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.)

Elizabeth’s star never truly faded, it just moved to a different part of the sky. Heck, even the Queen of England recognized Elizabeth for all that she had accomplished when she designated Elizabeth (and Julie Andrews at the same ceremony) a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. Dame Elizabeth. We love it.

Elizabeth was a loyal friend, a loving mother, a success in both entertainment and business…and, in a word that is on the brink of overuse but the best one to describe her…a trailblazer of the highest order. She lived her life her way, detractors be damned.

In 1992 she made her ONLY appearance on the Johnny Carson show. Here she is, just before her 60th birthday and wearing in her raddest black leather outfit.:

Elizabeth Taylor died on March 23, 2011, of congestive heart failure. She was 79 years old. She is interred in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetary, Los Angeles, California.


Time Travel With The History Chicks

***under construction, please come back later for a full media recommendation list***




By Ellis Cashmore



By Donald Spoto



J. Randy Taraborrelli


M.G. Lord


By William J. Mann


By Elizabeth Taylor


Want to see some of the houses Elizabeth lived in over the course of her life? Here’s a peek from the Elizabeth Taylor Archives.

All of her maaaany jewels had a story, here is the one about her favorite diamond and platinum chandelier earrings given to her by Mike Todd. The Adventurine

Vanity Fair article from 1992 about her AIDS activism.

Horse and Hound is real…and here are seven actors who found their horses on set: Horse and Hound

Follow along with Sara Sothern’s career as documented by the Cowley County (Kansas) Historical Society.

Poking around the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation you can see the work that has been and is still being done thanks to her…and get info on the Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS which will next be held this September 15th! If you go, report back, we would love to live vicariously (unless someone wants to give us tickets, we’ll use our best manners, we promise!)

Her final wedding to Larry Fortensky, thrown by her dear friend Michael Jackson was the height of media circuses! Here’s some footage from a helicopter- you’ll see peeks of the bride and an entertaining view of an univited member of the paparazzi who parachuted into the event!

Elizabeth’s obituary from her “hometown” paper, scroll down the page for her life in pictures: LA TIMES

Moving Pictures!

Hahaha…you would need a lot of couch time to watch all of Elizabeth’s movies. Here is an IMDB list of them, have fun! ELIZABETH TAYLOR MOVIES


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!




Episode 197: Elizabeth Keckley, Revisited

Posted 14 February 2022 by
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On February 20, 21, and 22, 2022 The History Channel will be airing a three-night documentary on the life of Abraham Lincoln! You’ll learn a bit about Mary during that production, but her seamstress and friend, Elizabeth Keckley deserves some love, too. Today, we’ll take a trip in our Way Back machine to 2016 when we first covered this remarkable woman!

For all the information discussed in the media section, please visit our original shownotes: ELIZABETH KECKLEY 

Episode 196: Emily Dickinson, Part Two

Posted 30 January 2022 by
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“Tell all the truth, but tell it slant”- Only authenticated photo of Emily, circa 1847 wikicommons

For a woman who’s known as one of the greatest poets who ever lived, she didn’t do a lot of remarkable things when she was alive. She was raised in Amherst and rarely left that town, had many dear friends, wrote a lot of letters, wrote even more poetry that no one saw, was anonymously published only a handful of times during her lifetime, and died in her mid-50s. She championed no causes and left no journal but what she did leave was a secret treasure trunk of nearly 2000 poems. (more…)

Episode 195: Emily Dickinson, Part One

Posted 15 January 2022 by
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Only authenticated photo of Emily, circa 1847, taken at Mt. Holyoke Women’s Seminary. wikicommons

For a woman who led a very quiet and secluded physical life, her inner experiences were vast and colorful. But lack of documentation after her passing left a lot of her story to fill in. Was Emily Dickinson a quiet, unmarried recluse, always clad in a white dress, the myth of Amherst, or was she a witty artist ahead of her time, who loved her family, had close friendships, many interests…and sometimes wore a white dress?

And the big question: How accurate is the Apple TV+ show, Dickinson? (more…)