Category: Blog Round-up

Beginnings and Endings: History Carnival 150

http://chalkstreamflyfishing.co.uk/ Posted on October 1, 2015 by - Blog Round-up

http://unter2grad.de/?debilizm=bdswiss-promo-code&473=21 It’s been one month since I started my new job at the University of Essex. Settling in has been a busy and fun process. The moving company now tells me that my boxes should be in England by the weekend. One month and a new start in life has simply become life… Being in a reflective state of mind, I’ve chosen to focus this month’s History Carnival on the theme of beginnings and endings.

Check Out Your URL Students'_Union,_University_of_Essex,_across_Square_3

my site Let us begin, then, with a voyage. Over at Halley’s Log, Kate Morant has started blogging Edmond Halley’s third voyage on the Paramour (1701), this time to observe the tides in the English Channel–and maybe do some spying.

binär option erfahrungen The ultimate traveller just might be Morrissey… or Richard III… who appears to have been doing some time travel. This is possibly my favourite tweet of the month. (Well, it’s technically from October rather than September, but it arrived just as I was writing this post.)

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Get More Information And there is a great introduction to the artist Sonia Delaunay over at Art and Architecture, mainly where we learn about how she began a new life in a new city and took up new ways of doing art.

http://bothniafritid.se/?siresse=k%C3%B6pa-sildenafil-receptfritt&29b=6b A big welcome to Sheilagh O’Brien who has just started blogging at Enchanted History! Her first post on marriage to the Devil couldn’t be timed more perfectly, being on the Essex witch trials and mentioning–of course–Colchester. There is more witchy history over at The Witch, the Weird and the Wonderful, where HJ Blenkinsop considers how the black cat became the witch’s familiar.

Jan van de Velde, 1626. A witch at her cauldron surrounded by beasts. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

check this Jan van de Velde, 1626. A witch at her cauldron surrounded by beasts. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Your Domain Name A cracking criminal tale from Catherine Curzon at A Covent Gardern Gilfurt’s Guide to Life. In 1807, Strasbourg residents were being subjected to a new and elaborate con in which a gang of thieves played the roles of exorcist, devil and prophetess to dupe their victims.

http://www.mongoliatravelguide.mn/?sakson=app-per-demo-option&105=c4 Where there are thieves, there must be those who pursue them. Margaret Makepeace at Untold Lives tells us the story of the Metropolitan Police’s first-ever day on the job… that came complete with a review of their performance in the Morning Post the day after!

Recommended Reading There are some great posts from historians reflecting on the profession and practice of doing history. Brodie Waddell at The Many-Headed Monster has a series of posts considering what problems exist in the history profession–specifically about training doctoral students and the casualisation of labour. In this post, he has “Seven Practical Steps” for what we can do to improve it.

Johann Staininger, a man with a very long beard. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Bank holiday trading hours law Johann Staininger, a man with a very long beard. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

http://traffic-dealer.de/?kruwa=bdswiss-bin�?¤re-optionen It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. Sometimes it’s a bit fuzzy. Congratulations to Alun Withey who has just launched his new project on beards in history, which he introduces over here.

http://www.kenyadialogue.com/?selena=option-igator-trade&4b2=8d From Victorians’ facial hair, it is but a short hop to Jacob Steere-Williams’ post at Renaissance Mathematicus, in which he critiques the “privileged hipsters living the solipsist dream of a phantasmagorical Victorian world in the twenty-first century.”

Steere-Williams argues that simply wearing nineteenth-century clothes and using nineteenth-century technology is an insufficient–even dangerous–start to understanding Victorian experience. This is “far from an inocuous appropriation of powerless objects from the past. There is a very real danger in a cherry-picked, tunnel-vision of history, one that ignores power, inequality, racism and privilege.”

Along the same lines, Matt Champion’s evocative post at the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey points out that

it isn’t enough to simply record what we find on the walls. It is a start. No more than that. The key though has to be understanding what we are seeing. To try and find our way into the mindset and motivations of the long-dead who left these tantalising messages for the future.

Silences as a way into a field of study, or a block to that study, is the theme of “The Truth about Child Sexual Assault” (1900-1950) by Mark Finnane and Yorrick Smaal at The Prosecution Project. What might be a tantalising start when studying graffiti is the frustrating (possible) end here. As Finnane and Smaal note: “The consequences of this silence continue to frustrate scholarly research.”

Henry Heath, 1841. Three dandies smoking and drinking coffee. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Henry Heath, 1841. Three dandies smoking and drinking coffee. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

It is Welcome Week here at the University of Essex and my mind is filled with thoughts of the teaching to come next week. The Recipes Project has been running a great series on teaching historical recipes throughout the month of September, but let me draw your attention to Carla Cevasco’s post on “Teaching High School American History with Cookbooks“. It’s a fascinating post about introducing students to recipes for the first time, as well as the intersection of (for example) immigration policy, food cultures and anxiety.

But who needs university anyway? (Shhh. Let’s not tell the government, who is already in the process of dismantling UK academia.) Thony Christie looks at “The Penny Universities”, or how the first coffee houses in Britain became places where one could attend lectures by paying a penny–the price of a cup of coffee. While I like coffee (occasionally), I’m not sure that this would put bread on my table.

As every teacher knows, term time has its ups and downs. At some point, stimulants and tonics will be needed. D. Brooks at Friends of Schoharie Crossing takes a look at Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters, good

For the cure of Dyspepsia, Indigestion, Nausea, Flatulency, Loss of Appetite, or any Bilious Complaints, arising from a morbid inaction of the Stomach or Bowels, producing Cramps, Dysentery, Colic, Cholera, Morbus, &c., these Bitters have no equal.

Pharmacy jar, used for nerve ointment, The Netherlands, 1730. Credit: Science Museum, London.

Pharmacy jar, used for nerve ointment, The Netherlands, 1730.
Credit: Science Museum, London.

And with some 47% alcohol. A better bet than (at least the initial runs of) The Cereal Beverage” offered by the Chemung Beverage Company in 1927. Kelli Huggins (Chemung County Historical Society blog) discusses how the cereal beverage rapidly became a bit more high-powered, despite it being illegal. The “near beer” of Schenectady, as described at the Grems-Doolittle Library Collections blog, would also be a bit disappointing… Coffee it is, then. And maybe some bitters, too.

While thinking about the rhythms of the academic year, it’s worth reading this post on the traditional calendar in West Virginia by Danna Bell at the Library of Congress on “Finding Traditions: Exploring the Seasonal Round“. What is beginning now will end in only ten weeks, followed by grading, research and Christmas holidays, only to begin again in January…

And next month, there will be yet another History Carnival, this time hosted by Sharon Howard over at Early Modern Notes… so start saving up your posts, just as the West Virginians will be preserving foodstuffs. See you there!

 

 

Changes… and a History Carnival!

If you’re still around, dear readers, then you will have noticed that the blog has remained quiet–despite the end of my maternity leave. There is a reason for this: I have been caught up in a flurry of paperclips and packing. At the start of September, I began a new job as Lecturer in Digital History at the University of Essex.

John Constable, Wivenhoe Park, Essex. The house and some of the parkland are still on the University of Essex campus, 1816.

John Constable, Wivenhoe Park, Essex, 1816. The University of Essex is built on Wivenhoe Park. You can still see the house and some of the parkland (but, sadly, not the cows and swans).

This entailed packing up my office of thirteen years (in addition to my house). To simplify my life, I gave books and periodicals to students and sent my article library for recycling, along with all the other masses of paper that accumulate over a career.  In the end, I whittled the library down to a mere 523 books and two boxes of papers. Sloane would scoff, no doubt.

These are the two boxes of papers that escaped recycling and are in the process of being transported by ship to England. Looking at this picutre, I realise that I forgot my little office rug.

These are the two boxes of papers that escaped recycling and are in the process of being transported by ship to England. Looking at this picture, I realise that I forgot my little office rug.

To mark the new academic year and a new job, I’m hosting the 150th History Carnival on October 1.  If you don’t know what a History Carnival is (or missed the last one),  please  check out the 149th one hosted by Ana Stevenson. For Carnival 150, I’m particularly interested in featuring posts on the themes of beginnings, endings or change.* To nominate your favourite blog posts from around the interwebs in September, just fill in this form. I look forward to reading all the nominations.

*But don’t worry if your favourite September post doesn’t seem to fit that theme–nominate it anyway!

 

The Sir Hans Sloane Birthday Collection: Giants’ Shoulders #70

Sir Hans Sloane, collector and physician, was born on 16 April 1660. To celebrate his 354th birthday, I’m hosting the history of science carnival: Giants’ Shoulders #70. Sloane collected stuff of all kinds, from curiosities (natural and man-made) and botanical samples to manuscripts. He was very thorough… So what does one give the man who had (nearly) everything for his birthday? The gift of knowledge! Hosting Giants’ Shoulders follows–in a small way—in the footsteps of Sloane, who edited the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for two decades.

Newspaper recipes pasted into a manuscript recipe book. Wellcome, WMS 7366, p. 78. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Newspaper recipes pasted into a manuscript recipe book.
Wellcome, WMS 7366, p. 78. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Being a physician was central to Sloane’s identity, so it’s fitting to start off with a round-up of history of medicine links. I must, of course, include a painful seventeenth-century medical case: that of “Samuel’s Stone-induced suffering”. Sloane, like many other eighteenth-century physicians, was no stranger to proprietary remedies; he even had his own special eye remedy. This month, we have “Proprietary Panaceas and Not-So-Secret Recipes”, “Newspaper Remedies and Commercial Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Recipe Books” and “The Business of Medicine”. Sloane was particularly interested in finding useful remedies and would, no doubt, have approved of our modern interest in reviving old treatments or exploring non-Western ones (“Under the Influence”). He was equally intrigued by indigenous knowledge (as was “A Pirate Surgeon in Panama) and older popular treatments (as was Thomas Scattergood in the early nineteenth century, here and here).

As President of the Royal College of Physicians from 1719, Sloane also would have been familiar with medical disputes and prosecutions against irregular practitioners, such as “Master Docturdo and Fartado: Libellous Doctors in Early Modern Britain”. A post on “The Return of Nicholas Culpeper” finds the traces of Culpeper’s career around London. I’ve often wondered whether Sloane would simply have seen Culpeper as an irregular practitioner, or appreciated what they had in common–botanical interests and willingness to treat the poor.

Photograph of a telescope that belonged to Caroline Herschel. Image Credit: Geni, 2008, Wikimedia Commons.

Photograph of a telescope that belonged to Caroline Herschel. Image Credit: Geni, 2008, Wikimedia Commons.

A driving factor in Sloane’s career was his insatiable curiosity. A teacher tells us why the history of science “is essential to engage students”, while “Hydra meets Handel” shows children participating in early modern science by gathering “duck pond detritus”. Sloane also encouraged curiosity in others, including women; for only two examples, he exchanged letters and botanical samples with the Duchess of Beaufort and Cassandra Willughby. There were lots of early modern women who practiced science—and this month, there were posts on Margaret Cavendish, Emilie du Chatelet and Caroline Herschel. Women could also be important patrons of science, such as Angela Burdett-Coutts. (Sloane certainly benefited from the patronage of women early in his medical career, particularly that of the Duchess of Albemarle.)

In his botanical research, Sloane catalogued and classified his specimens. Language was increasingly important in describing experiments and specimens, and was being developed and refined out of necessity. Robert Hooke, for example, coined sixty-eight words including (my favourites) “splatch” and “punk”. Over at Evolving Thoughts, a series on speciation outlines the origins of “speciation”, Linneaus’ contribution and late eighteenth-century developments. There are lots of posts this month about curiosities that might have appealed to Sloane, which I’ve divided into man-made and beautiful objects. Under man-made (and sometimes horrifying) objects, we have Holler’s copper plate, Dead Men’s Teeth (a.k.a. dentures), a Time-Traveling, Vote-Gathering Miraculous Acousticon, Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway and the plutonium box. Under beautiful objects, we have the Salagrama Stones, the Vessels of Hermes, a triangular book about alchemy, Nathaniel Wallich’s specimens, and a colourful atlas.

T. Rowlandson, 1787. A fashionable dentist's practice: healthy teeth are being extracted from poor children to create dentures for the wealthy. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

T. Rowlandson, 1787. A fashionable dentist’s practice: healthy teeth are being extracted from poor children to create dentures for the wealthy. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

One of the reasons that Sloane was so well-known for his botanical expertise is that he had actually travelled to Jamaica early in his career, gathered local knowledge and tried out local remedies. On behalf of the Royal Society, he also requested that some explorers bring back specific items or look into particular issues. In 1700, Edmond Halley returned to St. Helena and reported on the area. Halley’s travel descriptions weren’t intended for the Royal Society, but his travels would certainly have been of interest. Explorers have also been the mappers of new and old areas. There is a series of posts on “A Concise History of Geological Maps”, which highlights the many uses of mapping beyond the geographical (2, 3 and 4). The newest areas are sometimes very far away, such as Martian canals or the centre of the Earth. Getting to some places might have been impossible in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, though astronomical photography might help to span the distance. But in the end, the question remains: we can take humans out of their usual lands, but can we take the terrestriality out of the humans?

Experimentation, itself a way of exploring the universe, became increasingly important from the early eighteenth century. This month, I read about Isaac Newton’s experiments as instances of special power, the most famous failed science experiment, the lack of religious barriers to the practice of early modern science, experimental self-asphyxiation and experimental embryology in China. The secrets of the universe, however, are often invisible to the naked eye—perhaps more so than early eighteenth-century people even would have guessed. What about trying to study “the unfashionable ether”, magnetism and light rays, quantum physics… or medieval multiverses and modern cosmic conundrums? And that’s before we even get to time! Sloane would have been familiar with the attempts to measure time and longitude, but less so the pervasiveness of modern standardised time, the ancient methods of measuring the movements of the sun or a twentieth-century physicist’s obsession with time and existence.

Sloane would have been no stranger to scientific disputes (especially since he sometimes played mediator). Recently, there has been much lively discussion among historians of scientists about the T.V. series Cosmos. By and large, historians of science have been highly critical of the choices made: the focus on Giordano Bruno, the inaccuracies in the story of Bruno, frustrating omissions and outright misrepresentations. Other historians were a bit more sympathetic, with suggestions that historians of science need to tell more compelling stories and that we need to provide better alternatives to the Cosmos style of history.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow (Winter), 1565. Source: Wikimedia Commons, from Kunsthistoriches Museum.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow (Winter), 1565. Source: Wikimedia Commons, from Kunsthistoriches Museum.

To end the Sloane birthday edition, I offer some book reviews. Sloane, of course, was constantly adding to his library, as do most historians. You might be interested in acquiring Everyday Renaissance Astrology, The Book of Trees, Ice Time (especially for those of us suffering from this never-ending winter in North America), or Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age.

Happy reading! See you next month over at The Renaissance Mathematicus, where Thony Christie will be hosting Giants’ Shoulders #71. His contact details are here, if you want to start sending in nominations for May.

Nominations for Giants’ Shoulders #70

Gottfried Kneller, Portrait of Hans Sloane (Source: Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, Smithsonian Libraries)

Gottfried Kneller, Portrait of Hans Sloane (Source: Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, Smithsonian Libraries)

Sloane’s birthday is rapidly approaching and April 16 just happens to coincide with a well-known History of Science/Medicine/Technology blog carnival. To celebrate Sloane’s birthday this year, I’ll be hosting Giants’ Shoulders #70. Huzzah!

Please send in your blog post nominations by April 15 at the latest. You can send them directly to me at lisa dot smith AT usask dot ca or to Thony Christie the GS mastermind.

(And don’t be shy–please do nominate your own blog posts, too…)

9 April Update: Thony Christie’s call for Giants’ Shoulders nominations includes a short bio of Sloane!

The Back-to-School Edition: Cesque 97

Welcome to the pre-modern blog carnival, Carnivalesque 97! Hosting the carnival has proved a welcome distraction from the busy-ness of a new academic year. It’s given me a great excuse to keep up with my blog reading.

The view from my office at the University of Saskatchewan.

The view from my office at the University of Saskatchewan.

In late summer, the pre-modernist’s mind lightly turns to thoughts of love (and sex and reproduction). Joanne Bailey has a fascinating two-part discussion on the significance of marital beds: “The bed and the emotional landscape of the household” and “Beds, marital sex and adultery“. Beds were at the heart of the household and had many practical and symbolic functions far beyond sex and sleeping. From Jennifer Evans at Early Modern Medicine, we learn about “A Very Sympathetic Husband” in 1691, who experienced the symptoms of pregnancy at the same time as his wife and how the Athenian Mercury explained it. Their marriage bed must have been particularly close. Catherine Rider at Recipes Project shares some “Medieval Fertility and Pregnancy Tests“: what, I wonder, would the sympathetic husband’s test have shown?

The Dittrick Museum Blog has an interesting series on eighteenth-century midwifery, but of particular note are the ones on material history. Brandy Schillace, for example, looks at the myths surrounding and uses of “Mystery Instruments” (forceps) in early modern childbirth. Cali Buckley considers “The Elusive Past of Ivory Anatomical Models” for understanding the anatomy of childbearing. The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice post on “Renaissance Rhinoplasty” might not seem to have much in common with sex, but rhinoplasty fulfilled a need that was directly connected to the spread of syphilis in the early modern world. Not everyone–then or now–could afford the luxury of an eighteenth-century condom, which was recently for sale at Christies

A school master is sitting at a table pointing at some books, at which a young boy is looking and attempting to explain. Etching by J. Bretherton after H.W. Bunbury, 1799. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

A school master is sitting at a table pointing at some books, at which a young boy is looking and attempting to explain. Etching by J. Bretherton after H.W. Bunbury, 1799. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

After summer days of wine and roses (or, writing and research), scholars inevitably stumble onto the misty paths of historiography and methodology. In Cesque 96, Until Darwin recommended the series on “The Future of History from Below” at The Many-headed Monster. I’ll recommend it again, as it has continued throughout the month of August with lots of exciting posts. It’s worth reading the whole series, but for the most recent medieval and early modern perspectives, see:

Several posts this month considered the ‘how to’ of studying the past. In “The Divine Rebirth of Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch“, Hasan Niyazi at 3PipeProblem describes step-by-step how a painting was created, destroyed and restored. Ben Breen at Res Obscura provides a useful overview of how to read early modern texts in “Why does ‘s’ look like ‘f'”, while Eloise Lemay answers the question “what do paleographers do?“.

Andrea Cawelti at Houghton Library Blog (“Double Vision“) and Anke Timmermann (“Now you see it? No you don’t! Images in Alchemical Manuscripts“) at Recipes Project offer cautionary tales about how we interpret texts, as they wonder if what they see in their primary sources would have been meaningful to early modern readers.

A depressed scholar surrounded by mythological figures; representing the melancholy temperament. Etching by J.D. Nessenthaler after himself, c. 1750. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

A depressed scholar surrounded by mythological figures; representing the melancholy temperament. Etching by J.D. Nessenthaler after himself, c. 1750. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

As we once again hoist our book-laden bags or hunch over student essays, it is perhaps not surprising that we start to think about embodiment. Over at Hooke’s London, Felicity Henderson looks at the scientific and craft methods that Robert Hooke saw and recorded in the seventeenth century (“Artists and Craftsmen in Hooke’s London”, part 1 and part 2). In an article for The Appendix, Mark Hailwood tries to understand how seventeenth-century people would have heard drinking songs–his conclusion might surprise you! (It makes perfect sense to me. I use a football stadium version of La Marseillaise when teaching the French Revolution.) From The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies, we have a tasty experiment in cooking eighteenth-century salamagundi and lemon cheesecake.

On a more theoretical level, Sonja Boon asks us to contemplate what our bodies tell us “about the material [we] were exploring, but also about embodied knowledge”, while Serena Dyer reflects on “Experiencing the Past: Historical Re-enactment as Historical Practice“. Thought-provoking questions–just the way to start the week!

But I’ll end on a lighter note, with some interesting characters and tantalizing tidbits. Did you know that the East India Company set up an army of babies in the late eighteenth century? That there were sixteenth-century Irish Hipsters? And that the earliest known example of Latin writing by a woman was that of Claudia Severa in north England? Or let me tempt you with a “Swan Supper on the Thames“, recipes with “worm-eaten mushrooms” and the significance of “the big bad bean” in Antiquity…

Wishing you all a fine start to the new academic year! May you remain full of beans.

Two school masters are brought to the ground by a rope pulled across their path by pupils on each side of the corridor. Coloured etching by Thomas Rowlandson after himself, 1811. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Two school masters are brought to the ground by a rope pulled across their path by pupils on each side of the corridor. Coloured etching by Thomas Rowlandson after himself, 1811. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Cesque #98 will be held at Medieval Bex in October. Please send your nominations for the next edition here. It’s never to early to start nominating posts.