Episode 207: The Wives of Henry VIII

Posted 10 July 2022 by
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Life gets in the way of the best intentions, doesn’t it? Covid has derailed us this week so instead of talking about our visit to the land of Henry VIII we thought we would get in the Way Back Machine to our 2012 series on the wives of Henry VIII! We’ve remastered and edited them into one really short audiobook (or long podcast, however you want to think of it.) Beckett is still recovering but hopefully, we’ll be together in two weeks!

Episode 206: The Gilded Gentleman, Invisible Magicians, and Golden Plates

Posted 14 June 2022 by
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Today we want to introduce you to a show we both really enjoy: The Gilded Gentleman! It’s produced by our friends Tom Meyers and Greg Young, The Bowery Boys, and is hosted by social and culinary historian Carl Raymond. Carl’s episodes are often a delightful companion to the stories of our subjects and this doubleheader is no exception. (more…)

Episode 205: Queen Lili’oukalani, Revisited

Posted 31 May 2022 by
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This month Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, but she’s still alive so we can’t cover her* so we thought this would be an excellent time to get into the Way Back Machine to our 2017 conversation about Queen Lili’oukalani, the Kingdom of Hawaii’s last monarch (who was at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887!)

Queen Lili’uokalani (via wikicommons)


Episode 204: Elizabeth Taylor, Part Three (FIN)

Posted 16 May 2022 by
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The image most have of Elizabeth Taylor, dazzling movie star…but is that really what she was?


Unlike most actors, Elizabeth never left the public view and her entire life played out on magazine covers, scandal sheets, punch lines, and news stories with tales of fact and fiction. But, in this final chapter of her life, she uses that very visible platform to bring money and awareness as a vocal ally for those stricken by a then mysterious and deadly illness, AIDS–going so far as to form her own foundation to fight the disease and support its victims. (And, just because she could, she also became the first celebrity to launch her own perfume line and company.) (more…)

Episode 203: Elizabeth Taylor, Part Two

Posted 1 May 2022 by
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We begin with the marriage of Elizabeth to Mike Todd. Here she is with her children, Mike, and a honkin’ big diamond in 1957. Library of Congress

From the tragic death of husband number three, Mike Todd, through her two marriages to Richard Burton, and Elizabeth’s first stay at the Betty Ford Center, we look at Elizbeth’s life of wild ups, crazy downs, and a whole lot of living in between. (more…)

Episode 202: Elizabeth Taylor, Part One

Posted 16 April 2022 by
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Modern Screen magazine, 1950 wikicommons

She was a child star, a Hollywood superstar, a wife seven times (or eight depending on how you count- men or “I dos?”) a mother of four, a dear friend, businesswoman, activist, and, despite all of her efforts, had the most public of private lives. One would think that all that activity would indicate, “Hey, Chicks, this is a two-parter,” but no, we were quite surprised. (more…)

Episode 201: Julia Child

Posted 1 April 2022 by
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Julia, 1978 by Lynn Gilbert via wikicommons



For photos, book recommendations, and links to things that we discussed in this episode, please visit our ORIGINAL SHOWNOTES; to read about Susan’s adventures in French cooking, check out THIS POST.

Are you going to be in London in June? Please join us at our London Local’s Meet-Up Dinner on June 25th, for more information and to get tickets, visit our friends at Like Minds Travel.

Grab one of the last couple of spots in our OCTOBER NEW ENGLAND FIELD TRIP, or come out to the Meet-Up Dinner in Boston on October 21st! Information and sign-ups are also here at Like Minds Travel.

Episode 200: Hurrem Sultan (Empress Roxelana )

Posted 23 March 2022 by
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Portrait of Harrum Sultan (Roxelana) circa 1500s, artist unknown, Public Domain

Kidnapped as a young girl and sold into slavery in a foreign land, Hurrem Sultan captured the heart of a king… and transformed the course of an empire. (more…)

Episode: 198: Edmonia Lewis

Posted 21 February 2022 by
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Edmonia Lewis was a sculptor; an artist. Period. Despite getting attention as a female sculptor of mixed race, the first Black and Native American professional sculptor in the world- she wanted to drop the descriptors and simply be known for her work.

Edmonia in Rome, Circa 1870

Mary Edmonia Lewis was born on July 4, 1844, in Greenbush (now known as Rensselaer) New York to Samuel and Catherine Mike Lewis. She had an older, half-brother (also named Samuel) and even untangling this bit of information has been a battle for historians. Edmonia was a great sculptor and a wise marketer who knew what subjects to focus on that would sell, and what story to give any reporter sitting in front of her that would get her attention even if it was contradictory to previous interviews. There were no journals or cache of letters left to spell out the truth of her life, so it’s still being puzzled together 215 years after her death.

What is known is that her father was Black, her mother was Native American and they both passed away when Edmonia was a child. She was raised by maternal relatives, and educated aaaaalmost through college at Oblerlin, thanks to her brother who funded her education from wealth earned during the California Gold Rush.

After a move to Boston and some advantageous introductions to a community of abolitionists (and abolition art collectors) she began her career as a sculptor, earned enough to move to Rome (after a European, Grand tour) and set up her own studio that was so important it was literally on the map of Must See places tourists should visit.

Edmonia had to learn anatomical sculpting the old-fashioned way, by copying masters’ work like this one of Moses by Michelangelo. 

Her neoclassical style, combined with subjects that focused on both her Black and North American Indigenous heritage, busts of famous people…and also of people who commissioned her services…set her on a path to artistic superstardom.

She did a series of pieces focused on Indigenous Americans, this is Old Arrow Maker, but Hiawatha was also a popular subject of hers. Smithsonian 


And honoring her heritage and the Emancipation Proclamation, Forever Free, 1867, remains one of her most popular pieces. Howard University


Rome provided a community of artisans and, more importantly, a community of ex-pat, women sculptors that allowed Edmonia to have an active, colorful, and productive life. Her statutes were sold all over the world, appeared at worlds’ fairs (oh yes, including *that* one) and she was a global celebrity…

…who faded into the ether after about 20 years, and soon dropped from popularity into obscurity. We flesh out all the details in the episode, but Edmonia died in London on September 17, 1907. She was 63 years old.

Created for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Death of Cleopatra had quite an adventure after the fair. Smithsonian American Art Museum


Time Travel With The History Chicks


By Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson


By Kirsten Pai Buick


Middle grade: by Jasmine Walls and Bex Glendining


A verse novel, by Jeanine Atkins



A wealth of information from a self-proclaimed “independent scholar” about Edmonia, including some back story on some of her most famous works, at Discovering Edmonia Lewis,  including this lovely (and easy to understand) explanation of NeoClassical art and the artists who used the style in innovative ways.

The website maintained by authors of Edmonia Lewis: A Narrative Biography is at Edmonia Lewis.com.

A peek into one of Edmonia’s trips to the US, to Cincinnati in 1878 is fun to see how she worked to market her pieces, how she moved in American society, and sold one piece in particular, Veiled Bride of Spring, on the website Queens of Queen City


Would you like to join us as we visit that statue of Ben Franklin and remember Edmonia…and a whole week of more fun and history in Boston and Newport this October? Check out the tour at Like Minds Travel, spaces are filling fast!