Author Archive - The History Chicks

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.


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!





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


Annie Oakley TV show 

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





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



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


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!!




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

Anne with an E Recap, Episode 5

Posted 20 June 2017 by
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Tightly knotted to a similar string

Or: Love. You use that word but let me show you what it means

Directed by Patricia Rozema

This episode steps us past the halfway point of the series…but it does it in such an outstanding way we can’t help but celebrate. Does it follow along the story of the book? Nope, but we talk about the deviations- Anne’s first period, Matthew’s former crush, a peek into the home life and struggles of Gibert Blythe- and how they were beautifully worked into iconic scenes like Anne’s first tea party and the gift of a grown-up dress with puffy sleeves.


“We’ll put that on the shownotes”

Anne with a Martini: Gritty and Pretty


Marinate one can of Royal Anne Cherries (of course) in two jars, one with chocolate vodka and the other with Amaretto or Triple Sec (a slight different taste), and reserve syrup in a third. Let sit in fridge for at least a few days.

Put as many marinated cherries into glass (for a snack, of course) and shake below with ice


Chocolate’d cherries

2 parts chocolate vodka

1 part marinating liquid

1 part juice from can


Amaretto’d cherries

1 park plain vodka

1 part marinating liquid

1 part syrup

This episode had so much going on! More creepiness from Mr. Phillips, more adorableness from Gilbert, and love was, actually, everywhere.

Love was even here in a roundabout way                                                                                                                                                                                             josch13 pixabay

Say “Yes” to the dress Matthew! Fatherly love


Beckett talked about the Craft Lit podcast, brilliant.

Beckett recommended this movie

BECKETT WAS RIGHT about the Cuthbert kids timeline. Michael was oldest, Matthew was baby.

1833- Michael born

1844- Matthew born

plus 11 (aprox age when Matthew had to leave school)

Michael was about 21 when he mysteriously died.


It feels as though we’ve sent you to the Museum of Menstruation once a month…for years! (It’s not the prettiest of websites but really, that’s fitting, isn’t it?)

To add to the Anne of Green Gables reading list (entire list on last episode)

Song of the Open Road and read more about Walt Whitman (on Shmoop)

Pickled green tomatoes recipes.

And no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, this episode earned 10 glasses of Raspberry Cordial from both of us.



Episode 90: Q &A 2017

Posted 20 June 2017 by
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Would you ever have a fan as a guest host?”

“How on earth do you manage to read so many books so quickly?”

“Do your kids complain about the podcast?”

“How much time do you spend on research and prep a week?”

“What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” 

(And more…a LOT more.)

For the third time since we began the show in 2011 we put out a call for questions and from that delightful barrage we answered as many as possible in this episode.  We talk about a variety of subjects from how we met and The History Chick origin story, to several abstract “what if…,”, details about how we organize and research each episode and give you a little peek into the list where we pick our subjects from. Below you’ll find “We’ll put this on our shownotes” items!

How do I become a podcaster? Beckett broke it down to four things: Technical Aspects, Content, Persistence, Luck. While you’re pretty much on your own with the last three, for the first one, go to Helen Zaltzman’s website and check off her five points in her Adventures in Podcasting. Do NOT let people trick you into courses about the technical aspects of podcasting–there are plenty of successful, veteran podcasters willing to help you for free via posts like Helen’s (another must read is on Jamie Jeffers of The British History Podcast–amazing advice.)

Ben Franklin’s World with Liz Covart

16 Personalities and Typing Fictional Characters are the two sites we suggested during the Myers-Briggs personality test question.


Susan’s blanket fort

Special thanks to James Harper, and his band HARPER for the music in the show!


Anne with an “E” Recap: Episode 4

Posted 9 June 2017 by
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An Inward Treasure Born directed by David Evans

(Or: Feminism 101)

ep 4 2

Honesty is the best not-actually-a-policy, Anne

The whole quote that the title came from goes: I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.

Every title is a Jane Eyre quote that Anne must have memorized before she turned to fire safety manuals for reading.

Every title is a Jane Eyre quote that Anne must have memorized before she turned to fire safety manuals for reading.

Right from the get go we have to put our thinking caps on! We both agreed that this quote is about doing what you think is right but we disagreed about what it meant specifically in this episode.

Here is the humor article Susan was talking about answering questions with Jane Eyre quotes. Washington Post article about Jane Eyre quotes.

Today's snack: Susan ('s daughter" made shortbread and Beckett made Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches with an "E" because the recipe was only her inspiration

Today’s snack: Susan (‘s daughter) made shortbread and Beckett made Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches with an “E” because the recipe was only an inspiration for the final product.

We're cooking our way through this.

We’re cooking our way through this.

If you click just one link from these shownotes (it’s cool, you won’t hurt our feelings– we put this stuff up because people’s interests vary) it should be this delightful look into the creation of the credit sequence–Buzzfeed Here’s How They Made The Stunning “Anne with an E” opening credits. 

Here is more work by the artists–Brad Kunkle, and here is more analysis at Exploring Anne Tumblr (May 31st entry has the credit sequence analysis.)

Cordelia song the Tragically Hip, Road Apples 1991

What’s a road apple? Uh…probably not this.

What's a road apple? Uuuuummm, probably not this, but this is pretty....and smells nice.

What’s a road apple? Uuuuummm, probably not this, but this is pretty….and smells nice.

(Related: here is a recipe for Dried Apples via Whole Foods) (Distantly related, very distantly related.)

Justification for the scatterbrained set. Elite Daily based on a Time article.

Yeah, that's a pretty cool light fixture. Three cheers for the design department!

Yeah, that’s a pretty cool light fixture. Three cheers for the design department!

Anne was being strong and bold and questionably smart...the ladies on the Gillis yard freak out because of it. (As they should!)

Anne was being strong and bold and questionably smart…the ladies on the Gillis yard freak out because of it. (As they should!)

I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy asking him if he wants a biscuit.

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy asking him if he wants a biscuit. (“Have a biscuit, Potter.”)


I'm just a boy, standing in front of a girl trying to geth the other girl to notice me. Also, I'm flipping adorable...and chivalrous.

I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl trying to get the other girl to notice me. Also, I’m flipping adorable…and chivalrous.

Additions to the Anne with an “E” reading list (entire list will be printed in last episode):

Patient Grisilda (link goes to text of story via

The Bible, Psalm 78 (Link to NIV version because Susan is a Missouri Synod Lutheran.)

Red: A history of the readhead by Jacky Collis Harvey616yk0GDYvL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_

Podcast Recommendations!!! Dinner Party Download and The Sporkful.



Anne With An “E” Recap: Episode 3

Posted 3 June 2017 by
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But what is so headstrong as youth?  directed by Sandra Goldbacher

(Or: Transitions)

Oh Anne, this school thing isn’t going to work out like you think. via IMDB

The second line of that Jane Eyre quote is ” what so blind as inexperience” and that is certainly a theme that runs through this episode. During this recap of Episode 3 of the Netflix show we talk about the parallel surprise realities that Anne experiences at school and Marilla experiences in motherhood. We also get creeped-out by Mr. Phillips, want to punch Billy Andrews, offer advice for adults viewing this show with their children and compare and contrast 13 year-old girls to their “progressive” mothers. (Dang, that sounds so sophisticated when we say it that way, doesn’t it?)

The bits and pieces we promised to put in our shownotes for this episode:


Movie written and directed by Sandra Goldbacher, The Governess (link to IMDB page for movie)

Gord Downie’s animated film, The Secret Path (with CBC Arts Live panel). (Dear Canada, Thanks for introducing me to Tragically Hip. xo, Susan)

Tragically hip, with Michael Nesmith (yeah! The Monkey’s guy!)

(And you, too, can be Tragically Hip with your own History Chicks promotional t-shirt by clicking the link to our shop on the right.)

Want to follow AmyBeth McNulty (Anne) on Twitter for some really adorable behind the scenes pics and video? Bonus content is that she seems like a perfectly real and charming person. AMYBETH on the Twittah.


Mr Phillips and Snidely Whiplash: separated at birth?

Mr Phillips and Snidely Whiplash: separated at birth? via imdb and wikicommons

Ahhh, Josie Pye you meanie! (via IMDB)

Ahhh, Josie Pye you meanie! (via IMDB)


Netflix’s Master of None: The capelet that started an obsession

This is Chocolate Caramel from the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. This is, also, a plate of tasty sugar and bitter disappointment.

This is Chocolate Caramel from the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. This is, also, a plate of tasty sugar and bitter disappointment.

Updates to Reading List:

(complete list to be posted on last episode’s shownotes)

Elsie’s New Relations by Martha Finley (link to Project Gutenberg)

The Fisherman by Bryan Waller Proctor (Barry Cornwall)

 The Pleasures of Hope by Thomas Campbell

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelly

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The Grasshopper by Mrs. Andrew Dean (still looking for online, freebie version) mrs andrew dean


Link to The Libby app that Beckett was so excited about. It’s for getting audio books from various sources including your library.