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Arts & Culture

HISTORY DETECTIVES: Andrew Jackson's Mouth, Barton Letter, Spybook

HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray reunites the face of an Andrew Jackson statue with its mouth.
Stephanie Berger
HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray reunites the face of an Andrew Jackson statue with its mouth.

Airs Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

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

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.

Can HISTORY DETECTIVES reunite the mouth and head of a vandalized sculpture of President Andrew Jackson that had been dismembered for more than 150 years? Host Elyse Luray discovers that vandals chopped the bust of Jackson off the frigate "USS Constitution" in the segment “Andrew Jackson’s Mouth.”

Then, in “Barton Letter,” Eduardo Pagán traces a letter from Clara Barton to Burnt Cabins, Pennsylvania. Why did the Red Cross founder write this letter about a Civil War soldier?

Finally, in the segment “Spybook,” Gwen Wright traces a notebook’s history back to anarchist Emma Goldman. Did the notebook once belong to a World War I spy?

HISTORY DETECTIVES is on Facebook.

This episode originally aired in 2010.