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Pug Collectibles and Trinkets in the 1700 and 1800s

Pug collectibles and trinkets were plentiful in the 1700 and 1800s because at the time pugs were a popular dog breed having been introduced beginning in the seventeenth century into Europe from China. “Pugs at this time looked somewhat different than today. They had fewer facial wrinkles, longer legs, and clipped ears, a practice that…

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Elisha Perkins: Eighteenth-century Metallic Tractor Inventor

Elisha Perkins was a United States physician and inventor who created a fraudulent medical device to cure inflammation, rheumatism, and pain. His story begins when he was born on 16 January 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut to and Mary Bushnell II and Joseph Perkins, who had graduated from Yale College in 1727 and practiced medicine in…

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Emperor Norton: Colorful Self-proclaimed Emperor

Emperor Norton was Joshua Abraham Norton, a citizen of San Francisco, California, who declared himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States” in 1859. He was the son of farmer John Norton and Sarah Norden, both English Jews. The exact date of his birth is unclear and records conflict although it seems he was born…

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Fonthill Castle: Edwin Forrest’s Country Estate

Fonthill Castle was built in 1852 in The Bronx borough of New York City by prominent American Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest and his wife Catherine Norton Sinclair. According to American actor Lawrence Barrett, the architectural designs used to build Fonthill Castle came from the ideas generated by Sinclair and were then approved by Forrest. However,…

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Wigs: Their Wearers and Eighteenth-Century Anecdotes

In the eighteenth century, those who wore wigs almost always powdered them. By the 1780s, young men were moving away from wigs and were powdering their own natural hair and by the 1790s both wigs and hair powder were used primarily by older, more conservative men, such as Voltaire, whom Madame Tussaud made sure had…

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Ann Moore: The Impostor and Fasting-Woman of Tutbury

Ann Moore became famous as the “fasting-woman of Tutbury.” That was because she claimed that from 1807 to 1813, she ate nothing at all. Of course, such a claim was ludicrous and eventually her claims were proven to be a hoax and she was declared an impostor, just like the Kewsick impostor John Hatfield.

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Eye Miniatures: For Lovers of the 18th and 19th centuries

Eye miniatures became a popular item to exchange among lovers and although the fashion began in the late 1700s it reached its zenith around 1803 or 1804. Among some of the earliest pieces produced was one given by the Prince Regent (the future George IV) to his lover and mistress Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert. The gift…

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Maria Mitchell: First Woman Astronomer in America

The first woman astronomer in America was Maria Mitchell. She was born on 1 August 1818 at No. 1 Vestal Street in Nantucket, Massachusetts, a year or so after Jane Austen died in Winchester, England. Maria’s father was William Mitchell, a cooper who then became a schoolteacher and her mother, Lydia Coleman, a library worker.…

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Bonesetters: Joint Manipulators and Musculoskeletal Fixers

Bonesetters of the 1700s and 1800s were like today’s chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists rolled into one. They practiced joint manipulation and fixed musculoskeletal injuries using manual force. Traditionally, these practitioners did not have formal medical training but rather learned their skills on their own or from their family with bone-setting knowledge being passed down…

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Jane Cakebread: The Drunkest Woman in the World

Jane Cakebread, or “Miss Cakebread” as she liked to call herself, was a homeless and destitute woman considered the drunkest woman in the world in the 1800s. That was because she broke all records being arrested hundreds of times and convicted an amazing 281 times for drunkenness. Her constant drunkenness also meant that she constantly…

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