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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NPR History Dept.
11:03 am
Tue February 10, 2015

What If Napoleon Had Come To America?

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 11:44 am

Two hundred years ago this year, in June of 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated at Waterloo by a coalition of countries — including Austria, Prussia, Russia and the United Kingdom. Though he wound up in exile on the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena, he contemplated escaping to America.

What if Napoleon had come to the New World?

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NPR History Dept.
9:18 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Marathon Mania In American History

Marathon Dance contestants, 1923.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 12:10 pm

Odd that Americans, long known for their short attention spans and — oh, look, a sparkly thing ... are at the same time manic for marathonic undertakings.

Running, for example. A century ago, scores of marathoners competed before huge wintertime crowds in the 1909 Brooklyn Marathon. Flash forward, and this past November, more than 50,000 participants finished the 2014 New York City Marathon. (Applications for nonguaranteed entry in the 2015 race must be in by Feb. 15.)

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NPR History Dept.
11:12 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Reviving The Lost Art Of Logrolling

Catherine Gauthier and Bette Berkeley, who at 17 won a 1939 national women's logrolling title in Longview, Wash.
Courtesy of Forest History Society

Considered by many to be the sole purview of lumberjacks, the competitive sport of logrolling — in which participants pad about on a log in water and try to outlast one another — is hoping for new growth.

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NPR History Dept.
6:15 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

'Female Husbands' In The 19th Century

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:53 am

Questions of gender identity are nothing new. Way before Transparent and Chaz Bono and countless other popular culture stepping stones to where we are now regarding gender identity, there were accounts of "female husbands."

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NPR History Dept.
9:03 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Gamesmanship Or Cheating: A History Quiz

Official game balls for this year's Super Bowl sit in a bin before being laced and inflated at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio.
Rick Osentoski AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 2:18 pm

"The line between cheating and gamesmanship is constantly blurred," observes The New York Times in a recent story. The Times, and just about everyone else, is talking about the perhaps-tampering-with-gameballs allegations levied against the New England Patriots — specifically coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

Both Belichick and Brady have denied any wrongdoing.

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NPR History Dept.
8:45 am
Thu January 22, 2015

How Black Smokejumpers Helped Save The American West

Smokejumper Jesse Mayes preparing to jump from a C-47.
U.S. Army Air Force

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 6:01 pm

As part of the back-and-forth attacks of World War II, the Imperial Japanese army launched balloon bombs — silent wind-borne devices designed to wreak havoc on the cities and woodlands of the American West.

The U.S. government discouraged news organizations from reporting on the bombs — which some call the first intercontinental weapons — that successfully landed in North America.

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NPR History Dept.
8:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Beware Of Japanese Balloon Bombs

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 1:21 pm

Those who forget the past are liable to trip over it.

Just a few months ago a couple of forestry workers in Lumby, British Columbia — about 250 miles north of the U.S. border — happened upon a 70-year-old Japanese balloon bomb.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Wed December 31, 2014

10 Final Thoughts Of The Protojournalist

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 3:02 pm

1) Change is constant. After a year and a half and more than 250 posts, The Protojournalist storytelling project has reached its finish line. This will be the last Protojournalist post — under my aegis.

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The Protojournalist
11:23 am
Wed December 24, 2014

A Very Native American Christmas

A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:28 pm

With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations.

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The Protojournalist
11:46 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Before Google ... Who Knew?

The New York Public Library reading room.
istockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:28 am

If Google can't answer your question these days, who you gonna call? A librarian, of course.

Librarians continue to be cool. On a contemporary TNT series, The Librarians are super heroes. For the past couple of years, "librarian" has popped up on the Forbes list of Least Stressful Jobs. And even in this Age of the Search Engine, librarians keep making new discoveries.

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The Protojournalist
11:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Speed Dating In The 19th Century

New Year's Calling card for a group of gentlemen in 1877.
Courtesy of McLean County Museum of History

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:46 pm

Long before there were online dating sites, such as eHarmony, Match or OKCupid, there was a curious offline custom in America known as New Year's Calling.

In the 19th century, young single women in New York City; Washington, D.C., and other cities and towns across the country would hold open houses on Jan. 1 and invite eligible bachelors — friends and strangers — to stop by for a brief visit and some light refreshments.

Often the women posted ads — which included their names, addresses and visiting hours — in the local newspaper. This was communitywide speed dating.

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The Protojournalist
11:15 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Begun The Christmas Tree War Has

Artificial Christmas tree.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 2:03 pm

When it comes to Christmas trees, which kind of symbol do you prefer — real or artificial? In recent stat-studded news stories, Americans seem to be conflicted, but leaning toward artificiality.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Fri December 5, 2014

The Fine Art Of Deception

An anamorphic installation portrait of Malian actor Sotigui Kouyate by French artist Bernard Pras.
From YouTube

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 8:26 pm

Fooling the eye — with trick-niques like anamorphic sculpture, trompe l'oeil paintings and other optical illusions — is a centuries-old artistic pursuit.

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The Protojournalist
11:52 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Wacky Wrestlers Of Yesteryear

Two men wrestle in a ring full of smelt during the Smelt Carnival in Marinette, Wis., in 1939.
Wisconsin Historical Society

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 4:37 am

Hoodslam — a popular spectacle that is staged monthly in Oakland, Calif. — is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "part wrestling show, part carnival act and all comedy."

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The Protojournalist
5:51 am
Sun November 23, 2014

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 10:05 am

Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween.

People — young and old — got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash., and points in between.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Who Won The Civil War? Tough Question

History quiz: Students on campus.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 9:41 pm

The old joke used to be: Who is buried in Grant's tomb?

Now it's not so funny anymore.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Sat November 15, 2014

The Wondrous World Of Tom Thumb Weddings

Alex George and Lilliana Bremerkamp pretend to get married in a 2008 Tom Thumb wedding.
Robert LaRouche Courtesy of Holly Bremerkamp

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 9:20 am

When the "bride" and "groom" walk down the aisle in a Tom Thumb Wedding — as they did just a few weeks ago at the Fellowship Baptist Church on Staten Island in New York — they are:

1) Often not much taller than the backs of the church pews.

2) Paying homage to a pair of 19th century celebrities.

3) Acting out an American ritual with roots stretching back more than 150 years.

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The Protojournalist
11:17 am
Thu November 13, 2014

8 Epic Eating Contests In American History

Pie eating contest in 1921.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 2:51 pm

As America enters the holiday season, chowing down at a crowded table can become a competitive experience. What was once confined to friendly wagers has blossomed into a full-blown industry.

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The Protojournalist
11:27 am
Tue November 11, 2014

The Secrets Of The Coxswain

The gold-medal winning U.S. rowing team — coxswain at lower left — at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Danny Moloschok/Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 10:09 pm

For British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking — subject of a just-released biopic — being one turned his life around. American newshound Anderson Cooper was one, the Yale Daily News reports. So was photographer Lord Snowdon, former husband to Princess Margaret, according to Rowing History.

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The Protojournalist
11:16 am
Wed November 5, 2014

The Strange Dating Games Of 1914

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 11:14 am

With a peck of new tech in development, Upstart reports recently, "the dating game may never be the same."

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