Archive for the Episode Category

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.

Children who were in the line of succession to the throne were sent to a special Royal School run by American missionaries who had begun coming to Hawaii in the early 1800s. The kids at the school were bilingual in Hawaiian and English, but they also learned western deportment, a whole slew of academics, and how to walk the line between the two cultures. Lili’u also learned music- to play the piano, sing and write-a developed gift that she would use her whole life –writing 160 songs including the classic Hawaiian song of farewell, Aloha Oe.

A young Luli’u (via wikicommons)

When it was time for her to marry, Lili’u accepted the proposal of wealthy American, John Dominis, who had been raised in Hawaii. She moved in with him and his Mommy…er, widowed mother at their home, Washington Place. John was private secretary to a couple King Kamehamehas before he was made Governor of Oahu.

John Dominis, Governor, Mama’s boy and Lili’u’s husband.

We go through the entire Kamehameha dynasty during the podcast, from the Original who unified the islands into one country, to Five who rewrote the constitution that Four had signed giving more power to non-native Hawaiians than a lot of people were comfortable with. Five died without an heir and ended the dynasty, but a new one began when Lili’u’s brother, David Kalakaua took the crown. All along the way, immigrants were slowly working their way into powerful positions in both government and in the economy of the island. King David named his sister, Lili’u his successor (and named her “Lili’uokalani” which she wasn’t very fond of.)

King David Kalakaua, his nickname was “Taffy” because of his fondness for sweets. (Library of Congress)

King David supported ties to America, which worked out well for all of the Americans that were working in his government and, over the 17 years of his reign, he would get more and more financially entangled with them.

But first he had to tour the world.

The whole world.

He left Lili’u as his regent and while he was off gallivanting she successfully dealt with one crisis after another. When he returned it was her turn to represent Hawaii on a global stage (she was at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee!)

King David had this lavish and modern palace built for himself, Iolani Palace.

But then things got very messy for the native Hawaiians. Not only had their population been rapidly decreasing due to illnesses brought in by immigrants, but the land ownership, the sugar plantations…the money was controlled by non-natives and they were greedy. They wanted Hawaii to be annexed by the United States and as a step toward that goal they forced King David to sign away the farm. Well, his power, anyway, making him a mere figurehead in the Hawaiian government.

And then he went and died.

Nice going, David.

Queen Lili’uokalani (via wikicommons)

Lili’uokalani became QUEEN Lili’uokalani and worked tirelessly to regain control that previous kings had let slip away, but in two short years was schemed out of her title, imprisoned, lost the government to Americans and, ultimately, Hawaii was annexed by the United States.

The queen didn’t have a whole lot of options when these guys had her surrounded. USS Boston landing force, 1893. (via wikicommons)

We, of course, go into detail in the podcast but she lived for another 20 years in “retirement” always working to keep the Hawaiian culture alive. She died on November 11, 1917 of a stroke. She was 79 years old.

Lili’uokalani and friend shortly before her death in 1917. (Library of Congress)

Let’s end this with several versions of Aloha Oe, because we can.



Time Travel with The History Chicks


Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen by Lili’uokalani herself is online


By Helen Allen

James L. Haley (maybe skewed a little to Hawaii’s side)(that’s a good thing in this story.)

Julia Flynn Siler (Reads like a novel) (also a very good thing.)


And a book Beckett forgot to mention but would recommend, by Sarah Vowell.


There’s an American Experience for this. Bonus points if you have the equipment to watch is.



Iolani Palace Built by, and home of, King Kalakaua, Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned there and it became the provisional government headquarters. Now it’s restored and, boy howdy! it’s stunning! Make sure you click around, you can take a sort-of-tour, including the quilt she sewed while imprisoned.

photo credit: Don Ramey Logan: 2011

Washington Place, Liliuokalani’s home (through her husband) is now the Governor’s residence, and it’s also stunning.

Indigenous Hawaiians may be able to establish and self-govern similar to sovereign Native American nations. Here is a diving board into that rabbit hole from Smithsonian Magazine , and to learn even more about it, from the people working to establish it, here is the website of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, and some information about the Constitution that is being drafted.

Set up by the the Queen herself, the Queen Lili’oukalani Trust is dedicated to the welfare of orphan and destitute Hawaiian children.

This is the volcano that Beckett camped on, Kilauea Volcano, and the story about the last house in the Royal Gardens subdivision to be engulfed by lava.

Beckett’s son in front of the poison steam vent that can blow at any time.

Because we take each and every opportunity to talk about the Columbian Exhibition, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, there was a Hawaii exhibit. Of course there was! If you have any interest in the history of Chicago, you should probably set aside a little time to dive into this site: Chicagology. 

We did our very best in regards to pronunciation but if you’ve never given any Hawaiian words a shot, now is your chance!

An hour long lecture by author James Haley on C-SPAN.

A brief history of surfing: the more you know.

Here are some resources to help bring Hawaiian culture to kids.

It’s probably a dead project…but maybe not? If you want to try and solve the mystery of Is There A Movie? start here at the official site for The Islands movie.



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.


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.


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:

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!


Episode 89: Marie Laveau

Posted 28 May 2017 by
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Poor Marie Laveau! She’s often remembered as either a sinner or a saint… and not too often as a multi-nuanced, very real woman who who held power at a time and place when powerful women were rare.


Marie never sat for a portrait, but maybe she was a gorgeous as depicted in this one by Frank Schneider (1920 based on George Catlin that’s presumed destroyed) wikicommons

Marie’s story is a tangled web of myth, truth and half-truths with a whole lotta holes. She was illiterate so any record of her comes through legal documents, a few secondary sources and, well, that’s about it. Fun! (If your idea of “fun” is trying to detangle her tale.) Even her birthday comes with a disclaimer and was only (historically speaking) discovered recently. More fun! So what do we know for sure?

Marie was born around the beginning of the 1800s in New Orleans, Louisiana to a free woman of color, Marguerite D’Arcantel. The “father” line was blank but it’s presumed to be Charles Laveaux. (You caught that “x” didn’t you? Charles used it, Marie is usually referred to without it. See? What a tangled web.)

This is NOT the house that Marie lived in on St. Ann's Street--it's gone-- but a random, lovely cottage in the French Quarter

This is NOT the house that Marie lived in on St. Ann’s Street–it’s gone– but a random, lovely cottage all fancied up, in the French Quarter

Marie lived in New Orleans her entire life, married as a teenager to Jacques Paris who disappeared from the narrative within just a few years. She entered a common law relationship with *deep breath* Louis-Christophe Dominic Dumesnil de Glapion and had between 5 and 15 children. She worked as a hairdresser, was a practicing Catholic and also a practicing Voodoo Queen.

Marie's home church...right?! St. Louis Cathedral

Marie’s home church…right?! St. Louis Cathedral

She had a very philanthropic heart, was deeply tied to her community, led many public and private Voodoo services, made a nice living selling gris-gris and used her spiritual gifts to help people of all colors and social levels.

Gris-Gris, Charles Gadolfo (art just classes up the joint, doesn't it?)

Gris-Gris, Charles Gadolfo (art just classes up the joint, doesn’t it?) wikicommons

She died on June 15,1881. Although, quite mysteriously, it seemed as if she didn’t. Marie II (more than likely her daughter but not enough evidence to claim it as truth) took over Marie, Senior’s gig–rituals, clients and all, only the heart of Marie 2.0 wasn’t the same and the activities became a bit more…let’s go with “naughty.”

Wow, Chicks, that doesn’t look like enough solid intel for a full show.

We talk about cool stuff like the possible cultural appropriation of Marie's style (forced on her) with Dolley Madison's (a choice.)

We talk about cool stuff like the possible cultural appropriation of Marie’s style (forced on her) with Dolley Madison’s (a choice.) We also talk about how much we love Dolley.

Hahaha…have you not met us? We compare the myths and legends of not only Marie but Voodoo in general; we talk about life of women of color at that ever-changing (and not for the better) time in US history, and the unusual history of New Orleans (and gush, Susan knows what it means to miss New Orleans.)

Marie’s legend grew fast and hard after her death and the voodoo religion was turned into a tourist attracting industry. You guys! New Orleans has a lot of beauty and history (and not all of that is beautiful)–you should visit Marie’s tomb, but that’s just a short jaunt in a city FULL of long jaunts.

Marie's tomb and why we can't have nice things. Keep your grimy hands off of it!

Marie’s tomb and why we can’t have nice things. Keep your grimy hands off of it!



Time Travel with The History Chicks

If you aren’t with Susan on Anti-Website Music, maybe giving this ditty a play while you scroll around might be fun. Maybe.



Carolyn Long, this is the favorite of both of us

Carolyn Long, this is the favorite of both of us

And we both liked this one a great deal, Ina Fandrich (the woman who discovered the baptismal certificate)

And we both liked this one a great deal, Ina Fandrich (the woman who discovered the baptismal certificate)

Martha Ward

Martha Ward

The book Beckett recommended to learn more about the differences and histories.

The book Beckett recommended to learn more about the differences and histories.

The "recipe" book we quoted at the beginning of the show.

The “recipe” book we quoted at the beginning of the show, The life and works of Marie Laveau by Raul Canizares

FIction-- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett- part of the Discworld Series. Also proof that Susan has begun it, and the Android Rosemary font that she prefers and makes Beckett's eye twitch.

Fiction– Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett- part of the Discworld Series. Also proof that Susan has begun it, and the Android Rosemary font that she prefers and makes Beckett’s eye twitch.


We aren’t travel guides, but there is so much more to do in New Orleans than focus on the touristy voodoo, but you’ll probably want to do some type of tour since you now a bit about Marie and her times.

Highly recommended cemetery and French Quarter walking tours (and the name! Right?) Two Chicks Tours (recommended guides, Grey Sweeney Perkins or George “Loki” Williams specifically but all are good) and also the tour group, Friends of the Cabildo.

This place is stunning and really a terrific way to learn more about the city–Lousiana State Museum and Inside The Cabildo




For some more information about early 19th century medicine, check  out the Melnick Medical Museum

You may want to turn off your speakers, but there is a plethora of intel on here: French Creoles dot com

This is a good write up about how Ina Fandrich discovered what is now accepted as the birthdate of Marie. It will also give you a bit of insight into exactly how much work goes into the biographies that we devour in no time! How birth certificate was discovered

We didn’t talk about this but you might find some really great information about preservation and architecture of New Orleans at Preserving New Orleans.


Only two that are even remotely related that we would suggest, although you might keep your eye out for the 2017 release (still being filmed as we post) called, Laveau. You can follow the production on the IMDB page.

With Bette Davis set during Marie's era

With Bette Davis set during Marie’s era

"Nope. Nope. Nope, nope nope." Susan

“Nope. Nope. Nope, nope nope.” Susan



Episode 88: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Posted 6 May 2017 by
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framedLucy_Maud_Montgomery v smallAn abandoned little girl raised by elderly guardians during the Victorian era on Prince Edward Island, Canada. It sounds like the premise for a book, and it was, but it was also the early life of author Lucy Maud Montgomery. (more…)