Happy Valentine’s Day!

by Lucy Inglis February 14, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day!

The origin of today’s festival is murky, but it has been a tradition for centuries. By the Georgian period, it was a popular celebration much as it is now, and you could even commission a ‘Valentine Writer’ to pen your love letters for you. In London in 1791, The Star newspaper published a page of […]

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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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The FBI investigated John Wilkes Booth — in the twentieth century?

by JackEl-Hai February 9, 2014
The FBI investigated John Wilkes Booth — in the twentieth century?

by Jack El-Hai, Wonders & Marvels contributor Admit it — if you’re following this blog, you believe that reading something especially intriguing can transport you through an unexpected window of history. I have that experience almost every time I browse FBI files on notable people and events. Over the years, in response to Freedom of […]

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The Big Race: Black Hills Geomyth

by AdrienneMayor February 6, 2014
The Big Race: Black Hills Geomyth

by Adrienne Mayor (Wonders & Marvels contributor) The Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to the Lakota Sioux, are surrounded by the fossil deposits of masses of extinct creatures, from Cretaceous dinosaurs and marine reptiles that died out 65 million years ago to mammoths of the Pleistocene (1.7 to 10,000 years ago). The remarkable fossilized […]

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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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A Case of Spontaneous Human Combustion in 1731

by Lisa Smith January 31, 2014
A Case of Spontaneous Human Combustion in 1731

By Lisa Smith, W&M Contributor A strange case from Italy was reported in The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1731 (vol. 1, June, p. 263): the body of a “Lady of Quality” was found burned to ashes in her bedchamber. Possibly, she had knocked over “a Lighted Lamp” during a fit. This account doesn’t seem particularly odd, […]

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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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Pinky Pinkerton’s Prayer

by CarolineLawrence January 15, 2014
Pinky Pinkerton's Prayer

Here is my day. Every morning I wake at dawn. I sit Indian fashion on my cot and look out my window over Virginia City and a 100 Mile View. My window faces due East, straight down Mount Davidson. On a Clear Day I can see 100 miles. That reminds me that God sees a […]

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Destroying Angel

by Lucy Inglis January 14, 2014
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Destroying Angel

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu would not only introduce London to innoculation against smallpox, but also her series of ‘Turkish Embassy Letters’ make up the first secular work on the Muslim Orient by a Western woman. Her life of adventure began when she escaped an arranged married with the astonishingly named Clotworthy Skeffington by marrying Edward […]

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Liglig Kot – An Archeologist’s Dream in Nepal

by Elizabeth Goldsmith January 11, 2014
Liglig Kot - An Archeologist's Dream in Nepal

by ELIZABETH GOLDSMITH  (Wonders and Marvels Contributor) January 11, 2014 by Harvey Blustain, guest contributor Is there anyone who doesn’t sometimes think, “If I could do it all again….”? If I could go back 40 years, I would focus my academic career on understanding Liglig Kot. Liglig is a mountain in Gorkha District in central Nepal. […]

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Ancient libraries and their dangers

by Helen King January 10, 2014
Ancient libraries and their dangers

By Helen King Galen was, to put it politely, a bit of a show-off. Since our main source for Galen is Galen himself, this can make it difficult to work out whether he was as great a physician as he makes out. I think the answer has to be that he was; his second-century AD […]

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Foreign Accent Syndrome: The History of an Odd Speech Disorder

by JackEl-Hai January 9, 2014
Foreign Accent Syndrome: The History of an Odd Speech Disorder

by Jack El-Hai, Wonders & Marvels contributor Every few months, the news media report on a strange malady: someone unexpectedly and unintentionally begins speaking in his or her native language with a foreign accent. This disorder occurs all over the globe; for instance, a Canadian acquires a Scottish accent, a Japanese develops a Korean accent, […]

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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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The Amritsar Massacre: Another Step Toward Indian Independence

by PamelaToler December 18, 2013
The Amritsar Massacre: Another Step Toward Indian Independence

by Pamela Toler World War I brought India one step closer to demanding its independence from Great Britain. Indian regiments sailed overseas and fought alongside their Canadian and Australian counterparts. (If you visit the memorial gateway at Ypres, you will see how many of them died in defense of the empire.) Indian nationalists loyally supported […]

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How Aeneas invented Pizza

by CarolineLawrence December 15, 2013
How Aeneas invented Pizza

When most people think of Italy, they also think of pizza. In Naples they will tell you they invented this culinary sensation and that their pizza is still the best in the world. Pizza purists say when in Naples there are only two types you should eat: Marinara and Margherita. The first and most basic […]

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