A illustrated poster showing the various consequences of syphilis, including skin lesions, birth defects, and social stigma

Syphilis: Origin Story. Or, Early Modern Europeans Don’t Know Where It Came From, Current Scholars Don’t Know Where It Came From, and a Lot of Poxy Penises and Vulvas Suffered in Between

From whence came the poxiest of poxes? Averill and Marissa dive into the debates surrounding the origin of syphilis, with historians, paleobiologists, forensic anthropologists, and Shakespeare all weighing in. Listen, download, watch on YouTube, or scroll down for the transcript. Read more…

Averill Earls, PhD

Executive Producer

Assistant Professor of History at Mercyhurst University. Researches sex, gender, and incarceration in modern Ireland. History side hustles: Nursing Clio, DIG, and the LGBTQ Council for the Pennsylvania History Association. Will tell you about maple creamees, just ask.

Sarah Handley-Cousins, PhD


Clinical Assistant Professor of History for the University at Buffalo. Forthcoming book on disabled Civil War veterans. Administrative Assistant for UB History Department, editor at Nursing Clio. Has participated in Civil War reenactments, and still has the petticoats to prove it.

Marissa Rhodes


Independent information professional and PhD candidate in History. Studies lactating women for hire in the Atlantic world during the Revolutionary era. Has won lots of really cool grants and fellowships, 2015 article on wet-nursing ads in the Journal of Family History. Unhealthy obsession with true crime podcasts.

Elizabeth Garner Masarik


PhD candidate in History writing about Progressive Era women and the formation of the welfare state in the US. 2017-18 UB Gender Institute Dissertation Fellow, 2018-2019 Humanities Institute fellow. Forthcoming article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Might be able to deadlift you. Texas native who married her tattoo artist (not just for the free tattoos).