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

Letters from the Front Lines

When this you see, remember me, though many miles between us be. – George Deal to Sarah Cole Deal; Memphis, Tennessee; February 1863 It is a truth universally acknowledged. . . that most people’s letters are insufferably boring. Mine included: If rambling on about the weather was an Olympic sport, I’d have several gold medals, Read More

The Other Pandemic

Sick and tired of worrying about coronavirus making you sick and tired? If you’ve had it with wall-to-wall COVID-19 coverage, Second Glance History is happy to distract you with another horrific disease to fixate on: kyphosis bicyclistarum. You’re welcome. I’m surely not the only one consulting WebMD more frequently of late. However, while we’re bombarded Read More

2020 Presidential Endorsement

You might not have heard, but the U.S. is in the midst of a teeny, tiny, not-at-all-consequential presidential election. And not everyone is excited about a field limited to three white, septuagenarian men. If you’re on the verge of chucking your TV out the window next time you see a campaign ad, allow me to Read More

Bram’s Buddy

Inspired by a recent weekend in Dublin, I’m digging deeper into the story of Bram Stoker. Get ready for vampires! Epic battles between good and evil! And copious amounts of garlic! Whoops, wrong book. Today, he’s renowned around the world as the author of the novel that spawned a thousand teenybopper vampire romances, but in Read More

Lost and Found

My terrible sense of direction reared its ugly head, and I got horribly lost. It’s hard to put into words how awful this makes me feel. It isn’t really that I’m afraid I’ll never find my way (although I suppose that’s a tiny, irrational part), but the sense of helplessness and frustration it evokes. I Read More

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