In The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, the following sentence has prompted much speculation: "There were rebilhous, who called out the hours of the night, 'cinderellas', who collected and sold ashes used for laundering clothes, men called tetaires, who performed the function of a breast-pump by sucking mothers' breasts to start the flow of milk, and all the other specialists that the census listed under 'trades unknown' and 'without trade', which usually meant gypsies prostitutes, and beggars." So, uh, tetaires? [more inside]
Today I read this article about Iraq, and I'm so glad I did. It is a well written history of middle east conflict, that's entertaining enough that I read the whole thing to the end. I know it isn't comprehensive (and I'm sure it contains details that are debatable), but it has turned me into a more educated news reader. Now I'm hungry to learn more about other places as well. [more inside]
An acquaintance's brother-in-law, a retired photojournalist (Newsweek, Time), has left specific instructions to destroy his negatives after his death so his family won't be hit by US inheritance taxes on the estimated market value of the collection. He sells through Getty and Polaris so this is a valid financial threat (he believes). Kinda sad, I think. He did a close up and personal pictorial project with a young Bob Dylan living in New York, and these rare shots would be destroyed, along with... [more inside]
Descriptions of pre-War transatlantic ocean liners make it clear that wealthy passengers traveled first class, and poor immigrants traveled third class, but I'm fuzzy on who exactly would be traveling second class. In particular, I'm not sure what class tickets Wilbur and Orville Wright would have bought on their various crossings, particularly the earlier ones before their first public flights. [more inside]
I'm making a collection of ideas and best practices for history teachers. If you had an amazing history teacher, in either middle school or high school, what did they do that captured your interest? If you teach history, what have you seen work? [more inside]
I want to read a book about the sociohistory of inflation: something like Graeber's Debt is the closest analog that comes to mind, tho probably a poor one. Does such exist? [more inside]
I think we know that the search engine providers store a history of your searches. We hear about law enforcement checking someone's search history for the poison and bomb-making searches they have done, etc. etc. But some search engines now do predictive search as you type out the letters. Auto suggestion or instant match or whatever they call it. So as you type .... b-o-m-b-, the suggestions and sometimes results appear (bombay bicycle club, bomber jacket, bomb timers, etc.). You can certainly get the search results you may be looking for without ever press enter. And with some, the search result change as you scroll up and down a list that it has suggested for you based on the first few letters typed. So when/what is the record of your searches made? It is every letter you type? or only when 'enter' is pressed? or the position of the cursor as you scroll through a list? Or only whatever's in the search box when a link is clicked (so you see read the page summaries without that being tracked, but if you click a link, then that's a search 'hit')? I don't know. Could you help me understand please?
For fictional purposes, I need to know where someone could get porn (specifically photos, not necessarily films) for gay men in the 1930s/40s. This has been annoyingly difficult to find on an internet search, and I unfortunately don't have the time to get a lot of library books and sift through them to find this out. [more inside]
The book is young adult fiction. I vividly remember one scene in which the narrator, a young boy, goes with his mother to the station to meet the soldier they'll be hosting, who then turns out to be black. The boy, without thinking, wipes his hand on his trouser leg after shaking hands. [more inside]
I have time to read and I would like to learn about recent and current political and social events in Russia. So where is a good place to start learning about recent Russian history? Books, films, anything. (Influenced by this Meta post).
I’m going to be in Greece for around two weeks in mid-September, and am hoping for some advice in how to best immerse myself in Classical and Hellenistic history and art – as well as the practicalities and logistics of the present day! [more inside]
I'm currently working on a project that involves figuring out the editorial policy of the New York times historically (specifically in the first 50 years or so of its existance as a newspaper). Any thoughts on where to start? [more inside]
I am looking to read up on the history of USA and need book recommendations [more inside]
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]
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.
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.
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]
What strategies were used by peasants of medieval Europe to prepare for and survive the harsh winter months? [more inside]
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]
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...
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]
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]
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]
I want to know more about the material culture of a large English country house or great house in the Victorian era. [more inside]
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]
I'm in a mood to read non-fiction history books dealing with sailing ships. Any suggestions? [more inside]
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]
What is the best book on the history of sending mail, news, orders and other information by ship?
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]
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]
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?
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!
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.
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]
How do I figure out what chemical plants in Houston-Beaumont-Port Arthur and South Louisiana are union shops? [more inside]
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]
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]
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!
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
I'm looking for a good overview of Western philosophy for beginners. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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]