History Detectives takes objects – many of which are submitted through the website – and launches investigations to discover if the object is authentic. Sometimes the owner is right on; sometimes a new and intriguing story is uncovered. It’s always fun.
History Detectives is hosted by Wesley Cowan (Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, and an expert in historic Americana); Elyse Luray (appraiser, licensed auctioneer and pop culture historian); Gwendolyn Wright (professor of architecture, planning and preservation and professor of history at Columbia University); and Tukufu Zuberi, head of the sociology department and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
In each program they investigate three objects, busting myths and revealing the true history and identity of items pulled out of viewers’ attics, basements and backyards. They use forensic technology and draw in experts from a variety of fields, often taking their hunt down dusty back roads to chase down the facts. This season they’ll investigate nearly 30 items.
For more on this series, including the “Web Investigations,” where you can become a History Detective yourself, visit the station's website.
Here are a few of this season’s items…
The moving diary of a young American pilot stationed in England during World War II..
An unsigned oil portrait of a contributor’s grandfather that he believes was painted by the Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet.
A classic Airstream trailer that might have been registered in Wally Byam’s (Airstream founder) Caravan Club International and taken part in a spectacular 221-day, 14,307-mile trek from the tip of Southern Africa to the pyramids of ancient Egypt.
The question is...