In Tales from the Parish Clerks’ Memoranda No. 6: The devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour at Rescript, Donna Baillie uncovers an unusually compassionate view of suicide among parish clerks of the seventeenth century. In their recorded burial entry for maid Mary Play, who poisoned herself in the house of her master in October 1616, the clerks, Baillie notes, included a particularly sympathetic choice of scripture and referenced an unusual choice for burial -- the churchyard.
Writing Women’s History contains a post featuring a favorite topic of mine – diaries. In this case, Diary of a Victorian Debutante is about Alice Miles, a beautiful (and she knows it), English teen-aged socialite of the 1860s who laments about finding a rich husband. This isn’t Jane Austen, but it sure could be as Miles’ diary entries seem quite descriptive and filled with the usual gossip our society still craves about age, beauty, parties, etc. Like many socialites, Miles eventually finds herself in many desperate situations.
We get a good laugh with The Historical Society’s post, War of 1812, What Was it Good For . . . ? which features the video, “War of 1812: The Movie” by College Humor Originals. This satirical historical film trailer poses the question: just how much do we know about the War of 1812? The post doesn’t mince words – in fact it doesn’t have any. But what it conveys by posting the incredibly clever video (which I never would've seen otherwise) speaks volumes, I believe, about how history is taught in schools as we grow up with a vague knowledge of many important historical events. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.
Over at History and the Sock Merchant, the post The Victorian’s Play Shea Stadium: The Crystal Palace of Concerts makes an interesting comparison between the Beatles’ 1965 record-breaking (in attendance and revenue) concert at Shea Stadium and the nineteenth-century orchestral and operatic performances at the long-gone Crystal Palace in London. The immense cast-iron and glass building, originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, hosted concerts that attracted just as many fans in the 1850s as the Beatles did over a hundred years later. Furthermore, as the post suggests, the venue, like the Beatles, also helped to usher in a new era of music and culture referred to as the English Musical Renaissance. But I find that the similarities don’t end there, as the Beatles went Victorian when they donned bowler hats for this photo currently up for grabs on eBay.
You’ll swear you can taste good English ale while reading Puremedievalry’s post Medieval Feast. If you’ve never experienced a turkey drumstick at a Renaissance Festival, don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything. Instead, do yourself a favor and make the medieval dinner from the recipes posted here. The white bean soup, lamb meatloaf and bread and butter pudding in Medieval Feast is the closest we’ll ever get to a time machine.
For those who like squeamish-inducing reads about the unsettling medical practices of yesteryear, look no further than The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice and the post Learning to Live Amongst the Dead, which reveals the truth about life as a student surgeon-in-training in the eighteenth century. Blood, pus, decaying flesh and rancid odors turned away many young and unprepared medical students like John Keats. Let’s just say, he made the right decision.
We take a decidedly different turn with the blog Beijing Time Machine and the post A Great Leap Brew and the Excavation of a Cultural Revolution Slogan, in which Jared Hall stumbles across a relic from China’s Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s still visible on the side of a building, yet partially obscured by white paint. The discovery left Hall annoyed: “Make up your mind. Preserve it or paint it over.” The post highlights the little-discussed struggle over which era of history to preserve as Hall notes that the relic in its current condition is not only symbolic of the movement that inspired it, but also representative of the cultural change it initiated.
Climb aboard Night Train to Detroit for the post The Old Log Cabin about the “rustic” summer home of Senator Thomas Palmer and his wife, Lizzie, in what is now Palmer Park. The cabin, opened in 1887, is still standing. Compare the pictures of the cabin’s interior from its heyday with a contemporary exterior shot and you'll scratch your head asking yourself, “how did all of that fit in there?”
History by Zim’s post Alice Ramsey’s Cross-Country Drive strikes a chord with me. I adore stories about women who forged ahead despite ridicule and widely-held opinions about gender. I’ve mentioned Gertrude Ederle in a previous blog post and wrote my master’s thesis about women who set both feet firmly in the public realm during the American Civil War. In 1909, Ramsey became the first women to “complete a transcontinental drive” from New York to San Francisco. I love that year, as it was the year Sara Van Hoosen Jones embarked on her trip to Europe at age seventeen, writing about her travels in three diaries that I’m now transcribing and editing.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed October’s History Carnival. Thank you for letting me host and stay tuned to find out which history blogger will host the November carnival. Happy reading!