Welcome to Study Marry Kill

Dear History Cranks and Fiends, 

My history newsletter, Study Marry Kill*, launches tomorrow! In the first dispatch, I look at Fauci, Trump, and Kennedy on Santa. Next week, I surprise Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri with the names of three long buried presidents, and she will decide whom to study, whom to marry, and whom to kill. 

Every week will be different. I’ll be using this platform to post archival treasures that delight me, explore forgotten stories from the past, connect the personal with the historical, rail against cruel myths and disingenuous officials. Hammer Time, my old Awl (R.I.P.) column about weird and wonderful things up for auction, is coming back! Going on a great adventure seems unlikely at the moment, but I’m optimistic about the summer; in the meantime, I’ll suggest plenty of historical dramas and books. 

There will be a lot of “behind the scenes” features: I’ll text with archivists; get writing advice from a two-time Pulitzer prize winner; talk to history magazine and book editor about getting published; drink with an author of a prohibition-era book; write about a young historian who found herself in a fight with the most successful author in her field. On occasion, I’ll write about what I see happening in the world of history — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and what needs to change. And I’ll do frequent AMAs.

This will be the most frequently I’ve ever published. My books, podcasts, series, and documentaries take years to produce, and while I write an op-ed every couple of months, the form doesn’t offer much flexibility, and social media is too ephemeral. But most of all, Study Marry Kill is something I’ve craved for a long time: A place to publish whatever I want.

For now, the weekly newsletter is free — thanks to the support of Substack — but will only be available to subscribers. Paid subscribers will have access to AMAs, commenting, and other features. At the bottom of every newsletter, I’ll post a link to a history-related site to donate to. If you forward an email confirming your donation to studymarrykill@gmail.com, I’ll pick a few at random once a month and mail the winners a thank-you note. 

x Alexis

*No dead people will be harmed in the making of this newsletter.

From The Illustrated Police News, July 1899. Full article below. Image via The British Library Board.




 An extraordinary scene was witnessed on
Saturday morning in Peel Lane, a thorough-
fare connecting  Little Hulton with Tyldesley,
in which the principal participants were a
young lady cyclist and a youth of nineteen
or twenty. The lady was riding at a good
pace, and when in a quiet part of the road
the young man, who had apparently been
imbibing, stepped into the roadway, and,
addressing some insulting remarks to the
cyclist, made as if he intended pulling her
off the machine. She immediately alighted,
caught hold of the astonished youth, and
gave him a sound thrashing, using her fists
in scientific fashion, to the delight of several
colliers who were passing. The young man
made off, and the cyclist, who is believed to
be a Bolton Lady noted for her athletic
powers, rode off towards Tydesley.