Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks appears in the following:

When 'Petting Parties' Scandalized The Nation

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

To some social observers, petting parties of the 1920s were a natural, post-First World War outgrowth of a repressed society. To others, the out-in-the-open hug-and-kissfests were blinking neon signposts on the Road to Perdition.

"Petting parties varied quite a lot," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history ...


Muddled Messages In America's Past

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Do you ever feel like communication — in this Age of Communication — is more confused and confusing than ever? Does anybody even read whole messages anymore — beyond the subject line or the first screen? Do you get tangled up in threads and bewildered by attachments? Do txt msgs ...


The Repast Is Not Even Past: Old LA Menus

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Let's see — what shall we have? So much to choose from in the collection of historical menus at the Los Angeles Public Library.

There are some 9,000 items to consider — creative, colorful, delicious-looking. By just perusing the choices, we get a deep sense of the city's ...


The Curious World Of Baseball Re-Enactors

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vintage baseball players – sort of like Civil War re-enactors who wield wooden bats instead of muskets — move among us. They glory in the past times of America's pastime.

Think: When Johnny comes sliding home.

Dressed in old uniforms, teams play each other using 19th century rules. Sometimes they ...


Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Has American English become homogenized? Have our regional ways of saying particular things — sometimes in very particular ways — receded into the past? Or do we talk as funny as ever?

When I was researching an NPR History Dept. piece on lost American slang words recently, slanguist ...


4 Hot-Button Kids' Books From The '50s That Sparked Controversy

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The 1950s was a hinge decade for noteworthy and nation-changing civil rights events across the United States, including Brown v. Board of Education in Kansas, the bus boycott in Alabama and the National Guard-protected integration of Central High School in Arkansas.

Meanwhile, there was also a revolution brewing in bookstores ...


Do We Really Need Libraries?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

In New York City, supporters of public libraries say that respect for — and repair of — the libraries is long, well, overdue.

A new campaign, Invest in Libraries, puts forth that in the past 10 years, the city government has reduced funding for public libraries by nearly ...


A Forgotten Tradition: May Basket Day

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Maybe there really was a time when America was more innocent.

Back when May Basket Day was a thing, perhaps.

The curious custom — still practiced in discrete pockets of the country — went something like this: As the month of April rolled to an end, people would begin gathering ...


Nazi Summer Camps In 1930s America?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

To the unsuspecting observer, the 25-minute silent, grainy black and white video from the vaults of the U.S. National Archives seems to showcase a quaint, carefree summer camp for boys in 1937.

Healthy, happy, high-energy guys — against the bucolic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains in eastern New ...


7 Lost American Slang Words

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In American English, some slang words come and go. And some stay and stay.

Or as Walt Whitman poetically observed in his 1885 defense of American slang, complete with creative spelling: "Slang ... is the wholesome fermentation or eructation of those processes eternally active in language, by which froth ...


When America Was Crazy About Rock Gardens

Monday, April 20, 2015

In the American West, water is so alarmingly scarce these days that California has imposed restrictions and, as the Sacramento Bee reports, landscapers are planting desert plants and rock gardens.

The drought, Gov. Jerry Brown told USA Today recently, is "unprecedented in recorded history."

The dryness may be ...


Addiction In American History: 14 Vivid Graphs

Friday, April 17, 2015

The language of addiction is always evolving. Maybe we need an addictionary.

For example, when the word "alcohol" was written or spoken in early 19th-century America. it was often used in the chemical and medical sense. This is from an article about drawing out the essence of stramonium, or jimson ...


Lincoln's Private Side: Friend, Poet, Jokester

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Struck down by an assassin's bullet 150 years ago Tuesday, President Abraham Lincoln — who faded away in the wee hours of April 15, 1865 — went on to become a multimythologized man.

Biographers describe him as "an exceptional child of unexceptional parents," "self-assertive to the ...


Defeating Polio, The Disease That Paralyzed America

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tens of thousands of Americans — in the first half of the 20th century — were stricken by poliomyelitis. Polio, as it's known, is a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

The hallmarks of the Polio Era were children on ...


When Wearing Shorts Was Taboo

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

As the weather warms more and more and people wear less and less, it's sometimes hard for Americans to remember that there are cultures in other parts of the world that enforce severe dress codes.

Or that certain communities in our own nation's past also imposed strict clothing prohibitions. Not ...


After Selma, King's March On Ballot Boxes

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — who was assassinated 47 years ago this week — will long be remembered for the many meaningful marches he led or joined, including ones on Washington in 1963, on Frankfort, Ky., in 1964 and from Selma to Montgomery, ...


Media Mischief On April Fools' Day

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In the annals of journalism, there is a long tradition of newsfolks — reporters, writers, broadcasters — pulling April Fools' Day tricks on readers and listeners. Sometimes the prank prevails; sometimes it fails.

For instance, the Long Beach Independent reported in 1961 that the newly minted Los Angeles ...


Board Games That Bored Gamers

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gaming is a way of life for Americans of all ages.

We play games on Facebook, on our phones, on phantasmagorical home systems. We play on fields and courts and dining room tables. Contemporary culture mavens speak of the gamification of education and the workplace and ...


Old-Timey Slang: 'Polking' Was A Vulgar Word

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"All slang words are detestable from the lips of ladies," Eliza Leslie said in 1867. She was the author of the Behavior Book, a 19th century etiquette manual published in Philadelphia.

How times have changed. Men and women in contemporary America sling slang around like hash — or like weed. ...


When The KKK Was Mainstream

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Recently I tumbled on this story from Kansas Humanities — and an earlier post from Only A Game — about a 1925 baseball game between Wichita's African-American team, the Monrovians, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Wait a minute. The Ku Klux Klan once had a baseball team?