akashiver: (People who read too much!)
Last night I dreamed that I was eavesdropping on Catherine the Great advising the Empress Joséphine on how to depose Napoleon and take the throne herself. I was very disappointed to wake and realize that historically, there's no way this could have happened.
akashiver: (Default)
I like/fear Lousia May Alcott much more after discovering that,she was a cult leader at six years old.

Apparently, she convinced the other kids in her neighbourhood of the existence of a fearsome Cat Demon, "KittyMousey." She then claimed to be the chosen avatar of said demon. The demon, speaking through Alcott, convinced the kids to worship her, do "naughty deeds" and appease her with sacrifices.

Apparently the neighbourhood parents found out and put a stop to this after Alcott persuaded the terrified kids to burn their favourite toys in a sacrificial bonfire.

</things you didn't see in Little Women>
akashiver: (Default)

A "Shakespeare's Sister" for contemporary politics: Poor Jane’s Almanac.


...Franklin, who’s on the $100 bill, was the youngest of 10 sons. Nowhere on any legal tender is his sister Jane, the youngest of seven daughters; she never traveled the way to wealth. He was born in 1706, she in 1712. Their father was a Boston candle-maker, scraping by. Massachusetts’ Poor Law required teaching boys to write; the mandate for girls ended at reading. Benny went to school for just two years; Jenny never went at all.

Their lives tell an 18th-century tale of two Americas. Against poverty and ignorance, Franklin prevailed; his sister did not.

akashiver: (Default)

When did girls start wearing pink?

Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.

For example, a Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.

akashiver: (Default)
An interesting Civil War article: How Slavery Really Ended in America.

Butler was no abolitionist, but the three slaves presented a problem. True, the laws of the United States were clear: all fugitives must be returned to their masters. The founding fathers enshrined this in the Constitution; Congress reinforced it in 1850 with the Fugitive Slave Act; and it was still the law of the land — including, as far as the federal government was concerned, within the so-called Confederate states. The war had done nothing to change it....

Yet to Fort Monroe’s new commander, the fugitives who turned up at his own front gate seemed like a novel case. The enemy had been deploying them to construct a battery aimed directly at his fort — and no doubt would put them straight back to work if recaptured, with time off only for a sound beating. They had just offered him some highly useful military intelligence. And Virginia, as of 12 or so hours ago, was officially in rebellion against the federal government, having just ratified the secession ordinance passed a month before. Butler had not invited the fugitives in or engineered their escape, but here they were, literally at his doorstep: a conundrum with political and military implications, at the very least. He could not have known — not yet — that his response that day might change the course of the national drama that was then just beginning. Yet it was not the first time, nor would it be the last, that an unanticipated bureaucratic dilemma would force the hand of history.


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December 2015

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