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Gentlemen

Gentlemen, Formerly. "A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 16, 2014 - 61 comments

An old view of the Old City

What did Palestine look like in 1896?
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 15, 2014 - 17 comments

Whale Ho

The Charles W. Morgan is the world's last remaining wooden whaleship. Her unusually long career included 37 whaling voyages between 1841 and 1921. Over the past few years, she's received a full restoration by the skilled shipwrights at the Mystic Seaport Museum Shipyard, and is in the final stages of outfitting for her 38th voyage, an ambituous plan to make her seaworthy enough to sail her one final time and visit her original homeport of New Bedford, MA, along with many of the ports she frequented in her working days, before she returns to her permanent berth. Among the crew will be one stowaway, a crew member chosen via a selective process including a video application, who'll use video and social media to tell the stories of the voyage, the crew, the accompanying scholars and artists, and what it's like to make amends with whales.
posted by Miko on Feb 15, 2014 - 21 comments

Eat your K rations and like it

Hundreds of newsreel and publicity films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s -- the golden era of instructional, scientific, government, and industry films -- are now available on YouTube via users like Ella's Archive (focusing on transport and technology), Val73TV4 (British Council portraits of English towns & more), NuclearVault (war and diplomacy) and others.

How about starting with The Big Delivery Wagon (1951) a Heinz-sponsored spot about nationwide food distribution? Or ‪Native Foods: Commandments For Health (1945)‬, a U.S. Navy animated training film featuring Private McGillicuddy, who neither likes Vienna sausage nor seems to know that local foods are full of "poison more treacherous than a Jap warlord." Maybe Choosing For Happiness (1950) has some choice dating tips for even today's women? Or show your kid Defense Against Invasion (1943) in which a doctor explains to a fearful child exactly why he ought to get immunized.
posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 15, 2014 - 5 comments

Eye of the beholder

Nigerian photographer J.D Okhai Ojeikere passed away last weekend, but at the age of 83 he left behind a truly incredible body of work celebrating Nigerian culture. These photos from his Hairstyles series are part of an archive of nearly 1000 pictures showing the intricate hair-dos of African women taken at work, social engagements and in the streets of Lagos. The beautifully composed black and white images draw attention to the sculptural quality of the hair, almost elevating it to an art form in itself. It goes without saying that his work is a unique treasure of historical and anthropological importance.
Via
posted by infini on Feb 13, 2014 - 6 comments

The True Story of America's First Black Female Slave Novelist

In 2002 Henry Louis Gates jr. published The Bondwoman's Narrative. It was the first publication of a novel written in the 1850s by a former slave who wrote under the name Hannah Crafts. The original manuscript has been digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library. The book caused a splash at the time, sold well and was reviewed widely, including an essay by Hilary Mantel in the London Review of Books. The identity of Hannah Crafts was uncertain, which cast a slight shadow on its provenance, but Prof. Gregg Hecimovich discovered the writer's true identity. Her name was Hannah Bond and after escaping slavery she became a teacher in New Jersey. Journalist Paul Berman further fills in the story of Colonel Wheeler, the slaveowner whose family was depicted in The Bondwoman's Narrative. Wheeler was the US ambassador to Nicaragua in the 1850s and played a major part in the administration of General Walker, the American who became a short-lived dictator of Nicaragua and tried to set it up as a slave state.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 11, 2014 - 2 comments

Every government is a liar. That's a prima facie assumption.

I.F. Stone's Weekly, a 1973 documentary about one of the greatest American journalists of the 20th century (Part 1). Part 2 of 6 here (incomplete). Isidor Feinstein "Izzy" Stone discusses how he exposed widely-accepted fictions about the Vietnam War and the escalation of the Cold War—merely by reading what the government published. He was blacklisted in 1950 and began his own newsletter, which railed against McCarthyism, racial discrimination, and the complacent establishment media. [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on Feb 11, 2014 - 7 comments

American History: a very qualified "Yaaay"

After a year of production, John Green's Crash Course US History has come to an end, traveling from the conflicts between the native Americans and the Spanish to the Affordable Care Act.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 11, 2014 - 40 comments

Na Thing Left Unruinated

447 years ago this morning, the Provost's house at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh, was annihilated in an explosion. Lord Darnley, king consort to Mary, Queen of Scots, had been staying in the house to recuperate from a bout of pox; his body was found in a nearby orchard, unburnt but asphyxiated. Rafael Sabatini recounts the possible course of events in his Historical Nights' Entertainment, a two volume anthology of murders, court intrigues, and scandals. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Feb 10, 2014 - 18 comments

A tragedy of epic proportions.

What tools did the Vikings use to construct their ships? During the early years of the Song dynasty, while Sridhar Acharya's concept of "zero" was making it's way westward and a pair of anonymous Anglo-Saxon poets was committing the tale of Beowulf to animal skin, a Viking craftsman lost his tool chest. It is speculated that the chest fell overboard off a ship or through the ice into what was then a swamp on the modern island of Gotland, Sweden. The chest was unearthed in 1936 when a chain attached to the chest got caught on a farmer's plow. In it were the tools a Viking blacksmith/ship builder would need to ply his trade. Named the Mästermyr chest its discovery was a boon to archaeologists, historians, re-enactors, woodworkers and blacksmiths. The original tools (catalogue of the items) were restored and put on display. Numerous copies and tributes of the chest or selected tools have been made over the years including a complete replica of both the chest and contents made using period techniques as a 'net project of a blacksmiths and woodworkers. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Feb 9, 2014 - 37 comments

Plain But Sturdy Frontier Cake

Celebrate author Laura Ingalls Wilder's 147th birthday with a recipe for Laura's Wedding Cake, taken from Little House Cookbook, Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories. (The Hairpin)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 8, 2014 - 30 comments

How can nothing can be something?

While the concept of shunya or "zero", both as place holder in the decimal system and as "null" or "nothingness" has been historically attributed to the Indian mathematician/astronomer Aryabhata, it was when I went to search for its history and impact that whole new world was revealed. From culture and art to spiritual practice, the concept of zero has captured the imagination of many throughout the ages. Books have been written, its origins debated while the etymology of the word itself sometimes replaces understanding. From a disconcerting concept of nothingness to the ubiquitous misspelling of the one followed by a hundred zeros, Shunya today is more than just the gaping void it originally represented.
posted by infini on Feb 7, 2014 - 55 comments

it's right under Trader Joes

How an obsessed explorer found and lost the world's oldest subway. "The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits. Legend has it that the tunnel was reopened in the 1920s when it was used for mushroom growing and bootlegging, and in the 1940s when the FBI opened it looking for Nazis. But soon after, it was lost. In the 1950s two historians attempted to find it and failed."
posted by moonmilk on Feb 7, 2014 - 28 comments

There were difficulties.

"This project started with my dad on Thanksgiving. He was reminiscing about Doug Williams, who in 1988 became the first black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl. All these years later, he was still proud of Williams, whose name to some may be that of a half-remembered player from the past but to millions of others remains a powerful symbol of progress. It stayed with me, and it seemed that it was worth telling the story not just of Williams, but of everyone—of all those generations of players who struggled so that Russell Wilson could be, simply, a good young quarterback." Deadspin's The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks.
posted by davidjmcgee on Feb 6, 2014 - 16 comments

The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean

Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka. Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own. Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.
posted by infini on Feb 6, 2014 - 9 comments

La-La Land

Vintage Los Angeles is Alison Martino's YouTube channel featuring a look back at Los Angeles during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. There's an accompanying blog and a facebook page, too.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 5, 2014 - 10 comments

A One-PDF History of European Socialism and Communism

A One-PDF History of European Socialism and Communism [via mefi projects]
posted by aniola on Feb 5, 2014 - 50 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

Barrieres incendiée

Images of the French Revolution. 14,000 individual visual items, primarily prints, but also illustrations, medals, coins, and other objects included as part of the French Revolution Digital Archive, a collaboration between Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. "The use of these contents for non-commercial purposes is free of charge, subject to compliance with applicable French legislation and notably the inclusion of the source’s statement." Post title taken from this print, "Barrieres incendiée"
posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 5, 2014 - 8 comments

The Last Stand

Marc Wilson’s series The Last Stand documents the remains of coastal fortifications that lined Northern Europe during the Second World War — bunkers swallowed by the sea, pillboxes barely clinging to land, buildings ripped from their foundations and wrecked on the rocks — from Allied positions on England’s east coast and the far tip of the Northern Isles, to the once German-occupied archipelago of the Channel Islands and the remains of the Atlantikwall, the colossal Nazi defense network which stretched from Norway to Spain.
Slideshow
posted by infini on Feb 4, 2014 - 8 comments

American Cities: Before and After

Smithsonian Magazine's interactive map series on American cities. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 31, 2014 - 4 comments

"The neighborhood has all gone t' hell"

Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2014 - 51 comments

In Velox Libertas!

In May 2008, while excavating around the castle, the archaeologists of Bristol University made a surprising discovery. They have unearthed two graves side by side. In both of them they have found the rests of the body of an armored knight, and above it in one grave the well preserved skeleton of a horse, while in the other the fragments of iron objects which, seen from above, resembled… a bicycle.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 28, 2014 - 52 comments

'To Europe—Yes, but Together With Our Dead'

What happens to a nation that's suffered a great crime? What happens when the wrong can't be made right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 28, 2014 - 32 comments

A time to be born and a time to die

Pete Seeger, singer, musician, songwriter, political activist for more than 7 decades died, age 94. As a song writer, he is best known as the author or co-author of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, If I Had a Hammer, and Turn, Turn, Turn! [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 27, 2014 - 314 comments

The New York Filming Locations of The Godfather, Then and Now

Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look.
posted by timshel on Jan 27, 2014 - 27 comments

The Invention of Jaywalking and the Rise of Car Culture

In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 26, 2014 - 125 comments

Etretat, Sunset, February 5th, 1883, 4:53 PM local time

Dating an Impressionist's Sunset. "Famed French Impressionist Claude Monet created a striking scene of the Normandy coast in his 1883 painting, Étretat: Sunset. Now a team of Texas State University researchers, led by astronomer and physics professor Donald Olson, has applied its distinctive brand of forensic astronomy to Monet’s masterpiece, uncovering previously unknown details about the painting’s origins." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 25, 2014 - 21 comments

Mr Churchill and Herr Beans

The only known recording of the Cambridge spy Guy Burgess, made just before he defected to Russia in 1951, has been recovered from FBI files by researchers at City University London. Speaking late at night, and clearly the worse for drink, Burgess describes his meeting with Winston Churchill in September 1938, shortly after the Munich Agreement, and recreates Churchill's side of the story with a number of amusing impressions.
posted by verstegan on Jan 24, 2014 - 6 comments

Ephemeral and Immortal

Along with its famous World Heritage Site rolls, UNESCO maintains lists of more intangible cultural treasures. In 2013 alone, they recognized the vertical calligraphy of Mongolia, the communal name pools of western Uganda, the 8000-year-old viticulture traditions of Georgia, the skeletal melodies of Vietnam, the forty-fold feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs, the making of kimchi, the use of the abacus, the annual rebinding of the Q’eswachaka bridge, the carol epics of Romania, and the shrimp-fishing horsemen of Belgium. These are only a few of the hundreds inscribed. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 24, 2014 - 21 comments

Wormhole Radio

Scratchy Grooves For almost twenty years, starting in 1984, Bill Chambless on WVUD-FM at the University of Delaware, explored the pop music of 1900 to 1940 on vintage recordings, "scratches and all." Stream the shows at this website, migrated from the original cassette tapes and maintained by his son.
posted by Miko on Jan 24, 2014 - 9 comments

Hey Señorita, I'm hot as hell

About fifty years ago, the governor of Indiana received a letter complaining about obscenity in the lyrics of a rock'n'roll song, and passed that letter on to the FBI. For the following two years, FBI agents examined potential lyrics of the song (which were incomprehensible on the recording, partly due to the singer's braces) to find grounds for an obscenity prosecution. They ultimately failed, but produced a 140-page report, listing numerous possible obscene readings of what the lyrics could be, and in doing so, turned Louie Louie by The Kingsmen from a footnote into a bona fide rock'n'roll rebel anthem. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jan 23, 2014 - 27 comments

"The perfect spot to get lost in"

Old photos of the Cincinnati Public Library before it was demolished in 1955 (Go ahead. Weep. I did).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jan 21, 2014 - 57 comments

Sorry honey, you're naked and it's Whitsun week.

The Flowchart of Medieval Penitent Sex from here, at the History Blog.
posted by bswinburn on Jan 21, 2014 - 35 comments

The Year(s) Without A Summer

So, why was there a ten year long winter starting in 536?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 21, 2014 - 25 comments

Civic Crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
posted by divabat on Jan 19, 2014 - 8 comments

If you're sick of Garfield and Mary Worth

If the funnies in your local paper have gotten you down, with their limited space and xeroxed gags, why not take the wayback machine to the Golden Age of newspaper strips, courtesy of Gocomics' Origins of the Sunday comics? Started July last year and curated by Peter Maresca, it shows off how sophisticated and beautiful the American comic strip was almost from its birth in the 1890ties .
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 19, 2014 - 15 comments

Gove would not approve of the way Luton celebrated the end of WWI

"During the fierce fighting that followed the police found themselves heavily outnumbered as soldiers, many in uniform, joined in against them. A chemist's shop was raided and medicine bottles were used as missiles. A man was hit so hard by a fireman's jet that he was hurled through a music shop window. The crowd that went in to rescue him emerged with three pianos. These were dragged into the roadway and used as accompaniments. The crowd sang 'Keep the Home Fires Burning' before the biggest bonfire that Luton had ever seen. The burning down of the Town Hall provided the perfect culmination to what had started as a very wet day." -- In 1919 the mayor of Luton planned a "peace celebration" as a nice way for him and his friends to gorge themselves. Thousands of discharged, unemployed service men thought otherwise and the 1919 Luton riots were the result.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 18, 2014 - 37 comments

Yellow Peril

10 Examples of Asian American and Pacific Islander's Rich History of Resistance counters the notion that "there is a prevailing notion out there that, in contrast to other minorities, Asian Americans “lack a history of resistance” (or that we think we do), and that this invisibility and dearth of civil rights history actually confers upon the Asian American community a form of racial privilege."
posted by Conspire on Jan 17, 2014 - 18 comments

Hygienic and Scientific Cooking

"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2014 - 12 comments

A Cub for the Accursed

"The Cubs occasionally had human mascots, but, aside from managers' children, their tenures were short-lived. (An exception was the Fat Boy, Paul Dominick, who was given credit for a 21-game winning streak in 1935 and then left for Hollywood.) Instead, they seemed to prefer animals—who, it should be noted, did not demand salaries. The 1908 world champions had Bud, a Boston bull terrier puppy with an adorable curved tail, and a grotesque-looking fake polar bear. The 1913 team had a homicidal gamecock, named Tampa after their spring training home. (Tampa's mascotting career seems to have ended when he murdered another rooster.) In 1915, they had another dog, a terrier named Toy. But mostly they had live cubs."
posted by Iridic on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

The illustrated farmer

The Great Maple Syrup Heist - in cartoon form!  ...and other illustrated stories by Lucas Adams in Modern Farmer, including The Legend of the Goat Man and The Pleasant Valley Sheep War. [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Jan 16, 2014 - 23 comments

Double Deuce | April 1917| Woodhouse discharged | That's a lot of scalps

Operation War Diary is the newest crowdsourced science effort from Zooniverse, cataloging WWI British soldiers' war diaries from the Western Front. Participants can help tag dates, locations, people, and events from 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the Western Front. Entries range from the uneventful (October 24 | PONT DU HEM | 5:30 am | Occupied same position. Did not fire all day) to the eventful (A & B cleared the village and the regiment eventually captured the convoy in the wood about a mile on after it had been headed back by a returning movement of 12th Lancers. In all 200 prisoners). [more inside]
posted by univac on Jan 14, 2014 - 11 comments

We had some good years

Over his long career, the renowned photojournalist Art Shay, 91, has taken thousands of photographs of kings, presidents, Hollywood celebs, and sports stars—chronicling people’s lives and news stories all over the world for such magazines as Time, Life, and Chicago. But his favorite subject of all was his wife of 67 years, Florence. Sometimes Florence would be the focal point of his photos—front and center, smiling, dancing, or reading. Life Through a Leica
posted by timshel on Jan 14, 2014 - 7 comments

Giving You Oral

Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 13, 2014 - 24 comments

The Soviet POWs at Fort Dix

In 1945, the 153 Soviet POWs of Fort Dix disappeared into a void. Their ultimate fate is unknown. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Jan 13, 2014 - 63 comments

Incomplete, apparently

Here she discovered photographs of several of the absent illuminations, a partial ownership history, and a surprising fact: Christie’s had listed the book as “APPARENTLY COMPLETE.” In other words, the devotional had been taken apart—“broken” is the industry term—not a hundred years ago, but within the last three years. Its leaves had been stripped for individual sale by a modern-day dealer. “I was almost physically sick,” Treharne told me. “I could not believe what I had in front of me.”
posted by PussKillian on Jan 12, 2014 - 66 comments

"I wasn't afraid because I was too angry to be afraid."

Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, has died. McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T College when he, along with fellow students Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. (later Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond (who died in 1990), walked into their local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960, and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter. This spontaneous act of civil disobedience (previously) sparked what would come to be known as the sit-in movement to dismantle Jim Crow.
posted by scody on Jan 10, 2014 - 33 comments

Hippies in the Boardroom

How Silicon Valley Became The Man The Harvard Business Review's Justin Fox interviews Stanford historian Fred Turner about how the New Communalists molded the Valley in their image.
posted by Diablevert on Jan 10, 2014 - 29 comments

The Giants of Potsdam

"The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers—they are my weakness." Thus confessed Frederick William, second king of Prussia, whose passion compelled the creation of an elite regiment of six-foot-plus grenadiers. Recruitment, diplomatic gifts, and the occasional abduction of a spindly peasant or acromegalic tradesman supplied thousands of "giants" for the ranks; experiments with breeding programs and stretching machines were somewhat less successful. Frederick II, Frederick William's son and successor, dispersed the regiment when he succeeded to power in 1740. The Potsdam Giants had never actually seen combat, the main part of their duty having been to drill and parade before their enraptured king. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 9, 2014 - 18 comments

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