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Who First Identified Elephant Fossils in America?

by AdrienneMayor April 6, 2014
Who First Identified Elephant Fossils in America?

by Adrienne Mayor (Wonders and Marvels contributor) African slaves dug up some colossal teeth while working in a swampy field on Stono Plantation (North Carolina) in about 1725. The English botanist Mark Catesby visited Stono to view the amazing discovery. His hosts, the plantation owners, told him that the great molars were all that was […]

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Automata in history

by Helen King March 10, 2014
Automata in history

By Helen King (W&M Monthly Contributor) Do you ever feel your dining table needs cheering up? This week I saw a collection of possibly the last word in ways to impress your dinner guests. I was at the wonderful Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna where the Kunstkammer – a selection from the amazing ‘cabinet of curiosities’ […]

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The Cloisters New York City: An enchanted medieval world

by stephaniecowell March 1, 2014
The Cloisters New York City: An enchanted medieval world

by Stephanie Cowell If you are willing to take a long bus ride, you can catch the New York City bus to the Cloisters. It bumps along Fifth Avenue and then eventually turns north on upper Broadway. After a very long time, you turn into the enormous open gates of a park which sits high […]

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The Black Hole of Calcutta

by PamelaToler February 18, 2014
The Black Hole of Calcutta

by Pamela Toler In mid-eighteenth century India, power was up for grabs.  The Mughal dynasty was in decay. Smaller regional powers flourished. European trading companies, which held their trading privileges at the discretion of Indian rulers, were constantly looking for a way to get an edge.  The British and French East India Companies, in particular, […]

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The ideal midwife?

by Helen King February 10, 2014
The ideal midwife?

By Helen King What do we look for in a midwife? Short nails feature a lot in the history of midwifery! Many images of midwives from the past are very negative, like this one from around 1800. In a previous post, I looked at midwives as murderers. Let’s return to the good sort now. Back […]

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Building and rebuilding a dream in 17th century London: Shakespeare’s Globe

by stephaniecowell January 31, 2014
Building and rebuilding a dream in 17th century London:  Shakespeare’s Globe

by Stephanie Cowell Shakespeare’s Globe has been actually built three times…in 1599, in 1613 and after decades of struggle and huge architectural research, again on the south side of the Thames in 1995. But in 1599, it wasn’t really new because the actors salvaged the boards and galleries and perhaps even the hand-made nails from […]

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi

by PamelaToler January 18, 2014
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi

by Pamela Toler American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. always claimed, “From my background I gained my regulating Christian ideals. From Gandhi, I learned my operational technique.” The son and grandson of Baptist preachers in Atlanta, George, Martin Luther King went to Crozer Theological Seminary ready to fight for civil rights but […]

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Cuvier and the “Living Mastodon”

by AdrienneMayor January 6, 2014
Cuvier and the "Living Mastodon"

by Adrienne Mayor (Wonders & Marvels contributor) Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), the father of modern paleontology, was the first European naturalist to articulate a scientific theory of extinction, based on his studies proving that mastodons and mammoths were the prehistoric ancestors of living elephants. (Mastodons and mammoths went extinct 10,000-6,000 years ago.) This crucial advance in […]

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A History of American Advertising in 19 Headlines

by JackEl-Hai December 9, 2013
A History of American Advertising in 19 Headlines

by Jack El-Hai, Wonders & Marvels contributor A few weeks ago, while cleaning my office at my wife’s insistence, I came upon an old collection that my uncle, Ben Sussman, had gathered. Ben, who died in 2003 at the age of 82, was the founder of an advertising agency and a columnist for Motor Trend magazine, […]

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The Swadeshi Movement: The First Step Toward Indian Independence

by PamelaToler November 18, 2013
The Swadeshi Movement: The First Step Toward Indian Independence

by Pamela Toler Beginning in the 1830s, the British East India Company provided Western education to a small number of Indian elites: it was cheaper and more effective than recruiting the entire work force of the empire back home in Britain. In addition to training clerks of all kinds, the East Indian Company created as […]

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Jan van Rymsdyk at The Dittrick Museum – Lucy Inglis

by Lucy Inglis November 14, 2013
Jan van Rymsdyk at The Dittrick Museum - Lucy Inglis

In 2009 I began researching Jan Van Rymsdyk and his contribution to the medical art of the eighteenth century. After a controversial allegation that women had been murdered by medical professionals to provide corpses for dissection, fellow Wonders and Marvels contributor Helen King and I shared our opinions on the subject. This left me even […]

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Searching for the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe in New York City

by stephaniecowell October 29, 2013
Searching for the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe in New York City

by Stephanie Cowell He died in poverty and was found in clothes not his own. He was only forty years old. Two years before he had lost his wife/cousin whom he had married when she was thirteen. 164 years after his death, we are still searching for him. This month and through January 26th the […]

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Drug Wars

by PamelaToler October 18, 2013
Drug Wars

by Pamela Toler A growing number of addicts. A ruthless business cartel. A country determined to close its borders to imported drugs. Violence and corruption in major cities. Sound familiar? Welcome to the Opium War of 1839. In the late eighteenth century, opium was a key element in the British East India Company’s business plan. […]

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Gandhi’s March to the Sea

by PamelaToler September 18, 2013
Gandhi's March to the Sea

by Pamela Toler The American Revolution had the Boston Tea Party; the Indian independence movement had Gandhi’s salt march. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the British government in India had a heavily taxed monopoly on the production and sale of salt. It was illegal for anyone to make or sell salt. If a […]

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Five Psychiatrists and Psychologists Who Examined Top Nazis at Nuremberg

by JackEl-Hai September 9, 2013
Five Psychiatrists and Psychologists Who Examined Top Nazis at Nuremberg

by Jack El-Hai, Wonders & Marvels contributor September 10 marks the official release of my new book The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII (PublicAffairs Books). I’ve worked steadily on this book since 2007, when I found in a private […]

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