I am looking for articles (Wikipedia is OK) about both terrible/failed attempts to pay people for x result or wildly successful ones. [more inside]
I’m trying to fact-check an anecdote that I’ve come across in the course of a research project, and coming up short. In a nutshell: did King Umberto I of Italy ever visit Paris at any point between 1889 and his assassination in 1900? The anecdote suggests that he did, but my (admittedly limited) understanding of French-Italian relations at the time suggests that this is unlikely.
My daughter just did one of those elementary school projects where you pick a historical figure and assemble a presentation of things from their life. One of the requirements was for a birth certificate. That got me wondering: would someone like Thomas Jefferson have had a birth certificate? When abouts did that become standard in England / British colonies? Is it something only rich people had or did everyone keep that level of records? [more inside]
If you search Google Maps for "San Francisco", it shows tiny corners of Angel Island and Alameda Island as lying within city limits. Is this accurate? If so, how did the city/county boundary lines get drawn in such an unusual way?
Seeking: a relatively unbiased book (or two, or three) on the history of the Republican and Democratic parties. [more inside]
So I'm starting research on a new project that involves people who supposedly sold their soul to the Devil for something Robert Johnson style. Unfortunately all the searching I'm doing is pointing to him. Help me find the early deals, the famous ones besides RJ and the most recent soul sales attributed to old Scratch.
How would today's cheap, ubiquitous goods (i.e. clothes, shoes, furniture, housewares, miscellaneous equipment, housing, possibly food products) compare to the finest goods available to pre-modern ruling classes? [more inside]
Why is today Thursday, rather than tomorrow or yesterday? I'm not asking why we have a seven day week; I'm asking whether we know how this specific cycle of seven days got started off. And, has it ever been interrupted?
I know that Aristotle mostly faded out after the fall of Rome, and that it was revived when Christian scholars began to translate Arabic editions into Latin in the 12-13th centuries. Fair enough. But what about Homer and the playwrights? Did they similarly disappear, and were they rediscovered alongside Aristotle? Would a 12th century monk have known who Pericles was? Would he have known Herodotus? The Pre-Socratics? If not, how were they recovered? Can someone point me toward some free online material where I can read about this topic? Thanks.
I have been a tea-favorer for many years. I have recently discovered that coffee is pretty good. I'm interested in reading some good histories on both plants/beverages. I am not averse to dry texts, so don't feel restricted to pop-ish books! Who has written the best history/histories on coffee and tea?
I'll be in NYC from Jan 22 - Jan 24 and am overwhelmed with excitement and also panic about What To Do and What To Eat. Can you tell me what you love to do and eat given my wide range of interests? [more inside]
There appear to be a lot of versions of the Lord's Prayer out there. In Europe, between 1400 and 1700, how much did it vary over time and between locations? Did every place/ time have a canonical version or did it vary by sect? Is there a map or resources that show how translations shifted between times and locations? [more inside]
Please help me find photos of poor to middle class living space interiors, in everyday condition vs. spiffed up for the photographer, from the Victorian era through the 1940s? American settings primarily, Western Europe okay too. Stipulation: no corpses. [more inside]
For a project I'm doing, I'd like an illustrated book with lots of information on the physical world of the Bible - particularly animals, plants, and insects. I can look up what's mentioned in the Bible on Wikipedia, but I want more than that. I want to be able to page through an illustrated work (color) - bonus points if there are commentaries from scholars - and to learn a lot about all of the creatures mentioned without having to turn to my computer for complete information. More below. [more inside]
I'm looking for historical overviews and more specific personal accounts, with an emphasis on readability. [more inside]
Please help me compile research resources for a project I will undertake in the year ahead. I would like to become very familiar with the following subjects: 1) New York City and Greenwich Village in the 1850s-1900. 2) The experience of Irish immigrants in that same era 3) The state of Christmas as a cultural entity and practice in that era. Special snowflake explanation inside. [more inside]
As my Pathfinder gaming group just came to an abrupt end due to lack of time on the GM's end (an anthropologist who created a truly AWESOME world), I'm getting the itch to step up and create my own world to possibly GM through a campaign in the future. However, the spirit is willing, but the flesh (or mind?) is weak. I'd like some tips on reading material (either direct how-to stuff or fantasy stories with particularly fantastic worldbuilding) that will deepen my resources on which to draw from in creating my own worlds. A bit more detail within. [more inside]
Can you provide examples of individuals who participated in mob activity and later reflected on it via writing, interview, conversation, art, or any other form of expression?
Gifted late-adolescent bookworms are devouring my personal history library. Help me keep them fed. (details inside) [more inside]
What happened when someone in the Middle Ages got pink eye, or someone in Elizabethan England got athlete's foot or crotch rot? Did the infections just hang around forever? Was everyone just infected with this type of stuff? (It's pretty well-known that basically everyone had lice and fleas, I believe.)
I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language official (French, Spanish), and try to squelch all of the many other languages/dialects (Occitan, Catalan) spoken within their borders. Where can I learn more? [more inside]
I'm returning to work from maternity leave, and my daily 2 hours in the car is the only time I'm guaranteed to myself. Help me make it the best time possible with podcasts! I'm looking specifically for podcasts on: yoga, running, cooking (bonus points for vegetarian or vegan), music, and history. [more inside]
I have about 500 digital photos, each of one page from a hand-typed, 1940s-era text. How do I best transcribe it as part of an effort to share it digitally, and then include it in my own project? [more inside]
Today's couples who are having difficulty "TTC" can potentially access IVF, surrogacy, medical interventions/advice, adoption, fostering, etc. What was life like for couples before these options arose? Was there shame, guilt or sorrow attached to not being able to have children ... and what did the men and women in this situation do about it?
Maybe a decade ago I read a book on the history of live music venues in Toronto from the 1950s to maybe the eighties or nineties. I am maybe 80% sure that title was borrowed from a song title, but every one that comes to mind (e.g "Heart of Gold") is something other than this. Anyone know the book? [more inside]
A long-shot find-me-this-book question, academic edition! A friend has mislaid the title of a book he needs on Mexican popular religion. Do you know the book, or where else on the Internet might be a good place to ask? [more inside]
I've always been more of a TV person than a movie person. Now I think I'd like to get more serious with my interest, and really delve into the history and theory of television, both in terms of the shows themselves and the industry behind them. Help me get started with this! [more inside]
For something I'm writing, I am looking for examples of erasures. I already have literary erasures taken care of (like Mary Ruefle's A Little White Shadow). I am not interested in historical redactions sometimes called erasures ("the erasure of slavery from history books"). I do want examples like the Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum and the blank spaces on the walls where stolen paintings were. Architecture, audio recordings, scientific anything, art, and other fields are welcome.
I think California has a unique and interesting history. I'd like to spend 2017 deep diving into all things California and build my ultimate California Bibliography. Specific request: I'm looking for media (books primarily, but also podcasts, magazine pieces, documentaries, (maybe?) movies) that are less a survey of the whole history of the state and more those that explore a specific time period in a specific place. More popular/easy to read or consume/social history than academic/dry/dissertation types. Edu-tainment? [more inside]
The Internet appears to have swallowed an almost ten-year old commercial from the NYTimes about its (then new) Weekender subscription service, which included the famous "Saturdays, the word alone makes me happy" comment. It was parodied here by the 92Y Tribeca (RIP) and was then revised by the NY Times. I am, however, looking for the original ad that ran in 2006 (according to this Time article). Was even able to locate the abridged version of the commercial, but can't find the original. MeFi's can you help me save this from the internet rabbit hole?
I'm looking for exceptionally well written books on topics in Jewish history that don't focus on the Holocaust, the modern state of Israel, or are "complete" histories (i.e. "A History of the Jews") [more inside]
This woman was at the Democratic National Convention - Miami, 1972. [Source - the image in question is about a third of the way down the page]
Years ago I ran across a term for the scars left behind on buildings by previously existing details or even other connected buildings. The line of a former wall, a connected roofline, that sort of thing. As time will do, the years have erased the term from my memory. I'm working on a small documentary project involving those scars, and would love to use the name . . . Any ideas what that term might have been? Thanks!
I'm looking for examples of unexpected (and not widely known) practices of everyday life from bygone eras. I'll give a few examples of the type of information I seek. [more inside]
Looking for music and hopefully audio for birthday songs that might have been sung in the states before ~1860, ideally in English. I feel certain that I have seen a list of such songs in the past, but several decades worth of hubbub about the "Happy Birthday to You" copyright and the generic nature of the possible search terms seem to have have rendered Google helpless. Thanks!
Did people commonly make and keep copies of their handwritten personal correspondence? [more inside]
Another podcast question! Something that will teach me the history of art? [more inside]
Hi! I'm looking for good podcasts about extremely ancient history, stretching way back into pre-history! Basically: anything that goes from pre-sapiens hominids to, i don't know, let's use 500 BCE as our arbitrary cutoff date. Stuff about human evolution, early architecture, first farming practices, religions, history of tool use, anything in that nice huge swath that encompasses the shadowy past. I know that's a big-ass series of unrelated eons, but basically: the older the better!
The VFW was established in 1913 and had overlap with living Civil War vets. Cursory googling doesn't turn this up, but could Civil War veterans join the VFW?
If Germany didn't expend resources on perpetrating the crimes of the Holocaust would there have been a significant impact on the outcome of WWII in Europe? [more inside]
I'm an atheist trying to take the question of secular morality in society seriously. In debates about whether a secular society is better than a religious one, theists often allude to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc -- the mass murders of the 20th century who were motivated by secular beliefs. Are theists right that atheists killed more people in the 20th century than religious leaders did? What notable examples of this exist, besides the three mentioned above? [more inside]
Two years ago, we moved from Maryland to Seattle, WA, but I still feel like I don't know very much about my new home. Ideally, I'm looking for the "here's what you should have learned in 6th grade" level overview of local history and common knowledge. (I might get into deeper history later, but right now I just want to not feel like such a tourist)
I'm writing a book about an event in local history and I'm doing a lot of new research using primary sources. As part of this, I've been interviewing descendants of the parties involved. What is the protocol or best practice for sharing your findings with them? [more inside]
My undergraduate degree was in medieval history, and I still enjoy reading about the period. But I've a very narrow geographic range to what I've read about - mainly western Europe, with some on eastern Europe and the Middle East. I'd like to broaden my range with some good books about what was going on in the rest of the world from about 500CE to 1500CE. [more inside]
The single appearance of the footprint in Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, is perhaps one of the most famous events in all of literature. I am interested in who has referenced it, and for what ends, especially in critical theory. I also wonder whether Michel Foucault's famous closing lines to 'The Order of Things' is a subtle reference to the appearance of that footprint? Can other allusions to 'the figure of man' and marks in the sand be traced back to Defoe's novel?
I am teaching a college-level introductory government class and need to include content about the Founding Fathers and their views on government. My expertise is in environmental law/policy, which is where most of the class will focus, but I do need to cover the traditional constitution-writing, independence-declaring stuff as well. I already have readings (from Zinn, and also a mainstream textbook) but I would like a compelling video about the founding fathers - and, hopefully, their disparate and conflicting viewpoints - to round out our first week. I was thinking of PBS or something like that, but I'm having a hard time finding anything that is 1) long enough, 2) not too long (>60 minutes), and 3) college level. Any ideas?
I'm trying to fill in gaps in my knowledge of recent history, and need additional reading recommendations. Can you suggest books? Very specific or specialized is fine! [more inside]
I'm trying to get back into the swing of creating art regularly. I'd love to get a regular stream of the great paintings of Western art. Wide-ranging and updated at least daily. Anyone know of such a thing?
What are the most awesome historic homes that can be toured? I am most immediately interested in the North East US, but am glad to hear about ones all over the country and even out of the country, because, well, I seem to be trying to make it everywhere.... [more inside]
What are some interesting historical events of relatively swift, coordinated, mass betrayal, such as the Night of the Long Knives, or the Bleiburg Tragedy? Doesn't matter if the betrayers were "good" or "bad".