Occupations

The Unusual Occupation of the Leech Collectors or Leech Gatherers

One unusual and interesting occupation of in the 1700 and 1800s was performed by leech collectors or leech gatherers who obtained leeches for medicinal purposes. Leeches were used in bloodletting and were not particularly easy for physicians to obtain, which in part was why leech collectors gathered them. Moreover, both France and England imported millions…

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Tuileries Garden Bird Charmers

Tuileries Garden bird charmers were street performers who appeared in the mid to late 1800s and enticed flocks of birds to come to them. Later, the bird charmers began appearing in other gardens or in public green spaces, such as the Champ de Mars. One of the earliest of the bird charmers at the Tuileries…

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Conjurors and Conjuring in the 1700s

Conjurors and conjuring existed long before the 1700s, and in its simplest form, conjuring was a performance of tricks that appeared to be magical and usually involved some sort of sleight of hand. Well before conjuring became popular in the 1700s, conjuring performances were given in antiquity and in the middle ages. However, there was…

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Claude Villiaume Marriage Broker Extraordinaire in the Time of Napoleon

Claude Villiaume marriage broker extraordinaire established a marriage brokering monopoly in Paris in the early 1800s. Born in 1780, Villiaume’s early years did not indicate that matchmaking was in his future. That was because his first job was as a soldier. Moreover, soon after, he became a soldier he became involved in an assassination attempt…

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Positions Within Marie Antoinette’s Household

Marie Antoinette’s household, referred to in French as La Maison de La Reine, included not only servants but also a number of noblewomen. Obtaining a position within the Queen’s household was an honor, and positions were highly coveted because it allowed those who held them to have close access to the Queen. Even the most…

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French Chimney Sweeps

French chimney sweeps, known as le ramoneur, were usually young boys between the age of eight and ten years old. They carried their licenses in their soot bag and lived a hard life. One nineteenth-century person called them “wretched little beings,” and another gave a description of the chimney sweep’s life in the following way:…

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Running Footmen

Running footmen were used by some people in the 1700s, while other people claimed they were not particularly useful. For those that thought running footmen useful, they claimed they were a necessary part of traveling equipage and a dignified way to show a passenger’s importance. For those who thought otherwise, they said running footmen were…

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Parisian Fortune-Tellers in the Eighteenth Century

Parisian fortune-tellers were plentiful in eighteenth century France, and many fortune seekers visited them during the French Revolution hoping to learn if they would keep their head or not. One man wrote that when he visited the Pont Neuf, fortune-tellers regular used a deck of cards to predict a person’s future. However, a deck of…

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