Episode # 910
Gwen dissects the mystery behind an ornate Belgian war medal. Elyse traces a pennant to the early battle for the women's vote. And a cartoon cel leads Tukufu to unsung heroes of animation. Rebroadcast
Friday, May 10, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 909
Loyalist or patriot? What can the notes in a 1775 Almanac tell us about how the revolution may have strained family ties? Do these phonograph records called "Get Thin to Music" reveal Jack Lalanne, the media exercise guru of the 1920s? Did NASA unwittingly transport Andy Warhol's art to the moon? Rebroadcast
Thursday, May 09, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 908
Did the first woman photographer assigned to the White House use this camera to shoot President Truman? Then, did families of the Confederate South use a child's doll to smuggle medicine past the Northern blockade? And, what does this 15th century map, with a mix of French, English and Spanish labels, tell us about how Europe colonized Florida? Rebroadcast
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 907
In this episode, the images and the words on this poster suggest a battle is brewing: a clenched fist, police described as "pigs." Who made this poster and why? Then, was this woodcarving of a mouth and chin once part of the Andrew Jackson figurehead affixed to the bow of the USS Constitution? And, how does this basket connect us to a woman congress honored as a heroine of the Modoc Indian Wars? Rebroadcast
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 906
Can the Japanese characters carved into this cane unlock the mystery of a family's past in a World War II relocation camp? Can HISTORY DETECTIVES trace this unusual wooden telescope to its Revolution era ancestor? And is this drawing of huge, eight pound gold nuggets genuine or another example of Gold Rush hype? Rebroadcast
Monday, May 06, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 905
HISTORY DETECTIVES investigate a propeller from a World War II drone, a wooden club that could be Teddy Roosevelt's and a letter that Clara Barton could have written concerning a soldier's life. Rebroadcast
Friday, May 03, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 904
HISTORY DETECTIVES investigate a Civil War soldier's letter, fabric from an aircraft that could be linked to Charles Lindbergh and Igor Sikorsky, and a 1950s comic book Negro Romance. Rebroadcast
Thursday, May 02, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 903
Wes Cowan investigates a raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry. Eduardo Pagan wonders why U.S. troops were in Siberia during World War I and Elyse Luray sizes up a Ronald McDonald costume. Rebroadcast
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 902
What do the violent images on this pamphlet mean? Wes Cowan decodes the message and the strategy behind a U.S. World War II propaganda leaflet. Then, Gwen Wright traces a cherished family heirloom, a watercolor, to the world of Tiffany stained glass. How did Tiffany open a window of opportunity for early 20th century women? A touching eulogy stitches together the lives of two Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War. Almost a century later, Tukufu Zuberi unites a nephew and a son of those soldiers. Rebroadcast
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 901
Mysterious airplane engine parts lead Eduardo Pagan to a forbidden Hawaiian island where he finds a heroic story often overshadowed by the raid on Pearl Harbor. Then Elyse Luray tries to match metal shavings to the right cannon. What role did these shavings play in the early hours of the civil war? An early 20th century saddle puts Wes Cowan on the trail of Yakima Cunutt. How did this rodeo champion change Hollywood movie-making? Rebroadcast
Monday, April 29, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Chicago Clock, Universal Friends, War Dog Letter
Episode # 811
A Michigan woman wonders if her family clock kept time for the entire Midwest during the 19th century. The search takes HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray back to the industrial age when the country first began regulating time. Then, a document seems connected to an early controversial religion -- the first religion founded by an American-born woman. History Detective Gwen Wright wants to know why her name is missing from this critical record, the 'Incorporation of the Universal Friends Church.' And, in an encore segment, detective Tukufu Zuberi heads to Cat Island, near Gulfport, to find out what went wrong with a WWII dog-training program there. Rebroadcast
Friday, April 26, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Wb Cartoons, Galvez Papers, Mussolini Dagger
Episode # 810
Tukufu Zuberi doesn't recognize many of the characters in this box of cartoon drawings and cels, but together they tell an unexpected story about the early days of animation and the people behind the art. Then, Elyse Luray unravels a love story when she explores why a regional governor cared enough about a slave to sign her emancipation papers. And (in a repeate segment), did this elaborate dagger once belong to Benito Mussolini? Wes Cowan retraces the last steps of Fascist Italian dictator to find the answer. Rebroadcast
Thursday, April 25, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Modoc Basket, Special Agent Five
Episode # 809
Tukufu Zuberi tallies the facts on a 1940s Jackie Robinson All-Stars scorecard. Black and white athletes played this game before Robinson became the first black major league baseball player. What role did this game play in the integration of major league baseball? Then, we see the name 'Toby' worked into the weave of this basket. Could that be Toby Riddle, the woman congress honored as a heroine of the Indian Wars of the American West? And, why would J. Edgar Hoover endorse a crime radio drama? Does the script portray actual events? Rebroadcast
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Hot Town Poster, Face Jug, Lost City of Gold
Episode # 808
This poster tells the story of a battle brewing. We see a clenched fist, what looks like a stern police officer, and the words: Hot Town - Pigs in the street. Who made this poster and why? Then, did the artist mean to scare someone with the grimace on this face jug? What's the story behind this peculiar pottery? And, if this inscription on a rock in Phoenix is authentic, Spanish explorers arrived in America much earlier than records show. Rebroadcast
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
St. Valentine's Day Massacre, George Washington Miniature, Stalag 17
Episode # 807
Two generations of prominent Chicago families say this 12-gauge shotgun played a role in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Can HISTORY DETECTIVES confirm their story? Then, combing through documents in one of Manhattan's first taverns, a man finds a miniature painting of George Washington's profile. Why is this find much more than a piece of art? And, 65-years ago a fellow prisoner sketched George Silva's portrait from inside a World War II German prisoner camp. George wants to find out what happened to the artist. His search leads to a moving meeting. These three encore segments first aired as part of three different episodes in HISTORY DETECTIVES' seventh season in 2009. Rebroadcast
Monday, April 22, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Korean War Letter, Diana, Lookout Mt. Painting
Episode # 806
Rhonda McAullife never met her father. He's still listed Missing in Action from the Korean War. In a letter dated 1953, her father mentioned a man he said saved his life. Eduardo Pagan researches the "Korean War Letter" to find the man Rhonda believes is a hero. Then Tukufu Zuberi searches for the author of Diana: A Strange Biography. Could "Diana" be groundbreaking literature as the first widely published and true lesbian autobiography? Then, Wes Cowan digs into the mystery of the "Lookout Mt. Painting," depicting a Civil War battle. How did the artist of this painting end up in prison at the Rock Island Arsenal? Rebroadcast
Friday, April 19, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Cromwell Dixon, Bartlett Sketchbook, & Duke Ellington Plates
Episode # 805
HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray pilots an airplane to relive the memory of one of America's first, and youngest, barnstormers. Pilot "Cromwell Dixon" lost his life at 19 when his airplane crashed. Then, details in "Bartlett's Sketchbook" suggest the scenes illustrate the first ever US-Mexican border survey. Host Eduardo Pagan wonders whether the sketchbook made that journey, and if it belonged to Bartlett? Finally, a dumpster find may be a jazz history treasure. In the encore segment, Tukufu Zuberi sets out to find whether these metal "Duke Ellington Plates" printed the first copy of the Ellington hit, Take the A Train. Rebroadcast
Thursday, April 18, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Andrew Jackson's Mouth/Barton Letter/Spybook
Episode # 804
"Andrew Jackson's Mouth" The reunification of two halves of a vandalized sculpture of President Andrew Jackson? "Barton Letter" Why did Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, write a letter about a Civil War soldier? "Spybook" Does a Pennsylvania man have a notebook that once belonged to a World War I spy? Rebroadcast
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Lauste Film Clip/Baker's Gold/Transatlantic Cable
Episode # 803
"Lauste Film Clip" Did a HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer find a clip of the first talking picture? "Baker's Gold" What's the story behind Gold Rush sketches of five and eight-pound gold nuggets? "Transatlantic Cable" Did a beachcomber find a section of the first transatlantic cable? Rebroadcast
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Iwo Jima Map, Copperhead Cane, Theremin
Episode # 802
First, detective Eduardo Pagan investigates the history of a hand-drawn map, taken from the body of a Japanese soldier during the World War II battle of Iwo Jima, in the segment "Iwo Jima Map." Then, in "Copperhead Cane," Wes Cowan follows the story of a cane topped with a coiled snake that has ties to the anti-Abraham Lincoln group, the "Peace Democrats." Finally, in the segment "Theremin," Elyse Luray traces the origins of the Theremin - one of the first electronic musical instruments - and finds out if a New Mexico man owns one of the fewer than a dozen Theremins in the U.S. built by Leon Theremin himself. Rebroadcast
Monday, April 15, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 801
The HISTORY DETECTIVES season premiere launches into space for an exhilarating hour exploring the excitement, promise and ingenuity that fueled America's foray into space exploration. First, detective Tukufu Zuberi tracks a scrap of metallic Mylar that could be one of America's early satellites - balloons - in the segment "Satelloon." Then, in the segment "Moon Museum," Gwendolyn Wright investigates the audacious notion that Andy Warhol's art may be on the moon. Finally, in the "Space Boot" segment, Elyse Luray tries on a jury-rigged ski boot with a magnetic metal brick bolted to the bottom that may be one of the first prototypes for a NASA space boot. Rebroadcast
Friday, April 12, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 711
Civil War Bridge - Clearing some newly purchased property along the Broad River in Columbia, South Carolina, the owner discovered evidence of an old bridge abutment. He searched the river for clues and thinks he may have pinpointed the location where Confederates burned the bridge to thwart General Sherman's attempt to cross into Columbia to continue his scorch-and-burn campaign. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray goes to Columbia to examine the evidence and see if this discovery will redraw the maps of the Civil War. Scottsboro Boys Stamp - A contributor bought an inconspicuous black and white stamp at an outdoor market in Scottsboro, Alabama. "Save the Scottsboro Boys" is printed on the stamp above nine black faces behind prison bars and two arms prying the bars apart. One arm bears the tattoo "ILD." On the bottom of the stamp is printed "one cent." The Scottsboro Boys were falsely accused and convicted of raping two white girls in 1931 on a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. It took several appeals, two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and nearly two decades before all nine finally walked free. How is the stamp connected to this landmark civil rights case? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright consults with a stamp expert to discover how a tiny penny stamp could make a difference in the young men's defense effort. Duke Ellington Plates - A New York man took a stroll through Harlem 20 years ago and stumbled across boxes of sheet music in a dumpster. Among the paper scores were metal sheets that look like printing plates for "Take the A Train," written by Billy Strayhorn and performed by jazz great Duke Ellington. Scratches and ink smudges mar the plates, signs that someone might have run these through a printing press, but there's no apparent copyright stamp. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi sets out to find the story behind these plates and to determine the role they played in this jazz classic. Rebroadcast
Thursday, April 11, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 710
Stalag 17 Portrait - A Tempe, Arizona, woman has an intriguing memento of a sobering World War II experience: a portrait of her father sketched while he was held inside the German prisoner of war camp, Stalag 17B. On the back, her father has noted: "Done in May of 1944 by Gil Rhoden, using a #2 lead pencil. We were POWs in Stalag 17 at Krems, Austria. Gil agreed to do my portrait in exchange for two onions and a small potato." What happened to the artist? Did he survive the camp? HISTORY DETECTIVES guest host Eduardo Pagan uncovers a stoic act of defiance and dignity behind the Stalag's barbed wire. Seadrome - A Rochester, New York, man inherited three photos of a Seadrome model from his grandfather. More than a decade before Charles Lindberg made his solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic, an American engineer proposed the Seadrome, a floating airport anchored to the ocean floor where trans-Atlantic passenger flights could refuel. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to New York, Delaware and Maryland to find out what happened to this fantastic engineering marvel and discover what role the contributor's grandfather played in the Seadrome's history. Black Tom Shell - A woman in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, has an explosive artifact in her possession: a large, intact artillery shell, along with a note in her mother's handwriting that reads "Black Tom Explosion of 1914." The contributor's mother's record-keeping is off: It was not 1914, but July 30, 1916, when a German spy ring carried out a well-planned set of synchronized explosions on Black Tom Island in New York's harbor, using the United States' own cache of munitions produced to aid Britain and France in World War I. Two million pounds of exploding ammunition rocked the country as far away as Philadelphia and blew the windows out of nearly every high rise in lower Manhattan, injuring hundreds. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright travels to Maryland and New Jersey to determine whether this shell was involved in one of the earliest foreign terrorist attacks on American soil. Rebroadcast
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Wpa Mural Studies; George Washington Miniature
Episode # 709
WPA Mural Studies - When a Bend, Oregon, woman inherited six large paintings created by her aunt, Thelma Johnson Streat, she believed she'd been given a special window into American history. She believes they were mural studies commissioned by the WPA in the 1930s or 1940s. The color illustrations depict contributions of African Americans in the fields of medicine, transportation and industry. The contributor thinks they could have been intended for school walls. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels to Oregon, San Francisco and Chicago to find out whether any of these studies became murals and if any of Streat's murals still exist. George Washington Miniature - A Greenville, Ohio, man was sorting through documents stored above one of Manhattan's first taverns when he stumbled across a miniature color painting of a man in profile labeled "G. Washington." On the back of the portrait, he found the inscription, "Property of White Matlack. New York, 1790." The historic tavern and museum sits just steps away from the old City Hall building on Wall Street where George Washington took his oath of office in 1789. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan sets out to discover whether the artist painted this portrait of Washington from life, and to uncover its surprising connection to the little-known abolitionists and patriot White Matlack. Japanese Balloon Bomb - The granddaughter of a World War II veteran from Austin, Texas, has a wartime memento with a note claiming it's a piece of Japanese balloon that floated across the Pacific Ocean in 1945. The alleged balloon scrap could be evidence of a unique weapon in modern warfare: the Japanese balloon bomb. More than 9,000 of these incendiary weapons were launched from Japan during the war via the jet stream with the intention of causing mass disruption and forest fires in the American West. The existence and purpose of the balloon bombs were kept secret from the American public for security reasons, until a tragic accident forced a change in policy. The balloon bombs caused the only fatalities on the U.S. mainland due to enemy action during World War II. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to Austin, Texas and to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, to learn whether this souvenir is a missing piece of a secret weapon. Rebroadcast
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 708
Mussolini Dagger - Many servicemen brought back souvenirs from World War II, but did the uncle of a Reno, Nevada, man score a dagger from Fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini? The dagger bears the symbols of Italian Fascism, and the initial "M" hangs from the belt clip. A family letter says the uncle had orders to pick up Mussolini, but when he arrived, Mussolini was already dead and hanging in the town square. The letter goes on to say that he went to Mussolini's apartment, where he grabbed the dictator's dagger. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan connects various records, pictures and expert opinions to come up with an answer. Liberia Letter - A Lynchburg, South Carolina, woman has a scrapbook of handwritten letters sent to her great-great-grandmother, a freed slave who lived in South Carolina. She thinks her ancestor's brother, Harvey McLeod, wrote the letters. What caught her attention were the repeated references to Liberia. In 1877, Harvey writes: "I hope you will change your mind and come to Liberia, Africa with us." Was this family part of the post-slavery exodus to Liberia? As HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi tracks the path of the letters, the story pieces together a tale of slaves adapting to freedom. N.E.A.R. Device - A Colorado ham radio enthusiast may have stumbled across some Cold War history. While sorting through a bucket of old power adapters, he came across a curious device, a hand-sized black box with the wording "National Emergency Alarm Repeater, Civilian Warning Device." The contributor believes it may have had something to do with nuclear attack preparedness, but he lived through the cold war and has never heard of a Civilian Warning Device. HISTORY DETECTIVES Gwendolyn Wright sifts through the secrets to find out whether anyone mass-produced this device and what happened to this Civilian Warning program. Rebroadcast
Monday, April 08, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 707
Hindenburg Artifact - A Hoboken, New Jersey, man has a palm-sized, army-green metal box that looks like an instrument panel. Beneath a shattered plastic covering is a sliding, numbered scale; knobs on each end move a lever across the scale. German writing indicates the country of origin. Might this instrument have been recovered from the crash site of the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey? Family lore says that a distant relative was among the many bystanders plucking souvenirs from the wreckage of the terrifying disaster. Chemicals from the fire or balloon envelope gas would have evaporated 10 minutes after the explosion, but the broken plastic can be tested for age and heat distress with forensic analysis of the instrument. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels to Atlanta and the New Jersey landing site of the ill-fated zeppelin to determine if the instrument panel is in fact from the horrifying crash. John Adams Book - A woman in Littleton, New Hampshire, inherited her husband's aunt's belongings, which include a curious late-18th-century book titled Trials of Patriots. It contains what appears to be President John Adams' signature in three places, and includes an inscription, "Charles Adams from His Father, 1794." The book is a collection of trial transcripts chronicling the sedition trials of Irish and Scottish radicals. If the book is indeed from Adams to his son, it could reveal pivotal clues about the inner-workings of this presidential family. In Boston and John Adams' hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright examines the Adams family's correspondence and conflict as they balanced home life with public service. Birthplace of Hip Hop - A hip-hop enthusiast from New York City has always heard that 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop. The story goes that on August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc, a building resident, was entertaining at his sister's back-to-school party and tried something new on the turntable: he extended an instrumental beat (breaking or scratching) to let people dance longer (breakdancing) and began MC'ing (rapping) during the extended breakdancing. This, the contributor believes, marked the birth of hip-hop. The music led to an entire cultural movement that's altered generational thinking - from politics and race to art and language. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi sets out to examine an inner-city environment that helped lay the foundation for a cultural revolution. Rebroadcast
Friday, April 05, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 706
Amelia Earhart Plane - John Ott believes he may have a piece of Amelia Earhart's airplane, the missing Lockheed L-10E Electra in which she made her ill-fated around-the-world attempt. Ott says his grandfather served as a flight mechanic on the airfield in Honolulu where Earhart had a mishap on her first attempt at the flight. She crashed during takeoff, destroying the landing gear and damaging the right wing. Ott says his grandfather took a piece of the plane that came off during the accident and sent it to his mother as a souvenir. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray tests the shape and the metal of the fragment against another Lockheed Electra, and checks the story against historic records to see if Ott truly has a piece of Earhart's plane. Fillmore Pardon - A Portland, Oregon, man inherited what looked to be a U.S. presidential pardon signed by Millard Fillmore in 1851. In it, the president commutes the death sentence to life in prison for a solitary Native American named See-See-Sah-Mah, convicted of murdering a St. Louis trader along the Santa Fe Trail. Fillmore's pardon saved See-See-Sah-Mah's life, but why? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to Kansas City and St. Louis to retrace the crime and trial. Was See-See-Sah-Mah a murderer or a scapegoat? And why did this obscure case about an unknown Native American matter to a U.S. President? Boxcar Home - When a Lakewood, Colorado, couple found a new home, they noticed odd supports in the basement ceiling. The husband loves the railroads, so he immediately recognized the supports as railroad car rods. Could their home have been made from a boxcar? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright's search for answers takes viewers on an excursion from the scarcity of the Great Depression to the resourcefulness of World War II. Rebroadcast
Thursday, April 04, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Episode # 705
Tokyo Rose Recording - A HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer has a recording he thinks holds evidence used in the World War II treason trial of Iva Tugori, aka Tokyo Rose. Toguri was an American citizen who hosted a Japanese propaganda radio show broadcast to U.S. troops serving in the Pacific. These broadcasts were at the center of what was then the costliest trial in U.S. history. The viewer has never been able to play his oversized record, but family lore says it reveals the role his uncle played in this infamous show trial. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright consults with experts from Long Island to Los Angeles. Her answer flips assumptions of guilt and innocence, and gives viewers a fresh angle on what actually happened in and around that trial. Crazy Horse Photo - Twenty-five years ago, someone gave a leather purse to a Lakota businessman. Inside the purse he found a photograph and a note, dated 1904, written in the Lakota language. An elderly man from the Lakota community translated the note. In brief, it says, "This is a photograph of Crazy Horse." Does the contributor have the Holy Grail of the Wild West: a photo of the Lakota warrior who defeated General Custer? Historians are suspicious of most photos purported to be of Crazy Horse. The Lakota leader avoided cameras, believing they would rob his soul. To verify the photo, HISTORY DETECTIVE host Elyse Luray tracks down a Crazy Horse descendant and visits the Crazy Horse Memorial. Finally, she puts the photo in context with other works by the same photographer at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. WWII DIARY (Encore presentation) - A man in Lexington, North Carolina, has a poignant diary written by a World War II pilot. He inherited the diary 20 years ago from his father, who said it once belonged to a close friend whom he fought alongside in WWII, until the war took his friend's life in 1944. Keeping the last thoughts of this fallen solider is now too great a burden for the contributor. Can HISTORY DETECTIVES return it to a living relative? The stakes are raised as the diary pages reveal the story of a young American pilot stationed in England, racing against time and all odds to return home before the birth of his first child. Host Wes Cowan heads to Florida on a quest to reunite the diary with the pilot's surviving family. Rebroadcast
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Sideshow Babies; Lubin Photos; Navajo Rug
Episode # 704
Sideshow Babies - A Colorado woman has a silver baby cup engraved "Patricia - 1933. A Century of Progress Chicago." She hopes this 1933 Chicago World's Fair souvenir can unlock the mystery of her mother's unusual start in life. Family lore holds that the Chicago Public Health Board took premature Patricia from her shoebox cradle at home and put her in an incubator at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Why were babies exhibited at the fair? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray learns about the forgotten doctor who brought life-saving incubator technology to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Lubin Photos - A contributor from Branford, Florida, inherited two bulging photo albums, dated 1914 to 1916, that contain hundreds of photos of old silent film stars and a behind-the-scenes look into an enormous film studio empire - not in Hollywood, but Philadelphia. She received the albums from a distant relative, Herbie Lubin. One of the books holds many Western scenes, including a cowboy character captioned "Herbert Lubin." Other captions refer to the Siegmund Lubin Studios. Who was Siegmund Lubin? And was Herbie a movie star? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi takes viewers on an excursion through an early movie mogul's dramatic rise and fall. Navajo Rug - At auction, a contributor bought a rug whose woven designs intrigued him. A Southwest American history buff, he's fascinated by the rug's central figure of a man with a feathered head holding lightning bolts. He believes the figure was never meant to be captured by a loom. Did the weaver violate a taboo? Who wove the rug? HISTORY DETECTIVES guest host Eduardo Pagan meets with a Navajo medicine man and a traditional Navajo weaver and travels to Crownpoint, New Mexico, long considered the center of Navajo weaving. Finally, HISTORY DETECTIVES visits a textile historian to find out who may have been behind this controversial design. Rebroadcast
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 Length : 56 min MPT2
Valentine's Day Massacre; Booth Letter; Alarm
Episode # 703
St. Valentine's Day Massacre - HISTORY DETECTIVES stares down the barrel of a shotgun for clues that one of Al Capone's men fired it in a Chicago gang massacre that shocked the nation. The gun came to the contributor's family after it was handed down through two generations of prominent Chicago families. It's a Western Field single-barreled repeating action 12-guage shotgun. The barrel and the stock were once shortened just the way the Capone gang liked its guns: easy to conceal and with greater destructive force. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray tests the gun's firepower, consults with ballistics experts and combs through physical evidence to see if she can place this gun at the scene of the crime. Booth Letter - A contributor gave HISTORY DETECTIVES a letter indicating that, 30 years before John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Booth's father threatened to kill another sitting president, Andrew Jackson. Signed "Junius Brutus Booth," the letter to Jackson reads, "You damn'd old scoundrel ... I will cut your throat whilst you are sleeping." The writer insists that Jackson pardon two men who were sentenced to death. Why did the fate of these two men incite such fury? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to Nashville to consult historians at The Hermitage, the ancestral home of President Andrew Jackson, and to Washington, DC, to talk with a Booth biographer. Was the letter a hoax? Or did assassination run in the Booth blood? Cemetery Alarm - A Midland, Michigan, man who collects war munitions snapped up an item at an estate auction that looked like a Civil War-era weapon. On closer inspection, after consulting with other collectors, he decided he had a grave alarm: an explosive device meant to guard against grave robbers. Is this truly a grave alarm? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan's investigation winds through tales of body snatching and cadaver dissecting, unusual crimes and the most unlikely suspects. Rebroadcast