the memory palace

Oct 20 2020 12 mins 271.2k

From public radio producer, Nate DiMeo, comes The Memory Palace, a finalist for the 2016 Peabody Award and one of iTunes Best Podcast of 2015. Short, surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, often a little bit of both. "The most potent pieces of audio being produced today." - The AvClub The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at

The Wheel
Aug 07 2020 20 mins  
In a terrible summer often filled with stories about monuments to terrible men, here is a story about an American hero. Build monuments to Robert Smalls. Originally released on February 10th, 2016. The Memory Palace is a proud member of the Radiotopia Network. Music * Julia Rovinsky plays Phillip Glass’ Metamorphosis I, from her album Dusk. * There’s an excerpt from Paul Drescher’s “Casa Vecchia,” from the Mirrors: Other Fire album. * There’s a chunk of Jose Gonzalez’ “Instrumental” from his Stay in the Shade EP. * “Manny Returns Home” from Bernard Hermann’s score to The Wrong Man. * Branka Parlic plays Philip Glass’ “Mad Rush.” Twice. * “Quiet Fan for SK,” by P.G. Six. * Things get heavy to “Particles of the Universe (Heartbeats)” from Dan Romer and Ben Zeitlin’s score to Beasts of the Southern Wild. Notes There’s a lot written about Robert Smalls, with a lot of contradictory information. I found Edward A. Miller’s Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress particularly useful to sorting it all out. Some other sources I consulted while researching this piece: * The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union by the Don, James McPherson * From Slavery to Public Service: Robert Smalls, 1839-1915, by Okon Uya. * And, for what it’s worth, Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief from RFK Jr.’s American Heroes Series is an enjoyable and surprisingly thorough version of the story for young readers, if you’re ever looking for that sort of thing.

Episode 156: That's How it Goes Whenever it Snows
Jan 19 2020 10 mins  
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, a collective of independently owned and operated podcasts. A note on shownotes. In a perfect world, you go into each episode of the Memory Palace knowing nothing about what's coming. It's pretentious, sure, but that's the intention. So, if you don't want any spoilers or anything, you can click play without reading ahead. Anyway... **Music ** Artifices from Chapelier Fou. A smidge of [Equality Under the Law](http://: from John Williams score to Lincoln. I Can See Your Tracks (Instrumental) from Laura Veirs. Bone Collector by Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge Some of Increase by David Lang [Serenade for Alto Saxophone and Strings: IV Stella’s Dance](http:// by David Liptak Johnny Griffin’s version of [Woody’n You](http:// Last Days of Summer by Maria Avos Notes This story started by reading The War Lovers: Lodge, Hearst, Roosevelt and the Rush to Empire, Evan Thomas’ history of the Spanish American War. Doris Kearns Goodwin adds more in The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. Lodge’s memoir is here. Robert Grant’s is here. Henry Adams’ is here.

Episode 118 (On the Shores of Assawompset)
Nov 20 2017 13 mins  
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Music Musica Seqenza play Schreza Infida Frederico Durand plas Lluvia de Estrellas The Martin Hayes Quintet plays The Boy in the Gap East Forest by Provenance There's a bit of Madame Ovary from Bensi and Jurriaans and Christine It finishes on Three Dances: II. Pavane from Chromo Tuba Quartet Notes Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday by James W. Baker and Peter J. Gomes sent me first down a Charlotte Mitchell rabbit hole. History of Plymouth, Norfolk, and Barnstable Counties, Massachusetts by Elroy S. Thompson History of the Town of Lakeville, 1852-1952 by Gladys De Maranville (which you probably own all ready but, here it is anyway). Indian History, Genealogy, Pertaining to the Good Sachem, Massasoit and his Descendants by Ebenezer Weaver Pierce. The great, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, by Jill Lepore. Massasoit of the Wamponoags: With Commentary on the Indian Character, by Alvin Gardner Weeks "Baby Pilgrims, Sturdy Forefathers, and One Hundred Percent Americanism: the Mayflower Tercentenary of 1920," by Christine Arnold-Lourie in the Massachusetts Historical Review. "The Daughter of a King," by Mike Maddigan in Southcoast Today. "The Last of the Wamponoags," by Charles T. Scott in New England Magazine, vol. 33. I also looked at a number of news paper articles, most found at through the expected search terms.

Notes on a Plaque, Still Imagined
Apr 26 2017 15 mins  
This episode was originally released in August of 2015. It was re-released upon hearing that the city of New Orleans has begun the process of removing four monuments to the confederacy and post-civil war era, starting with an obelisk erected in 1891 honoring members of the Crescent City White League who suppressed the African American vote through violence and intimidation and who launched a failed military overthrow of the city’s elected government and integrated police force in 1874. Music * First up (and returning at the end) is Sandra's Theme, from Heather McIntosh's fantastic score to Compliance, a very good, very disturbing movie. * We hit Frank Glazer leading Charles Ives' Largo for Clarinet, Violin and Piano a couple of times, framing... * Runaway from Olafur Arnalds. Notes: *The key to researching this episode turned out to be an article in The Journal of Southern History from 2001 by Court Carnay called, "The Contested Image of Nathan Bedford Forrest.". * Also particularly useful was Nathan Bedford Forrest: a Biography, by Jack Hurst. * As was Lynching in America: A History in Documents, compiled by Christopher Waldrep. * Much of my information about the contents of the ceremony and speeches was gathered from this, the digitized journal and scrapbook of Charles Henry Niehaus, the sculptor of the monument. It's an extraordinary resource. * And let us all read Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases, by Ida B. Wells. And let's put her on the $10 while we're at it.

The Met Residency Episode 1: Recent Acqusition
Oct 06 2016 14 mins  
Nate DiMeo is the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Artist in Residence for 2016/2017. He is producing ten pieces inspired by the collection and by the museum itself. This is the first episode of that residency. This residency is made possible by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Chester Dale Fund. This episode is written and produced and stuff by Nate DiMeo with engineering assistance from Kathy Tu and research assistance from Andrea Milne. Its Executive Producer is Limor Tomer, General Manager of Concerts & Lectures, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Art Discussed If you can't be at the museum to listen to this episode, you might want to take a look at: * Dance in a Subterranean Longhouse at Clearlake, California, Jules Tavernier, 1878. * The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak, Albert Bierstadt, 1868 * Washington Crossing the Delaware Emmanuel Leutze, 1851 Music * We hear, "Prelude for a Single Snowflake Under Streetlight, Falling Like a Star," "The View from a Foggy Window, or Your Head in the Clouds with a Fever," and "Origami Guitar," from Lullatone. * We hear, "Entering Darwin," "On the Atlantic Ocean," "Popcorn and Life," "Shut up World," and "Turning Sixteen" from Ben Sollee. * Wien, by Labradford plays beneath the credits. Special thanks to Gabe Hilfer of Full Pursuit Media. and to Dr. Elizabeth Kornhauser and Ariana Baurley at the Met. Further Reading * Chronicling the West for Harper's: Coast to Coast with Frezeny & Tavernier by Claudine Chalmers. * Jules Tavernier Artist and Adventurer from Scott A. Shields, Alfred C. Harrison, Jr. and Claudine Chalmers. The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at

Episode 91 (Natural Habitat)
Jul 02 2016 27 mins  
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at Notes and Reading: * I came to this story the old fashioned way (for me): I saw Su Lin at the Field Museum and needed to know more. That led me inevitably to Vicki Croke’s The Lady and the Panda from 2006. It’s a terrific read. If you have any interest at all in learning more about Ruth Harkness, that’s the place to go. I’ve got a few quibbles here and there, but, for real, it’s delightful. * Quentin Young’s (slightly strange and contested) version of events is told inChasing the Panda by Michael Kiefer. * If you’ve got a few hundred bucks (or a library with more liberal lending policies with old books than mine), why not read Ruth’s own book, The Baby Giant Panda? * If you’re interested in zoos writ large, I’m a fan of Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos by Elizabeth Hansen. Music: * We start with Hush-Maker by Moon Ate the Dark. * Roll on with Freudian Slippers by Chilly Gonzales. * Hear Bibio’s Cherry Blossom Road a couple of times. * Hit up Nice Dream by radio.string.quartet.vienna * Hear Don Redman and his Orchestra play Blue Eyed Baby from Memphis. * The centerpiece of the middle section is Snow Again by Lambert. * We hear a couple of pieces by Dan Romer: An Old Fashioned Man and End of the World. * We finish up on Lullatone’s Falling Asleep With a Book on Your Chest.

Episode 86 (Finishing Hold)
Apr 08 2016 17 mins  
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Do you live in Toronto? Chicago? Milwaukee? Minneapolis? How about L.A.? Come see the Memory Palace live this May. SPOILERS BELOW A Selected Bibliography * Dr. Sam: An American Tragedy by Jack Harrison Pollack * Summer of Shadows: a Murder a Pennant Race and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation, by Jonathan Knight, a very readable popular history book that pulls off a maybe-ill-advised trick of balancing the story of the Sheppard case with the Indians 1954 season surprisingly well. * Endure and Conquer, Sam Sheppard and F. Lee Bailey's version of things, written in 1966. Agenda aside, it's a fascinating read. Especially his account of the prison years. * Murder, Culture, and Injustice: Four Sensational Cases in American History, by Walter Hixson. * "Dr. Sam Sheppard The Ex-Convict who Revolutionized Professional Wrestling," from The Wrestler, May, 1970. * The bulk of the details from the last section of story are pulled from contemporary newspaper articles from the Mansfield News-Journal, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Dover Daily Reporter, The Escanaba Daily Press, the Detroit Free Press, the Nashville Tennessean, The Tyrone Daily Herald, and The Washington Post Music * We hear a snippet of Runaway by Ólafur Arnalds up top. * Then Debut by Christopher Ferreira. * A bit of Saturday Evening from Tomasz Bednarczyk * Ralph Van Raat plays John Adams' China Gates. * The recurring flute piece is Wasser-Wunder from Tibor Szemző and Group 180 * Deadmau5 plays Invidia. * Lawrence English plays Watching it Unfold. * The radio snippet is a bit of a cheat. It's from the World Series from that year. Only broadcast I could find from '54.

Episode 79 (Artist in Landscape)
Nov 12 2015 19 mins  
Music * Under the credits is Harlaamstrat 74 off of John Dankworth's Modesty Blaise score. * They first meet to a piece called Brouillard (version 1) from Georges Delaure's extraordinary score to Jules et Jim. (A second version comes in later when J.J. Audubon is living the high life in England). * We also hear Waltz by Mother Falcon. * I go back to the Marcelo Zarvos/Please Give well when the Scotsman arrives at their store. Note: it's the go-to soundtrack for "People Arriving at One's Store With A Life Changing Proposition" here at the Memory Palace. Also: go watch Please Give. * The little piano piece is from Nathan Johnson's score to The Day I Saw Your Heart. * Lucy and John titter like plovers to Andrew Cyrille's dope, skittering drums on Nuba 1. * The especially sad bit, right before the end is Dream 3 (in the Midst of my Life), from Max Richter's giant, From Sleep album. * A couple times, including the ending, we hear "the Lark Ascending" from Ralph Vaughn Willliams. It is beautiful. You should buy it. Notes As per usual, I read a lot about the Audubons and the Bakewells. I relied most upon the charming and smart, On the Road with John James Audubon by Mary Durant, and Carolyn DeLatte's lovely, thoughtful book, Lucy Audubon: a Biography. * Just a quick note: there's a very enjoyable PBS/American Masters/Nature documentary about Audubon. It's a fun and informative watch. But, I'll say, you come out of that thinking that things were fundamentally swell between Lucy and John in a way that I'm not entirely sure is supported by the facts. Or jibes with, you know, human nature.

Episode 77 (Butterflies)
Oct 27 2015 20 mins  
It's fundraiser time! Do you enjoy the Memory Palace? Do you want to support independent media? Then support the home of the Memory Palace, Radiotopia. Click here and become a sustaining supporter and help keep us going for a long time to come! Music* Under the credits is Harlaamstrat 74 off of John Dankworth's Modesty Blaise score.* First up is "Adultere bourgeoise," a piece from Paul Misraki's score to A Double tour.* Then we've got a piece called "Night Time Talk" by Stephen J. Anderson. * We hit For the Trees by Matmos a couple of times (the bit after: "the facts were these," or whatever I say)* Frank Durr's theme is P from that first LaBradford album, all those years ago. * The score for the House of Butterflies is called Fragment II by Library Tapes. It comes back again toward the end.* We also hear Invidia, by Deadmaus. That's the one we finish on. Notes* Several essays were very helpful in researching this. Among those were: -* I found William J. Kovarik's Dissertation, The Ethyl Controversy:How the News Media Set the Agenda for a Public Health Controversy over the use of Leaded Gasoline, 1924-1926, completely fascinating. * I relied on a number of papers from the W.H.O. when researching the health effects of lead and ozone depletion.* Here's the New York Times original expose about the House of Butterflies.* Finally, Thomas Midgely, IV's biography of his grandfather, From the Periodic Table to Production: The Life of Thomas Midgely, Jr., inventor of Leaded Gasoline and Freon Refrigerants, is, while unsurprisingly hagiographic, both well-researched and highly readable.

Episode 66 (The Pirate Queen)
Jun 21 2015 19 mins  
The music: *Under the credits is Harlaamstrat 74 off of John Dankworth's great, ridiculous Modesty Blaise score. *The recurring piano theme is Les Marionettes by Zbigniew Preisner from his score to La Double Vie de Veronique (And, have you seen The Double Life of Veronique? Man, that's good) *Eugenia's dreamy little theme is Just Saying by Jamie XX off of In Colour *That organ track is called Organ Track by Nicolai Dunger from The Cloud is Learning *Al Davis' dance theme is Watusi Bounce from Bo Diddly's Ride On/The Chess Masters *Helen watches Eugenia on the lawn at the Grand Hotel to the tune of To a Wild Rose by Patricia Rossborough from the collection Dainty Debutantes: Female Novelty Pianists of the 1930's (And, ugh. Dismissive much?) *The Judge drones over one of Scott Watson's Six Solos for the Beginning Tuba Player from his 2008 album, Stepping Stones for Tuba, vol. 1 (like I need to tell you that) *The ending piece is Mike Andrews lovely Library Chant from his score to Miranda July's lovely Me and You and Everyone we Know Notes: I first stumbled across this story in my torn up copy of New York: Confidential! Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer's truly mucky, muck-raking guide to the city's underbelly from 1951. I read a ton of old news paper articles about the case (the New York Times covered it extensively, if you want to go back and read those). The two most useful books I came across in the process were Joshua Zeitz' Flapper and Lewis Erenberg's Steppin' Out: New York Nightlife and the Transformation of American Culture, 1890-1930

5 • 21 Ratings

pwhpparty3 Oct 19 2020
When they talk about and teach the Podcast as Fine Art, they will start with the Memory Palace. Always wonderful, always moving, excellent show.

Bauble Oct 05 2020
5 stars

JP Sep 22 2020
Nate weaves stories small and big in a compelling and emotional way. One of my favourite podcasts to learn about the unknown corners of history.

Karen Sandvoss Sep 20 2020
Love this podcast! Its short stories always set a mood and transport me into a different place in time. I learn something about history and it's calming and delightful.

joemochs Sep 16 2020
Great stuff as always

chrismoz Sep 09 2020
This is a great podcast for sweet, short stories of things that have been forgotten.

David Sep 09 2020
Great storyteller. Great stories. Start at the beginning and listen to them all, you will not be disappointed.

RedMWC Sep 07 2020
There is beauty in these short stories. It's a joy to have a new episode show up.

Inna47 Aug 12 2020
Incredible and profound stories told with empathy and wisdom, and in a beautiful, soothing voice.

Jurjen Aug 08 2020
Great story

Mr. Nice Jul 19 2020
Great stories, beautifuly told.

Fogmasterfresh Jun 05 2020
Excellent...short and sweet, informative and well written

bj14klein May 31 2020
Well written. Just the right amount of info and time.

aeaton123 May 29 2020
Wonderful stories from history, told in a relaxing (but never boring) manner.

SG May 26 2020

jpetec May 26 2020
A beautiful podcast. Both thoughtful and kind. A breath of fresh air with a length that means it's easy to keep up with. You always feel better when you do. Nate DiMeo has a relaxing and pleasant tone that can take you into the wonderfully researched stories he tells.

F1nches May 26 2020
Having devoured the more recent episodes, which are so beautifully told & thoughtfully produced, I'm now diving into the back catalogue. Nate, you do yourself a disservice. These are still pretty great!

0rangeJ May 11 2020
Perfection. My only request is more but I understand perfection takes time.

cweems4 Apr 23 2020
Wow. They always make me stop and think. Truly enjoyable.

Colin Apr 18 2020
This is one of the best. Listen to them all, then binge 99% Invisible. You won't be disappointed in either!

Rhiannon Apr 16 2020
Well told stories, perfect length