America/United States

Bicycling in the Victorian Era and Lady Riders

Bicycling in the Victorian Era was a popular pastime with men and women everywhere owning bicycles. However, it was women who found cycling a freeing experience and in fact, America’s devoted feminist and social reformer, Susan B. Anthony, coined the bicycle the “freedom machine.” The president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Frances Willard, thought…

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Cat Superstitions in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

There are many cat superstitions, much more so than dog superstitions. In fact, superstitions surrounding cats have existed for a long time. One example is Ancient Egypt where cat sacrifices were made to the gods during the Hellenistic period and where mummified remains of cats have been discovered. Cat superstitions were also known to have…

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Belle Starr: An American Female Outlaw

Belle Starr was an American outlaw born Myra Maybelle Shirley on her family’s farm on 5 February 1848 near Carthage, Missouri. Her father was John Shirley, and her mother was his third wife, Elizabeth Hatfield.* john Shirley was a prosperous farmer but also the “black sheep” of a well-to-do Virginia family. In 1860, he sold…

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Rat Pits, Rat Baiting, and American Sportsman Kit Burns

Rat pits were an infamous form of entertainment that people like Christopher Keyburn promoted. Commonly known by his alias Kit Burns, he was a mid to late nineteenth century American sportsman, saloon keeper, and underworld figure in New York City. His business in the Bowery was located on Water Street in a nice-looking but plain…

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Henry Brown: A Slave Who Mailed Himself to Freedom

Henry Brown was a slave who at the age of 33 mailed himself to freedom. He placed himself in a baize-lined wooden crate that had been addressed to an abolitionist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because of his clever plan he acquired the nickname of “Box” at a Boston antislavery convention in May 1849 and thereafter called…

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Ghost Dance: A Native American Ceremony

The Ghost Dance was a nineteenth century religious movement and belief system embraced by numerous Native American tribes that happened at a time when the U.S. government threatened to erase their culture. Native Americans believed that the practice of the dance would end westward expansion and that the dead spirits of the Native American would…

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Independence Day: Fourth of July Bostonians Memories

In 1899 The Boston Globe recalled Independence Day or Fourth of July celebrations remembered by Bostonians from years earlier. These memories included banquets, patriotic speeches, parades, firecrackers, and fireworks. Bostonians also reminisced that the celebrations 50, 60, and even 70 years ago were as noisy as they were in the present day of 1899.

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Robert Burns 119th Birthday Celebration in 1878

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist who pioneered the Romantic movement and is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. He also became a cultural icon in Scotland and a great source of inspiration world-wide because he influenced people like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Steinbeck, and Alexander…

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Copper King Mansion and William A. Clark

William A. Clark built the 34-room Copper King Mansion in Butte, Montana between 1884 and 1889. It was situated in what was called Uptown and was reported to have nine fireplaces imported from France, ninety doors, and six-hundred and thirty-nine windowpanes. In addition, there was a grand staircase, known as the “Staircase of All Nations”…

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Memorial Day Observances in America in 1885

Memorial Day is an American holiday in which Americans honor the dead and remember those who died while in the armed services. The holiday originated in the aftermath of the American Civil War when a movement formed to honor dead soldiers on both sides of the conflict. This day of remembrance was initially called Decoration…

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