My New Book on Madame Tussaud is Now Available!

Cardiff Giant Hoax of 1869 in Cardiff, New York

By Geri Walton | February 24, 2020

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…

Andrew Ducrow: The Colossus of Equestrians

By Geri Walton | February 21, 2020

Andrew Ducrow was a British circus performer who because of his horsemanship was often called “The Colossus of Equestrians.” He had been trained by his father, Peter, an emigrant from Belgium, who had arrived in England in 1793 and was known for many years as the “Flemish Hercules.” Of him it was stated:

The London Burkers: Body Snatchers of the 1830s

By Geri Walton | February 17, 2020

The London Burkers were a group of body snatchers or resurrection men who operated in London in the 1830s and came to prominence in 1831. They operated as a gang stealing and selling dead bodies to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, St. Thomas’ Hospital, and King’s College School of Anatomy in order to allow anatomists, surgeons, and…

Esther Howland and Valentine’s Day Cards

By Geri Walton | February 14, 2020

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…

Jeanne Bonnet: Cross-dressing Frog Catcher

By Geri Walton | February 10, 2020

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…

Ann Bingham: Eighteenth-Century American Socialite

By Geri Walton | February 7, 2020

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:

Princesse de Lamballe Portraits: Her Life in Pictures

By Geri Walton | February 3, 2020

Princesse de Lamballe portraits portray the life of the woman originally born as Maria Teresa Louisa of Savoy. She became the Princesse de Lamballe when she married Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, Prince de Lamballe. He was the son and heir of Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke de Penthièvre, who was one of the richest…

Queen Victoria’s Bal Costumé of 1845

By Geri Walton | January 31, 2020

Queen Victoria’s bal costumé of 1845 was an event where participants appeared in costume ranging from a ten-year period between 1740 and 1750. It was the second in a series of three bal costumés held by the Queen, with each of them highlighting a different style of costume. The first bal costumé on 12 May…

Warren Hastings: His Life in India and England

By Geri Walton | January 27, 2020

A young Warren Hastings had no reason to hope for wealth when he joined the East India Company (EIC) and sailed to India in 1750 at the age of seventeen. He was nothing more than a clerk. but he worked hard and two years later he earned a promotion and was sent to a major…

Elizabeth Blackwell: First U.S. Female Doctor

By Geri Walton | January 24, 2020

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…