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Christmas Shopping: A Victorian Thought on It

By Geri Walton | December 6, 2019

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:

British Social Life in India in the 18th Century

By Geri Walton | December 2, 2019

British social life in India during the 18th century was filled with numerous activities for those who worked for the East India Company (EIC). Among the British living in India were many well-to-do bachelors who were senior officials of the EIC. James Mackintosh wrote about them in his Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa 1771-81…

Thanksgiving Day: Sarah Josepha Hale’s Campaign

By Geri Walton | November 22, 2019

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,…

Banyans: Garments that 18th Century Gentlemen Loved

By Geri Walton | November 18, 2019

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,…

Point Breeze Estate or Joseph Bonaparte’s Park

By Geri Walton | November 15, 2019

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…

Nellie Bly: Pioneer of Investigative Journalism

By Geri Walton | November 11, 2019

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…

Benjamin Banneker: African-American Almanac Author, Astronomer, and Surveyor

By Geri Walton | November 8, 2019

Benjamin Banneker was born on 9 November 1731, in Baltimore County, Maryland a few months before George Austen, the father of future novelist Jane Austen. Unlike George whose family connections are clear, there are two differing accounts of Banneker’s family history. One account is that he was the son of Mary Banneky, a free black,…

Princess Charlotte of Wales: A Most Unusual Princess

By Geri Walton | November 4, 2019

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was the only child of George, Prince of Wales (later George IV) and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick. Charlotte’s parents were cousins and her father married her mother to help resolve his enormous debts, but the marriage was disastrous. They were unsuited, each disliked the other, and George was in…

Cremorne Gardens: Its History Between 1845 and 1877

By Geri Walton | November 1, 2019

Cremorne Gardens were popular pleasure gardens by the side of the River Thames in Chelsea, London, located between Chelsea Harbor and the end of the King’s Road that flourished between 1845 and 1877. The gardens began after the property was sold in 1845 to Thomas Bartlett Simpson. He owned the North & South American Coffee…

Paris Catacombs and Associated Interesting Tales

By Geri Walton | October 28, 2019

  The Paris Catacombs (Catacombes de Paris in French) are underground ossuaries that were created as part of the effort to eliminate the city’s overflowing cemeteries in the late eighteenth century. The same year that Marie Antoinette’s husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI was the same year that preparation for the Catacombs began after…