Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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7:05pm

Sat June 27, 2015
NPR History Dept.

The Cherry Sisters: Worst Act Ever?

Originally published on Sun June 28, 2015 8:37 am

The Cherry Sisters: Three of the siblings strike a theatrical pose.
The History Center

In the early 20th century, the Cherry Sisters — a family of performers from Marion, Iowa — were like a meme.

Simply invoking the name — the Cherry Sisters — was shorthand for anything awful. As Anthony Slide wrote in the Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, the onstage siblings became "synonymous with any act devoid of talent."

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11:03am

Tue June 23, 2015
NPR History Dept.

4 Forgotten Fads Of The Past

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 2:55 pm

Unlike fanatics, fad-atics move from craze to craze. And America, with its short national attention span, is the perfect place for fadatics to flourish.

But when does a fad begin to fade? When does a fad become a fixture?

"How long does the typical fad last?" asks Adrian Furnham in the 2004 finance book Management and Myths. "It depends on the zeitgeist." In other words, a vat of variables.

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10:57am

Fri June 19, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Independence Day For Americans With Disabilities

A detail from an Easter Seals poster explaining the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed on July 26, 1990.
Courtesy of Easter Seals

On July 4, America will celebrate 239 years of independence.

Later in the month, our country will mark another historic moment: the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law passed on July 26, 1990, that guarantees certain rights — and increased independence — to our compatriots with physical and intellectual disabilities.

In this era of ramps and lifts and other hallmarks of accessible design, it's sometimes hard to remember that not too long ago inaccessibility was the norm. And barriers abounded.

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11:08am

Tue June 16, 2015
NPR History Dept.

When 'Womanless Weddings' Were Trendy

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 12:15 pm

Womanless weddings, like this one in a Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, often included prominent members of the community. Alongside the bride, with hands clasped, is Theodore M. Berry, the first African-American mayor of the city.
Theodore M. Berry Papers, Archives & Rare Books Library, University of Cincinnati

The flowery month of June and the whiff of wedlock is in the air.

Definitions of marriage in America keep expanding, but for most of the country's history, the word "wedding" has called to mind images of a woman in a white dress and a man in a black tuxedo. And traditionally, June was the most popular month to get hitched.

So, there's no better time to reminisce about a once-popular community ritual — still perhaps practiced occasionally — that would seem to be on the edge of extinction: the womanless wedding.

Bearded Brides

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10:23am

Thu June 11, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Dirty Dancing In The Early 1900s

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 12:38 pm

The Bunny Hug sheet music, 1912.
New York Public Library Digital Collections

To watch them being performed today, the Bunny Hug, the Turkey Trot, the Grizzly Bear and other so-called "animal dances" of the early 1900s seem tame, tame, tame.

But for a few decades, beginning in the 19-teens, those ragtime rug-cutters shocked America and had polite society crying shame, shame, shame.

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10:33am

Tue June 9, 2015
NPR History Dept.

The Battles Of A Civil War Re-Enactress

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 1:01 pm

J.R. Hardman, dressed for Civil War re-enactment.
O.K. Keyes Courtesy of Reenactress

When J.R. Hardman, 28, asked to join a group of Civil War re-enactors in a military drill a few years ago, the unit commander said no dice.

Hardman was willing to wear the wool uniform, carry the gear, load the muskets, eat the hardtack, but the brass still said no.

Because ... J.R. Hardman is a woman.

The unit commander told her to talk to his wife, who would help Hardman find a hoop skirt.

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11:03am

Thu June 4, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Chinese Basketballers Of Yesteryear

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 2:50 pm

A Chinese basketball team from the YMCA in San Francisco, 1919.
Courtesy of the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries.

When thinking about Chinese basketball players in early 20th-century America, keep in mind these two events:

  • In 1882: President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which severely restricted Chinese immigration to this country. Versions of restrictive legislation remained in place until World War II, when the rules were repealed by the Magnuson Act in 1943 — which still only allowed 105 Chinese immigrants into this country each year.
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10:47am

Tue June 2, 2015
NPR History Dept.

How The YMCA Helped Shape America

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 3:53 pm

An adult gymnastics club performs a group stunt on the parallel bars at the Rochester, N.Y., YMCA at the beginning of the 20th century.
Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis

The American wing of the Young Men's Christian Association — a worldwide organization founded in London in 1844 — launched the first basketball teams and group swim lessons in the U.S., popularized exercise classes and created the oldest summer camp still in operation, the YMCA's historians tell us.

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11:18am

Thu May 28, 2015
NPR History Dept.

The Windshield-Pitting Mystery Of 1954

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 6:56 pm

A man shows his pitted windshield to a police officer in Seattle in 1954
Museum of History & Industry, Seattle Post- Intelligencer Collection, 1986.5.571.1

The nationwide weirdness that was the Windshield-Pitting Mystery began in the spring of 1954. Looking back at the events today may give us a window — OK, a windshield — on the makeup and the mindset of mid-20th-century America.

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10:58am

Tue May 26, 2015
NPR History Dept.

When 'Petting Parties' Scandalized The Nation

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 1:24 pm

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.

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