Archive for 2017

Episode 98: Coco Chanel

Posted 5 December 2017 by
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Gabrielle Chanel wasn’t born into the type of wealth she would earn or life she would live; she created everything she had from her signature look, scents, fortune, reputation, and image–good or bad.

 

Gabrielle Chanel was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur, France, the second of five living children of Jeanne Devolle and Albert Chanel. Teenage Jeanne and handsome, charming, n’er do well peddler Albert didn’t get married for real–although they pretended–until after child #3 (a boy, huh, how about that?) was born. They were painfully poor, Jeanne spent a lot of time tracking down Albert and the kids DIY’d a good chunk of their childhood. After 13 years and six pregnancies, the hard life drained Jeanne of her health and she died when Gabrielle was 11 years old.

Did Albert step up and raise his kids? You know he didn’t. He farmed the boys out (literally) and dropped the three girls at Aubazine Abbey in Correze, France, the largest girl’s orphanage in the region.

Aubazine Abbey…home sweet home for Gabrielle. (Except for the sweet part.) Courtesy Babsy

And then Albert disappeared into the night. Or day. Does it matter? He drove off and they never saw him again. The nuns did provide Gabrielle with a basic education (including teaching her French which you probably didn’t see coming, did you?) but most importantly they taught her to sew.

At 18 she was sent to a finishing school in a nearby town as a charity student, the first time in her life she experienced separation of Haves and Have Nots, and she was firmly a Have Not. But so was her Aunt Adrienne.

Adrienne was Papa Albert’s youngest sibling and only a year older than Gabrielle. The two would be lifelong friends, they left school together to become seamstresses, date military men and work their way onto the stage to sing at a bawdy proto-caberet in town. Gabrielle loved the stage even though her repertoire was only two songs: Kokoriko (the sound a rooster makes) and Qui qu’vu Coco. All the ‘coco’ing stuck, people started to call her Coco.

A life choice (yes, we explain it in the podcast as well as all the other details we’re glossing over here.) landed her a long term House-guest with Benefits position with playboy and horse breeder, wealthy Etienne Balsan. She couldn’t afford to dress like the society women and courtesans that were all around her…but she could steal Etienne’s clothes and sew them into feminine interpretations that flattered her slim, non-curvy figure and created her own unique style.

Coco in menswear

She began making simple and elegant hats first for herself, then for Etienne’s friends. Etienne let her use his Paris apartment to sell them from, and with the help of the love of her life, and friend of Etienne, Arthur “Boy” Capel, she opened her first shop in Paris selling those hats.

Coco was so famous she was recognizable in caricatures. (George Gourset, SEM via wikicommons)

Boy was Coco’s biggest cheerleader and financial backer. He encouraged her as she grew her business in Paris and a second shop in the seaside resort of Dauville, France. She designed a newfangled sportswear line, made to move with women, in soft fabrics with simple, yet elegant lines and touches of menswear, that quickly became extremely popular. When World War One broke out, Boy headed into war but she kept the store open (and made A LOT of money because of it.)

Coco’s famous new designs.

After the war, Boy broke Coco’s heart by marrying an aristocratic woman…then he died in a car crash in 1919.

Coco shortly after Boy’s death circa 1920 ( wikicommons)

But Coco didn’t need a man and her professional life was about to take off. She kept innovating women’s fashion, opened another store and created an extraordinarily popular designer perfume. Not out of need, mind you, she had many other men in her life: a Russian Grand Duke, A French poet, a British Duke…it’s a long list. When World War Two broke out and the Germans were advancing toward France, 58-year-old Coco closed down everything (except her flagship store at 31 Rue Cambon where she sold perfume to the invading soldiers.)

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Here it is, the really bad part:During the war she had a love affair in Paris with a Nazi Spy and, by the end, she was on trial for being one herself (and 50 years later the world learned her Nazi spy-name and number.) She got out of Paris after she was cleared of the charges and lived in Switzerland for several years.

The only store that she kept open during WWII, and oh hey, it’s still open. (wikicommons)

In 1954, 15 years after she closed her business she debuted a comeback line…and it was a critical flop. Ouch. BUT her next line was more popular and she was back in vogue (and Vogue.) Her created her innovative styles that were worn by the most fashionable women in the world up until her death on January 10, 1971 at 87 years old.

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

Books!

 

 

 

Rhonda K. Garelick

 

Justine Picardie

Autobiography is the very loosest of definitions by Paul Morand and illustrated by Karl Lagerfeld. How Coco would have liked you to see her life (which isn’t necessarily how her life really was.)

 

Middle grade/YA curious design, cute book by Megan Hess

 

Kid’s book, Elizabeth Matthews

 

Websites and Online Articles!

Want to visit the Aubazine Abbey where Coco grew up? Try thismicheline guide to abbey, and the whole region has a lot of Coco’s history so you couldvisit vichy!

A nice history of the Little Black Dress with special appearances by some of our other podcast subjects! History of the LBD

Curious about how Coco’s press read from the time of her life?  Here is a sample in the 1931 New Yorker article re:31 Rue Cambon

Was Coco a Nazi? Here is a rundown from Snopes.

Her creations were art and here is proof from the Metropolitan Museum of art! 

VIDEOS and MOVIES!

Oui!

Non!

Beckett’s preferred use of the time you would have spent on one of those Coco movies

The antithesis of recommendations by Beckett: “Nope. Nope. Nopey. Nope.”

Martha Stewart visited Coco’s apartment over her boutique in Paris (of course she did. Martha gets all the cool gigs…Martha, Martha, Martha!) It’s on Martha’s website so we can’t embed it, but you can watch at this link…MARTHA Stewart visits Coco’s apartment.

Even if you don’t speak French, watching an interview with Coco toward the end of her life is still very fascinating!

Part un:

Part deux:

 

Why did Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” inspired rioting? Radiolab covers it in this episode, Sound as Touch.

 

The music that put Beckett’s son to sleep for years?

 

BIG, HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!  We’re launching a second podcast! The Recappery, our emporium of history-themed media recaps! We’re going to begin with The Crown, Season Two. Find us in your podcast app and subscribe! 

 

Episode 97: Queen Lili’uokalani

Posted 11 November 2017 by
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She was the first Queen to rule and the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, but Queen Lili’uokalani’s story is the story of Hawaii.

Lili’uokalani at Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 (via Wikicommons)

Lili’u Loloku Walania Kamakaeha was born on September 2, 1838. She was given an English name at her baptism, Lydia (which we never used in the podcast) and raised in a Hawaiian tradition called hanai, a sort of adoption, by Abner Paki and his wife, Laura Konia. Hawaii, at Lydia’s birth and for most of her life, was an independent nation, with a legislative government, a constitution, laws, a system of land ownership and Lili’u was a part of the ruling class. (more…)

Episode 96: Sojourner Truth

Posted 22 October 2017 by
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Sojourner Truth was a slave, a mother, a freewoman, a preacher, a speaker and an activist at a time in US history that was full of change but also full of obstacles for a woman who was any of those things.

(more…)

Episode 95: Hypatia of Alexandria

Posted 30 September 2017 by
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Yeah, your guess is a good as the illustrator’s here. No one knows what she looked like. wikicommons

Hypatia of Alexandria was a scholar, teacher, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. She was the daughter of another intellectual, Theon of Alexandria, lived in the waning years of the Roman Empire and died in 415 A.D…and the rest of the details of her life are a bit sketchy. They had to be puzzled together from the writings of others that reference her and a lot of puzzle pieces are still missing. (more…)

Episode 94: Wallis Simpson, Part Two

Posted 10 September 2017 by
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When we left Wallis in 1936, her boyfriend just got a major promotion that would, more than likely, leave her in the rear view mirror of his life. She was cool with that, but he had a whole different vision: Wallis in the passenger seat.

While on a cruise of the Dalmatian coast they were photographed…a lot.

(more…)

Episode 93: Wallis Simpson, Part One

Posted 22 August 2017 by
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Puppet? Manipulating social climber? Misunderstood? Deeply in love? However you see her, the fact remains that a king abdicated his throne, defied his family and lived in exile to marry twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

That sounds like a woman we should talk about.

Wallis, about age 40

Bessiewallis (not a typo) was born on June,19th, 1869 to Teakle Wallis and Alice Montegue Warfield. Contrary to the way she was portrayed later in her life, she came from two, long-established, southern-American society families who made money, a lot of it. Her father’s held on to it and took life very seriously, and her mother’s, well, they were “eccentric.”Both families objected to the marriage for, essentially, the same reason: Teakle was ill with tuberculosis and in no position to marry beautiful, charming Alice (and her family thought she could do better, anyway.)

Guess what happened? Teakle died before Bessiewallis’ first birthday and Alice was left penniless with a baby–the two would become financially dependent on Teakle’s veeeery proper mother and his unmarried, wealthy, live-with-Mom, meanie brother, Solomon.

Wallis and Alice, 1899

Alice and Wallis (she dropped the “Bessie” as quickly as possible) moved around the Baltimore area for all of her childhood. Wallis was bright, charming, very polite and had just enough mischief in her to make her quite interesting. Her Uncle Sol did pay for the right schools (have to keep the family name in the right places, you know, plus…control) and when Wallis emerged from high school, Oldfield’s, he (sort of) paid for her debutante season.

Wallis, 1919, a couple of years into her marriage to Win

What does a properly raised society girl do after all that? She’s going to Disney Wor…oh, well, close: Pensacola, Florida where she met and quickly married, handsome, sophisticated, military pilot Earl Winfield Spencer. But Win wasn’t the guy she thought he was. The marriage was horrible. He drank a lot and emotionally and physically abused her. As an officer’s wife she lived nicely in different places around the country, but after ten years (not all living together), Wallis was finally able to divorce him.

Wallis and Win, 1917

Instead of going home, Wallis spent a full year in China, a time she later called her “Lotus Year.” This time traveling alone created myth and intrigue later in her life, but it was a good transition from Military Wife to Divorcee Socialite. But Wallis wasn’t one to sit around and wait. She was a master at making social connections and soon was married again to an English-American, Ernest Aldrich Simpson.

The slow boat China Wallis took, USS Charmount

The couple lived in London where Ernest worked in the family business, a ship brokerage, and Wallis mastered London society. Her parties were marvelously different…SHE was marvelously different than what people had known. They climbed the social ladder fairly quickly (Wallis was very good at this) and, one day, found themselves in the upper tier: a weekend hunting party with Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King of England who also had a thing for married American women.

Dapper Prince

At first Wallis and Ernest ran with the princely crowd…then it was only Wallis running with them and, a few years later when his father died and Edward became king, Wallis was Edward’s American woman and he wanted to make her his queen.

The two enjoyed a kind of media bubble when they traveled, it was’t really reported on. Ski trip. 1935 Yeah, the You’re Not The Boss of Wallis in Wonderland, Earnest, ski trip.

The country loved the future king…but the Prime Minister didn’t think he was the Prince for the job, what with his sympathies for Nazis and all. Edward, it seems, was successfully courted by Adolf Hitler (not directly) and he gave every indication that he was on board with Hitler’s plan. Add to his lack of appeal as king: Wallis was divorced, would have to be divorced a second time…and an American? Oh, no, this wouldn’t do.

We give the basics about the Nazi involvement in this story, but this one is a very interesting read for more information and speculation.

But then this happened, King George V died and Wallis’ boyfriend was now King Edward VIII!

And the rest of the story will be told on part two….

Go check out Beckett’s amazing Pinterest board for Wallis Simpson, that’s where all the truly fabulous pictures are.

All media recommendations will be on part two.

Our flask recommendation is right here at our Zazzle shop..

Or you could get a t-shirt…or a tote bag…coffee cup…

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 92 : Annie Oakley

Posted 29 July 2017 by
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Some of the medals... before they were melted down for science.

 

Annie Oakley was a top sharpshooter who gained worldwide fame during nearly two decades as a headliner with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

She'd never have worn this corset into the arena!

 

Half of the year was spent living in a tent!

 

 

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

Here’s that (unnecessary rabbit hole) to the world’s largest Monopoly board:

 

The Bowery Boys Podcast’s coverage of the history of Madison Square Garden: 

 

The Annie Oakley Festival: (which is happening ON THE DAY I POST THIS… dang it, there’s always next year! )

 

The Garst museum of Darke County:

 

Annie shoots on film (Thomas Edison kinetoscope, no sound) 

 

Modern day lady trick shooter:

Kirsten Joy Weiss

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KJsuihZaHyI

 

Annie Oakley TV show 

“Annie Oakley hits the bullseye with her rough ridin’ straight shootin’ suspense!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ZBh-o9_TA

Books!

 

 

Movies!

Annie v Toby Walker 1935

 The whole setup to the contest looks different (somehow) in 1950:

Episode 91: Emily Post

Posted 8 July 2017 by
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A few years after the divorce. Emily Price Post, American writer and authority on etiquette. Marceau, New York].  ca. 1912. Photograph. Library of Congress

Emily Price Post is most known as an expert on etiquette, but she didn’t even publish her first book on the subject until she was 50-years-old. (Listen up! You’re never too old!) Before that book she was a novelist, journalist, decorator, and architectural consultant. Before those, she was  a doted on only child of progressive parents, debutante, heiress, society wife and mother. A very busy life for a woman that COULD have lived a life of leisure.

But where is the fun in that?

Emily Bruce Price was born on October 27, 1872 (according to her gravestone) in Baltimore MD, to Bruce and Josephine Price. Bruce was an upcoming, then quite famous, architect from a wealthy family; Josephine also came from wealth and could trace her lineage straight back to the Mayflower.

Price cottage in Tuxedo Park built for Josephine

Emily was doted on as a child, she spent as little time as possible in school and as much time as possible with her father who showed her how buildings are designed and built and thought it a shame that Emily wasn’t a boy so he could become an architect, too (“progressive” is relative.) The base of the Statue of Liberty and the hills lakes and rustic opulence of Tuxedo Park, NY were her playground.

Emily’s playhouse!                                                Courtesy Frisbie Road Photography

 

She did what was expected of her in the 1800s as New York society flipped their calendars to the 1900s: She went to finishing school, had her debut into society, met a man with good breeding and married him. The Edwin Posts had two boys, Edwin worked (hard? lucky? you pick) as a stock broker, and, other than a few years on Staten Island, lived in Manhattan and Tuxedo Park.

Another cottage designed by Bruce

Yup, on(and in) the papers they had it all…but no. They couple had nothing in common, Bruce’s financial luck was about to run out and, oh yeah, he had a thing for chorus girls, duck hunting and boating.

After a blackmailing scandal Emily had had enough. Done. Finished. She divorced Edwin and set off to make a name for herself.

Her most popular fiction novel. Monied American Girl contemplates marriage to European Aristocracy. (Hey, they say to write what you know and Emily KNEW all about upper crust society, Dollar Princesses and, of course, marriage.)

We cover her career ups and downs in the podcast, but basically while raising the boys (then sending them to boarding school) she started to write novels, freelance pieces for magazines, and started to work as an architectural and home designer…not too shabby for a woman who probably didn’t have to work for an income in the first place, huh?

After Etiquette was first published in 1922 Emily’s legacy began to solidify. The huge best seller made her name and etiquette synonymous.

She was on tour promoting her book, started regular radio shows, wrote a syndicated advice column but she did have other interests that she continued to pursue (and we talk about them in the show) including this very well received non-fiction book about home design…

Personality of a House by Emily Post

…and her new favorite home on Martha’s Vineyard.

This is a postcard, hopefully Susan will replace it with a selfie (or not) when she strolls by this summer.

Etiquette has been revised over the years to keep up with how people REALLY live and is currently in it’s 19th edition. There is a whole library of other advice and etiquette books written either by her or her descendants.

Dear Emily, If there is an opportunity for you to share something that is quite messy but you think may be well received, should you?

Part of Susan’s recording notes: Something in Etiquette that made her think of Beckett.

Emily Post died on September 25, 1960 of natural causes (polite nod to Post family), her ashes are buried at the Tuxedo Park Cemetery.

Emily, 1937

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

You should start here at the Emily Post Institute. It has everything from photos, to history, the Awesome Etiquette podcast and an encyclopedia of advice for all your etiquette-based, searchable database needs.

A couple more things we could have talked about for the whole hour but didn’t:

Tuxedo Historical Society

Alva Vanderbilt’s costume ball

Books!

Obviously, you should go pick up a copy (lift with your legs) of Etiquette, but also give her fiction a whirl.

The non-fiction book that isn’t online but if you can find a copy, grab it if only to flip through and appreciate the mountain of knowledge Emily possessed   had.

Personality of a House by Emily Post

Emily Post books you can read online (if you can’t find them at your library):

This is newest edition, link will take you to 1st edition. Maaaaany updates since 1922

 

Etiquette by Emily Post online at Project Gutenburg

By Motor to the Golden Gate 

The Title Market

Truly Emily Post by Edwin Post, JR (Ned)

The Flight of the Moth

Other books we talked about:

By Laura Claridge (this book is big, but really well done)

By Jennifer LaRue Huget , illustrated by ALexandra Boiger(This book is really little but really well done.)

 

And finally, Mrs Emily Price Post herself:

Anne with an E Recap: Episode 7, Season One Finale

Posted 1 July 2017 by
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Wherever you are is my home

directed by Amanda Topping

Anne and Jerry’s Excellent Adventure (except for the mugging part.)

This is the final episode of Season One. We cover this episode, as we have for the past six weeks, and pinpoint the cliffhangers and stories Moira Walley-Beckett and team have to work with for (the biggest cliffhanger) Season Two. (pleasebeaseasontwopleasebeaseasontwo)

There was a little confusion about the direction of OUR show, The History Chicks, and thank you to all who realized that we did NOT alter our regularly schedule coverage of historical women at all with this bonus series. This was an example of The History Chicks accessories.  It was fun to do and if Anne comes back, so will we. (Well, we’ll be back next week with the life story of a remarkable woman whose identity will remain secret until then.)

 

We’ll put that in the shownotes!

Is this the new Jane Eyre? How delightful!

History of the song Away in a Manger

Give them some thanks for this excellent series (and, maybe, ask for season two):

Moira Walley-Beckett’s Twitter account

Anne with an “E” official Twitter account

Netflix Twitter Account

Reed Hastings (CEO Netflix) Twitter account

You should thank these three for their work, and follow their careers and life antics, but we doubt they have anything to do with a second season:

AmyBeth McNulty (Anne) Twitter Account 

Aymeric Jett Montaz (Jerry) Twitter Account

Lucas Jade Zumann (Gilbert) Twitter Account

(Lucas is also in 20th Century Woman, with Annette Benning available for streaming on Amazon Prime)

“So, like, how’s the gap year going?” Gilbert and Anne meet (oh so coincidentally, Susan-eyeroll) and have a nice talk as well as possible eye flirting.

The absolutely spot on Family Road Trip song that Jerry sang, Il éait une bergère’s lyrics (WITH translation into English that will reveal a dark side to this children’s song) on Mama Lisa’s World, International Music and Culture.

Easter Egg Hunt, anyone? (post recording thought: maybe Green Gables was perfect because it wasn’t IN Charlottetown?)

 

Anne and Gilbert have an impromptu spelling bee in the streets of Charlottetown. T-R-U-C-E

 

History for kids of PEI- A fun resource for kids to learn about the long history of Prince Edward Island

 

Au revoir, see you next season, Jerry! (pleasebeaseason2pleasebeaseason2)

 

From the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, Chocolate Goblin’s Food Cake and Caramel Pudding Sauce fail turned Ice Cream Cake success.

Anne with an “E” Reading Challenge:

(all links, unless noted, go to online versions)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

If Thou Must Love Me (Sonnet 14) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Henry and Emma, a Poem Upon the Model of a Nut-Brown Maid by Matthew Prior

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Grasshopper by Mrs. Andrew Dean

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley

Pleasures of Hope by Thomas Campbell

The Fisherman by Bryan Wallor Proctor (Barry Cornwall)

Elsie’s New Relations by Martha Finley

the Bible (various verses. Link to KJV because that’s what Anne would have read.)

Red: A natural history of the redhead by Jacky Collis Harvey (link to Amazon, it’s not available online)

Patient Grisilda by Giovanni Boccaccio

Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

**new this week** Middlemarch,  by George Eliot

(And this is the Libby App that Beckett is a huge fan of)

 

See you for Season Two!!

(pleasebeaseason2pleasebeaseason2)

 

 

Anne with an E Recap: Episode 6

Posted 23 June 2017 by
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Remorse is the poison of life

directed by Paul Fox

This episode starts on a high note when Anne saves Minnie May’s life, meets her Designated Mentor, and has her Diana ban lifted… but the bad stuff is coming.         (Ken Warner, CBC)

 

What Premier didn’t get the job because of his good looks? How about Sir John Alexander Macdonald?

 

Marilla sharing the John she knew with his son, Gilbert who shares the dad he knew. Both are mourning, but Marilla is dealing with some heavy regret.

 

Billy and the Billyettes…Bud.

 

 

We’ll put that in the shownotes.”

Every week cook a snack from this book, this week’s recipe was Saucy Chicken

 

This week’s recipe needed a little ooomph.

 

Kansas City has a lot of great museums, one of them is The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

Have you read this yet? Anne seems to have memorized it.

If you want to read Chapter Six of Jane Eyre, by Jane Austen: Chapter Six

 

The Anne with an E Reading Challenge: (Full list will be on last episode.)

This week we’re adding David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Link goes to Project Gutenberg