History Detectives

HDSI - Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?

Episode: Notorious teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared without a trace in 1975. Was he murdered? If so, who pulled the trigger and why? Watch as the History Detectives tackle this famous cold case.

Air Date 7/22/14

 
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Upcoming Air Dates
  • #607 — History Detectives |
    Friday, Jul 29 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #608 — History Detectives |
    Saturday, Jul 30 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #609 — History Detectives |
    Monday, Aug 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #610 — History Detectives |
    Tuesday, Aug 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #611 — History Detectives |
    Wednesday, Aug 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #607 — History Detectives
    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. USS Olympia Glass - The door of a farmhouse in eastern Nebraska has an etched glass window with a depiction of a ship cruising through open waters, smoke pouring from its stacks. The home's owner believes the ship is the USS Olympia, the cruiser commanded by Commodore George Dewey when he defeated Admiral Montojo's Spanish aquadron at Manila Bay in 1898, beginning the Spanish-American War. The farm's been in the family for more than half a century, and a 1977 letter from the USS Olympia Association states that etched glass windows may have adorned Admiral Dewey's own stateroom. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan travels to Fremont, Nebraska, and Philadelphia to find our whether the unique window can serve as a portal into a turning point in American foreign policy. Front Street Blockhouse - When a young couple in Schenectady, New York, purchased their dream house in the town's historic district, they believed their home was built for a middle-class family in the late 19th century, like all other homes in their neighborhood. But four mysterious stone walls visible in the attic have led them to believe otherwise. Did this house once guard against enemy attacks during the tense years of the French and Indian Wars - nearly 300 years ago? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels to Upstate New York to determine whether this unassuming structure may have helped ensure the survival of the town of Schenectady, a 17th- and 18th-century vanguard Dutch outpost, as it fought France and her Indian allies for control of the lucrative fur trade.
    Friday, Jul 29 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #608 — History Detectives
    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 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. Mankato Spoon - A woman in Portland, Oregon, has a curious spoon that once belonged to her grandmother. It's known in her family as "the spoon of atrocities." An eerie scene is etched into its sterling silver bowl: wagons, buildings and a crowd of spectators gathered before a gallows with figures hanging from them. A disturbing message is inscribed: "Hanging 38 Sioux In 1862 Mankato, Minn." What is this tragic scene and why has it been etched into what looks like a commemorative spoon? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan travels to Mankato, New Ulm and Minneapolis, Minnesota, to explore the clash between white settlers and Sioux in the mid-19th century - and a struggle that led to the largest mass execution in American history. NC-4: First Across the Atlantic - Almost 10 years before Charles Lindbergh's famous solo flight across the Atlantic, the NC-4 was the first aircraft to make the transatlantic journey in May 1919. A woman in Saratoga, California, has a small square of canvas-like fabric that she believes comes from the NC-4, one of four U.S. Navy "flying boats" that had originally been commissioned to alert American destroyers to the locations of German U-boat submarines that were wreaking havoc on merchant ships along the U.S. coast during World War I. Due to early mechanical problems, the NC-4 was considered by many aviation insiders to be the least likely candidate to complete the trek across the Atlantic. In Pensacola, Florida, and Hammondsport, New York, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray investigates the little-known story of the NC-4 and its historic voyage.
    Saturday, Jul 30 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #609 — History Detectives
    Shipwreck Cannons - Beachcombers on the Oregon Coast spotted what looked like large, rusty rocks sticking out of the sand. The state of Oregon, which has recovered the encrusted objects, believes they house priceless artifacts: cannons from the 1846 shipwreck of the USS Shark. The Shark and a few fast-sailing schooners like her were built in the 1820s to suppress slave traders and pirates. In 1846, the Shark was sent on what may have been her most challenging mission, to resolve the matter of the "Oregon question." In the Pacific Northwest, both the United States and Great Britain laid claim to large stretches of the Northwest Territories. The Shark's mission was to uncover intelligence on the British and their intentions, but the vessel met with disaster, sinking while attempting to cross the treacherous Columbia Bar. In Oregon and southwest Washington, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright tracks the 162-year-old naval tale with the help of lead investigative archaeologists from the U.S. Navy and the state of Oregon. Connecticut Farmhouse - A resident of rural East Haddam, Connecticut, owns an old house that he believes has a story to tell. Between 1891 and 1906, the farm changed hands six times, and the names of the residents appear to be mostly Eastern European. The late 1800s marked the beginning of a mass immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States. The majority of refugees came from Russia, after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 set off violent anti-Jewish riots across the country. By 1893, about a million immigrants had entered the U.S. through major East Coast ports, especially New York. But why did so many newcomers end up in this particular Connecticut home, and what accounted for the high turnover? In Connecticut and New York City, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray explores the efforts of Jewish-American relief societies to support the Jewish agricultural community as it struggled to take root in a new land. Kahlil Gibran Painting - A contributor from Overland Park, Kansas, has an unsigned oil portrait of his grandfather, Najib Musa Diab, which he believes was painted by the Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. His grandfather was a contemporary of Gibran, whose poetry was published by the Arabic-language newspaper that Diab founded in Brooklyn, New York. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi's investigation reveals the perplexing challenges Gibran and other Arab immigrants faced as they balanced their new American identities with loyalties to their native lands when World War I changed the Middle East map and policy. From this turmoil, Gibran found the unique blend of Eastern and Western philosophy that permeated his writing and art. Did this period in Gibran's life also produce Diab's portrait? HISTORY DETECTIVES heads to Savannah, Georgia, and New York City to find out.
    Monday, Aug 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #610 — History Detectives
    Blueprint Special - A WWII veteran from Chico, California, owns a unique souvenir from his time as a young GI. While stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he picked up a 16-inch acetate recording of a promo for a soldier musical called "Hi Yank." The recording starts with a director's introduction, explaining that the musical is a "blueprint special" created by GIs for GIs to be performed anywhere in the world. The contributor has heard of USO shows, but never a "blueprint special" musical. Could this recording be a piece of forgotten history? In Washington, DC, and Virginia, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray meets with U.S. Army archivists and historians to discuss the military's efforts to boost morale and instill a sense of patriotism as the U.S. entered WWII. Monroe Letter - A Florida woman recently inherited a family mystery. In her late mother's belongings, she stumbled on a framed letter allegedly penned by future President James Monroe in 1807. The contributor has recognized a family name "Manwaring" scrawled near the date, and believes the letter references a monetary debt the financially unstable U.S. government owed the Manwaring family. The document leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to a tale of terror on the high seas, when American merchant ships were stalked by Britain, their cargo pillaged and their crews forced into the British Navy. Young America was desperate to avoid war, and James Monroe, then Minister to Britain, attempted to mediate with his pen. In Newport, Rhode Island, and Charlottesville and Fredricksburg, Virginia, host Gwendolyn Wright tracks a conflict that nearly bankrupted America. Atocha Spanish Silver - In 1985, one of the greatest treasure discoveries was made off the Florida Keys when the wreck of the Spanish ship Atocha was found. On board were some 40 tons of silver and gold, which in 1622 had been heading from the New World to the Spanish treasury as the means to fund the Thirty Years' War. A man from Cedartown, Georgia, was a diver on that legendary find and received two silver bars as compensation for his efforts. He's long been mystified by a strange mark that appears on one of the bars but the mark is mysteriously absent from the other bar. In Key West, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi translates 300-year-old documents from the archives of the Spanish treasury in Seville to crack a unique code of communication among ship captains of that era.
    Tuesday, Aug 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #611 — History Detectives
    In a special presentation of the sixth season, America's top gumshoes prove once again that an object found in an attic or backyard might be anything but ordinary. Wes Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, professor of architecture, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, leave no stone unturned as they travel around the country to explore the stories behind local folklore, prominent figures and family legends. Slave Songbook - The president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California, recently discovered an unusual book in his late mother's extraordinary collection of African-American artifacts. The small, cloth-bound book, titled Slave Songs of the United States, has a publication date of 1867 and contains a collection of 136 plantation songs. Could this be the first book of African-American spirituals ever published? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan visits a music historian in Los Angeles to explore the coded messages and the melodies that laid the foundation of modern blues, gospel and protest songs of future generations. He also meets with Washington, DC's Howard University Choir for a special concert of selections from Slave Songs sung in the traditional style of mid-1800s spirituals. Josh White Guitar - A Michigan man owns a Guild brand acoustic guitar that he says once belonged to legendary African-American folksinger Josh White, who is credited with introducing black folk, gospel and blues music to a world audience in the 1940s. The contributor met White after a concert when he was a kid, and the guitar reminds him of a confidence White had shared with him: the Guild Company was talking to White about making a signature guitar built to his specifications and marketed under his name. If this is the guitar White had spoken of, it would be the first signature guitar ever created for an African-American musician in the United States. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels around New York City and New Jersey to explore the crossover appeal of Josh White's music and his ability to win over a racially polarized music industry. 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.
    Wednesday, Aug 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #701 — History Detectives
    PsychoPhone - A couple in Cincinnati acquired a peculiar phonograph at an antiques auction. The machine, labeled "PsychoPhone," included four grooved wax cylinders. The contributors think Thomas Edison invented the PsychoPhone to record messages from the afterlife. As early as the 1870s, Edison and other scientific minds explored psychic phenomena, believing every living being was made of atoms that could "remember" past lives. Did Edison make a machine to unlock the secrets of the dead? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright travels to the Thomas A. Edison Menlo Park museum in New Jersey to find out. War Dog Letter - A World War II collector from Kansas City, Kansas, has a cryptic letter from a soldier to another military man. The soldier explains that military investigators have questioned him about a man named Prestre - specifically about his character and qualifications as a dog trainer. The contributor wants to know why the military was investigating Prestre and what the dogs were being trained to do. The search takes HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi to remote Cat Island near Gulfport, Mississippi, and Fort Lee in Virginia. The military put great effort into a new "War Dogs" program during WWII. What went wrong on Cat Island? Pancho Villa Watch Fob - Just before he died, a man gave his neighbors a most unusual gift: a watch fob commemorating Francisco "Pancho" Villa's murderous raid on the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. The man says he was a boy when the raid occurred in 1916, and he and his parents survived by hiding under a train car. The new owners want to know more about this watch fob. Who made it? Did their friend indeed witness this infamous raid? HISTORY DETECTIVES' new guest host, Eduardo Pagan, leads on an expedition that reveals an especially wild chapter of the American West.
    Thursday, Aug 4 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #702 — History Detectives
    Manhattan Project - A contributor is certain that his father worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. His father refused to talk about his war assignment, except to say that he sold his patent to the U.S. government for a single dollar. Along with the patent, the contributor has a letter from the Atomic Energy Commission stating that his father's patent had been declassified. Was this invention used to build the atomic bomb? To find out, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan travels to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and discovers a plan to hide atomic secrets in plain sight. Galleon Shipwreck - A woman in Portland, Oregon, has a large chunk of what she believes is very old beeswax. This 23-pound block, dug up on the northern Oregon coast in the late 1930s, seems to have been deliberately carved with strange markings. For centuries, ships carried beeswax on trade routes from the Far East to the American Pacific Coast. Could this beeswax have been cargo on a legendary ship that foundered more then 300 years ago? And what do those odd markings mean? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray goes to the Bee Lab at Oregon State University to decipher where the beeswax came from and visits an archaeologist in Olympia, Washington, to track which ship may have brought it to the Oregon coast. Creole Poems - A HISTORY DETECTIVES fan from Chicago recently unearthed a French manuscript rolled in a cardboard tube. "Duplessis, " his great-grandmother's mother-in-laws surname, is jotted in a margin, and "Rouzan," his grandmother's maiden name, appears at the bottom of another page. No one in the family knows anything about it, but the contributor, who reads a little French, thinks he has a collection of love poems, possibly written to one of his relatives. What is this? And why has his family kept it for 160 years? The questions lead HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright to New Orleans and to a piece of family history the contributor had never known.
    Friday, Aug 5 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #703 — History Detectives
    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.
    Saturday, Aug 6 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #704 — History Detectives
    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.
    Monday, Aug 8 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #705 — History Detectives
    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.
    Tuesday, Aug 9 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #706 — History Detectives
    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.
    Wednesday, Aug 10 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #707 — History Detectives
    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.
    Thursday, Aug 11 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #708 — History Detectives
    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.
    Friday, Aug 12 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #709 — History Detectives
    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.
    Saturday, Aug 13 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #710 — History Detectives
    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.
    Monday, Aug 15 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #711 — History Detectives
    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.
    Tuesday, Aug 16 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #801 — Space Exploration
    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.
    Wednesday, Aug 17 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #802 — Iwo Jima Map, Copperhead Cane, Theremin
    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.
    Thursday, Aug 18 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #803 — Lauste Film Clip/Baker's Gold/Transatlantic Cable
    "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?
    Friday, Aug 19 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #804 — Andrew Jackson's Mouth/Barton Letter/Spybook
    "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?
    Saturday, Aug 20 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #805 — Cromwell Dixon, Bartlett Sketchbook, & Duke Ellington Plates
    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.
    Tuesday, Aug 23 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #806 — Korean War Letter, Diana, Lookout Mt. Painting
    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?
    Wednesday, Aug 24 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #807 — St. Valentine's Day Massacre, George Washington Miniature, Stalag 17
    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.
    Thursday, Aug 25 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #808 — Hot Town Poster, Face Jug, Lost City of Gold
    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.
    Friday, Aug 26 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #809 — Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Modoc Basket, Special Agent Five
    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?
    Saturday, Aug 27 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #810 — Wb Cartoons, Galvez Papers, Mussolini Dagger
    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.
    Tuesday, Aug 30 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #811 — Chicago Clock, Universal Friends, War Dog Letter
    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.
    Wednesday, Aug 31 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #901 — History Detectives
    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?
    Thursday, Sep 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #902 — History Detectives
    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.
    Friday, Sep 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #903 — History Detectives
    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.
    Saturday, Sep 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #904 — History Detectives
    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.
    Monday, Sep 5 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #905 — History Detectives
    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.
    Tuesday, Sep 6 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #906 — History Detectives
    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?
    Wednesday, Sep 7 at 5am TPT LIFE
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