History’s Forgotten Fashion Fad

Americans living in the early 20th century had much to be concerned about: a world war, an influenza pandemic and most frightening of all, women neglecting their homes in pursuit of the vote. However, alongside these worries was another terror that could strike anywhere at any time: You’d think an army of pickpockets was mounting 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

Canine Clickbait

In a shameless ploy to increase blog traffic, I’m giving the internet what it wants: cute puppies. I’ve scoured the usual sources to bring you the most adorable and amusing puppy anecdotes and photos history can provide. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. You’re welcome. Before the Gosselins and their Read More

The Pleasantest Prattler

Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911 Ambrose Bierce—author, Civil War veteran and pre-muckraker—was one of the most influential journalists of his day, no doubt thanks in part to wit “so keen that it pierces Read More

A Blah History

If you thought National Thank a Mail Carrier Day was an obscure holiday, you’ll never guess what today is: Blah, Blah, Blah Day. “Blah” is a relatively recent addition to our lexicon, having first appeared in 1918. Considering the wide range of complex emotions it conveys, it’s a wonder the English language did without it Read More

The Prince and the Pilot

Loyal readers might recall the story of plant-eating, teetotaling, jiu-jitsu-demonstrating health nut and newspaper darling, Gladys Mason, who went missing somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco on a cross-country trek in 1913. Well, folks, we found her! It turns out, after leaving Chicago, she took a detour to Wisconsin, where she opened a popular burger Read More

Nuggets from Norfolk

Back by unpopular demand! This week, in response to calls from absolutely no one, I present the long-awaited sequel to Insults from Ipswich: Nuggets from Norfolk. Like the Ipswich Journal, the Norfolk Chronicle covered daily life in eastern England, beginning in the late 18th century. And as in Ipswich, the city of Norwich had plenty Read More

Five Unconventional Uses for Bread Boxes

You might recognize the bread box as a kitchen staple and the first line of defense against mold and stale toast. Or, if you grew up in the era of added preservatives and plastic bags like I did, you might have to google it. Either way, you can be forgiven for assuming a bread box Read More

Presidential Pardon

Even if you didn’t have the day off work, the onslaught of mattress sale commercials should have reminded you that this past Monday was Presidents’ Day. Along with National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, it’s a busy month. In honor of the holiday, let’s explore a footnote in the administration of one of our more Read More

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