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 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]
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]
Are there any surviving evidence of household decorations from medieval times in Europe? [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]
I'm familiar with the William the Conqueror onwards verse about English kings (Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee, etc), but I know that I saw one for the Saxon kings somewhere and I can't find it. I recall bits like "With Egbert's name our tale is led, then Aethels Wulf, Bald, Bert, and Red" and "Never-ready Aethelred" and you'd really think I would be able to google up an answer with that as a start, but I've got nothing.
My 10 year old (Caucasian) daughter wants to participate in an end-of-school-year social studies project where she has to dress up as Maya Angelou. This is part of a class presentation on famous North Carolinians (we love to claim Dr. Angelou even though she wasn't born here), and my daughter will also give a short speech. [more inside]
My 3-greats grandfather departed Liverpool, England with all of his children for America and arrived here in New York on November 18, 1866. The thing is, I am as sure as I can be that he lived in Raphoe, Donegal, Ireland. Why would he go alll the way to Liverpool when Londonderry was so close? [more inside]
Mr. K and I are interested in the history of the Oregon Trail. He's good at research, but is coming up blank on papers or discussions to help understand who went, and WHY they decided to spend six months on an incredibly difficult trek in order to try to carve out a living in Oregon. [more inside]
Severnaya Zemlya, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia is censored on Google Maps. Anybody know why? Here it is: link
In Eduard von Grützner's painting Vor der Brotzeit, the monk has something in his hand. What is it?
I'm trying to find an article by some historians that posited that the places described in the Bible we not actually in present day Israel. The historians had done some theorizing that the mountains and valleys mentioned in the bible (can't remember which book) fit better with an area in Saudi Arabia off the coast of the Red Sea. I've searched the Google but can't find any mention of this theory. I would love to find it again. Thanks, MeFi!
The impossible has happened - I am caught up with, or have finished, all my favorite history podcasts. I'm looking for some new ones to add to the line-up. [more inside]
What is this intriguing device I noticed at a friend's house? Friend has no idea. It's about 6 inches in length. It was patented by Holland Mfg of Willamantic, CT, and a Google search suggests it might have something to do with 19th century silk manufacturing. Ideas?
Before Thanksgiving, construction crews working on the Massachusetts State House discovered a time capsule placed there in 1795. It was opened last night at a press conference. Will the contents be on display? [more inside]
An episode of Sports Night refers to Napoleon's Battle Plan as being: "First we show up, then we see what happens." Does this have any grounding in reality, or is it just Sorkinism gone wild? [more inside]
Every year I load up my Mom's Kindle library for Christmas. This year I'm finding a lot of stuff on the non-fiction end but very little fiction that is up her alley. Her fave books: Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle" and Gillian Bradshaw's "The Sand-Reckoner." Got a rec? Expanded explanation of her taste inside! [more inside]
I'd like to read a book with more details on this. This is a cool page. "When the Northwestern Elevated Railroad built its Ravenswood branch in 1906, [lots of cool information with pictures]. Are there any books like that? I want to read all about the development of the area, illustrated with historical photos. What kind of cars did they use? Did they have to build through neighborhoods? how did that work? etc etc etc!
I'm looking for media (books mostly) related to technical histories of engineering projects. [more inside]
Did English peasants in the Late Middle Ages--say, 14th c.--take Communion? If so, how often? How about the other sacraments?
Before Ellis Island there was Castle Garden. Before Castle Garden ...? [more inside]
I'm looking for historical/political situations or decisions that made perfect, logical sense at the time but in retrospect seem terribly misguided or worse. These should be situations that when presented very simply, it is clear and easy to say, "Obviously XYZ is the right choice " but where in fact XYZ ends up being an awful choice. Example and further details inside. [more inside]
For my son’s high school history class, he has been assigned an in-class argument/opinion essay. The teacher ended most of the lecturing this week and has given them time to prepare thesis statements for the essays. Here is where it starts to get complicated (at least to my son and me): [more inside]
Thanks to the wonderful responses I received in the question of "What would be in your best high school english class?" I've started the year by reading Art Spiegelman's Maus. What's wonderful is that my incredibly reluctant readers are actually reading and enjoying the book, what's not wonderful is they don't seem to understand that the Holocaust was a VERY BAD THING. I'm looking, ideally, for a 1 hour documentary that does just that. [more inside]
I'm a researcher with no film experience, and am beginning to think about an oral history project, which best case would become a short film. The theme is regional accents, so audio quality is important. [more inside]
What is the current day etiquette around maintaining and removing connections on LinkedIn? [more inside]
I have been offered a somewhat prestigious job in foreign news. I have been working in other areas of journalism for the last decade, but am not particularly well versed in international news. So I am looking to bone up on, basically, the entire history of the world, all of its current political leaders/conflicts, geography, current expert thinkers/critics on regional international questions. Aside from getting a world map shower curtain, what else should I be doing? [more inside]
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]
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 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 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 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]
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.
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]
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]
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!
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]
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]
How did people commit suicide in the US in the 1930s? Does it make a difference if it's a female? [more inside]
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]
I am not sure I recall the details correctly, but I am amused by a news story in my memory. I think my memory is accurate, so here goes. A police officer is testifying in court about his (commercial and sexual) relationship with a prostitute, with whom he had sex in the course of an anti-prostitution sting. The officer is questioned by opposing counsel about whether he climaxed. He explains that he did, but that he didn't take any pleasure in it. Can you give me a link to this news story or tell me where I read it?
I'm looking for historical cases in which a neighboring country has intervened militarily in a domestic conflict to support one side, ostensibly at its invitation. [more inside]
I spent about five years compiling a technology timeline. It started as a class project and grew into an obsession. For a while, I was making an enormous number of Wikipedia contributions. After a while, I started posting my work to my blog . Then, I started writing "This Day in History" columns for a few paying venues. It's actually grown well beyond what's currently available on my blog. The problem is that I've grown bored of pouring time into the project. [more inside]
Due to some personal motivations, I've been reading a lot about paranoia lately and most of the delusions I hear about involve modern technology, ie. wire taps, hidden cameras, etc. What are some examples of paranoid delusions before that technology existed?
In general, which elementary school grades cover prehistory? American colonial history?
My buddy posted a link to this awesome digital collection of acquaintance cards from the 1870s on Facebook recently and we've been trying to figure out what the phrase "when are you going to pay the old lady for your last week's washing," which is printed on a couple of the cards, is referring to. [more inside]
I've recently developed an interest in ancient history (yes, the recent history-related posts on the blue may have helped) and am looking for good books on the subject that I can buy/check out from the library. I'm particularity interested in technological and cultural histories of major ancient civilizations. [more inside]
Is there a list of important historical events which are now regarded (by at least a majority of historians) as true/accurate, which are or were recently regarded as fringe theories, hoaxes, or legends, or which are viewed as unimportant and given short shrift in US / western public school curricula and popular narratives? Links to lists or individual items appreciated. Thanks!
This is driving me crazy...it was a very readable book that described several (eleven?) American historical disasters, including I think the S.S. Sultana tragedy. (Or, some other steamship fire.) [more inside]