On December 10, 1810, in a muddy field around 25 miles from London, a fight took place that was so dramatic, controversial, and ferocious that it continues to haunt the imagination of boxing more than 200 years later.
A long-form article
in Grantland tells the story of freed American slave and boxer Tom Molineaux in England of the early 19th century.
"Avoid flattery. A delicate compliment is permissible in conversation, but flattery is broad, coarse, and to sensible people, disgusting. If you flatter your superiors, they will distrust you, thinking you have some selfish end; if you flatter ladies, they will despise you, thinking you have no other conversation."
- 37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen from 1875
The Bicycle Craze of the 1890s had a significant impact upon women's lives
. Leaders of the women's movement saw bike riding as a path to freedom. Many women cyclists enjoyed the freedoms and experiences bikes gave them. Although many health experts recommended biking to women for its health effects, other health experts and some moralists saw dangers in letting women venture off into the wild blue yonder with and without men, danger in potential physical damage to women's bodies, disaster in letting them adopt "unfeminine garb" - and of course, they might enjoy it TOO much
. [more inside]
. The five stages of The Course of Empire
, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School
pioneer Thomas Cole
. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis
of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole
project, which also offers a guided tour
and complete gallery
of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art
Creed Crusher, or Spiritual Mill for Pulverizing Creeds &C.
is an 1867 poster by Dr. T. L. Lewis. In it, a pair of cherubs grind the religious and educational institutions of 19th-century against a an allegorical globe of philosophy dominated by the Great Ocean of Spiritualism. Below, Lewis quotes himself no less than four times.
Similarly weird is the anthropomorphic map of Europe
by Schmidt. (Both via the Big Map Blog previously
Mapping the Republic of Letters
is a cartographic tool designed by students and professors at Stanford that seeks to represent the Enlightenment era Republic of Letters, the network of correspondence between the finest thinkers of the day, such as Voltaire, Leibniz, Rousseau, Newton, Diderot, Linnaeus, Franklin and countless others. Patricia Cohen wrote an article about Mapping the Republic of Letters as well as other datamining digital humanities projects
in The New York Times. The mapping tool is fun to play with but I recommend you read the blogpost where Cohen explains how to use Mapping the Republic of Letters
In the 19th century, English author Favell Mortimer wrote several books describing various countries
to children. Apparently she didn't travel much
. [more inside]
The Third View project
is a fascinating presentation of "rephotographs" of over 100 historic landscape sites in the American West that presents original 19th-century survey photographs, photographed again in the 1970s, then once again in the '90s - from the original vantage points, under similar lighting conditions, at (roughly) the same time of day and year. [Flash, and you'll probably need to allow pop-ups; a little more info inside...]
"John Smith, Youngest, of Crutherland, was given the honorary degree of LL.D in 1840. In 1842 he announced the bequest to the University [of Glasgow] of his runs of publications from learned societies, and his volumes of ephemeral items
. These came to the library on Smith’s death in 1849."
Some examples: Playbill, Theatre Royal, York Street
. Broadsheet account of an attempted prison break
. Radical Party election ballad
. See also: Glasgow Broadside Ballads: cheap print and popular song culture in nineteenth-century Scotland
and Glasgow Broadside Ballads: The Murray Collection
Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary
Containing over 3000 pages the Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary was billed as
A description of tools, instruments, machines, processes and engineering; history of inventions; general technological vocabulary.
Published in 1876 it is a great resource for those trying to figure out how things were done in the time of our great (great?) grand parents. Ilustrations, upwards of 5000 engravings
, include a ride inside monocycle
, trestle bridges
, compound microscope
, clod crushers
, washing machines
, spoke driver
, hydraulic wagon-tipper
, and a farmers tool-house
. Warning: the book has been scanned in and all the item links are to 100-150K images.