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".
Can anyone recommend a good historical examination of literary and performed works throughout all of human history that stood out from their contemporaries for containing exceptionally violent/disturbing imagery, even for their own time? (more 'recent' examples being Titus Andronicus, the various Penny Dreadfuls, de Sade, Milton, etc) [more inside]
Was interracial marriage ever illegal in New York State? What was the status of the law in 1961? [more inside]
I'm about to finish Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, which is a history of the songwriters and musicians who invented the classic "Brill Building Sound." What's the best book to read about Motown Records? [more inside]
Asking for my folks: tell me arts/ecology/sheep/theatre/rug hooking/banjo/history/alternative building materials stuff to do near Antigonish Nova Scotia in the first week of September this year.
In the novel "Wolf Hall" Liz Cromwell is shocked to realize she and Thomas are awake at 3 o'clock in the morning (quote, though no real spoilers inside). How does she know what time it is in 1527? Would a successful lawyer and merchant have a clock in his bedroom? Would a church or town clock tower ring the hours through the night? [more inside]
I'm trying to find out if anyone successfully escaped from a Japanese-American or Japanese-Canadian Internment camp during World War II. [more inside]
I just moved to Boston and don't know much of anything about it's history as a music town. I mean I'm generally aware of classic rock bands being from Boston, and then Mission of Burma, but what else? What books, documentaries, websites, magazine archives, etc should I read to find out more about the Boston (and surrounding area) scene? [more inside]
I'm looking for YouTube channels that are dedicated to providing education about or insight into interesting subjects. They can have humor in them, but I'd prefer for them to be primarily informative rather than humorous. [more inside]
Fragments of Roman Londinium are still visible around London. Bits of old London Bridge have been worked into St. Magnus the Martyr Church. What other leftover bits of old London are still hanging around the modern-day city? [more inside]
I have been reading some articles about housing costs in the U.S. and I'm interested in learning why – historically, culturally, economically, or otherwise – Americans spend a larger portion of their incomes on housing compared to other developed nations. [more inside]
I'd like to convert 729 livres in Lyon, France in 1736 to contemporary US dollars. [more inside]
It's time to take my love of spooky history to a new level. What are some shows, movies, podcasts, etc that do it well? Preferences within. [more inside]
Are there any surviving evidence of household decorations from medieval times in Europe? [more inside]
Google challenge: Name the architect who built the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. [more inside]
In the mid-1800s, a snail spent years glued to a specimen card in the British Museum before scientists realized it was still alive. What became of this snail? Help me solve a scientific History Mystery, AskMe! [more inside]
Once again, I'm reminded of everything I don't know, so it's time to start organizing my next round of what-to-read. This time: African history. Any recommendations would be very welcome. [more inside]
I'm interested in better understanding the rate at which data transmission has increased through human history. I would like to graph this to understand better how to compare ancient events with modern based on how long it would take an idea to filter through a population at a given time. I know this is a tall order, and so I've settled on one variable that I think will be useful for me: the speed at which the results of a battle were relayed back to the relevant parties. [more inside]
I'm embarking on Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and won't be dissuaded (plus, I already bought a great, modern edition). I am, however, aware that some parts of it have aged better than others. What should I be keeping in mind as I read? [more inside]