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What modern beer tastes most like old-fashioned beer?

I was thinking about the Ken Burns Prohibition documentary today, and it got me thinking: if I wanted to find what beer tasted like in the United States a century ago, what would I try? [more inside]
posted by 4ster on Aug 23, 2014 - 22 answers

Recommendations for books about Red Clydeside

I recently found out that I'm not the only red sheep in my otherwise right-wing family. Apparently my great-grandmother was good pals with James Maxton and some of the other Scottish socialists of the day. I'm looking for book recommendations about Maxton and Red Clydeside in general.
posted by atropos on Aug 22, 2014 - 2 answers

State of French scientific knowledge about the moon in 1878

need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
posted by aesop on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Designing a poster for my friend's movie

So my friend just completed post for her movie and she asked me to do a simple poster for it. The movie is about how the growth of the feminist movement in Northern Ireland under British rule. I am giving her many options, some of which are specific to the time and place and some of which are more about women in general. Thoughts? [more inside]
posted by cyrusw8 on Aug 17, 2014 - 6 answers

How did peasants in the Middle Ages survive the winter?

What strategies were used by peasants of medieval Europe to prepare for and survive the harsh winter months? [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry on Aug 16, 2014 - 27 answers

Calling all virologists - important events in virology needed!

I'm preparing a timeline of important virology-related events for work. We have some HIV-related and some bacteriophage-related material as well as some cancer-related stuff and some "greatest hits" (x-ray diffraction patterns, transduction, discovery of interferon). I'd like to expand our timeline to cover more diverse kinds of virology-related stuff. [more inside]
posted by Frowner on Aug 15, 2014 - 8 answers

Help me think of some small but significant buyable business artifacts

I work at a business school, and want to decorate my office with some cool artifacts that represent business and innovation. As a family heirloom, I already have a piece of the original Vanguard rocket (it exploded on launch). I have also bought a beautiful piece of Fordite. What other beautiful or interesting wall-mountable small artifacts could I buy that would fit with this collection? I have been thinking about icononic microchips, electronic or industrial equipment, or other related stuff, nothing too pricey. Any ideas - links to places to purchase would be great, too...
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 9, 2014 - 14 answers

Road scholar

Let's say you have a kid - 10-15 years old, so maybe grades 5-10 - and you decide to pull them out of school for a year. During that time, you are going to drive around the United States with the goal of learning, in an authentic way, as much as possible about American history, culture, and geography. Where do you go, and what do you read? [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles on Aug 9, 2014 - 15 answers

Unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic?

I need to show unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic (starting no later than 1923) in a way that consistently compares apples to apples and not apples to oranges -- i.e., total number of unemployed OR total percentage of workforce, but not sometimes one and sometimes the other. (Having both would be ideal.) I would also prefer a specific month for each figure, if possible, rather than just the year (i.e., "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in September 1932" is more useful than "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in 1932"). [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 6, 2014 - 3 answers

Before gas, did candles really illuminate rooms well?

Watching A period piece film and wondering if, before gas and electric lighting, having a roomful of candles ever really illuminated things as much as they appear here or were all large rooms of the time like spotily-lit caverns after dark? [more inside]
posted by Senor Cardgage on Jul 28, 2014 - 17 answers

Life in a large and wealthy Victorian home

I want to know more about the material culture of a large English country house or great house in the Victorian era. [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet on Jul 26, 2014 - 12 answers

Pairing fiction with eras in common

So two books I really love are Heaven to Betsy and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love how they go into the details of the period they take place, particularly the fashion and food. It was also only recently I realised that they take place roughly around the same era. It really surprised me because they are so completely different to one another. Francie has an alcoholic father and the family can barely get food on the table; Betsy's biggest ordeal is falling in love with a boy that doesn't like her back and not studying for an essay contest. So my question is two-fold and is aimed at requesting book suggestions. [more inside]
posted by like_neon on Jul 25, 2014 - 23 answers

Recommend me some books about old sailing ships

I'm in a mood to read non-fiction history books dealing with sailing ships. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Jul 22, 2014 - 22 answers

How can you recognize a secure person if you’re insecure?

Am I ruining a great relationship with my anxiety or am I anxious because my relationship is not great? Is there a way to tell the difference between irrational anxiety and alarm bells? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Best Books on shipping mail/news/orders/etc?

What is the best book on the history of sending mail, news, orders and other information by ship?
posted by michaelh on Jul 18, 2014 - 1 answer

Book recommendation: a good historical overview of the US in the 1980s?

I am seeking recommendations for (reputable/peer-reviewed) essays or books that could help me develop a nuanced but well-rounded understanding of the social, political, and economic climate in 1980s America (economic deregulation is a particular point of interest). [more inside]
posted by coastisclear on Jul 14, 2014 - 8 answers

The weirdness of manuscript copyright law (UK version)

In the case of unpublished historical manuscripts in copyright till 2039 in the UK, where the original author is long dead and there is no designated copyright holder, how does copyright work once you get down a generation or two and have multiple heirs of seemingly equal standing? (eg. several grandchildren or multiple great nieces and nephews) Must everyone be consulted and agree, or if a will never mentioned the manuscript but left everything to a given child or even a non-family member, do only their heirs count and not the other grandkids etc? [more inside]
posted by Flitcraft on Jul 8, 2014 - 3 answers

Where can I find historical broadcast TV schedules?

I've been scouring the internet for a way to pick a certain date and time in modern history and see what was being broadcast at that moment, but so far no luck. Does anybody know of an archive of this information, or any clever ways to repurpose any other existing data?
posted by excitementMD on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Businesses in New York that have been around for over 100 years

I'd like to compile a list of businesses in New York City—starting with Manhattan—that have been around for 100 years or more. I'd also like to include places the public can visit that aren't "businesses" per se. I'm guessing this information is publicly available, but I don't know where to start. Any guidance would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
posted by context adventure on Jun 29, 2014 - 20 answers

What are the best blogs about history?

What are the best blogs or other online publications about history (any kind) out there? I'm looking for medium-to-long, well-researched, smart, readable articles by a variety of authors with some expertise in their subject matter. I don't want anything too clickbaity, but nothing straight from an academic journal either.
posted by oinopaponton on Jun 29, 2014 - 13 answers

Historic Supreme Court voting records

I'd like to have a list of every US Supreme Court decision ever, including which justices voted how. I'd like the list to be easily parsable by a computer program. Details and alternatively acceptable things inside. [more inside]
posted by Flunkie on Jun 24, 2014 - 3 answers

How to find out which chemical plants are union shops in La./Tx.

How do I figure out what chemical plants in Houston-Beaumont-Port Arthur and South Louisiana are union shops? [more inside]
posted by CtrlAltD on Jun 15, 2014 - 5 answers

What are some examples of humanitarian acts gone awry?

Can anyone provide instances of humanitarian efforts on a global or national scale that ended up exacerbating matters or creating new problems? What made these efforts different from successful ventures? [more inside]
posted by jne1813 on Jun 13, 2014 - 24 answers

What are the most historically accurate period movies/series?

I'm looking for examples of period movies/series - particularly of ancient times - that are absolutely, obsessively, flawlessly historically accurate. As in 'if I emerged from a time machine, that's how it would be' accurate, or universally-blessed-by-eminent-historians accurate. [more inside]
posted by scrm on Jun 13, 2014 - 18 answers

Introductory sources on biological classification

I'm beginning a project that looks partly at biological classification, primarily in western science. I have no background in this, and so I'm digging around. I'm interested to know more about the current rules for nomenclature, and also to know more about historical, philosophical, sociological, knowledge practice, ethnographic, anthropological, science technology and society (STS), sociotechnical, etc., approaches to the study of biological classification. I'll take monographs, articles, papers, web sites, etc. I have access to a university library. What are some good sources that can introduce me to this? Many thanks!
posted by carter on Jun 9, 2014 - 13 answers

The Tech Tree from Civilization is just not detailed enough

I'm looking for a technology tree for the early early history of human technology. I want one that is detailed but it doesn't need to go any further than the Classical age. Do you know of any resources on-line or have any book recommendations that would give me a good part of what I need? [more inside]
posted by Jane the Brown on Jun 8, 2014 - 3 answers

What are the "big shifts" that have changed humanity?

I'm looking to explore the big shifts and major revolutions that have made a historical impact. Examples in the modern age: the rise of democracy, the proliferation of capitalism, and the Information Age / Internet. What other big shifts and major revolutions have changed humanity? [more inside]
posted by markbao on Jun 5, 2014 - 35 answers

Non-Western History Please!

I want to read some non-Western history, from pre-colonial periods. All I ask is that it be a good read, but non-Western authors would be a cool bonus. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jun 3, 2014 - 18 answers

What is the origin of the dimensions of large-sized US dollar bills?

US dollar bills before 1928 were larger than they are now, 188mm by 79mm. Are there records of why that particular size was chosen? [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Jun 1, 2014 - 7 answers

Ottoman Turk translation help?

How would one write "The Fast Ones" in Ottoman-era Turkish? I'm making a mildly humorous sign for a Turkish friend, and for various reasons I'm pretending it's Ottoman-era (1650). [more inside]
posted by aramaic on May 29, 2014 - 2 answers

Introductory history of Western philosophy & thought?

I'm looking for a good overview of Western philosophy for beginners. [more inside]
posted by Grinder on May 28, 2014 - 15 answers

Pros and cons of National Register of Historic Places designation?

I'm working with a small-town historical preservation group to get a grant to preserve and display their old, now defunct, USFS Ranger Station cabin. I'm primarily burying my nose in archives and old newspapers to do the historical research, but the group is curious about whether or not they should also apply to be listed by the NRHP, and I agreed to help them out. Any pertinent anecdotal experiences or anything you could share about your own knowledge of the NRHP? Any advice or strong opinions on the matter? [more inside]
posted by Grandysaur on May 27, 2014 - 8 answers

How did colonial Americans speak?

I am trying to write a story that takes place in 1660s Massachusetts. I have a great plot and characters, but the action stops when they open their mouths. I simply don't know how they spoke. How can I find examples of 17th century English as spoken by ordinary people? [more inside]
posted by Biblio on May 26, 2014 - 11 answers

Need help sourcing a quote

I could have sworn I read Ta-Nehisi Coates write somewhere on the internet something along the lines of - "The North didn't win the Civil War, America did." The thinking behind this was that the war shouldn't be framed as "North vs. South" - but rather, "America vs. the CSA" or "America vs. some traitors." Does this ring any bells? [more inside]
posted by Baby_Balrog on May 23, 2014 - 5 answers

Opinionated history books?

I love conversing with people who know history and are sparkling, highly opinionated storytellers. Often these are foreigners or emigrants speaking about their country. They're unafraid to draw sharp, outspoken conclusions that frame major situations (e.g. that some leader was an incompetent fool or that an accident of geography is what will ensure conflict between two groups continues). What are some book equivalents of that conversational experience? They can be on any period or region. I do not want a magisterial treatise. I want a keen-eyed, slicing talk with someone really well-informed and cynical over several drinks who's gonna say what's what.
posted by shivohum on May 22, 2014 - 14 answers

Teach Me About Art Storage.

My favorite part of museums these days are the visible storage units. My favorite part of natural history museums are old-fashioned drawers filled with air-tight cases. I want to know more about the history and practice of storing/preserving art objects, paintings, sculpture, textiles, etc. What books/websites should I be reading to find out more? The more weirdly medium specific and detailed the better. Strange anecdotes very much welcome.
posted by The Whelk on May 22, 2014 - 14 answers

Lonely Hearts Clubs before the song?

What, exactly, was a Lonely Hearts' Club? Was it a personals ad service? A "marriage bureau" such as one still sees in societies where arranged marriage is common? An actual club of people that would put on events? All of the above? [more inside]
posted by wnissen on May 21, 2014 - 7 answers

Southwark Local History Resources?

I'm trying to write a sort of walking tour of the Southwark/Borough area in London (UK). I need help resources for information on buildings/history of the area and stories tied to that place or its people. Preferably things which are freely available online. More specific details inside. [more inside]
posted by Erberus on May 16, 2014 - 5 answers

Historical novels, subtype 'just-so' stories?

I'm craving a particular subtype of historical novel: the kind that posits a dimly-remembered reality behind a famous myth/legend/story, sort of filling it out and extrapolating the details into realism. My favorite of this kind is Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" about Theseus (also the sequel). I also enjoyed "Eaters of the Dead", about the events of 'Beowulf'. But what are some other good ones you can recommend? More examples and specifics inside! [more inside]
posted by theatro on May 15, 2014 - 32 answers

Ye Olde Tyme Suicide? Okay, not that old, but...

How did people commit suicide in the US in the 1930s? Does it make a difference if it's a female? [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on May 9, 2014 - 35 answers

Inconsistent birth dates with my Irish ancestors?

I'm researching my Irish ancestry and am befuddled by inconsistent birth dates. When I compare my ancestors' Irish baptism records (baptisms being close after birth) to their much later American records, the birth dates almost never match up, being sometimes up to six years apart. [more inside]
posted by FelineoidEntity on May 5, 2014 - 12 answers

The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air

What are some subtle or lesser-known examples of current-day real-world USA being a dystopia? [more inside]
posted by divabat on May 5, 2014 - 52 answers

Books on the period between WW1 and WW2?

I'm new to history as a field of study, and I chose World War 1 as a place to start. Having finished reading several books on the topic, I'm ready to move past World War 1 for now. My first instinct was to dive into the seemingly infinite pool of literature that is World War 2, but I'm not sure if I'd be doing the 20th century justice by skipping the intervening years. Essentially, I'm looking for a book that covers the period between the World Wars. Ideally, this book would focus on Europe but touch on at least some of the rest of the world. Bonus points if this book is available as an audiobook.
posted by jqb603 on Apr 28, 2014 - 8 answers

Home for unwed mothers in Indianapolis, 1960s-1970s?

Coincidence or something real? Two "relatives" have contacted me with a similar story: born to teenage mothers in Indianapolis in the 1960s or 1970s. Was there a home for unwed mothers there? [more inside]
posted by metarkest on Apr 26, 2014 - 11 answers

American Presidential Quote: "Of all the imperfect forms of government"

Having a little trouble finding the source for this quote. Believe it was Reagan. who said "Of all the imperfect forms of government, our is the best man has so far come up with."
posted by Nicholas Geary on Apr 14, 2014 - 4 answers

local opposition TO "massive resistance"?

"Massive resistance" was a shameful state effort from 1956-1959 to cancel out the Brown v. Board decision. Virginia's Harry Byrd launched it, but the courts ultimately killed it off. I've heard that there was [at least one] petition or letter circulated in opposition to it, but can't find any mention of it. It would have been remarkable in the climate of the time, because signers would surely have lost their jobs. I checked several relevant websites, including that of the Southern Historical Association, but nothing even close. Is anyone familiar enough with the details of this sad chapter to have heard of such an effort?
posted by mmiddle on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 answers

What did bloodletters do with the blood they let?

What did the bloodletters of olden times do with the blood they collected? Presumably it was disposed of, but how? [more inside]
posted by Perodicticus potto on Apr 6, 2014 - 2 answers

Strange And Unusual Gin Drinks?

I want to write about obscure and little known gin cocktails, ideally ones with fun stories attached or a vintage pedigree . What are your favorite obscure gin cocktails? The more outlandish and exotic the better.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 4, 2014 - 44 answers

1493, but on Spanish California?

Recommendations for a recent popular history of Alta California before the American annexation? [more inside]
posted by crazy with stars on Mar 29, 2014 - 6 answers

Finding every comment that's ever featured on Reddit's Bestof

I like reading Reddit's /bestof comments and have been following for a while. However, the /bestof page only keeps a month or so of history. Is there a way to find every comment that's ever been bestof'd?
posted by guy72277 on Mar 27, 2014 - 9 answers

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