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Madame Juliette Récamier: Her Allure and Beauty

By Geri Walton | April 20, 2020

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:

Patriot’s Disappearance and Theodosia Burr Alston

By Geri Walton | April 13, 2020

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…

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

By Geri Walton | April 10, 2020

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…

Arsenic in the 1800s: A Dangerous Poison

By Geri Walton | April 6, 2020

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…

Margaret Nicholson: Her Attack on George III in 1786

By Geri Walton | April 3, 2020

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…

William Morgan: The Disappearance of an Anti-Mason

By Geri Walton | March 30, 2020

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…

Duke of Wellington Anecdotes: Stories From His Life

By Geri Walton | March 27, 2020

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…

Horace Vernet: French Painter of the 1800s

By Geri Walton | March 23, 2020

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…

Left-Handers of the 1700s and 1800s: The Famous and Infamous

By Geri Walton | March 20, 2020

There are many famous and infamous left-handers of the 1700s and 1800s. However, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries being left-handed was often viewed as a defect. For example, in The Maternal Physician published in 1818 by American Mary Palmer Tyler, a thirty-five-year-old matron who published one of the first childcare manuals, talked about the…

Laudanum: An 18th and 19th Century Wonder Drug

By Geri Walton | March 16, 2020

Laudanum is a tincture of opium and was considered a wonder drug in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. Reddish-brown and extremely bitter, it contained almost all opium alkaloids, including morphine and codeine and was therefore used to treat many conditions. However, it was primarily used as a pain medication and cough suppressant.