Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: The Many Lives of Phoebe Hessel

Some lives were made for the silver screen. Phoebe Hessel (née Smith) is one of them. Spoiler alert: Her adventures as a British soldier in the 18th century took her to the West Indies and battlefields across Europe. However, her story doesn’t end there. After incomprehensible tragedy as a wife and mother, she went from Read More

20th-Century Hot Takes

I can say very confidently that the following words, which you are about to read, are very accurate and hopefully, very interesting. – Bob, 1976 This is not Second Glance History’s mission statement, although perhaps it should be. These words were, in fact, penned in 1976 by my father, Bob, in a biographical essay he Read More

Life Lessons from a Centenarian

As Abner and Mary Hammond taught us last year, the early 20th century press was obsessed with stories about the elderly doing anything besides sitting in rocking chairs. That press had a field day with Electa Kennedy. Starting in 1905 with an article anticipating her 100th birthday—in four years’ time—newspapers from California and Montana to Read More

A New Page

On January 12, 1912, Abner and Mary Hammond stepped off a ferry in San Francisco and did what courageous people have done since the dawn of time: They left their old lives behind in search of a fresh start. It wasn’t a unique story. What made them notable, according to the newspapers that covered their Read More