As with other fancy goods stores, Pease’s catered to the middle and upper middle class selling highly decorated goods like ceramics, prints, furniture and other decorative household items that progressively thinking people might have wanted to purchase. [Read more…] about America’s First Christmas Card & An Early Albany Department Store
Pop Culture History
Daniel Defoe’s The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722) is the story of the notorious life and ultimate repentance of a woman who lived much of her adult life as a prostitute and thief. Set in London, the novel reflects immigrant urban life. It’s a tale told by a woman who does not reveal her real name, but to fellow streetwalkers she is known as Moll Flanders.
She was just six months old when her mother was imprisoned for stealing three pieces of fine “Holland” (imported Dutch fabric) from a draper in Cheapside. The baby was “sold” and spent time in the company of “gypsies” before running off as a child ending up in Colchester. The story starts amid the textile industry of Colchester and Norwich, noted for its refugees from the Low Countries. [Read more…] about Moll Flanders in Manhattan (Daniel Defoe and Martin Scorcese)
Are you getting Blue Coal for Christmas?
You might have asked Santa Claus that question, when he took to the air on WBGF radio 1370 of Glens Falls at 6:30 pm Dec. 6, 1930, sponsored by Merkel & Gelman department store.
But to be certain, you would have wanted a second opinion, because only “The Shadow knows!” [Read more…] about Blue Coal for Christmas: 1930s Glens Falls Radio
The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum has announced the 2017 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which will take place August 3 to 6 in Jamestown, NY.
Visitors will be able to explore the life and career of Desi Arnaz through an exhibit and program that can only be seen during the 2017 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Both the exhibit and program will tell the story of Arnaz’s journey emigrating from Cuba, and how he ultimately became one of the most influential entertainment moguls in our culture’s history. [Read more…] about Celebrating 100 Years with Desi Arnaz
On Sunday, March 19th at 1 pm, the Oneida Community Mansion House (OCMH) will host Dr. Molly Jessup as she speaks about mid-twentieth century male escapism and pulp fiction fantasies in her presentation Uncle Johnny’s Girl Farm: Escapism Through Utopian Fantasy.
Today, the Oneida Community is known for its utopian social practices, including equality between women and men. But in the 1950s and 1960s, a number of men’s magazines, such as Man’s Conquest and Men, published salacious stories about “Uncle Johnny’s girl farm” and “the sex cult that rocked New York.” [Read more…] about Uncle Johnny’s Girl Farm: Pulp Magazines and Utopian Fantasies
Actually, it wasn’t.
Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira.
Why the false start to our weekly exploration of history?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, leads us on an exploration of rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/091
Caroline Scott Harrison, the wife of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, died in the fall of 1892, after a trip to the Adirondacks failed to cure her tuberculosis. Her death left the White House without a first lady. Harrison’s daughter, Mary Scott McKee, filled that role for the last few months of Harrison’s term (he lost his bid for re-election that November). In those days, presidential terms ended in March, so Mrs. McKee carried on as first lady for about five months.
She and her husband, James Robert McKee, and their two children Benjamin Harrison McKee and Mary Lodge McKee had been living at the White House during her father’s term. The presidential grandchildren – especially Benjamin, who got labeled as “Baby McKee” – were media sensations. (Though it was often stated that he had been born in the White House, both he and his sister were actually born in Indiana.) [Read more…] about Baby McKee: Early American Child Celebrity
His work with children’s hospitals convinced Colonel Walter Scott that there might be help for Jessica Ferguson despite her negative prognosis and seemingly hopeless situation.
New and exciting progress had been made, especially by Dr. Russell Hibbs of New York City, whose surgical innovations helped change the face of medicine. Hibbs was the first to perform a spinal fusion, and made great advances in treating tuberculosis of the spine and hip. [Read more…] about Medical History: Saranac Lake’s Mirror Girl
In Pamela Newkirk’s Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (Amistad / Harper Collins, 2015) the award-winning journalist reveals a little-known and shameful episode in American history, when an African man was used as a zoo exhibit — a shocking story of racial prejudice, science, and tragedy in the early years of the twentieth century.
Ota Benga, a young Congolese man, was featured as an exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Two years later, in 1906, the Bronx Zoo displayed him in its Monkey House, caging the slight 103-pound, four-foot eleven-inch man with an orangutan. The attraction became an international sensation, drawing thousands of New Yorkers and commanding headlines from across the nation and Europe. [Read more…] about Spectacle: The Life of Ota Benga
Mirror Girl. What an intriguing term. In the past it has been applied to the prettiest coeds in sororities, cute girls in general, and particularly vain women. But in this case, it addresses one of my favorite historical stories linked to the Northern New York’s years as a tuberculosis treatment center. The patient was a young woman, Jessica “Jessie” Ferguson, born in 1895 in Mount Pleasant, New York, north of Tarrytown on the Hudson River. Her parents, James and Anna, were both natives of Scotland, a fact that becomes key to the story.
The young girl’s difficulties began in her early twenties when her father died, and Jessica was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone, affecting her spine. In 1918, she lost the ability to walk. Doctors placed her in a cast that forced Jessica into a permanent reclining position. [Read more…] about The Mirror Girl of Saranac Lake