American History Tellers
Wondery

New episodes come out every Wednesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers.

The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.


Not every case of treason is open and shut. With some accused traitors, questions of their guilt or innocence can linger for generations. That’s certainly the case with Mary Surratt. Even before she was hanged in 1865 for her alleged role in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, many argued that she was an innocent widow convicted on false testimony. After her death, she became a martyr to the Confederate cause. To this day, Civil War scholars are divided on whether or not she was an active participant in the Lincoln plot.On this episode, Lindsay speaks with author and historian Kate Clifford Larson. Her book The Assassin’s Accomplice attempts to debunk many of the myths surrounding Surratt and the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. They’ll discuss not only Surratt, but our general fascination with traitors and their stories of duplicity and betrayal.Simplisafe- Take advantage of extended Black Friday Deals & get 50% OFF your entire security system at Simplisafe.com/TELLERSSleep Number- Quality sleep is life-changing sleep. Special offers available at SleepNumber.com/Tellers!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

On June 13, 1985, Aldrich Ames packed up six pounds of top secret documents into a plastic bag and walked out the door of the CIA headquarters. He drove to lunch, where he gave the documents to a Soviet diplomat. They contained the identities of America’s most important spies within the Soviet Union.Not long after, the Soviets told Ames that $2 million had been set aside for him. Ames had become the highest-paid American spy of the Cold War, and his betrayal would soon prove disastrous.That fall, the CIA was mystified by a string of mysterious disappearances. The agency’s best assets within the Soviet Union were vanishing, never to be heard from again. But it would be years before investigators uncovered the mole within their ranks.Sleep Number-Robinhood-See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Introducing Flip & Mozi’s Guide to How to be an Earthling, the intergalactic musical podcast that brings conservation into the conversation for kids and their grown-ups. From the creators of the #1 Kids and Family podcast, Wow in the World, in collaboration with Grammy-nominated,The Pop Ups, each audio animated, humor-filled episode inspires a sense of environmental stewardship, both for the Earth and all of its animal earthlings. Visit flipandmozi.com for more! See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In September 1949, the world was shocked to learn that the Soviet Union had conducted its first nuclear weapons test, just four years after the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. U.S. authorities thought there was only one way the Soviets could narrow the nuclear arms gap so quickly -- by stealing atomic secrets from the U.S.In 1950, the FBI arrested a young Jewish couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for running a spy ring and passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. At their trial, the Rosenbergs became lightning rods for controversy and anti-communist hysteria. But the true extent of their guilt would remain shrouded in mystery for decades to come.Better Help- Listeners get 10% OFF their first month at betterhelp.com/tellers!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

On the night of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth stepped into the presidential box at Washington’s Ford’s Theatre, raised a pistol at President Abraham Lincoln, and squeezed the trigger. Lincoln would soon die of his wounds, making him the first president to be assassinated in American history. As the nation plunged into mourning, the hunt for Lincoln’s killer began.But authorities soon revealed a conspiracy much bigger than just one man. The investigation would focus on an unlikely accomplice: a widow and boarding house owner named Mary Surratt. In the months leading up to the assassination, Booth and his men met frequently at Surratt’s boarding house, and her tavern was their first stop on their escape. But her exact role in the plot and subsequent military trial led to controversy and conflict that would rage for years to come.Listen ad free by subscribing now to https://wondery.app.link/historytellers!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Early in the Revolutionary War, Major General Benedict Arnold built a reputation as a courageous commander. He was a favorite of George Washington’s. But he also revealed a fragile ego and a penchant for holding grudges. As the war went on, Arnold’s temper, ambition, and greed would turn him from hero to villain.In this four-part series, American History Tellers explores the stories of America’s most infamous traitors -- the men and women who were charged, rightly or wrongly, with betraying their country. All of them paid a high price for their crimes. And all of them changed the course of our nation’s history -- starting with the man whose name is now synonymous with treason: Benedict Arnold.Simplisafe- For 40% off your new home security system by visiting simplisafe.com/TELLERS!Zip Recruiter- Sign up for FREE at ziprecruiter.com/easy!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

The Roaring 20s are often described as a time of optimism and decadence, teeming with flappers, jazz and bootlegged liquor. It was the decade that birthed modern America. But with that birth came growing tensions over civil rights, the urban-rural divide and other culture wars.Historian Michael E. Parrish captured the period in his book Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920 -1941. In this episode, Parrish joins host Lindsay Graham to discuss Ponzi schemes, the birth of celebrity culture, and how the lessons learned from the ‘20s still resonate today.Better Help- American History Teller listeners get 10% off their first month: betterhelp.com/tellers.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

On a misty morning in May 1927, Charles Lindbergh climbed into the cramped cockpit of his single engine plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. After a bumpy taxi and takeoff at a New York runway, he took to the skies, on a flight that would break records and make him a national hero.At the end of the 1920s, Americans united around a culture of celebrity, and no celebrity was bigger than Lindbergh. It was a time of limitless optimism and a stock market that seemed to know no ceiling.But there were warning signs on the horizon. Every day, banks in rural America were closing. Farmers were mired in debt. And unsold products lined department store shelves. Soon, Americans would learn that the good times couldn’t last forever.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Ziprecruiter- Sign up for free at ziprecruiter.com/easySee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In 1921, Republican President Warren G. Harding entered the White House, ushering in a new era of conservative government. Harding was elected by Americans yearning for tradition and old-fashioned values. But they put in power one of the most scandal-ridden presidencies in American history.Harding filled his administration with corrupt cronies who exploited their offices for personal gain. Americans were shocked as the details of Teapot Dome and other scandals came to light, even after Harding’s abrupt death brought his presidency to a premature end.But no controversy could sustain Americans’ attention for long in a new era of mass consumerism. As the economy boomed, a bitter rivalry between the two carmaking giants, Ford and GM, brought the power of advertising and marketing to new heights. Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/historytellers. Support us by supporting our sponsors! BetterHelp - Get 10% off their first month at betterhelp.com/TELLERS. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In the 1920s, Americans moved to the city in droves, and a new, diverse generation sparked an era of dizzying social change. It was the Age of Jazz, a time when Black Americans brought a revolutionary new musical style to northern cities. Free-spirited flappers haunted urban nightclubs. And Harlem, New York became the epicenter of a renaissance in Black artistic and political expression.But rapid changes in the city sparked fear and backlash in the countryside. Rural white Americans vigorously defended traditional religious values, and fundamentalist preachers drew massive audiences. Meanwhile, a resurgent Ku Klux Klan drew millions of new members by targeting not just Black Americans, but also Jews, Catholics, and recent immigrants. In 1925, the divide between urban and rural America came to a head in a sleepy town in eastern Tennessee, where the sensational “Scopes Monkey Trial” pitted the forces of science and religion against each other.Support us by supporting our sponsors!SimpliSafe - Get 20% off your entire system and your first month of monitoring service free when you enroll in interactive monitoring simplisafe.com/tellersSleep Number - Special offers for a limited time at sleepnumber.com/tellersSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In 1919, American soldiers returned from the battlefields of Europe to face a nation torn apart by a different war. One-fifth of the nation’s workforce put down their tools and went on strike. Anarchists sent deadly bombs in the mail to congressmen and cabinet members. And a terrorist attack on Wall Street killed dozens.As economic and political turmoil swept the country, government authorities moved to stamp out dissent. Targeting unionized workers, immigrants, and radicals, officials launched ruthless campaigns to drive out what they saw as threats to America.It was the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, a decade of extremes that saw a rapidly changing nation caught between its past and its future.Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/historytellers.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Sleep Number - Discover the Sleep Number 360® smart bed. Special offers for a limited time. Only at Sleep Number stores or sleepnumber.com/TELLERS.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Alaska: big, open, frozen and wild. In 1867, the acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire was widely derided as “folly.” But early explorers like John Muir saw its potential, and clamored for its preservation in the face of increasing development and calls for statehood. Then oil was discovered in Alaska, and the real fight began. Caught between angry Alaskan individualists and an ambitious federal government, the National Park Service struggled to do what was right for the land and the people who lived and depended on it.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!Better Help- Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/tellers.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In 1914, America’s National Parks had a problem: no one was using them. And those few that were faced unmaintained roads, trails strewn with garbage, and a lack of amenities that made it hard for the average American to enjoy themselves. One man had enough, and went to Washington on a mission: establish a new National Parks Service, and transform these neglected, magic spaces into clean, approachable, fun vacation destinations.But in taking the reins, mining tycoon and marketing genius Stephen Mather would face many challenges: wolves, bears, fires, and his own internal torment.If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, here are some additional resources:National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264Crisis Text Line: Within the US, text HOME to 741741Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: 1-800-826-3632Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/historytellers.Support us by supporting our sponsors!American Giant - Get your new favorite tees at american-giant.com today and use promo code AHT for 15% off your first order.Public Rec - Go to PublicRec.com/TELLERS to receive 10% off.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 18, 1906, the city of San Francisco was torn apart by a huge earthquake and devastating fire. As the city rebuilt, it also sought to ensure that if fire were to strike the city again, abundant water would available to fight it.But a new reservoir for the city would require flooding a treasured portion of Yosemite, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, one of John Muir’s favorite locations. He fiercely opposed the plan, setting up a showdown between Muir’s newly formed Sierra Club and political forces in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. - including Muir’s former ally in the conservation movement, Teddy Roosevelt.Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/historytellers.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Sleep Number - Discover the Sleep Number 360® smart bed. Special offers for a limited time. Only at Sleep Number stores or sleepnumber.com/TELLERS.SimpliSafe - To learn more about the exciting new SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera, visit SIMPLISAFE.com/tellers. What’s more, SimpliSafe is celebrating this new camera by offering 20% off your entire new system and your first month of monitoring service FREE, when you enroll in Interactive Monitoring.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was atop a mountain when he heard the news: an assassin’s bullet would likely take President McKinley’s life, and make Roosevelt president.Upon his inauguration shortly thereafter, Roosevelt brought his lifelong love of the natural world to the White House. With a stroke of his executive pen, he set aside vast swaths of land as preserves and monuments. And later, with an election looming, he embarked on the most comprehensive tour of America’s natural wonders any president had ever made, visiting the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and taking “the most important camping trip in history” with John Muir in Yosemite.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!Better Help- Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/tellers.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Yellowstone was our nation’s first national park. Its strange, wondrous landscapes were perfect for exploration - and exploitation. Upon Yellowstone’s discovery by white Americans, two races began: one to build a railroad to the park to capture its commercial potential, another to protect the land from desecration. One will fail, bringing down with it the nation’s economy. The other will require the U.S. Army to succeed, but leave thousands of animals slaughtered and Native American tribes displaced.Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/historytellers.Support us by supporting our sponsors! American Giant - Get your new favorite tees at american-giant.com today and use promo code AHT for 15% off your first order.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

America's national parks are truly among our country's greatest treasures. But many of these beautiful landmarks have ugly pasts. On this series, we’ll explore the often forgotten histories of some of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders, starting with the park that began the conservationist movement in the 1800s: Yosemite.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

The 1904 St. Louis Olympics were marred by controversy and poorly organized events like the marathon. But at least they took place as scheduled. In 1916, after the outbreak of World War I, they were canceled entirely. A century later, in 2020, the Olympics faced another kind of test: a global pandemic that forced the first postponement of the Games in their history. In this episode, Lindsay discusses troubled Olympics past and present with Dr. Susan Brownell, a former nationally ranked track-and-field athlete turned scholar and Olympic historian. They’ll look at how war, disease, boycotts and political turmoil have repeatedly threatened the Games throughout their history, and how the Olympics have survived such challenges to unite the world in its love of sport.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In the summer of 1904, the young women of the Fort Shaw Indian School basketball team took the St. Louis Olympics and the World’s Fair by storm with their fast-paced, dynamic play. But could they keep their undefeated record and win the world championship against their toughest opponent yet -- a team of white all-stars from the best high school team in Missouri? As the Fort Shaw girls prepared for their championship game, another Olympics drama unfolded: the marathon. Covering 25 miles of steep hills and dusty dirt roads, it would be the ultimate test of athletic endurance. But for some runners, it would nearly end in disaster.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

In 1904, St. Louis was thrust into the national spotlight, as it played host to both the World’s Fair and America’s first Olympic Games. After a bitter fight over which American city would host, Olympic founder Pierre De Coubertin had disavowed the St. Louis games entirely, passing the torch to amateur sports magnate James Sullivan. But Sullivan brought controversial ideas to the Games -- especially in the form of a contest between “uncivilized” peoples called Anthropology Days.Bad weather and a lack of international athletes hampered the Olympics further, and kept attendance low. Still, as the games continued, a handful of star athletes emerged, including a one-legged gymnast and a group of Native American women from Montana, who brought a revolutionary spin to the new sport of basketball.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/historytellersSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.