America/United States

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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Point Breeze Estate or Joseph Bonaparte’s Park

Joseph Bonaparte, older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, ending up owning the Point Breeze estate, or Bonaparte’s Park, in New Jersey after he took refuge in America in 1815. How it happened begins several years earlier when Joseph and Napoleon were looking at a map of the United States. At the time Napoleon was supposedly thinking…

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Nellie Bly: Pioneer of Investigative Journalism

Nellie Bly was christened Elizabeth Jane Cochran on 5 May 1864, but when her father died six years later, her life drastically changed. Her father, Michael Cochran, started out as a laborer and mill worker but later became a merchant, postmaster, and associate justice at Pennsylvania’s Cochran’s Mills (which was named for him). He also…

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Rutherford Birchard Hayes: America’s 19th President

Rutherford Birchard Hayes is considered the first of the five presidents to be elected during the Gilded Age, a period that involved serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding and generally recognized as existing from the 1870s to 1900. Hayes won the presidency in 1877. His victory was highly unusual as he was…

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