Courage Through History

From storms to serial killers to shipwrecks, bestselling author Erik Larson has made his name writing about frightening moments in history. When a new one came in the form of a global pandemic, readers found unlikely comfort in his latest book—a story of leadership, perseverance, and hope in the bleakest of times 80 years ago.

William Walker’s Dark Destiny

Newly settled in Costa Rica, a recent alumnus investigates the legacy of “filibuster” William Walker M1843—largely forgotten in the US but still perhaps the most hated man in Central America.

Wordsworth’s American Champion

Nearly two centuries ago, Penn professor Henry Hope Reed put William Wordsworth on America’s cultural map. More or less forgotten today (make that more), Reed was an impressive scholar whose enthusiasm for Wordsworth and English Romanticism helped shape the nation’s literary values.

Rush on the Mind

A focus on mental illness was a constant throughout the multi-faceted career of Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, prolific writer, longtime Penn faculty member, and the most prominent—and controversial—physician of his day.

The Judges’ Lawyer

In successfully defending the irascible Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase—aka “Old Bacon Face”—against impeachment, Joseph Hopkinson C1786 G1789 helped set a high bar for removal from office and establish the principle of judicial independence.