Posts by Geri Walton

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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Patriot’s Disappearance and Theodosia Burr Alston

The Patriot’s disappearance in 1813 remains a mystery that has never been solved. Socialite Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Aaron Burr, U.S. Vice-president to Thomas Jefferson, was the most notable of those aboard when it disappeared. She had married Joseph Alston, a wealthy landowner from South Carolina, who eventually became the 44th governor of…

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Basildon Park: Its History in the 1700s and 1800s

The Fane family owned Basildon Park when Sir Francis Skyes, 1st Baronet purchased it in the 1700s. Sykes had money to buy it because he had joined the East India Company (EIC) in India and like others who had traveled there, he amassed a fortune. He had also become good friends with Warren Hastings (godfather…

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Arsenic in the 1800s: A Dangerous Poison

Arsenic in the 1800s was sometimes called “white arsenic.” It was used in diverse ways by women to beautify themselves. For instance, women like French socialite Madame Récamier, who had pale creamy complexions were envied, and women who wanted to achieve the same look as Madame Récamier would rub arsenic onto their faces and arms…

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Margaret Nicholson: Her Attack on George III in 1786

In 1786, Margaret Nicholson assaulted King George III in a futile half-hearted attempt to kill him. She had been born in Stockton-on-Tees to a barber named George Nicholson in 1750, a year after Princesse de Lamballe was born. At the age of 12 Nicholson became a maid and then worked in various notable households that…

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William Morgan: The Disappearance of an Anti-Mason

William Morgan was a resident of Batavia, New York. He was also a bricklayer and stonemason and was married with a wife and two children. In addition, Morgan was friends with David C. Miller, a local newspaper publisher, who was attempting to keep his paper afloat. Because Morgan was indigent, he hit on a plan…

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Duke of Wellington Anecdotes: Stories From His Life

There are numerous Duke of Wellington anecdotes about the man named Arthur Wellesley who was born into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family on 1 May 1769. His parents were Garret Colley Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington and Anne Wesley, daughter of Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon, for whom the Duke was named. However, although it seems…

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Horace Vernet: French Painter of the 1800s

Horace Vernet was a French painter of battles, portraits, and Orientalist subjects. He came from three generations of Vernets who were associated prominently with art. For instance, his great-grand father had a reputation as an artist far beyond where he lived. His grandfather, Claude Joseph Vernet, went to Rome to study landscape designers and maritime…

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