Ben Miller

Ben Miller is a bachelor's/master's student at the University of Chicago, where he studies race in 20th century America. A Silver Spring native, his childhood appetite for books and museums inspired a deep love for the past, and a desire to put it to work toward a more equitable future. Outside of Boundary Stones, Ben has contributed to projects for the National Archives, the American Historical Association, and Norton & Company. His non-history hobbies include baseball, fine dining, and trivia, the latter of which helped him win two championship titles on It's Academic.

Posts by Ben Miller

Savior or Slumlord?

Row of rundown homes on 7th St SW

In 1933, eleven words made Minnie Keyes a wealthy woman. They were scrawled on a blank telegram slip, tied to a pencil with an elastic band, and stuffed under a mattress. “Minnie Keyes: You have been good to me. All is yours.” These sentences were the final will and testament of Leonard A. Hamilton, who had lived as a boarder at Keyes’ home for 30 years. Once a court accepted the scrap as legitimate, Keyes inherited Hamilton’s $100,000 estate, about $2.1 million in today’s money. Most of its value lay in real estate: dozens of homes scattered across Washington. The properties Minnie Keyes came to own, however, were not the city’s best. And what should happen to them became the source of great debate.

Death Over the Potomac

National Airport Tower and Landing Strip, circa 1950

In 1949, a shocking mid-air crash near National Airport killed more people than any previous air disaster in U.S. history. It did not take long for investigators to place the blame on one unlucky pilot. But was Capt. Erick Rios Bridoux really at fault?

The First Sting

Lt. Robert Arscott and the Operation Sting team sit amid stolen goods

In 1976 D.C. police dressed as cartoon Mafiosos and bought millions in stolen goods from local thieves. They called it "Operation Sting," and soon police across the country were launching "sting operations" of their own. But not everyone was so enamored with the tactic, especially the communities it was being used to target.