History Detectives

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Tuesday 9:00 PM on PBS Premiered Jul 01, 2003 In Season

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  • Our Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map, Transistor Radio, Club Continental Card

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 9 - 10/9/12

    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.moreless
  • Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map and a Transistor Radio

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 8 - 10/9/12

    In this episode, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer helps us find the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two WWI African American soldiers. Then, do we have a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? Finally we investigate an early first transistor radios ever made and a business card'?s link to Prohibition-era underworld crime.moreless
  • Vietnam Diary, Bootleggeras Notebook and a Hollywood Ledger

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 6 - 10/2/12

    In this episode, can History Detectives return the diary of a fallen North Vietnamese soldier to that veteran'?s family? Then, a notebook full of recipes for large volumes of liquor makes an Indiana man wonder if his rich uncle was a Prohibition-era bootlegger. And what can an old ledger tell us about how Hollywood treated Native American actors?moreless
  • Titanic Frame, Nazi Spy Toys, Woolworth Sign

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 5 - 8/7/12

    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 another man wonder if his uncle was a prohibition bootlegger.moreless
  • Bird of War, Lincoln Oath and War Spoils of a Peace Chief

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 4 - 7/31/12

    In this episode we investigate an evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb. Did these patches belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen connects a swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in U.S. Civil War history. And, did this neckpiece and these leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, long known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this oath?moreless
  • Clint Black's Book of Rogues, B-52 Empire State Building

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 3 - 7/24/12

    We take a deeper look into Country Music singer Clint Black's Book of Rogues. Could this chunk of molten metal be part of the B-25 that crashed into the Empire State building?

  • K.K.K. Records, Civil War Pistols, James Jamerson

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 2 - 7/24/12

    Tukufu makes an intriguing discovery while researching a 1920s album by "All K.K.K. Records." Can we trace these Civil War era pistols to the family of the officer who purchased them? Did Motown great James Jamerson feed hisMy Girlbass line through this Ampeg Amp?

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  • Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Frank Zappa

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 1 - 7/17/12

    Season 10 of History Detectives takes on Rock 'n Roll. Is this the Bob Dylan guitar that changed rock music forever? Are these autographs from the Beatles' Miami concert? And, did Frank Zappa create this collage?

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  • Top Secret Drone, Roosevelt's War Club & Clara Barton Letter

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 17 - 7/19/11

    In this episode, Elyse Luray investigates a propeller that may be from a WWII-era drone aircraft. Then, an inscribed, wooden club appears to be a gift to Teddy Roosevelt. Tukufu Zuberi find out who gave him this club, and why? And Eduardo Pagan follows the trail of a letter and learns about Clara Barton's humanitarian work during the Civil War.moreless
  • Civil War Letters, Aviation Fabric & Negro Romance Comic

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 16 - 7/12/11

    This episode fills in the moving story behind letters from a Civil War soldier to his brother and his desire to lead an African American unit. Then, Tukufu Zuberi sets out to identify the source of a piece of fabric with signatures of Charles Lindbergh and helicopter inventor Igor Sikorsky. Finally, did black artists create the 1950's comic book, Negro Romance?moreless
  • History Detectives

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 5 - 7/19/10

    A four-inch square of fabric tells the story of one of America’s first barnstorming pilots.
  • Episode 11

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 11 - 9/6/09

    Could these music plates be the originals for "Take the A Train?" How is a stamp connected to the landmark civil rights case of the "Scottsboro Boys?" Has the discovery of an old bridge abutment changed the location of an historic site?moreless
  • Episode 10

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 10 - 8/30/09

    What happened to a WWII POW who sketched portraits at the German camp Stalag 17B? What's the story behind photographs of the Seadrome project? Was an old artillery shell involved in an attack on Black Tom Island?moreless
  • Episode 9

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 9 - 8/24/09

    Are six large paintings part of a mural project commissioned by the WPA? Why would abolitionist White Matlack own a miniature profile of George Washington? Is a piece of paper a fragment of a Japanese Balloon Bomb?moreless
  • Episode 8

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 8 - 8/16/09

    Could a World War II souvenir be a dagger that belonged to Benito Mussolini? Could references in family letters refer to a post-slavery exodus to Liberia? Was a little black box a Civilian Warning Device for nuclear attacks?moreless
  • Episode Seven

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 7 - 8/10/09

    In this episode, an instrument that may have been recovered from the Hindenburg, a book that may have been a gift from John Adams to his son, and a home in the Bronx that may have been the birthplace of hip hop.moreless
  • Episode 6

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 6 - 7/26/09

    Could this be a piece of Amelia Earhart's lost airplane? Why did an obscure court case about an unknown Native American matter to a US President? Was this unusual home made from a boxcar?moreless
  • Episode 4

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 4 - 7/12/09

    Why were babies exhibited at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair? How are these photos linked to an early movie mogul? Did the weaver of this Southwestern rug violate a taboo?
  • Episode 3

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 3 - 7/5/09

    Was this gun used in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre? Does this letter reveal a Booth plot to assassinate Andrew Jackson? How is this explosive device connected to grave robbing and cadaver dissecting?moreless
  • Episode 2

    Full Episode

    S 7 : Ep 2 - 6/28/09

    Did a Manhattan Project insider sell his invention to the government for a single dollar? Is this huge block of beeswax linked to a ship that wrecked 300 years ago? Could this French manuscript solve a family mystery?moreless
  • Episode Eleven

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 11 - 1/20/09

    In a special presentation of the sixth season, America's top gumshoes investigate the first book of African-American spirituals ever published, an acoustic guitar that may have belonged to legendary folksinger Josh White, and the story behind the birthplace of hip-hop.moreless
  • Episode 10

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 10 - 9/14/08

    Did this record play a dramatic role in the Allied victory during the Second World War? Does this letter link an American President to the high seas piracy of the 1800s? What is the meaning of the markings on a silver bar found in a Spanish shipwreck?moreless
  • Episode 9

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 9 - 9/7/08

    Are these the remains of a navy schooner that fought with the mighty British Empire? How is this Connecticut farmhouse connected to the assassination of a Russian tsar? Is this painting an unknown work by an immigrant poet whose words inspired a generation?moreless
  • Episode 8

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 8 - 8/17/08

    Do these pages open the book on a President who built a nation as his son fell into ruin? What does this silver spoon have to do with the largest mass execution in U.S. history? Is this piece of fabric from the first transatlantic flight, eight years before Lindbergh?moreless
  • Episode 7

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 7 - 8/10/08

    Is this shell from a devastating act of foreign sabotage on U.S. soil? Did this farmhouse door sail into battle in one of America's greatest naval victories? Did this unassuming house protect an American colony from attack almost 300 years ago?moreless
  • Episode 5

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 5 - 7/27/08

    Was this device snatched from the burning wreckage of the ill-fated zeppelin? Is this stamp connected to a moment when the military bore weapons against fellow soldiers? Did this bell sit ringside at the world's first boxing superstar's legendary match?moreless
  • Episode 4

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 4 - 7/20/08

    Can the symbols on this unusual item of clothing help identify a marine? Was this mobile home part of a modern-day wagon train halfway across the world? Could this piece of sheet music have come from Abraham Lincoln's private collection?moreless
  • Episode 3

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 3 - 7/14/08

    Is this scrap of fabric evidence of a secret wartime attack on the United States' mainland? Why did some New Yorkers plan a high society circus during the Great Depression? Could a box found in a dumpster hold information about the founding of a top-secret Presidential retreat?moreless
  • Episode 2

    Full Episode

    S 6 : Ep 2 - 7/6/08

    Is this peculiar flag one that African-American soldiers marched under in the war to end all wars? Is this painting an original depiction of Native American life from one of the premiere painters of the American West? Was this building a safe haven for persecuted immigrants, or a hub for organized crime?moreless
  • Episode Ten

    Full Episode

    S 5 : Ep 510 - 9/10/07

    USS Thresher - A Chicopee, Massachusetts, contributor has a stack of technical drawnings and engineering documents that bear the numbers and letters SSN-593, an appellation that belonged to the nuclear submarine USS Thresher, an attack class vessel that had been the pride of the U.S. Navy during the Cold War. On April 10, 1963, the Thresher was undergoing deep-sea trials when, along with its nuclear reactor, the vessel and all hands sank 220 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. Pete Gray Cqrtoon - A comic book collector in Brooklyn, New York, owns several storyboards from a cartoon comic strip dating to the immediate post-World War II period. The strip relates the story of Pete Gray, the first one-armed major league baseball player, who later became an icon for disabled WWII veterans. The contributor is curious to learn the identity of the mystery cartoonist. Because many artists from the golden age of cartoons - the late 1930s through the 50s - often moonlighted in advertising or more "respectable" trades, their identities were often undisclosed. Manhattan Project Letter - A contributor in New York City has a scrapbook of typed and handwritten documents connected with the top-secret Manhattan Project, which developed the United States' first nuclear bombs during World War II. The most intriguing item, a letter dated just after the war, is a plea for reduced secrecy regarding nuclear affairs in the scientific community once hostilities ended. Did the scientists' letter help persuade President Harry S. Truman to change policy in the post-war era?moreless
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