The Last Archive

The Last Archive
A podcast about the history of evidence written and hosted by New Yorker writer, author, and celebrated historian Jill Lepore

The Last Archive Presents: Brave New Planet
Oct 12 • 4 min
Introducing Brave New Planet, a seven-part series that delves deep into the powerful technologies changing our world. These technologies have amazing potential upsides, but if we’re not careful, some might leave us a lot worse off. Brave New Planet is…
The Last Archive Presents: Into the Zone
Sep 3 • 50 min
The newest show from Pushkin Industries is Into the Zone, a podcast about opposites and how borders are never as clear as we think. In Episode 1, Hari’s visit to Stonehenge on the Solstice prompts an investigation into the gray zone between being a native…
The Last Archive Presents: The Chronicles of Now
Jul 23 • 16 min
The Last Archive presents: The Chronicles of Now. Three billion birds have gone missing in North America over the past 50 years. Or is that fake news? J. Courtney Sullivan, the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including her most recent,…
Jul 16 • 54 min
For ten episodes, we’ve been asking a big question: Who killed truth? The answer has to do with a change in the elemental unit of knowledge: the fall of the fact, and the rise of data. So, for the last chapter in our investigation, we rented a cherry red…
For the Birds
Jul 9 • 52 min
In the spring of 1958, when the winter snow melted and the warm sun returned, the birds did not. Birdwatchers, ordinary people, everyone wondered where the birds had gone. Rachel Carson, a journalist and early environmentalist, figured it out — they’d…
She Said, She Said
Jul 2 • 47 min
In 1969, radical feminists known as the Redstockings gathered in a church in Greenwich Village, and spoke about their experiences with abortion. They called this ‘consciousness-raising’ or ‘speaking bitterness,’ and it changed the history of women’s…
The Computermen
Jun 25 • 47 min
In 1966, just as the foundations of the Internet were being imagined, the federal government considered building a National Data Center. It would be a centralized federal facility to hold computer records from each federal agency, in the same way that the…
Cell Strain
Jun 18 • 50 min
In the 1950s, polio spread throughout the United States. Heartbreakingly, it affected mainly children. Thousands died. Thousands more were paralyzed. Many ended up surviving only in iron lungs, a machine that breathed for polio victims, sometimes for…
Project X
Jun 11 • 47 min
The election of 1952 brought all kinds of new technology into the political sphere. The Eisenhower campaign experimented with the first television ads to feature an American presidential candidate. And on election night, CBS News premiered the first…
Jun 4 • 44 min
In 1945, Ralph Ellison went to a barn in Vermont and began to write Invisible Man. He wrote it in the voice of a black man from the south, a voice that changed American literature. Invisible Man is a novel made up of black voices that had been excluded…
The Invisible Lady
May 28 • 42 min
In 1804, an Invisible Lady arrived in New York City. She went on to become the most popular attraction in the country. But why? And who was she? In this episode, we chase her through time, finding invisible women everywhere, wondering: What is the…
Detection of Deception
May 21 • 51 min
When James Frye, a young black man, is charged with murder under unusual circumstances in 1922, he trusts his fate to a strange new machine: the lie detector. Why did the lie detector’s inventor, William Moulton Marston, a psychology professor and lawyer,…
The Clue of the Blue Bottle
May 14 • 45 min
On a spring day in 1919, a woman’s body was found bound, gagged, and strangled in a garden in Barre, Vermont. Who was she? Who killed her? In this episode, we try to solve a cold case - reopening a century-old murder investigation - as a way to uncover…
Introducing The Last Archive
Apr 30 • 2 min
The Last Archive​:​ a new podcast about the history of evidence written and hosted by New Yorker writer, author, and celebrated historian Jill Lepore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit