America/United States

Cardiff Giant Hoax of 1869 in Cardiff, New York

Although the Berners Street hoax of 1810 may be one of the great hoaxes in England, the Cardiff Giant, a “petrified man” uncovered in Cardiff, New York, was one of the greatest hoaxes in American history. The giant was found behind William C. “Stub” Newell’s barn on 16 October 1869 as workers were digging a…

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Esther Howland and Valentine’s Day Cards

Esther Howland was an artist and businesswoman who popularized Valentine’s Day greeting cards in America in the 1800s.* She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1828 to Southworth Allen Howland, who operated the largest book and stationery store in Worcester. Her mother was Esther Allen Howland, author of The New England Economical Housekeeper, and Family…

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Jeanne Bonnet: Cross-dressing Frog Catcher

The same year French socialite Juliette Récamier died was the same year that Jeanne Bonnet was born in Paris. At the time Bonnet’s father belonged to a French theatrical troupe. The troupe decided around 1852 to relocate to San Francisco, and Bonnet’s father decided to move with the troupe and took his family with him…

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Ann Bingham: Eighteenth-Century American Socialite

Ann Bingham was born Ann Willing in Philadelphia on 1 August 1764. She was acclaimed for her stunning good looks and regularly touted as one of the most gorgeous women in America just like Juliette Récamier was touted as the most beautiful woman in France. Of Ann it was stated:

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Elizabeth Blackwell: First U.S. Female Doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in 1821, the same year that Napoleon Bonaparte died. Her birth happened on 3 February in Bristol, England, to Samuel Blackwell, a sugar refiner, and his wife Hannah Lane. Elizabeth had two older sisters and would eventually have six younger siblings. Unfortunately, the family fell upon hard times after a fire…

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Allan Pinkerton: Great American Detective and Spy

Allan Pinkerton was a Scottish-American detective and spy of the 1800s, and while Frenchman Eugene Francois Vidocq is often considered the French Sherlock Holmes and is known to have founded the first private detective agency in 1833, Pinkerton was no less influential in the world of spying. In fact, he established the Pinkerton National Detective…

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Twelve Popular History Posts for 2019

The year 2019 was a great year. My book, shown on the right, was published on Madame Tussaud through Pen and Sword. I also had some posts that were extremely popular with readers. Here are twelve of them from 2019 in case you missed them:

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Christmas Shopping: A Victorian Thought on It

The Victorian Era involved Christmas shopping during the holiday season, which in turn resulted in newspapers publishing all sorts of articles about shoppers and Christmas gifts. Here is one nineteenth-century person’s version from 1884 and presented here almost verbatim:

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Thanksgiving Day: Sarah Josepha Hale’s Campaign

Thanksgiving Day in America exists primarily because of Sara Josepha Hale’s tireless campaign to create it. Hale was born in Newport, New Hampshire, to Captain Gordon Buell, a Revolutionary war veteran, and Martha Whittlesay Buell. Her family annually celebrated a Thanksgiving holiday, just as she did after she met and married David Hale in 1811,…

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Banyans: Garments that 18th Century Gentlemen Loved

Banyans were garments that became popular with gentlemen in the 18th century. They were oriental in style being influenced by Persian and Asian clothing and called morning gowns, robe de chambres, wrappers, or nightgowns. However, “by the year 1730 certainly, and possibly earlier, these Indian gowns had become known generally by the name banyan, banjan,…

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