America/United States

Josiah Henson and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Josiah Henson was an author, abolitionist, and minister who escaped slavery in the United States with his story being supposedly utilized by Harriet Beecher Stowe when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henson was born on 15 June 1789 on a farm in Port Tobacco in Maryland that was owned by Francis Newman. Henson’s father was…

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Cats in the 1700s: Pleasant and Unpleasant Tales

There are many interesting tales about cats in the 1700s. For instance, the same year that Jane Austen was born, it was reported that a “melancholy accident happened” because of a crazed cat in Doctors-Commons, on St. Bennet’s Hill, in London. It began when the family of a Mr. Gardner shut a cat up in…

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Cane Contrivances: Unique Inventions for Users

In the 1700 and 1800s cane contrivances were created that showed “considerable ingenuity.” For instance, Parisians were known to have carried a sword cane for many years and leaden canes were trendy everywhere because they be used as a bludgeon. There were also the popular hollow affairs relied on by smugglers to sneak in expensive…

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Dolly Varden Fashions: A Late Nineteenth-Century Fad

The Dolly Varden fashions were a version of popular fashions worn originally in the 1770s and 1780s embraced by women such as Marie Antoinette, the Duchess Polignac, or the Princesse de Lamballe. Dolly Varden fashions later became popular in Great Britain and the United States between about 1869 and the 1880s with the fad peaking…

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People’s Grocery Lynching of 1892 in Memphis, Tennessee

The story of the People’s Grocery lynching begins with increasing racial tensions in the Tennessee area in 1892 around the same time that Mark Twain was finishing his “Tom Sawyer Abroad.” The lynching was connected to the People’s Grocery, a grocery store that first opened in 1889 as a cooperative venture formed by 11 prominent…

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Leadville Ice Palace: Colorado’s Creation of 1895 and 1896

A year after Mark Twain filed for bankruptcy, a mammoth Leadville ice palace was planned in Leadville, Colorado. It came about when Leadville citizens decided to outshine nearby Denver and reinvigorate their long, cold winters. In addition, desperate townspeople wanted to create jobs as the once mining boom had fizzled. Similar ice structures had been…

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Dr James Graham: Sexologist and His Temple of Health

Dr James Graham trained in medicine and although he never graduated, he became a self-styled doctor who promoted unusual cures, pioneered sex therapy, and opened a Temple of Health. He began his medical career by setting up an apothecary in Doncaster, Yorkshire. Then in 1770, he left for America where he traveled around the middle…

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Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Bonesetters’ Tales

Eighteenth and nineteenth-century bonesetters were like today’s chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists rolled into one. They practiced joint manipulation and fixed musculoskeletal injuries using manual force. Because eighteenth and nineteenth-century bonesetters were cheaper than regular physicians and because they could be easily found within local communities there are a lot of stories, both good and…

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Grant's inauguration

Grant’s Inauguration of 4 March 1869

Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration was slated for 4 March 1869 at the East Portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. He had been elected the presidential candidate in 1868 after being unanimously nominated as the Republican Party’s pick. In the end Grant won the popular vote for president by 300,000 votes out of…

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