Archive for 2012

Episode 28: Alice in Wonderland

Posted 28 June 2012 by
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Once a season we step back from the factual historical world into the fictional historical world. This season, while stepping back, we fell into a rabbit hole of sorts and found ourselves becoming curiouser and curiouser about Alice. Alice in Wonderland, that is.

This episode is all about Alice. Who was she, how did these books about her come to be and who is her creator, Charles Lutwidge Dodson (more commonly known as Lewis Carroll)?  What is it about this story that has allowed  it to endure for 150 years? Is it the charm or is it the mystique that surrounds not only the tale, but the life of the writer?

Originally written for a child, this fantasy deals with some very dark images and has generated some wholly grown-up interpretations.Yet, it has been  adored by children and adults alike.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There have been in continuous publication since they were first published in the late 1800’s.

We discuss the storylines of these two books in our companion mini-cast, Beckett and Susan’s Adventures in Wonderland and What They Saw There. If you are not familiar with the story, or need a refresher, please give a listen to that podcast first. Some of the details of this episode are better understood within the context of those stories.

There are more references than just the biggies

On July 4th, 1862 Charles Dodgson, a friend and three young Liddell sisters- Lorina, Edith and 10 year-old Alice- took a rowing trip up a river. As was tradition for this group, Charles began to tell stories. One in particular enchanted young Alice who asked if he could write it down for her. He did, and presented her with a hand written and  self-illustrated Alice’s Adventures Under Ground some time later. With further editing, reworking and creating, Charles published the tale (with illustrations by John Tenniel) as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland three years after that boating trip.

Who was Charles Dodgson? He was the third of eleven children, although the first male in his family. His father, Charles, was a clergyman and mother, Francis Jane, raised the large and close upper- middle class family in Cheshire, England. Young Charles was gifted academically and excelled in school (although he had a stint in a rather notorious institution that may not have been the cheeriest of times).  When it came time for Charles to decide on a career path he became a mathematics lecturer at Oxford.( Maybe not the most obvious choice for a man with a stammer). He was quite religious, and an ordained deacon- although he never entered the priesthood as his employer would have required. He was also a writer, penning magazine articles and poems under the name Lewis Carroll, and a very accomplished amateur photographer .

The mystique of Lewis Carroll that endures is probably based on the loss of some key diary entries after his death, and what is known was often left to very loose interpretation. We knock out some of the myths and common misconceptions during the podcast including:

Did he stammer only around adults?  (No, he stammered when speaking with children as well, they may have been more understanding, however.)

Was he shy? (No, he was very social and had a wide circle of friends.)

Was he a pedophile? (No, probably not. When the social context of the times, as well as the trends in photography are taken into consideration evidence seems to  point to no.)

We cover quite a bit more in the podcast, but the one that pertains the most to this topic? Who WAS Alice and who was she to him?

Alice Liddell was the forth of ten children of Henry and Lorina Liddell (rhymes with ‘riddle’). Henry was the Dean of Oxford during a large chunk of Charles’ time there, and his boss. Charles was a good family friend, spending time with the whole family, not just Alice. He photographed all of the children, and does have several existing portraits of Alice.

The two parts of the portrait sitting of Alice, meant to be shown together.

Alice lived a very long and full life, marrying a man of means she became a society hostess and mother of three boys. She held on to her original gift from Charles for most of her life, although a series of situations forced her to sell it in her old age.

But she doesn’t LOOK like the Alice you know, does she? As Charles was rewriting his original story, and combined forces with illustrator John Tenniel and sent John images of a couple of other young girls who looked more like the girl in his mind including this one:

Beatrice Henley, the probable model for Tenniel's book illustrations.

The story of Alice lived on long after the deaths of both Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell. Alice and her friends have crept into our language (“Off with her head!”) and culture (See: Tom Petty Don’t Come Around Here No More or any number of other musical references). We don’t really know when we are going to stumble into her, but when we do- we feel like we are meeting with an old friend.

This fountain has been in Central Park since 1959.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Have you fallen into the rabbit hole that is the world that surrounds Alice in Wonderland? Where to next? Oh, why here is a note, it says “READ ME!”

We suggest that you start with Annotated Alice, by Martin Gardner. In this (really big) book you will find the original text and illustrations for the two books, as well as commentary about the subject matter.

Are you interested in learning more about the man behind the tales? We liked The Mystery of Lewis Carroll by Jenny Woolf. Although there are MANY books about this man out there, and many contradict the others…that’s kind of what’s fun about the mystery, don’t you think?

Why should all the recommendations be non-fiction? With this topic, it just doesn’t make sense. Give these two a try:  The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

If you are as drawn to the work of Mary Blair as Susan was, this is the book version that she  gushed discussed.

Retold by Jon Sciezka, with original artwork of Mary Blair

Alice All The Things! (History Chicks Internet version)

Read both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and The Hunting of the Snark online. LibriVox also has audio versions available.

AlteredAlice– links to Alice inspired art from all over the world.

Lostepedia– Many references within the TV show LOST. Many. (As in:enough to get you to watch it again)

Contrariwise– One of many online groups whose purpose is to discuss and exchange information about Lewis Carroll and his beloved tales.

Carrollmyth: a super slick site that helps address some of the myths surrounding the man.

And, of course, please please, take a cruise through the work of the Lewis Carroll Society (link to North America, but that’s only because we are in North America). If you investigate that site you can easily find links to many of the photographic works of the man, as well as lots of other very fascinating information. You could be there for a while.

And finally ( because, really, where else are you going to find it?) a last look at the Mock Turtle and a recipe for Mock Turtle Soup. You are most welcome.

why does he have a cow head, again? Oh, yeah.

The Walrus and the Carpenter restaurant, In Seattle- which probably doesn’t serve Mock Turtle Soup, but we thought it was pretty interesting.

Episode 27: Clara Bow

Posted 4 June 2012 by
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We couldn’t tell the story of Clara Bow entirely in G-rated terms, so younger ears should probably skip this one where we talk about the original It Girl. What is It?  Looks, charm, talent, and something special that attracts a wide range of people.  It is a mysterious quality usually likened to a form of sex appeal. Clara Bow had It. She used It for her career and It attracted many men.  But, in addition to all those marketable qualities that made her a successful silent film star, she had other factors in her life that contrasted: Poverty, abuse, mental illness, and a span of time when she was treated like a pawn in an industry where youth and It survived, and all else was tossed aside.

Clara Gordon Bow was born on July 29, 1905 to Robert and Sara Bow in Brooklyn, New York. We would love to give you a romantic version of her parents, a rags to riches love story- but it would be a lie. Robert had a thing for younger girls and liquor; Sara was the daughter of an abusive father and mentally ill mother who was looking for a way out of her home and teen marriage was that ticket.

Robert worked as a singing waiter and at various odd jobs, but he would often leave his wife and child for long stretches. He spent his wages in bars and on underage prostitutes. Sara was miserable at home. Clara was her third  child- the first two died almost immediately after birth- and Sara had been advised that another pregnancy might kill both her and the child. Death may have seemed a great strategy for leaving her sad life, but both mother and child survived.

More sadness, and gloom filled the life of young Clara: her mother plummeted through episode after episode of depressed, psychotic and hostile states leaving Clara to take care of both herself and her mother. Clara’s grandfather died at her feet. As a young child she witnessed the gruesome death of her best friend, and she would be forced to drop out of school by seventh grade to get a job to help support her family. We go into details on the podcast of the impoverished and dysfunctional world that Clara grew up in, but let’s suffice it to say, it wasn’t a fairy tale. The escape method that she used was the movies- going to them, reading about them, and dreaming of a life as the person IN the movie magazines, not  just reading them.

One of Clara’s first employers

At the age of 16,she saw her chance in the form of a magazine sponsored contest  With a storyline that would make a terrific movie, she scraped together the money for  entry pictures, impressed the judges, kicked fanny at the  acting auditions and won!Included in the prizes was a photo shoot that created these two images:

Through what may have been the hardest work of his life ( if not a singular moment of support for his child)  Robert Bow pushed the powers- that- be to follow through with the other part of the prize: help Clara get work in the movies. Clara got her first role, and- in true movie fashion- her performance ended up on the cutting room floor. Crushing.

But that role landed her the next, and she was off to the glamorous local of….New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Made it on the big screen! Down to the Sea in Ships

In fairly quick order, Clara set off to Hollywood with an agent who had a rather interesting tale to tell after her cross-country train trip with the free spirited, insomniac that was a teenage Clara Bow.

Of course, we go into the whole story on the podcast, but Clara’s acting skills, big eyed beauty, and ability to cry on cue (not to mention her lack of inhibitions and sparkling personality) soon got her the screen time she needed to get  her career really started. She signed with Preferred Pictures and let her career  be formed in the hands of the head of the studio- B.P. Schulberg.
Her looks and attitude suited the times. Women were taking more risks, making bold moves, bobbing their hair, letting their sexuality shine all while dancing on tables. Well, the women that Clara portrayed on screen were- she personified the flapper, the Jazz Baby. Women wanted to be her, men wanted to be with her and both of them were flocking to her movies.

The movie that she is most often known for, It.

Throughout the 1920’s Clara was, quite simply, a superstar. Her personal life was as wild as some of the characters she played on the screen. Tooling about town in a roadster she lived her life with as little a filter as she could get away with. (How is that for putting it mildly?) She was romantically linked to many men, and called her own shots in her frenetic personal life. The newspapers and those movie magazines she used to read loved her, although they may have exaggerated some aspects of her life- the public couldn’t get enough of Clara.

The invention of talkie movies slowed Clara down a bit, but it didn’t end her career as is often rumored. What did end it? Maybe the pace she had kept for so long. Maybe a series of ill-timed life moves including several stints in hospitals for “rest” and a much publicized legal battle with a former personal secretary who attempted to blackmail Clara. Maybe the love of a good man, Rex Bell, who helped stabilize her life and gave her the family and normalcy that she had longed for since she was a child. Maybe the times, as the Depression began the flamboyant lifestyle of the now matured flapper wasn’t the image that movie goers craved. Maybe it was a combination of all of those things.

Clara stopped making movies in 1933. She retired to the ranch in Nevada where she and Rex raised two boys. They later divorced and she moved to Los Angeles. She was mostly a recluse, although she did still answer her fan mail and was often surprised when people remembered her. She died of a heart attack in her home on September 27, 1965 at the age of 60.

Clara, Rex and their children.


First thing we would do? Watch some movies. Netflix streams It, as well as some others, and you can see bits and pieces on YouTube. If you have 7 minutes, give this one a peek… the IT of Clara Bow  is very obvious in this clip. This link will take you to a channel with  more Clara Bow movie clips.

Since we are talking internet links here, Clara Bow Archive on tumblr maintains a twitter account as well. Get unique pictures of Clara sent right to your twitter feed. Also The Flapper Factor on tumblr is not Clara specific, nor is this Silent , but you might be impressed with the collections presented.

Learning more about a movie star just seems to fit visual media, you know? There is a Biography:  Clara Bow which isn’t on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon-but you might want to check out your library.

Turner Classic Movies has a Clara Bow documentary, Discovering the It Girl (narrated by Courtney Love) which we liked. And  a related one, Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood which is narrated by Jane Fonda ( and based on a book by Mick LaSalle who is interviewed in the film). Keep an eye out for airings of both these on TCM, or see if your library has them.

As it ties into this topic, and to cleanse your brain of the Debbie Reynolds Molly Brown image- go see Singing in the Rain. Set in the times of Clara Bow and with some of the (highly Hollywoodized) issues that Clara had to deal with. (Just an aside: the songs were written before the story of this movie but it’s still a fun romp).

Just for a fun movie tie in

We teased you about this in the podcast, an interview by Mark Twain with Elinor Glyn, writer of It and overall character herself.

So you like books? Us toooo!  For Clara we recommend:

Clara Bow: Running Wild by, David Stenn

The “It”: Girl: the Incredible Story of  Clara Bow by, Joe Morella & Edward EpsteinSilent Stars by Jeanine BasingerAnd finally, as a related recommended read (yes, there is a movie also), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.

As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at

Episode 26: Rosa Parks

Posted 26 May 2012 by
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This episode was a surprise for us. We had planned on posting a minicast about Rosa Parks to tie in with the episode on Ida B. Wells. The women’s lives had several parallels and we wanted to highlight Rosa Park’s role in the civil rights movement. But, when we sat down to talk, the talk went longer than a typical minicast. So we made it into a full length episode about the woman called, “the mother of the civil rights movement”.

Rosa Louis McCauley was born on Feburary 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. As always, we discuss her life in detail on the podcast and merely outline it here, but her family;  father James and mother Leona as well as Rosa’s younger brother, Sylvester, left Tuskegee  for Pine Level, and then Montgomery, Alabama when Rosa was a child.

She was educated first in a rural school and then at Montgomery Industrial School (also called Miss White’s School), a fairly progressive school  for the times run by women from the north. Many people in her early life contributed to her firm belief in equality, and taught her character traits that would serve her well. And we cover them in the podcast, stopping for  a few moments extra to talk  about the strength of  both character and backbone, of her grandfather and her mother, as well as what life was like in the Jim Crow south.Rosa, circa 1956

As she was entering college, Rosa had to drop out of school. Her grandmother was ill, and Rosa set off to work as a seamstress to help support her family. It is during this time that she mets a handsome, well dressed, self educated man, Raymond Parks who was a barber by trade, a civil rights activist by desire. They were wed in 1932. With his support, Rosa competed her education.

Raymond and Rosa were very active in their local NAACP chapter, working behind the scenes on cases such as that of the Scottsboro Boys, trying to make right wrongs done to blacks, trying to establish equality for all people.  Rosa had served as chapter secretary, as well as working with youth programs and assisting with a very complex voter registration process.

The day that changed her life, was not Rosa’s first encounter with discrimination on a bus. She was far from the first black woman that had been arrested for not giving up her seat so that a white passenger could sit. And, in the podcast, we discuss the many people and actions that play into the success that followed when Rosa was the woman who was arrested.

JoAnn Robinson, a college professor, had gone so far as  to intentionally sit in the first row of seats, seats that were always reserved for white passengers. She abandoned her protest when the bus driver kept yelling at her, but she thought that a bus boycott would make a loud impact on not only the economy of Montgomery, but also make strides in race relations.

Claudette Colvin, a teenager, had also been arrested for not giving up her seat months before Rosa.

Rosa Parks herself had also previously been asked to leave a bus for refusing to give up her seat . But on that particular December day in 1955, refuse she did again.  She was tired of giving up her seat, tired of being treated in this manner. She was empowered by a series of events in her life and took a stand. By sitting.

When she was arrested the black community of Montgomery got busy, fast. Jo Ann Robinson,  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, and many community leaders did in 1955 what it takes the internet to do today: they spread the word. They formed an action plan and got the entire black population informed and organized. Within a day, what was planned as a one- day bus boycott began. It would not end until 381 days later.


The mugshot seen around the world

By being the right woman at the right time, in the right city and with the right support, Rosa Parks, with her quiet voice and firm but proper demeanor became the mother of the civil rights movement.

Later, Rosa and Raymond moved to Detroit where she worked toward racial and gender equality as a speaker, a writer and activist.

Rosa Parks died at the age of 92, on October 24, 2005 due to complications from dementia. Even in death, she was treated as a national treasure and was allowed  to lay in honor at the US Capital Rotunda and two other locations, one in Montgomery and one in Detroit.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Books! We have a few that we recommend, starting with the one written by Rosa herself, Rosa Parks: My Story.

My Story, by Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, by Douglas Brinkley

The award winning children’s book that we thought was really good was,

Rosa Parks, by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier

The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development has a website. Lots of information as well as links to youth programs, although some of the information does seem out of date.

The free, interactive app e-book  , The Road to Civil Rights, is available through this site. We didn’t read it, so if you do, send us a review! Academy of Achievement.

Movies! This is the one that we were talking about staring Angela Basset:

Rosa Parks Story

Yes, there is an American Experience for that! Eyes on the Prize.

This site has a terrific collection of photos, and videos- worth a click for those alone!

There are quite a few activities on this site for kids to learn about Rosa Parks, but here is a link to an interview with her based on student’s questions.

Finally the bus! Recovered and restored with help from the Save America’s Treasures program of the National Trust for Preservation, the bus is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Even if you can’t get to Michigan, you should check out the online resources of this museum.

The restored bus

As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at

Episode 25: Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Posted 12 May 2012 by
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Ida B. Wells- born a slave, educated in a post-Civil War south and left to care for her family at an early age. She grew to become a teacher, a writer, a crusader, a suffragist, a wife and mother. A woman of  strength and character who dared to speak up and challenge those who desired to oppress others , even when her own safety was at risk.

How could we not talk about a woman like this?

Ida was born on July 16, 1862, the first of eight children to Jim and Lizzy Wells in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her father was the son of a plantation owner and one of his slaves; her mother a slave. As always, please know that we go into so much more detail in the podcast- the early life story of Ida’s parents is really remarkable, but what they did at the end of the Civil War is even more so.

Jim, a skilled and trained carpenter and Lizzy a highly sought after cook, put down roots and took advantage of the post war opportunities that were presented to them. Ida and her siblings were all sent to school, all raised to be hardworking, respectable and full of faith.

It was a wonderful story of pulling themselves up and being role models for their children, until a Yellow Fever epidemic hit when Ida was 16. The illness took the life of both of her parents as well as that of a young brother. She stepped up and assumed the role as head of the family. She lied about her age to get a teaching job, enlisted the help of some extended family members and did what a lot of female head of families do now: she made it work.

A young and determined Ida

After a few years, Ida couldn’t take the stress and pressures of the lifestyle. At this point, her siblings were getting older and some could support themselves. She had a physically handicapped sister that required live-in assistance and was sent to an aunt’s home to live.  Ida took her two youngest sisters and moved to the big city of Memphis, Tennessee to live with another aunt.

Confederate money issued from Holly Springs.

With some of the responsibility off of her, Ida took another teaching job and breathed, just a little. She enjoyed all that the city had to offer and lived the life of a young woman interested in the arts, learning, and making new friends.

But it didn’t take very long for her to realize that she had more to do than attend concerts. One day,while commuting via train, she was asked to leave the Ladies’ Car for another, less comfortable one. Ida had purchased a first class ticket, as she always did, and ignored the wishes of the conductor for her to leave her first class seat- as she always did when this happened.

Only this time, the conductor didn’t ignore her and physically tried to move her. Kicking and biting and fighting back, this tiny woman stood her ground. And got kicked off the train for her efforts.

The ensuing court battle was only the beginning of the life as a political activist for Ida Wells. When she became dismayed at the inferior conditions of the school system that she worked in, she spoke up. She began writing in church newspapers about the  racial disparity in the Memphis schools. And ultimately lost her job because of it. But she wasn’t done crusading for what was right.

Ida had heard about lynching, of course she had. This was the post Civil War south, but like a lot of people, she had assumed that the vigilante “justice” that was carried out was justified. Until it happened to people that she knew. Good people.

Enraged, she began to write for (and eventually ended up being a part owner of) a newspaper called The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight (later shortened to Free Speech).

This type of career- held by a woman, a black women in a racially charged South- made Ida a target. She eventually was forced to flee Memphis and landed in Chicago.

This is the part where we get to talk about her love, attorney Ferdinand Barnett who is particularly suited to sharing his life with this strong, determined, unshy woman. We talk about her life as a wife and mother, and her never ending and far reaching efforts to end lynching.

Ida with her children, courtesy of University of Chicago

Her life continued to be one of championing causes and we do cover all that in the podcast. But in addition to her anti-lynching crusade she was a suffragist, and a founder of many organizations including the NAACP. She even staged an unsuccessful run for the Illinois State Senate!


Ida and Ferdinand surrounded by kids and grandchildren

Although the organizations that she helped found began to turn their backs on her, Ida Wells-Barnett worked hard until just prior to her death at age 68  in 1931.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Ida’s family maintains a website in her honor. Find out more information about her life, get directions and information about the Ida Wells Museum in Holly Springs, click  links to the Ida B.Wells Foundation and buy a t-shirt. Yes, a t-shirt. Oh, or a mug.

Ida B. Wells Museum in Holly Springs, MS

Books! Here are the ones that we recommend:

To Tell the Truth Freely, by Mia Bay

Ida Wells Memphis Diary, edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis

They Say by, James West Davidson

Ida Wells: A sword Among Lions by, Paula J. Giddings

Here is a link to Project Guttenberg. It’s an online resource of free ebooks. This link should take you to the available Ida B.Wells  publications. For *sing it* freeeeeee!

Want to peek at her Chicago house? A peek is all you can get, it’s a private residence, but that didn’t stop the National Park Service from making a page about her and the house. We love

You know what else we love? A good  PBS American Experience and here is a very good one about the Reconstruction period.

As always, music comes courtesty of Music Alley. Visit them at

Episode 24: Last Four Wives of Henry VIII

Posted 27 April 2012 by
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With this episode we continue our series on the Tudors. Henry, Henry, Henry… First Catherine of Aragon didn’t produce, so you divorced her. Then Anne Boleyn failed as well, so you took care of that nuisance. In this episode we talk about the last four of your wives, or as we like to call them, Mommy, Sister, Party and Lucky.

First up, Jane Seymour! Henry VIII had his eyes set on Jane before Anne Boleyn was even out of the picture. She was born about 1504, and may have finished her education in France in service to Henry’s sister, Mary when she was Queen of France. Jane may have even come to Henry’s court in service to wife number one. It is known that she was a Maid of Honor to Anne Boleyn. And oh, how much fun do we have realizing what a wife/mistress feeding trough those ladies are to Henry VIII? (Lots.)

Jane Seymour: Wife #3

Jane’s brothers were also in service to King Henry VIII, and she was probably used as a pawn for family gain, but Henry wasted no time- betrothing her within 24 hours of Anne Boleyn’s execution.They were wed within two weeks.

We all know what Henry was after, a male heir. Jane looked like a promising vessel to bring that to him.  Henry’s illegitimate- but recognized- son, Henry Fitzroy, died shortly after the marriage at age 17.  With that, the back-up plan crumbled and Henry has no heir options.

We talk a bit about what happened in this short marriage during the podcast, but Jane is pregnant within a year and gives birth to a son, Edward, who would one day, briefly, succeed Henry VIII as King.

Future King Edward VI, Henry! You got a male heir!

Sadly, the hand that was dealt to his mother, Jane, was not so kind. She died of complications from childbirth about two weeks after Edward’s birth.

Henry needs a wife! So he quickly put his people on the task of  finding one. The fate of his previous wives has people rethinking the Get This Daughter Married to Henry to Further Our Family strategy. Pickings are getting slim, and political gain is the main objective.

Enter Anne Of Cleves.

Born in 1515 to John, Duke of Cleves and his wife Mary, Anne was intelligent, meek and proficient in needlework (which is middle ages speak for “She has a great personality”). Lord Cromwell sticks his nose into the scene yet again. He thinks that this Protestant German Princess, or her sister Amelia, is the ticket. Henry sends an artist to paint portraits of the women, sees Anne’s and signs the deal.

The bait and switch pic

Anne was a very charming teenager of about 19, but she was far from the image that the King saw.  The artist may have been mesmerized by her personality when he painted the portrait in her best light, and also neglected to add the smallpox scars that dotted her face. She was simple, spoke no English and was quite unsophisticated by English court standards.

But Henry really isn’t marrying her for her looks, merely for political gain. She travels from her home land to England, and they are married in January but Henry can’t take it. He claims that the marriage was never consummated, pulls some of his old tricks out of his pocket, and they are divorced by July.

But Henry wasn’t heartless, and he did seem to care for Anne. He sets her up, treats her like a sister and she lives her days out happily in England and- in 1557-she is the last of Henry’s wives to die.

But that doesn’t solve the Queen problem- Henry needs one. Court has always been a good place to look and he quickly finds his next vic…wife. Kathryn Howard.

Girls just wanna have fun…Kathryn Howard

Kathryn was born in 1521, the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard, who was the younger brother to the Duke of Norfolk who we have discussed before ( sneaky!). Kathryn was also the first cousin to Anne Boleyn. Her mother had died when Kathryn was nine and she was sent to live with her Step-grandmother. During this time, Kathryn probably did not have much guidance because she began her party-girl ways very early, having suspected lovers before she was sent to court to serve as – yes!- Lady in Waiting to Anne of Cleves.

This is where Henry falls for the beautiful young (19) Kathryn. A mere 16 days after his annulment from Anne, Henry VIII takes his fifth wife, Kathryn. He is quite smitten, calls her his, “rose without a thorn” and claims her to be the,”jewel of womanhood”.

But Henry, almost 50, overweight with an ulcerated leg is not exactly the most attractive man around. Oh, no. And Kathryn? She’s young and fun and after a year still not pregnant. She is linked to liaisons with several men; charges that she has had affairs materialize. Henry is devastated. He has the men executed and within two years of marriage, Kathryn and her Lady in Waiting, Jane Parker Boleyn,  (she had been married to Anne’s brother George) are sent to the Tower of London. Kathryn meets the same fate as her cousin, and is beheaded and buried near her.

Poor Henry, another wife gone. And heartbroken to boot! (insert tiny violin here).  Obviously his wife finding methods were faulty, this next time will be different.

Catherine Parr, Henry ended on a strong note

Enter Catherine Parr. Her parents, Sir Thomas and Lady Maud Parr served under Henry VIII. Her mother was a Lady in Waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and her father was the Controller of the Household. Catherine Parr may have been educated with Princess Mary who was only 4 years younger. She was bright, educated, refined and married, and widowed, by age 20.

Her second marriage lasted longer, although by age 30 she is once again a widow.

She  then fell in love with Thomas Seymour, brother to late Queen Jane, Uncle to Prince Edward, but Henry put a stop to that. His options for his next wife were becoming limited and he looked at this woman that he had known for a very long time and knows what he wants. He convinces Catherine to break ties with Thomas, and marry him.

She does.

She is a very loyal wife, a good companion to the aging, almost bed ridden, 300 pound monarch. She took her Queenly duties seriously and handled them with a composed and mature manner. Henry named her Regent when he headed off to invade France, showing his trust for her. We talk in details about the four year marriage, but Catherine was a good Queen and a provided stability to the royal family.

Her release from her duties came when Henry VIII died. Within four months she married the love that she had given up to serve her King, Thomas Seymour. She would give birth to a daughter, Mary Seymour, but died of complications of the birth at the age of 36.

Phew! What a wild ride! Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived- those were the wives of King Henry VIII.


Please go back and look at the media recommendations for the entire Tudors series. There is some great stuff out there for you to learn more. But if we had to recommend one book for this episode it would be this:

The Wives of Henry VIII by, Antonia Fraser

Okay, we love books.  And we don’t hesitate one second to recommend historical fiction, especially Philippa Gregory historical fiction.

The Boleyn Inheritance

PBS has a really excellent resource for an easy overview of all the wives with this, The Six Wives of Henry VIII

We also keep recommending this website for Tudor information. Great for homeschoolers, or the self-learners, or anyone who wants a quick read on the people of this era.

Ahh, Twitter. Yes, you can  get character tweets by following  (only listing those with recent activity) Jane Seymour. Catherine Parr, Anne of Cleves, and Kathryn Howard all have accounts that seem to have been abandoned. If one of those women is your favorite, it seems like you have a project, right?

A Knight’s Tale is available for streaming on Netflix.

You only get this reference if you listen to the podcast

As always, music provided by MusicAlley. Visit them at

Episode 23A: Titanic Field Trip

Posted 14 April 2012 by
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Named after the Titans of Greek mythology, and advertised as “The ship of wonders” and “The floating palace , Titanic began her maiden voyage filled with passengers and crew of all class levels. On the dark and moonless night of April 14th, 1912  the ship steamed  through the icy waters of the north Atlantic en route to New York.  What happened near midnight, and over the course of the next two hours, is well documented: the ship struck an iceberg which caused catastrophic damage to the hull. Despite  press claims of being unsinkable, by 2:10 AM on the 15th of April, Titanic begins her journey to the bottom of the sea, taking just over 1,500 people with her. The stories of those people and the history of that night- that ship- continue to grimly fascinate 100 years later.

RMS Titanic

It was all those histories that sent us to view Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Kansas City’s Union Station. The building itself amazes us, built in 1914 and closed in 1980, it was renovated and opened again to the public in 1999. Union Station is now home to an Amtrack station,shops,a museum,an interactive science center, and more as well as hosting traveling exhibits such as the one that we toured recently.

Kansas City’s Union Station -it’s a really cool building.This is only a tiny part of it.

Facing the walkway that takes people from Union Station to Crown Center- another really fun thing to visit here

This episode tracks that adventure for us. While photography is not allowed in the exhibit, we thought that it would be fun to bring you along with us via recording device as we toured the collection of memorabilia. The $19.12 adult admission made us smile, and the entire exhibit sparked discussion and imagination. We did our best to describe what we were looking at and touching…we touched part of the Titanic! (insert girly squeal here).

Vocabulary lesson: The term “poop deck” comes from the latin word puppis meaning aft or stern. The poop deck is a partial deck above the ships main afterdeck.

As disappointing as this is, it’s still fun to say.

Also Puppis is a constellation…but before you get 12 year-old giddy, it represents the stern of a ship. Hey, one of us is bumming with you.

In the gift shop, replicas of first class china

Second glass china

Third Class China

Yes, we could have taken more pictures in the gift shop, but didn’t think you cared to see all the merchandise with “Titanic” emblazoned across it. We didn’t buy anything.


Love love love this one. The Watch the Ends the Night by Allan Wolf.  Own love. That much!  The story of the Titanic is told through poems and dialogs from the point of view of  two dozen passengers and crew. Some who survived, some who did not but all speak of their lives and the experience of April 14, 1912.  I felt greedy sitting down and snarfing the whole book. I wanted to take it in short bites and savor each piece like really fine chocolate.

Watch that ends the night, voices from Titanic by, Allan Wolf.

If you happen to find yourself in Kansas City, you really should check out Union Station. Here is a link to the events and things that will await you there.

Shownotes Episode 23: Margaret “Molly” Brown

Posted 7 April 2012 by
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Imagine that you followed your heart to live an honest life doing what you felt was right: working hard, marrying for love, aiding others, traveling and always, always learning. You were a wife, a mother, a socialite, an activist, a suffragist, and a citizen of the world. You were adored by many, inspired more and lived life in the fullest, kindest way that you could imagine.  And, when you died, your impressive life story was altered to one that was almost beyond recognition. Often for the worse!

That’s what happened to Margaret Tobin Brown. You might know her as Molly Brown- the Unsinkable Molly Brown. A woman whose real life story was so much more impressive than the one that was assigned to her after her death.

That’s a fan, not a pick ax! Margaret Brown: socialite, activists. mother, strong and educated woman. Not an uneducated gold digger.

Margaret Tobin was born a middle child of John and Johanna Tobin  in Hannibal, MO on July 18, 1867.  Her parents had ridden a wave of  Irish Catholic immigration during a Potato Famine and landed in this western  railroad stop of a town . John worked as a laborer for a variety of businesses while his children attended school and played in the same woods as another Hannibal resident had years before: Samuel Clemens.

The reconstructed Tobin family home in Hannibal, MO

The Tobin children had no more, and no less, than most of their neighbors. It was a frugal childhood, but not the miserable, motherless one of the fables of her life.

And another fable? She wasn’t called Molly, she was called Maggie or Margaret. Molly was just another fabrication to fuel the poor-Irish-upbringing image the media had created for her.

Oh! We could carry on about all the inaccuracies in the story of her life…oh, wait, we do. More details are in the podcast about how she traveled as a teenager to Leadville, CO looking to improve her life.  How she worked hard and loyally first at a cigar factory in Hannibal,  then in a department store in Leadville. How she wanted a better life for herself and her family and how she married for love, not for money.

Margaret and James (J.J.) Brown set up housekeeping in Leadville. They took on a little domestic help and hired tutors to continue their own education. Margaret’s family from Hannibal moved up, and they  all became an integral part of a very tight community. Margaret was very active in civic activities. This wasn’t some dainty, wihte glove wearing woman (although she probably did wear them) she wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves to help those less  fortunate than her.  She was well liked, and liked many- the Browns were pillars of Leadville society. Soon they added two children to their family, Lawrence and Helen.

The James Brown family in Leadville, CO

Not overnight, and not by sheer luck,  J.J. hit it rich. Gold.  (This is the only gold digging in Margaret’s story!)
Leadville had been a silver mining town, but politics got in the way and the price of silver had plummeted. J.J’s mine, the Little Johnny Mine, was a boon to the town AND the Browns. They hadn’t been living in squalor, the family was very much middle class. But suddenly, they found themselves in a very different class. They were moving to the big city of Denver.

What was life like for the Browns in Denver? They fit very well into society. Not a tiny elitist portion, but the portion where most of the people of means were hanging. They traveled the world, entertained at home and abroad and educated their children in a variety of very fine schools both in the States and Europe. And Margaret? She was very much a civic minded lady and her former Leadville soup kitchen activites turned grander and more income generating.  She was charming, knew the right people and knew how to separate the rich from their money for a good cause- she knew how to get stuff done.

Doesn’t really sound like  the activities of a woman who didn’t fit into society, does it?  Listen to the podcast for the details of this time in her life, but at some point, Margaret and J.J. separated. They would never divorce, but live together they could not. J.J. was a workaholic, and Margaret, quite busy with her own endeavors as well as the travel (which she adored)-  she had outgrown Denver and housewife duties. We name drop big time when we discuss the circles she traveled in but at this point Margaret was dividing her time between Newport, Europe and Denver living large and in charge where ever she went.

Yadda Yadda…she ends up on the Titanic.

Margaret’s actions on that fateful voyage were the stuff movies are made out of. She did help people in her lifeboat, she did attempt to get the lifeboat to return to see if there were survivors, she did row (as did other woman in the lifeboat),she did share her clothing, she was level headed…stripping down to almost nothing, cracking jokes and singing bar songs? Prolly not. But Margaret had spent her life helping people, she was smart and knew how to take command of a situation- those skills all would come into play during the hours in Lifeboat #6.

Once rescued by the Carpathia hours after the Titanic sank, Margaret and her caring ways really sprang into action! No resting in First Class for this woman, she was tending to the needs of all the recued passengers and shaking down the one’s that were traveling on the Carpathia. By the time they docked in New York, she had plans in place to keep track of -and get promised funds to- survivors; she had thousands pledged and plans to get more. With a heart bigger than her hat, she made sure that blame was placed properly, and heroism rewarded.

After Titanic, presenting gifts of thanks to the Captain of The Carpathia

In the years following the Titanic portion of her life, Margaret continued to travel, was deep in Newport society, attempted to run for  a state Senate position, continued to be an advocate for those who she felt needed one, and never stopped learning.  She died at the age of 65 in 1932 while in New York studying acting.

Margaret Brown was a multidimensional, big hearted, smart woman with charm and personality. The myths that surround her life, while entertaining, are not nearly as fascinating as the real life of this remarkable woman.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Books! The first one we loved a lot, had so many,”Wow! She was a rockstar! Who knew!?” moments for us:

Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth by Kristen Iversen

The second is a kids’ book, but we thought it did a fun job of telling her philanthropic story (and the photos were terrific):

Molly Brown: Sharing Her Good Fortune by Charnan Simon

We love our museums! If you are in Denver, check out the Molly Brown Museum which is in the former Brown home. And a related blog with some really wonderful posts, Between the Lions.

Near Hannibal?  The Molly Brown Birthplace and Museum will show you where she began her adventure and developed the strong character that would propel her through life.

There is a brand new… museum? Theme establishment?  Convention center? Birthplace of The Titanic?Not quite sure what it is exactly, but it’s pretty cool looking and sits where the Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland. Titanic Belfast

Curious about Leadville? We were and found lots of answers here!

What about mining Ghost Towns of Colorado? This site is very fun to poke around on,, they have pictures of how the Little Johnny Mine looks today, as well as other signs of Colorado’s past. Links to some other Ghost Towns in the US, and lots of beautiful regional photography as well.

Ok, we carry on about how painful this was for us to watch, but you don’t have to believe us! You can experience the same pain (now that you know the real story of her life):

The Unwatchable Molly Brown

As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at

Episode 22A: Anne Boleyn

Posted 1 April 2012 by
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In this minicast we discuss the life of of Henry VIII’s most talked about wife-Anne Boleyn.  Of all the six she lives on in story, speculation and fascination although she had a longer run attracting the Queen’s crown than she actually wore it. Anne died only four months after Henry’s first wife! (and by “died” we mean Henry had her executed.)

Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn. While she was of noble birth, very little is know about her early years.  We know that she was one of three children born to the Boleyns. We know that she was raised Catholic, but converted to Protestantism at some point.That her father was a diplomat serving under Henry VII and, later, under Henry VIII and, while it was probably expected that the Boleyn children would land at court and that they would have been educated for that role-the details are lost. There is not even a consensus as to what year Anne was born! Maybe 1500, maybe 1509, probably close to the former, but you want exact? Good luck.

It is known that she was presented and served under the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. That she accompanied Mary Tudor ( the sister to Henry VIII) to France for her marriage to Louis XIII, and that she stays there to serve Queen Claude. But, like her early years, not a lot is recorded about her age, and these years.

What else is known? When she returned to England she was very Frenchified.  Anne had learned a great deal in France about court life: dress, dance, etiquette, languages.  Her sister Mary had a similar court based education and  had “matriculated” earning honors in horizontal games. ( Yes, we are being childish and euphemistic, we’ll own that!)

Mary Boleyn, the more"giving" sister

Anne did not see that method as her key to attaining the position she desired. She attracted several suitors and even had a rather scandalous betrothal that did not culminate in a marriage. We go into details during the podcast, but let’s just say Anne’s methods of attaining position had little to do with giving in, and everything to do with attracting.

Upon her return from France, her father sends her to court to be a lady in waiting to Queen Katherine. There, the already married King Henry VII quickly falls for her charms. What ensues is the history that is known about her life.

How she would not give in to the Kings advances, unlike her sister Mary. (Oh, we love us some smutty tales!)

Speaking of smutty tales...we like Showtime's, The Tudors, but as entertainment, not entirely historically accurate.

How she kept her eye on the prize: the Queen’s Crown although it rested on the head of Katherine of Aragon at the time.

How she played this game with Henry for years while he attempted to leave Katherine, and how she ultimately aided the King in breaking from the church, Katherine and marrying her.

Once crowned Queen she wasn’t exactly the most popular, especially riding the heels of the adored Katherine. But part of Anne’s allure, part of the carrot she dangled to snare Henry was that she could do what Katherine had failed: Produce and heir.

Well, she did, but not what Henry had in mind. He wanted a son and the only living child to come from Anne was a daughter, Elizabeth.

Soon, Henry was dipping into the affair pool that was the ladies- in- waiting to the queen. He has several affairs and finally spies his next wife among them- Jane Seymour.

But he has to get rid of Anne before he can marry this beauty who surely will give him the son he so desires. Being King he gets his people on it. Soon many are arrested -including Anne- on grounds that she had an affair. The charges? Incest! Adultry!  Treason! Included in the pack: Anne’s own brother George! Oh you have to listen to the podcast, we go into much more detail and specualtion and drama. Oh, the drama! But this was swift justice on trumped up charges and the final outcome for Queen Anne?

Off with her head!

On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn is beheaded.

It was a short reign, but the changes to England that took place during it changed the course of history. And, think what you will about Anne, but she gave birth to the woman who would one day change England again, Queen Elizabeth I.

Time Travel With The History Chicks


Can't go wrong with some historical fiction by Philippa Gregory!

Or some Alison Weir!( Yes, this is about Mary, not Anne, but we thought you might be interested in her,too.)

Blogs? There are QUITE a few out there, but here are a couple that might get you started learning more about Anne Boleyn. ( Just because she wasn’t our favorite wife, doesn’t mean that everyone agrees. Come on, plenty of wives to go around!) Check out  The Anne Boleyn Files and On the Tudor Trail .

Follow Anne on Twitter!

As fodder for drama, none come close to Anne Boleyn. Romance, intrigue, allure, politics, religion, scheming…and more all swirled around the fast life of this woman whose motto was, “The Most Happy”.

Music courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at

Episode 22: Katherine of Aragon

Posted 17 March 2012 by
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As we continue in our Tudors series, we take some time to discuss the life of  Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon.  She was born from royal stock, had a wicked awesome role model for Queenly duties in her Mama, and lived the life that was planned for her from a very young age. Ok, so maybe she didn’t have exactly a storybook Queen’s life, but a Queen she was born to be, and a Queen she became.

Katherine of Aragon

Born in 1485, Katherine (“Catalina”) was the youngest of five surviving children of King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Queen Isabela of Castille.  Joint rulers of Spain. (And honestly, Isabela had a bigger piece of the pie.)  Isabela was smart and fearless and lived her early years under the control of an older brother. She fought off arranged marriage after arranged marriage and eventually created a betrothal of her own on the sly, snuck out of the castle and married Ferdinand.

Mama, beautiful Queen Isabela of Castille

Once crowned joint rulers, this power couple took the fam on the on the road and began to acquire real estate all over what is modern day Spain. They tossed out Moor ( the Muslims of the area) and Jew alike in a period called, The Spanish Inquisition. We discuss what life was like during this time, the education of a young Princess, and some of the challenges of life, but young Katherine grew up not only on the road, but knowing where she would eventually put down roots. England. From the age of three she was promised to Arthur, first son of King Henry VII and the future ruler of England.

Ferdinand and Isabela of Spain: Power Couple

And, BTW, this is the same Queen Isabela who bankrolled a young startup named, Christopher Columbus. (We hear the bells going off in some of you! Nice!)

Young Katherine by Juane de Flanders

You thought she looked like this, didn't you?

Eventually, young Katherine left her warm, tropical homeland and set sail for cold, damp England. She was met with much fanfare (after a rather strenuous journey) and married her Prince.

Katherine by Michael Sittow (She was a blue eyed Ginger!)

Who died on her a few months later.

What WHAT?

But, have no fear, Dowager Princess of  Wales! King Henry has another son, you can marry him! In seven years, if we don’t find a better match for him first.  And oh, do you mind living in less than regal living conditions until then? Great, thanks.

For whatever reasons, once Papa Henry passed, and Henry VIII was crowned, he made good on his betrothal and married Katherine.  For a while they seem quite content. She is advising him on political matters, while sewing his shirts and getting on the Baby Train.

But the tracks are a little bumpy. Of seven pregnancies in nine years, they only have one living child, a daughter named Mary.

But Henry is needing that heir. And he has a woman in his sights who he thinks can provide that. But first, he has to get out of this marriage.  He thinks he has a loophole!  Katherine had been married to his brother! That makes her his sister! And, yes, the Pope had agreed to the union, but Henry thinks he is being punished by God for it. At least that is what he claims.

Yada Yada…England breaks from the Catholic church, Henry becomes Head of the Church of England and his marriage to Katherine is ended.

Except Katherine is having none of this! Oh, it’s very dramatic, she is trying to save her place with the man she sees as her husband, AND trying to keep her daughter from becoming illegitimate. She tries to holds tight to her title as Queen.  Unfortunately, she can’t hold tight enough. Henry is moving on to Wife number two, Anne Boleyn.

As always, we go into much more detail in the podcast, and answer some of the common questions of this time, introduce you to a few more key players (Wolsey) fill in a little more to this very sad, Royal Soap Opera. But Katherine is shuttled from one dark and dreary home to another and dies of a broken heart. Ok, not really, she had a massive tumor on her internal organs. (But our ending is more dramatic, right?)

On the day of her funeral, Wife Number Two, Anne Boleyn gives birth to a stillborn son.

Interestingly, only four months after THAT, Anne Boleyn’s reign as Queen ends. Badly. But that’s a story for another episode!


We start off our recommendations with some historical fiction.

It's like we have a thing for Philippa Gregory! The Constant Princess

Non-fiction more your thing? We also liked this one:

Here is a fantastic one…that is in good condition, unlike the one Beckett brought back to the library.

The Wives of Henry VIII, by Antonia Fraser

We did tell you that you can get character tweets from  “Katherine” but she hasn’t tweeted since November, so we can’t vouch for info in your feed. Here is a  Henry VIII to fill the void. is a wonderful online resource for all things British history!

BBC’s Supersizesr Go! Elizabethan is on Youtube, here is a link to their channel.  The episodes are broken up into parts (Elizabethan is six parts) but well worth the time. Funny and educational you don’t even know you are learning something! We love that!

Music courtesy of Music Alley, visit them at

Episode 21:Tudor Grandmothers, Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville

Posted 1 March 2012 by
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Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville were both strong women who lived their lives during a tumultuous time when survival was key, but looking to the future for others close to you was also extremely important. On opposing sides of The Wars of the Roses they came together at one point to join the Lancasters and the Yorks and eventually became the grandmothers of Henry VIII.

A Weather House. One figure is always going to be in the dark.

We begin our talk with Margaret Beaufort, born the only child of John Beaufort, the first Duke of Somerset in 1443. He “worked” under Henry VI, but had a very dubious reputation of missing the battles in favor of shaking down the locals. His death left an infant Margaret, and her Lancastrian blood open for a wardship. Young Margaret is a catch based solely on her really fab ” luggage”. Of course she gets married off…at 6 or 7. The marriage is never a traditional one. Come on, she is a CHILD , and the law didn’t recognize such a young marriage anyway, A few years later the marriage is dissolved.

So, young Margaret is up for a wardship again, and this time, it was given to the King’s half brothers Jasper and Edmund Tudor.  Edmund, 24,  became her first “real” husband when she was 12 years old.  But within a year, Edmund had been taken prisoner by Yorkist forces and died of the plague while in captivity at Carmarthen,  leaving young Margaret a seven-months-pregnant widow.  At 13, after an agonizing and body altering delivery, she gives birth to what would be her only child, Henry Tudor…although you may know him more by his later title: King Henry VII.

Pembroke Castle, where Margaret’s son Henry Tudor was born.

Margaret Beaufort, later in life

We discuss her life, how Henry was raised, her third marriage to Henry Stafford, and her fourth marriage to Thomas Stanley. We talk about some of the other challenges she had in life but during all this time she has thought that her one son, Henry, was destined for greatness. The opening came as Richard III is knocking off those in line to the throne. This vile act brought Henry closer and closer to the top of the list, and as history ( and our previous Quaruple T podcast) reports, with a rag tag army scrapped together on the way to battle- Henry Tudor claims the crown. And Margaret? Just call her, M’lady, the King’s Mother.

This is where the stories of Margaret and Elizabeth merge. Through some behind the scenes action, their children- Henry and Elizabeth of York- marry combining the York and Lancaster lines. We would have loved to have been privy to some of the conversations happening at Court during this time. The Mothers- one the Dowager Queen, the other the King’s Mother, and then add in a third woman, now Queen Consort. Talk about your Golden Girls!

At court she has a lot of influence over her son, and we discuss all of the dynamics of this time and the rest of the lives of both Elizabeth, the White Queen (we have a thing for Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen and the Red Queen novels) and Margaret, the Red Queen.

Margaret Beaufort’s tomb, with the spikey fence

Elizabeth Woodville was a bit older than Margaret Beaufort, and was born in 1437. She was the first child of Richard and Jacquetta (why couldn’t that name be passed down? So much more interesting than Elizabeth or Mary…oh, sorry, you know how we love to carry on about that!) Woodville. She was also born into a fairly wealthy family, although we like to think that this one was a marriage made from a love match. Because we are romantic like that. Elizabeth, in addition to family connections, was a very beautiful woman and by about age 15, she was married to her first husband, Sir John Grey. From this marriage she had two sons, Thomas and Richard, and they lived a fairly quiet life for the times until his death in battle nine years later.

The origins of Elizabeth’s second marriage are open to speculation. And oh, you know how much we love that! Did she wait by a tree, holding the hands of her two young sons as an advertisement that she was a boy producer, and wait for Edward IV to ride past? Was there some sort of witchcraft involved? Did she attract his attention and then use her powers as a beautiful and desirable woman to get him to wed her? Whatever the case, Elizabeth and the Take No Crap King  were married in secret.

The legend of Elizabeth Woodville meeting her future husband by the side of the road. (As seen by a Victorian artist.)

A portrait of Elizabeth Woodville, classic version

Elizabeth, as the Victorians saw her. Wait – this isn’t Red Riding Hood?

The family that she married into isn’t exactly protective of their own, and not beyond mayhem. We talk about some of that, but really, you will need to research it on your own to get all the deets, there was A LOT of mayhem. Bad, meyhem. But Elizabeth did her queenly duty and began producing children, first up the child who would grow up to be Queen herself, Elizabeth of York.   Mama Elizabeth has 10 children in 14 years (who survived infancy) including two sweet young boys who will forever be known as The Princes in the Tower.

Prince Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower

What happens to Elizabeth and her children after her husband dies was covered by us in our QuadT podcast. And thinking about it makes us sad, so can we skip on now to the part where Elizabeth and Margaret’s lives intertwine?

Wow, that’s kinda sad too.

Ok, here it is in a nutshell: Mama Elizabeth is looking at two options for her daughter, one Richard III (Scar!) who had her family killed, or the other Henry Tudor who hasn’t really done much since he was hanging out in France most of his life, waiting in the wings. At the Battle of Bosworth Richard III is taken out. Elizabeth and Margaret support the marriage of their children after Henry took the crown. They are all living at Court now, one big dysfuntional family. But, once Elizabeth of York becomes Queen, and Mama Elizabeth has Margaret Beaufort nipping away at her Elizabeth leaves Court and takes up residence at Bermondsey Abbey. And that is pretty much the end of the tale for Elizabeth who lives out her life there. Quietly, again.

But what remained? Most notable a the grandson to both of these women: Henry VIII was the second born son of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York. And what Henry VIII did was legacy making indeed.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

For book recommendations, we again suggest Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, and  The Red Queen. (Recommended on QuadT shownotes, as well). Yes, historical fiction, but will really color in the rainbow of your ideas of Margaret and Elizabeth.

Non-fiction, you say? Philippa Gregory we respond (again).

The Women of the Cousin's War

Websites? The Westminster Abbey website has a lot of interesting information, as well as bios of people that are buried there. (Link will take you to a bio of Margaret Beaufort)

If you want to get a little bit of Tudor history dropped into your twitter feed here are a couple of options:

Elizabeth Woodville

Tudor Tutor ( Barb Alexander)

And really, for some history fun, please go check out Tudor Confessions!

As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit at