Lite articles are single articles exploring some facet of a humorous or light-hearted topic of American history.

Meet MythAmerica Lite

Bikers and Their Babes

Harley-Davidson began making motorbikes in 1903, and Harley Bikers (and their Babes) have become legendary since then. But this article isn’t about that kind of biker. It is a brief overview of the history of the original pedal-powered bicycle, and the wild ‘n’ crazy “scorchers” of the famous “bicycle craze” of the 1890s.

Chatty Cathy’s Great Granny

Many folks think that the wildly popular Chatty Cathy doll, introduced to the toy world in 1960, was the first “talking doll.” But this is a mythconception! You might say that the talkative miss inherited her chattiness from her Great Granny…who was born in 1890.

Cocaine for the Kiddies

Perhaps you have thought that cocaine use by young people has only been a problem in modern times. Think again! This brief look at 19th century “patent medicines” should change your mind.


Just as the world was looking very bleak in 1939, American dreamers and planners gave the world a sneak peek at what they hoped the world would be like in 1960. The theme of the1939 New York World’s Fair was “The World of Tomorrow,” and the centerpiece attraction that embodied the hopes for that world was the Futurama. This article will take you on a short ride back to that future

Get Down and Googie

Even if you’ve never heard the word Googie, you’ve seen the world of Googie along the streets and roads of America. It’s a world a bit down at the heels these days, but in its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, its creators thought it was the wave of the future.

Great Great Granny’s Enquiring Mind

Did you think the respectable men and women of the Victorian Era never read anything racier than a Jane Austen novel like Pride and Prejudice? Turns out that the tabloids at the checkout counters now may even be tamer than the hottest publication in the late 1800s. Come have a look at the juiciest gossip rag of the 19th century.

Happy (Face) History

In a webphone-driven world saturated with emoticons and emojis, it may seem like “smiley faces” have been around forever. No, they haven’t, and they have a real, official history that pre-dates the Internet by decades.

Norman Rockwell—Behind the Camera

Norman Rockwell’s homey Saturday Evening Post cover paintings often seemed like they could be depicting your next-door neighbors. They weren’t, of course, because Rockwell didn’t live in your neighborhood. But if you thought all those really distinctive “characters” just sprang from his imagination, think again! They often really DID depict HIS next-door neighbors. And we have photographic evidence of just which ones.

On Top of Old…Topper

Back in the heyday of the silver screen cowboy, everybody knew Roy Rogers and his beautiful palamino horse Trigger, and the Lone Ranger and his beautiful white stallion Silver. But arguably the most famous cowboy/horse combo of all time (at least the very first to appear on a school lunchbox and thermos set, anyway!)..was Hopalong Cassidy and HIS beautiful white stallion, Topper. Check out this article for a brief overview of their Wild West career on both big and small screen.

Phonetic History

Some tidbits in this brief history of the telephone may really surprise you! Who would guess payphones were THAT early, for instance?

Taming the Wild West

Will Rogers once said, “In the early days, the traveler fed on the buffalo. For doing so, the buffalo got his picture on the nickel. Well, Fred Harvey should have his picture on the one side of a dime, and one of his waitresses with her arms full of delicious ham and eggs on the other side, ‘cause they have kept the West supplied with food and wives.” Learn more about the role Fred Harvey and his girls played in this brief history of the Harvey Girls.

The Big Brush-Off

It was pretty poor poetry and goofy rhymes, but the writing on the signs lined the highways across America for decades. Read more about this hillbilly roadside history in this article.

The Dark Side of Barbie

Although the modern Barbie Doll is a bit too bosomy for some parents’ comfort, at least she sports a fresh, friendly girl-next-door face with a gentle smile that lights up her mouth and eyes. Ah, but it was not always so. Check out the hidden history of the Darker Side of Barbie.

True Grit

If you are tired of the gloom and doom in your daily print newspaper or online news feed, maybe what you need is a dose of good old-time True Grit. Read all about it in this brief history of an American institution.

We All Squeam for Icequeam

Nothing says “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy days of summer” to a small child like hearing the rinky-tink sound of an ice cream truck’s music. Check out this article for a brief overview of the history of this all-American Pied Piper.

Woodstic Surgery

Have you ever had a friend or family member who had such drastic plastic surgery that you could hardly recognize them afterwards? If so, the outcome of this strange history of a famous entertainer who had complete makeover surgery will no doubt trump your experience.

You’ll Find that You’re in the Rotogravure

“The photographers will snap us, and you’ll find that you’re in the Rotogravure.” If you’ve ever wondered what the mysterious R-word in this famous old Irving Berlin holiday song meant, look no farther. This brief history of the “rotogravure” will clear up the confusion.

Exploring our past to sort out myth from reality

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These are the voyages of the TimeShip Anachron.  
Our Mission: To boldly explore the past, dispelling
mythinformation and mythconceptions

of American History along the way.


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