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History Detectives: Drug Smuggling Doll; Florida Map; Marion Carpenter Camera

Airs Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Catherine Wright with the Museum of the Confederacy asks Gwen Wright to confirm the legend behind this doll. Did a Confederate family use this doll to smuggle medicine past the Northern blockade?

America's top gumshoes are back to prove once again that an object found in an attic or backyard might be anything but ordinary.

Your Investigation

If you need more help with your own investigations, visit Detective Techniques, with guides on how to research a WWII military record, rock and mineral identification, and more information on art and photo evaluation. You can also find a step-by-step guide to genealogy, researching buildings, document evaluation and much more.

Wesley Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, historian and professor of architecture, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; Dr. Eduardo Pagán, professor of history and American studies at Arizona State University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, leave no stone unturned as they travel around the country to explore the stories behind local folklore, prominent figures and family legends.

"Drug Smuggling Doll" - Did the Confederate South use a child’s doll, to smuggle drugs past the Northern blockade? In 1923, the descendents of Confederate Major General James Patton Anderson donated the doll ‘Nina’ to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

This x-ray shows this dolls head is hollow. Family legend says during the Civil War they stowed medicine inside the doll’s head and had a young girl carried the doll through the Northern blockade.
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Above: This x-ray shows this dolls head is hollow. Family legend says during the Civil War they stowed medicine inside the doll’s head and had a young girl carried the doll through the Northern blockade.

The family says the general’s young niece carried the doll past the blockade with drugs tucked inside her hollow head. The morphine and quinine would aid sick soldiers. An X-ray confirms the head is hollow, but the museum has no other documentation to prove the family’s claim.

"History Detectives" tracks down the story behind ‘Nina,’ a ‘much loved member of the Anderson family’ and whether she helped to relieve suffering and save lives during the War Between the States.

Ruth Sandholm asks Tukufu Zuberi to solve the mystery this Florida map. Why are some labels in French and other labels in English or Spanish? When was this map drawn?
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Above: Ruth Sandholm asks Tukufu Zuberi to solve the mystery this Florida map. Why are some labels in French and other labels in English or Spanish? When was this map drawn?

"Florida Map" - An Ocala, Florida woman owns a map of Florida that mystifies her. Her son has researched this map over the past 15 years and still cannot make sense of the towns and missions listed on the map.

The labels are a mixture of French, English and Spanish. The map is small, about 4.5 inches by 3.75 inches. A pencil note along the bottom says “1681” and there appear to be engraving plate lines along the sides. "History Detectives" investigates who made this map and when, and makes a discovery on the role the map played in the colonization of Florida.

Did the first woman photographer assigned to the White House use this camera to shoot President Truman?
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Above: Did the first woman photographer assigned to the White House use this camera to shoot President Truman?

"Marion Carpenter Camera" - Does our contributor have a camera owned by the first woman to serve as a White House photographer? The timeworn, mid-century box camera looks unassuming until you see the note inside: “Marion Carpenter White House Photographer.”

A quick search tells our contributor that Marion Carpenter was the first female wire service photographer assigned to the White House. She covered the Truman administration. Did this camera belong to Marion Carpenter? Did she use it to photograph President Truman? "History Detectives" visits the White House Pressroom and the Washington Post to find answers.

"History Dectectives" is on Facebook, and you can follow @histdetectives on Twitter.

Video

History Detectives: Season Nine Preview

Watch the full episode. See more History Detectives.

Above: Our five intrepid detectives are back with new investigations and fascinating stories in season nine of the "History Detectives."

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