Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: Contenders: The ‘Veep’

Throughout American history, only 14 VPs have ever gone on to the presidency. The rest have been mostly forgotten. And not many people would remember the name Alben Barkley, except for two things: his nickname, the “Veep,” and the remarkable circumstances of his death.

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Featured story: Contenders: Say it Like You Mean it

Throughout American history, one of the most important job qualifications for the office of President has been the ability to deliver a speech that will rally the people.

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Featured story: Before Hillary: Women who Fought for the White House

Three stories from our series Contenders: Portraits of America’s Most Original Presidential Candidates… who never won.

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Diaries We give people tape recorders and help them document their own lives in their own words

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Frankie: 16 Years Later

As a teenager, Frankie was a high school football star whose picture was in his hometown newspaper every week. Years after graduating, Frankie was back in the paper—when he was arrested for drug related crimes. In his new diary, Frankie tells his story of crystal meth addiction and takes his recorder along while he attempts to repair his relationship with his family. With a baby on the way, Frankie is hoping for a second chance.

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Going Home: Cristel’s Diary

At 15, Cristel attacked a classmate with a razor blade. After 3 years of incarceration, she’s being released.

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Portraits Extraordinary stories from ordinary places

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The Last Man on the Mountain

In the 1990s, Arch Coal began mining Pigeonroost Hollow. Now Jimmy Weekley is the last person left there.

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Walter Backerman, Seltzer Man

Once there were thousands of seltzer men in New York City. Today, Walter Backerman is one of the last.

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Histories Weaving together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life

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The WASPs: Women Pilots of WWII

In the early 1940s, the government launched an experimental program to train women pilots. They were known as the WASPs, the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

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Identical Strangers

Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were both born in New York City and adopted as infants. When they were 35-years-old, they met, and found they were “identical strangers.”

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