France

Joseph Vacher: Serial Killer Known as “The French Ripper”

Joseph Vacher was a nineteenth century French serial killer. His place in French social history was much like that of England’s “Jack the Ripper” and so he became known as “The French Ripper” in Paris. Although he was tried and convicted of murdering just two victims, he was thought to have killed somewhere between eleven…

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Ether: Early Anesthesia and Its First Uses

By the late 1830s, public gatherings referred to as “ether frolics” were being held by wandering lecturers. These gatherings involved audience members inhaling diethyl ether, who then entertained audience members by demonstrating the mind-altering properties of these agents. The idea of “ether frolics” originated with Humphry Davy, who had experimented with an ether like substance…

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Tattooing: A Fad of the Late Nineteenth Century

There is evidence that some of the earliest practices of tattooing happened around 4,000BC. However, despite tattooing have had a long history, public awareness of it did not begin to spread until the 1870s. The reason for this had to do with a legal case that captivated Victorian England and was often known as the…

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François-Adrien Boieldieu: The French Mozart

François-Adrien Boieldieu was born the same day as English novelist Jane Austen, on 16 December 1775. Boieldieu’s father was secretary to Archbishop Larochefoucauld and his mother kept a millinery shop. Unfortunately, unlike Austen’s parents, Boieldieu’s parents were unhappily married, and his father filed for a divorce and married a second time.

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Washerwomen of Paris and the Mi-Carême Celebration

Washerwomen of Paris were known to celebrate a special holiday known as Mi-Carême or mid-Lent, celebrated in the so-called Lent period, which is a period of forty days of deprivation that precedes Holy Week in the Christian calendar. Just like Mardi Gras was the traditional fete of the butcher, Mi-Carême became the holiday of the…

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Emma Hardinge Britten: Spiritualist Medium of the 1800s

Emma Hardinge Britten was an English advocate for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement and is remembered as a writer, orator, and practitioner of the movement. She was born in London, England, in 1823. Her father Ebenezer was a schoolteacher who died in 1834 when Britten was eleven years old.

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Samuel Willey Family Tragedy and Mount Willey

The Samuel Willey family tragedy that resulted in the deaths of the Willey family and the naming of Mount Willey began after Willey moved his family into the area known as Crawford Notch. It was a major pass through the White Mountains of New Hampshire in Grafton County with the high point of the Notch…

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Louis Philippe I: King of the French From 1830 to 1848

Born on 6 October 1773, Louis Philippe became King of the French from 1830 to 1848. He was the son of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon (sister-in-law to the Princesse de Lamballe). The younger Louis Philippe inherited the title of the Duke de Chartres and was known for…

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