What my favourite historical fiction has done for me, besides make me happy in the way that good books do, is teach me more about justice, and silence, and perspective. These are the questions I want to spend my time examining and writing about. The limits placed on many women’s lives are the very reason they are conveniently written out of the dominant historical narrative, in a circular argument as old as misogyny itself: “Women do not appear in the record because they didn’t do anything of note, and they didn’t do anything of note because they don’t appear in the record.”
"It Started Here." With great excitement, living history attraction Colonial Williamsburg spent more than a million dollars to put out its first-ever TV ad during the Super Bowl. The splurge may have backfired, as its use of footage of the World Trade Center towers falling on 9/11 to a Tom Brokaw voice-over angered and upset many in its target markets and puzzled plenty of others. Takes from Daily News, Esquire, Gothamist, USA Today, NY Post, Slate, HuffPo. [more inside]
Enjoy this animated webcomic about Mozart's early exploits... up to age nine, along with those of his sister Nannerl.
Hieronymus Bosch's amazing painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Exceptional detail, zoom in or out inside the painting. There are many stories hidden behind the images inside the painting. Click on the white text boxes to listen to and/or read the stories. [more inside]
19 Historical photographs of well known places in San Francisco. Use the sliders to see them today. (SLGuardian).
history of japan in 9 minutes by bill wurtz
... conventional history teaches that the Americas were discovered by the Europeans either in 1492 by Columbus, or maybe a few hundred years earlier by the Vikings. There still seems to be an aversion among the establishment historians to even consider the idea that ancient Mediterranean peoples from the Middle East might have traveled to the Americas in the centuries before Christ. Only so-called diffusionists would have accepted a different view. And yet, there it is, this inscription in New Mexico, an undeniable witness from an ancient past telling its history ...Behold, The Los Lunas Decalogue, a fascinating "old" site south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. [more inside]
"Every day during Black History Month, we will publish at least one of these photographs online, illuminating stories that were never told in our pages and others that have been mostly forgotten.... other holes in coverage probably reflect the biases of some earlier editors at our news organization, long known as the newspaper of record. They and they alone determined who was newsworthy and who was not, at a time when black people were marginalized in society and in the media."
Syracuse, ancient and late classical era. Pompeii's Last Day. Hadrian's Villa: reconstruction and current state and virtual walkthrough. Virtual exploration of Corinth, 2nd century C.E. Rome circa 320 C.E. Flyby of Tenochtitlan. A 3-D walkthrough of Paris in the 18th century. Paris in 1896 and today. London in 1927 and 2013, side by side. A portal into 1924 London through 2014. [more inside]
An expert in prison literature, Smith felt sure that the book was written by someone with firsthand knowledge of 19th-century correctional facilities. And if Haunted Convict was a genuine account, it would be groundbreaking: the earliest-known narrative penned by an African-American prisoner.
Beneath glimmering chandeliers at an Art Deco movie house built into the side of a mountain, 150 silent-movie buffs sat wide-eyed as snippets from films lost decades ago lighted up the screen. Their quest: Name the film, or at least spot details that will advance the cause. The fans shouted clues as a piano player wearing an old-time parlor vest and a thick period mustache improvised jaunty scores. They scoured vintage magazines on their laptops, checked film databases on their tablets, and scrubbed their brains for odd bits of early 20th century cultural history. Every frame had the potential to unlock a secret.
Signs of Modern Astronomy Seen in Ancient Babylon - "Scientists have found a small clay tablet with markings indicating that a sort of precalculus technique was used to track Jupiter's motion in the night sky." [more inside]
Welcome to WorldPopulationHistory.org, an interactive site that lets you explore the peopling of our planet from multiple perspectives – historical, environmental, social and political. It is about the 2,000-year journey of human civilization and the possible paths ahead to the middle of this century.
On This Spot is a history blog that focusses on then and now photography, comparing historical and contemporary photographs of the same locations. Locations include cities and battlefields in the UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.
Why was laundry disintegrating on urban clotheslines in the 1920s? Chemical Heritage Magazine has the answer!
The unusual foods Americans loved a century ago. A massive collection of historical menus at the New York Public Library has been digitised for your perusal.
Ending the new Thirty Years War "Why the real history of the Peace of Westphalia in 17th-century Europe offers a model for bringing stability to the Middle East."
"An econ buff in the year 2500 might know all about the Great Depression that happened in the early 20th century and the major recession that happened about 80 years later, but that same person might mistake the two world wars for happening in the 1800s or the 2200s.... Likewise, I might know that Copernicus began writing his seminal work... in the early 1510s, but by learning that right around that same time in Italy, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I get a better picture of the times. [It]allows me to see the 1510s horizontally, like cutting out a complete segment of the vine tangle and examining it all together."
For a six-ingredient food product, it's taken on a life of its own. Spam — the square-shaped mash-up of pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate — recently celebrated its 77th anniversary of being alternately maligned, celebrated, musicalized, or the subject of urban legend (one particularly pervasive myth insists that its name is actually an acronym for "Scientifically Processed Animal Matter"). And despite today's more locavore approach to food and some unkind memories from soldiers who were served Spam during WWII, Spam has entered its third quarter-century on the rise.
Portland Community College to launch a "Whiteness History Month." (April to be specific) The American Conservative disapproves: "... plainly designed to convince white students to despise themselves and their culture." The Washington Post hits the ground running with a listicle: Whiteness History Month is a great idea. Here are 7 ways to observe it.
Matador, Texas is a town on borrowed time. If you're not from there or one of the few similarly sinking small towns scattered across the Great Plains region, you would almost definitely not know that it exists. Its population has fallen from 740 to just 607 in 10 years according to a 2010 census. Of course, it wasn't always that way. A true Texas round-up of links to celebrate the Matador that was and still is before it is gone. [more inside]
Here's a primer for white Americans to learn about race and racism without making their friends/colleagues/acquaintances of color have to keep explaining it.
Peterborough & The Great War. At the Peterborough (UK) East Railway Station during 1916 and 1917, the Women’s United Total Abstinence Council ran a tea stall. There were two visitors books there signed by the soldiers travelling to and from the various fronts during World War I which have been digitised for the website. [more inside]
Robbie Judkins visits Tanzania to witness first hand the attempt to save a quarter of a century of musical history from oblivion. Listen to an exclusive mix of tracks newly digitized by the Tanzania Heritage Project
This section reads as would a biblical genealogy of sorts: Alexander von Humboldt (wiki) taught Heinrich Berghaus (short wiki bio)and influenced Alexander Keith Johnston; Berghaus taught August Petermann (wiki); and Petermann collaborated with Berghaus and Johnston. More accurately, it reflects the passing on of the thematic torch lit by Humboldt. There were isolated “ignitions” throughout Europe before him—he, of course, was not the first to construct a thematic map or even to think of how one might do it—but every science needs a founding figure. More than anyone who preceded him, Humboldt provided that role.Landmark Thematic Atlases, from Princeton University Library's Historic Maps Collection website of Landmark Thematic Maps.
The high-street staple is under threat. Can a new generation of entrepreneurs save the nation’s tandoori?
Quakers pioneered social enterprise. They were also the first to fail: How hard was it to opt out of the slave economy in the U.S. before the Civil War? Pretty hard, as the "free produce" movement discovered: In 1829... the members of [the Female Association for Promoting the Manufacture and Use of Free Cotton] reported their contractors had spun 2,515 pounds of cotton. Compared to the approximately 78 million pounds of cotton produced across the country in the year 1800 alone, it was a drop in the bucket. The economics of slavery previously.
Why do male authors and subjects dominate history books? Digging into bestselling history books in the United States. (SLS) [more inside]
"This summer will mark 35 years since the first reports of AIDS. Additionally, two decades have now passed since combination antiretroviral treatment began to transform a health crisis into a more manageable public health concern. " [more inside]
The Code of Honor; or Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Duelling by John Lyde Wilson 1858. (via Chief Justice John Roberts)
On July 31, 1760, L'Utile, a ship of the French East Indian Company loaded with an illegal cargo of about 160 Malagasy slaves, was shipwrecked on a barren, windswept islet now known as Tromelin Island, 500 km east of Madagascar. The French crew, with the help of the surviving Malagasy, built a makeshift boat and set sail for Madagascar two months later, leaving behind 60 Malagasy with three months’ provisions, a letter recognising their good conduct and the promise that someone would come back for them. Weeks passed, then months, then years. Since 2006, archeological teams have gone to Tromelin to examine the wreck site and learn about the lives of the marooned Malagasy: diary of the 2010 campaign. [more inside]
Reddit's /r/askhistorians "Best of 2015" thread is something you'll learn from, maybe. Probably the most rigidly moderated subreddit regarding historical topics, /r/askhistorians has some of the smartest answers you'll find to some of the most unusual questions they answered in 2015. Check the thread for questions answered in earlier years.
Sci-Fi Author (and Metafilter's own) Charlie Stross has an interesting thought experiment: Could you get to a technological society without the use of writing? And if so, what would that look like?
New book shows Marie Antoinette used invisible ink, secret stamps in love letters to Swedish count Touched on somewhat less sensationally in this article: From letters to apps, the secret code language of lovers [more inside]
Mike Duncan of the Revolutions podcast reworked the Star Wars prequel trilogy by way of the American and French revolutions on Twitter today. Episode One: The Glorious Cause, Episode Two: The Coruscant Revolution, and Episode Three: The Clone Wars have been storified for your historical Star Wars mashup needs.
St Paul's Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, lies at the centre of London. At 365 feet high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 until 1962, and dominated the London skyline. Since the 1960s London has seen multiple high-rise developments, which could crowd out the cathedral. However, views of St Paul's from multiple places in and around the City are preserved by law. This protects St Paul's both from having tall buildings built in front of it, and also behind it in ways that would spoil the silhouette on the horizon. The 'Cheesegrater' for instance, slopes back to protect one such view. Some explanations and demonstrations from Tom Scott, Londonist, and The Guardian. [more inside]
Hungarian inventions that have shaped the modern world: Laszlo Biro's ballpoint pen, the telephone exchange and holography, and the Magyar microcar, "how Hungary circumvented Stalin and also had a bit of fun." This is just one of a number of weirdly awesome microcars of Hungary from the 1940s and '50s.
The night that the Berlin Wall collapsed was certainly one of the most dramatic moments in the cascading events of 1989, events that brought the era of Communist rule in Eastern Europe to a close. What follows is an examination of the intersecting developments that led to the collapse of the Communist regimes in 1989. [more inside]
Atlanta: Darker Than Blue presented by Black Vrchives, November 2015. A curated journey through Atlanta's history. [more inside]
The history of the relationship between social science and foreign relations offers important insights into the changing politics and ethics of expertise in American public policy.
Following the Christian Reconquest and unification of Spain, concluded with the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, the victorious Catholic sovereigns decreed on March 31, 1492 that all Jews convert to Christianity or leave Spain by the last day of July. Whether they stayed or left, many Jewish families continued to practice their faith in secret. Such crypto-Jews passed their traditions down the generations and around the world, some ending up in the Southwest. 500 years later, New Mexico's "hidden Jews" were found among strong Hispanic Catholic communities. Though some were skeptical about the origins of certain family practices, additional research and a pattern of breast cancer lead to genetic testing and confirmation of prior beliefs. [more inside]
The site of the Tristán de Luna colony has reportedly been found in Pensacola: "'There were 1500 people there ... for about a two-year period' ... The colony lasted from 1559-61 and included 550 Spanish soldiers, about 200 Aztecs and an unknown number of African slaves ... The Luna colony is arguably the first European settlement and unquestionably the oldest multi-year European settlement" in the present-day United States. Just two years ago, the site of a 1567 fort built by the Juan Pardo expedition in western North Carolina [NYT] was confirmed as well. [more inside]
Around Christmas weird vestigial foods reappear. Fruitcake, eggnog, and weirdest and in America all but forgotten: mincemeat pie. The modern take is a sort of sugary glop made by grinding dried fruit, leaving even the homemade stuff mostly miserable and pointless. But it wasn't always like that way as the late (previously) Cliff Doerksen noted. [more inside]
Breeding Improved Honey Bees was originally printed in 1951, in The American Bee Journal. It is an informative and often dryly amusing introduction to the history and arts of bee breeding. "The honey bee has a definite place in our modern world. Its products of honey and wax are useful to man, although perhaps not essential to all men." Those histories and arts are, as you might expect, covered in bees.