New Christmas Traditions

From alternative Fourth of July plans to innovative uses for your Thanksgiving leftovers, Second Glance History has made a habit of looking backwards for holiday inspiration. As this very strange year comes to an end—not a moment too soon—my gift to you is suggestions for celebrating Christmas, too. Whether you want to try out some Read More

A Narrow Escape

Despite being a healthy, privileged resident of a highly industrialized nation, I’ve had a few close calls. I nearly strangled myself at birth with the umbilical cord—I’m still sorry about that, Mom. And then there was that time a glass coffee table spontaneously shattered a foot away from me. (It’s a thing.) Plus, who can Read More

5 Alternative Uses for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Sure, turkey tastes delicious when it’s sitting on your Thanksgiving plate or Zoom screen, doused in cranberry sauce—or cantaloupe, if you’re 10-year-old me. (I know, I was a weird child.) However, this holiday staple is good for so much more than a food coma and a week of leftovers.  If 2020 hasn’t been strange enough Read More

Not Dead Yet

Good news for conspiracy theorists and Monty Python fans alike: The King lives! Except, by “the King,” I don’t mean Elvis. In fact, it’s “the prince” who’s back from the dead—Crown Prince Rudolf, heir apparent to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The lamestream media, history textbooks and just about everyone else would have sheeple Read More

Roaming around Rotterdam

When the American tourist of former summers, whose mind was filled with a preconceived notion of Europe made up of a wealth of statistical and historical information, approached the port of Rotterdam on his maiden voyage, he usually suffered his first great European disappointment. The most reliable of reference books had prepared him for the Read More

Diary of a Not-Wimpy Ambassador

If you found a diary left open and unguarded, conveniently transcribed, digitized and text searchable, would you snoop? If you said “no,” you’re a better person than I am.   When it comes to gleaning insights about the days of yesteryear—to say nothing of tantalizing gossip—you can’t beat diaries and letters (along with certain newspapers). Read More

5 Ways to Break Your Lease

Have you just been offered a new job—in a city across the country? Maybe you moved in with your significant other after a few idyllic dates, and three months later, the honeymoon is over—but your lease isn’t. Or perhaps you’re haunted by your new wife’s deceased husband—when he tells you to vacate the premises, you Read More

Alternative Fourth of July Activities

In many parts of the United States, Fourth of July celebrations will be (or at least, should be) a little different this year: no large crowds gathered together to ooh and ahh over fireworks, no hamburgers and hotdogs grilled at neighborhood barbecues and definitely no regiments marching around in powdered wigs. Fortunately, history is full Read More

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

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