Archive for 2021

Episode 184: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Part Two

Posted 18 September 2021 by
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by Jean-Étienne Liotard 1756

We left Lady mary rolling her eyes as people found reason after reason to not immunize against smallpox. While she cared about people not contracting a deadly disease, what Mary really want to be was a writer. Those letters she wrote from the road? She edited them into a book that was the first to capture a woman’s perspective of the Ottoman Empire. It would not be published in her lifetime, she had other things to do…like garden, socialize, write more biting commentaries on political and court life, raise two kids, ditch her husband and run off with a n’er do well Count to Italy, tour Europe, then entwine her life with another unscrupulous noble.

It’s in a painting, it must be true, right? By William Powell Frith (long after Mary’s death.)

After over 20 years of living adventure abroad, Lady Mary’s sister, Lady Mar, and her own husband died… she realized that it was time to go home. She was able to reconnect with her daughter and see old friends but within the year Mary died on August 21, 1762, at 73, in London.

Her Letters From the Embassy was published without permission right after her death…it is still in print today.

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

 

Books!

Deeeep dive by Isobel Grundy

 

Quicker read, most recent, and most noted written by Jo Willett

 

Diving board for other two bios by Robert Halsband

 

Illustrated Turkish Letters introduction by Devla Murphy

 

Easy to access Embassy Letters can be found on Project Gutenberg and Librivox.

History of vaccines and their controversy by Stuart Blume

 

Web!

 

Grandmama’s West Dean house that Mary thought was as modern as King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable.

Podcast on the history of vaccines, In Our Time, “Immunisation” from April of 2006, and this episode of Endless Thread on smallpox.

Timeline of vaccines from History of Vaccines.org, an article from The Lancet about Mary bringing vaccines to the West, and two about our ol’ pal Edward Jenner,  from the National Library of Medicine about our old pal

and another from Hudson Review.

On the other side of the Atlantic: Learn more about Cotton Mather and Onesimus bringing inoculating against smallpox to the American Colonies. 

Thomas Jefferson’s contribution, and then when and Benjamin Franklin contributed to irradicating the disease.

On the other end of the classy spectrum: Puppet History did an episode on the history of smallpox. THIS LINK RIGHT HERE is not for kids. At all.

Martin Luther’s quote about the bubonic plague is widely quoted but misrepresented through omissions. Give a read-through here on Snopes. 

Here’s a lovely bottle of vitriol on display at the Smithsonian.

The history of floriography, the language of flowers from ATLAS OBSCURA…heck, yeah, Mary started that in the west, too!

Moving Pictures!

There aren’t any movies about Lady Mary (what?!) but if you’re a screenwriter, we politely point you to the 20 years of her life with the two younger scoundrels and her solo adventures through Europe. The high drama (with a touch of comedy) ends in a dramatic and poetic fashion with her death shortly after returning “home.” It’s an epic story of acceptance, curiosity, survival, and feminism playing out in stunningly picturesque 1700’s Europe. You’re welcome.

 

Don’t miss taking a gander at our Pinterest board for Lady Mary or any other of our subjects!

 

 

 

Episode 183: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Part One

Posted 6 September 2021 by
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Circa 1716 by Charles Jervas

For a woman who is not well known these days and who lived way back in the 1700s, it’s surprising that there’s enough of a story to fill two episodes…Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is such a woman! (more…)

Episode 182: Typhoid Mary, Revisited

Posted 20 August 2021 by
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There are quite a few parallels between Mary Mallon’s story (a series of typhoid outbreaks) and our present-day pandemic, and so there are things we can learn from it.

But was Mary a villain?

Or simply a victim of circumstances?

This episode also serves as a little hint for the one we’re working on right now for next time!

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

For photos, things we discuss, and our media recommendations click on over to Mary’s ORIGINAL SHOWNOTES.

 

Episode 181: Olympias

Posted 22 July 2021 by
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This image, from an ancient coin, is believed to be Olympias and the only known image of her still in existence…but even this has been disputed.

She had several names: Polyxena, Myrtale, Stratonice, and the one she is best known by, Olympias. People often get hung up on the snakes she had around her and the faith by which she lived her life– but we focused on the power she had as not only a wife of a king but the mother of a great one: Alexander the Great. We had to go in the Way…Way Back Machine for the story of this woman who was descended from Achilles (or so family lore claimed) and managed to survive a cut-throat court life at a very turbulent time and place in history. (more…)

Episode 180: Statue of Liberty, Revisited

Posted 2 July 2021 by
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Liberty Enlightening the World! DoD photo by Lt. Matthew Stroup, U.S. Navy/Released)

The annual revisit of our coverage of the Statue of Liberty is, this year, coinciding with her Little Sister’s arrival in the US! The replica version is on loan first to be displayed on Ellis Island next to her big sister, and then heading to the French Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. where she will be on display for the next ten years!

Time Travel with The History Chicks

For more information on the Little Sister’s shipping and arrival, the Smithsonian Magazine has an article including a video of her packing for the trip.

For photos and links to the things we talked about in this episode, visit her original SHOWNOTES 

Episode 179: Marjorie Merriweather Post, Part Two

Posted 25 June 2021 by
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Portrait of Marjorie that hangs in the Marjorie Merriweather Post parlor in the Women’s Democratic Club in Washington, DC. (If you donate enough money to refurbish and furnish a mansion, you get a room named after you.) photo credit, us

When we left Marjorie, she was on her second marriage, this one to E.F. Hutton, and they were moving and shaking up New York and Palm Beach society. Marjorie had “strongly suggested” that the Postum Company should buy a new frozen food company, owned by one Clarence Birdseye, despite most homes and grocery stores not having freezers– and she had begun work on a very unique home in Palm Beach she named Mar a Lago.

Front gate to Mar a Lago, circa 1967 via wikicommons

Marjorie was quite the visionary…a very, very wealthy visionary!

Eventually, Postum did buy Birdseye (and a whole bunch of other prepared food companies) and became General Foods. Mar a Lago was joined on the Marjorie Property List by another estate in Washington, D.C. that she named Hillwood. She had a third daughter, helped feed the hungry in style during the Depression, did a great deal during WWII…and had another couple of husbands. Her third, Joseph Davies, enabled her to become the first American Ambassadress to Russia, and her fourth, Herbert May…well, that marriage probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place and wouldn’t have, if being gay wasn’t the social stigma that it was at the time.

Marjorie and Joe Davies onboard the Sea Cloud circa 1948

For the majority of her life, Marjorie spent her time and money on hosting society events, philanthropy, and philanthropic society events in Palm Beach, upstate New York, and Washington, D.C. She supported the arts in general and youth in the arts, specifically; she wrote large checks to help the Boy Scouts of America and threw garden parties for Vietnam veterans, and earned a library worth of awards for her many contributions.

And she did it all with such style, sincerity, generosity, and gracious warmth that she was able to maintain her standing in society until her death on September 12, 1973, at 86 years old.

 

 

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Books!

By Nancy Rubin

 

 

By Stella Chung

 

By William Wright

To learn about Marjorie’s life through different lenses:

Kate Markert and Erik Kvalinsvik

 

By team from Hillwood Estate

By Stella Chung

 

By the fine folks at the Hillwood Estate

Web!

The Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens in Northwest Washington, DC houses all things Marjorie from her maaaany art collections to her expansive gardens, Hillwood is an immersive Marjorie experience! Can’t get there? The museum has you covered not only with an exceptional online visit but also with an extraordinarily impressive app that will give you guided tours from wherever you are (or to walk you through the estate if you’re fortunate enough to be there.)

Travel on the Sea Cloud (the ship formerly known as Hussar V!) She’s part of a luxury yacht cruise fleet, although it’s advertised through two businesses– Sea Cloud Cruises and Lindblad Cruises. The ship formerly known as the Hussar IV was renamed the Mandalay and was also a cruise ship in the Caribbean, but that business close this year. Perhaps she will be put up for sail…we mean sale.

Moving Pictures!

The History Channel series, The Food That Built America, season one, is a multi-story documentary series. The first three episodes focus on from Henry Heinz to the McDonald brothers and Harland Sanders of KFC fame…within that are the stories of CW and Marjorie. You can watch it on the History Channel website or Hulu. You should watch it.

 

Break music: Oatmeal Cereal by The Park Street Trio; End Music: In The Hands of Money by The Spoons used with permission from iLicensemusic

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 178: Marjorie Merriweather Post, Part One

Posted 11 June 2021 by
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Marjorie, circa 1942

Marjorie Merriweather Post was not just a society hostess (although she was that, magnificently) she was also a woman raised in a business world who was excluded from the front lines of that business because, “that’s just not done, Young Lady.” But, when she gained power over her own life and her own (massive) fortune, she created change in both the world and in the packaged food industry. She did it all with such style and flair, we decided to let her have two episodes.

In Part One, we cover the life of Marjorie through her childhood as the only child of CW and Ella Merriweather Post (of the Battle Creek Posts, darling) up until her second marriage to a man who, when he spoke, people listened. (more…)

Episode 177: Loïe Fuller

Posted 25 May 2021 by
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Loïe Fuller is often remembered as a dancer, but that hardly covers her contributions to the arts. Sure, she was a dancer, but also an actress, a chemist, an artist, and a pioneer in stage lighting and choreography. She was inquisitive and energetic, full of creativity and drive. She was the belle of Paris and the Art Nouveau movement, and she was an art agent of sorts who matched up her artist friends with her art buying ones…but she is best referred to as La Loïe, THE Loïe, one of a kind.

Are you having an “oh! Her?” moment looking at this? by Jules Cheret, wikicommons

(more…)

Episode 176: Mary Seacole, Revisited

Posted 10 May 2021 by
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Mary circa 1871, with medals she didn’t earn, but it wasn’t illegal for her to wear and they really do spiff up her outfit, don’t they?

In honor of International Nurses Day on May 12, we decided to revisit the life of Mary Seacole. Sure, Florence Nightingale would have been a more obvious choice, but, well, she was too obvious. Mary was a contemporary of Florence, they even had an encounter during their lives, but Mary aided soldiers during the Crimean War a bit differently than Florence did and headed right down to the front lines to help make people comfortable (and sell some food.) Mary was beloved, brave, smart, ambitious, and enchanted most everyone she met.

 

Time Travel with The History Chicks

For the links of things we talked about in this episode, visit Mary’s original shownotes here: Mary Seacole

For information about the Local’s Meet-up dinner in London on August 7th, and to see if there are any spots for the tour, visit LIKE MINDS TOURS.

Women in Medicine Playlist

In order of Nurseyness:

Florence Nightingale, Episode 137

Clara Barton, Episode 111

Lydia Pinkham, Episode 126

Marie Curie, Episode 158

And then some turn-your-head-sideways-and-squint women of medicine:

Louisa May Alcott, Episode 142

Mary Mallon, Episode 149 (thanks to Sean A. in the Lounge for pointing this out)

 

 

Episode 175: Maya Angelou, Part Three

Posted 28 April 2021 by
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Maya at Elon University, 2012, Elon Universtiy via Flickr

Maya Angelou was a writer, poet, memoirist, civil rights activist, entertainer, director, producer, mom, friend…but she was most masterful at sharing her life with the perfect collections of words. We use the best ones we can muster to share her remarkable life story.

We wrap up our three-part series on Dr. Angelou beginning as Maya leaves Africa to headed back to the US and work for civil rights leader, and friend, Malcolm X ‘s Organization of African American Unity.  His assassination not long after her arrival sent her into both grief and a search for the next chapter in her life.

Writing. She felt led to be a writer, and the best place for that was back with her literary friends in New York. While there, she took an opportunity to work with her old friend, Martin Luther King, Jr…who was assassinated right before her first day.

But setbacks in life often lead to the perfect path. She threw herself into writing a 10-part PBS series, Blacks, Blues, Black! which lead, in 1969, the publication of her first autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

For the rest of her (long) life, she combined all of her life experiences, her gifts, her skills, and her wisdom and shared it with the world. She was a memoirist, a poet, a playwright, a songwriter, a performer, a lecturer, an educator…a grandmother…she loved and lost, and all along the way she captured her words in the perfect order projected by her strong personality (and often her unique voice) to leave her mark on our world.

1993 Clinton inauguration Courtesy Clinton Presidential Library

 

President Obama bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 Courtesy White House

Maya Angelou died on May 28th, 2014 at the age of 86. No one can tell her story like she did, so we’ll leave you with Maya herself sharing a little of her words and wisdom.

 

 

Time Travel With The History Chicks

 

Books!

Not technically a book, but Maya Angelou: The Autobiographies from BBC is a six-part, audio dramatization of some of her work. Susan got it for one credit on Audible and had an amazing experience. You can learn more at THIS LINK TO BBC.

You can read every one of her perfectly chosen words in this massive tome: 

Not technically a book, but Maya Angelou: The Autobiographies from BBC is a six-part, audio dramatization of some of her work. Susan got it for one credit on Audible and had an amazing experience. You can learn more at THIS LINK TO BBC

The only detailed biography Susan could find but written before her death by Marcia Anne Gillespie, Rosa Johnson Butler, and Richard A. Long; foreword by Oprah Winfrey

 

Maya’s essays about memorable food in her life and the recipes- delightful! (And her fried chicken recipe is in here!)

 

More autobiographical essays with recipes for international dishes all based around her weight loss through portion control.

 

By Editors of Essence Magazine, essays about her.

 

Great series for kids, by Ellen LaBrecque

Web!

Here is a whole lot of information (and pictures) about the Rosenwald Schools like the one a young Maya Johnson attended: The Rosenwald Schools.

Short NPR interview in the last year of her life, and one where she talks about her time with Porgy and Bess.

There was some discussion about the pronunciation of her name, we went with Maya’s which we found here: Maya Angelou Explains Her Name.

Brain Pickings article about the daily routines of famous writers.

An article on the Quote Investigator site discussing the phrase “Churchillian Drift” coined by radio host, Nigel Rees of the BBC show Quote Unquote (so QI is fact-checking something the OG quote fact-checker said.)

There is a Maya Barbie…do we know what to think about this? 

Her estate maintains a website, there is some information, pictures, and a link to the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation if you would like to get involved in her life’s work.

Some information (read: the opening of the hole Beckett fell down) the Hawaiian Jazz scene.

Maya’s obituary through a Caribbean lens.

Lift Every Voice and Sing lyrics and essay (from the Library of Congress, no less!)

“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, Metropolitan Opera:

This makes sense if you listened to the episode, but we simply can not leave it out!

Caged Bird Songs, Maya’s own words with a beat, it may be an acquired taste.

 

Moving Pictures!

Maya’s first adventure in television occurred in 1968 when she wrote, produced, and hosted a 10-part PBS series Blacks, Blues, Black! The whole series is online HERE!

If you would like to learn about the incredible discovery that made our viewing (here in the future) possible, here’s an article about it: From The Archive

I know why the Caged Bird Sings with Diahann Carroll (movie)

There are so very many interviews with her, if you start with this one, with her dear friend, Oprah, YouTube will connect you with maaaaany more.

PBS has an American experience about Dr. Angelou, it’s streaming on Prime through the PBS Documentaries subscription, but you may be able to find it elsewhere, here’s more information about that Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.

And, finally, we want you to listen to Maya read and speak her own words, she left so many treasures for us.

 

We’re going to be in London in August and would love for you to join us for a Thames River Dinner cruise on August 7th, 2021! Get more info and sign-up here at Like Minds Travel

The first break song was A Fork Where a Fork Don’t Fit by James Harper, the second was Sonata Pathétique in C minor by Mario Ajero

End music: Press On by Loot

music used with permission by both iLicenseMusic and James Harper