America/United States

Wigs: Their Wearers and Eighteenth-Century Anecdotes

In the eighteenth century, those who wore wigs almost always powdered them. By the 1780s, young men were moving away from wigs and were powdering their own natural hair and by the 1790s both wigs and hair powder were used primarily by older, more conservative men, such as Voltaire, whom Madame Tussaud made sure had…

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Olivia Langdon Clemens: Wife to Mark Twain

Olivia Langdon Clemens, often called “Livy” by her husband, was born on 27 November 1845 to Jervis Langdon, a wealthy businessman, and his wife, Olivia Lewis Langdon, in Elmira, New York. The family was religious, reformist, and abolitionist. Olivia was tutored at home and attended the Thurston’s Female Seminary and Elmira Female College, a school…

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Fourth of July: Celebrating Independence Day, 1777-1870

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day as it is sometimes called, did not become an official federal holiday anywhere in the United States until the U.S. Congress declared it as such on 28 June 1870 along with three other federal holidays, Christmas, New Years, and Thanksgiving. Part of the reason it took so long…

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Maria Mitchell: First Woman Astronomer in America

The first woman astronomer in America was Maria Mitchell. She was born on 1 August 1818 at No. 1 Vestal Street in Nantucket, Massachusetts, a year or so after Jane Austen died in Winchester, England. Maria’s father was William Mitchell, a cooper who then became a schoolteacher and her mother, Lydia Coleman, a library worker.…

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Bonesetters: Joint Manipulators and Musculoskeletal Fixers

Bonesetters of the 1700s and 1800s were like today’s chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists rolled into one. They practiced joint manipulation and fixed musculoskeletal injuries using manual force. Traditionally, these practitioners did not have formal medical training but rather learned their skills on their own or from their family with bone-setting knowledge being passed down…

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Jane Cakebread: The Drunkest Woman in the World

Jane Cakebread, or “Miss Cakebread” as she liked to call herself, was a homeless and destitute woman considered the drunkest woman in the world in the 1800s. That was because she broke all records being arrested hundreds of times and convicted an amazing 281 times for drunkenness. Her constant drunkenness also meant that she constantly…

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Socialite Madame Récamier: Interesting Facts About Her

Socialite Madame Récamier, also known as Juliette Récamier, was a native of Lyon, France born on 3 December 1777. She was the only child of Jean Bernard, a King’s counselor, and his wife Julie Matton. She went on to marry one of the richest men in France, a banker named Jacques-Rose Récamier. She made a…

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Typhus in the Day of Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Typhus is an infectious disease caused by rickettsiae that can be transmitted by lice, ticks, mites, or rat fleas and is caused by certain types of bacterial infection. It usually causes flu-like symptoms that result in headache and fever, sometimes accompanied by delirium. The characteristics of the disease were further explained in a health column…

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Masks in the 1800s for Safety and Health

Just like we are wearing masks today to prevent the spread of covid-19, in the 1800s people wore masks but they did not necessarily wear them to protect against infection. Most masks in the 1800s were designed to protect people against eye or facial injuries. However, that would change by the end of the 1800s…

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Madame Juliette Récamier: Her Allure and Beauty

Madame Juliette Récamier was a socialite whose loveliness was internationally hailed. Many people mentioned her beauty. Among them was her adopted daughter, Marie Josephine Cyvoct who took the name Amélie and later became Madame Lenormant. She described her adopted mother in glowing terms stating:

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