Discover Two New Gilder Lehrman Self-Paced Courses

The Gilder Lehrman Institute is excited to announce the addition of two new self-paced courses, Emancipation and The Kennedy Presidency, to our Self-Paced Course Series. This series offers graduate-level courses in American history taught by eminent historians, available to watch or listen to at your own time and pace.

Meeting Miss Wright: Orville and Wilbur’s Talented Sister

On December 17, 1903, the Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first successful airplane flight.

Hamilton’s Love Letter: On This Day, December 14

On December 14, 1780, Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, the second daughter of wealthy patriot Philip Schuyler. One of our favorite documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection is a love letter from Hamilton to Elizabeth, written two months before their wedding.

Did They Eat Pumpkin Pie at the First Thanksgiving?

Saying grace before Thanksgiving dinner in Neffsville, Pennsylvania (1942)These days, Thanksgiving is all about the food—from the classic turkey to delicious pumpkin pie, Americans look forward to overindulging on favorite foods that we associate with the harvest bounty of 17th-century Massachusetts.

NPS to Establish Manhattan Project Park

What was once the biggest secret in America is being commemorated in public—building the bomb. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy announced last week the establishment of three national historic parks at Manhattan Project sites. The three sites, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington, will commemorate the places where work on the atomic bomb was completed during World War II.


Inside the Vault: The Gettysburg Address

Read about the Gettysburg Address or watch the lecture “The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln through His Words” by Professor Ronald C. White of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Booker T. Washington Dines with Theodore Roosevelt, Americans Outraged

In October of 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House. As the founder of the Tuskegee Institute and a respected leader of the African American community, Washington was an important ally for Roosevelt.


Ensign Jesse Brown, First African American Naval Aviator, 1948

In October 1948, Jesse LeRoy Brown made history by becoming the first African American naval aviator. Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1926, Brown was inspired to become a pilot by an airshow that he attended at age six. After graduating from high school, Brown attended Ohio State University, the alma mater of his hero, Jesse Owens.


Inside the Vault: JFK Assassination Ticker Tape

Soldier Spotlight: A Union Soldier Loses a Daughter

George Tillotson from Greene, New York, enlisted in the 89th New York Infantry in November 1861. Some of his Civil War–era letters are among the 15,000 letters in the Gilder Lehrman Collection written by servicemen. He wrote home on a wide range of topics, from gruesome descriptions of the war to witty observations of people and events, and even flirty endearments to his wife and her “kissing battery.” Tillotson’s letters are both jovial and caustic as he describes camp life in detail and complains about the war.