History As Stories

Wallpaper and History

I read a great article, The Great Wallpaper Rebellion: Defending Flamboyance in a World of White Walls, written by Ben Marks, that I wanted to share with you.

While it includes the history of one wallpaper company,
Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers, this article also delves into the history of wall coverings of all kinds. You can also learn about wallpaper being used on movie sets and about using wallpaper in the restoration of old houses.

Just to get you in the mood, here are photos of wallpaper from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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History Podcast: In the Past Lane

Last week I recommended Ben Franklin’s World, one of the history podcasts that I listen to regularly. This week I want to talk about another history podcast, In the Past Lane: The Podcast About History and Why It Matters. This podcast is hosted by Edward T. O’Donnell, Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. If you’re a fan of The Great Courses and lifelong learning, O’Donnell has a couple of courses available you can check out here.

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History Podcast: Ben Franklin’s World

I listen wide variety of podcasts. I listen in the car and on walks, and since I don’t have a TV, I listen when I’m cooking, cleaning, or just hanging around the house. Podcasts are a great way to learn new stuff!

One of the history podcasts that I listen to is Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History. The host, Dr. Liz Covart, interviews experts about America in the colonial, revolutionary, and early republic periods. She is also the Digital Projects Editor at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

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Teamwork and Breaking News

I love breaking news about history! This one is a few years old, but since the original story happened about 1,500 years ago, I’m not going to worry that I’m late to the update.

The first element of this story is malaria. Malaria is an infectious disease that is spread by mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites you, parasites from the saliva are deposited into your blood. There are generally no signs of illness during the first week. After that, the symptoms are like the flu, with the most well-known symptom being periodic fever and sweats.

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London Millennium Footbridge

The post I was writing for today went sideways on me, making me realize that I wanted to write it from a different angle. I’ll have that for you next week.

For today, here is my favorite photo of the London Millennium Footbridge, taken three years ago this week. Enjoy!

Photo by Cathy Hanson


Replay: Resistance By Music and Carnations

For many people, mention of a resistance movement brings to mind the Polish, French and Danish resistance movements against the occupying German forces during World War II. Those events are fairly recent, often heroic, and get a lot of play in movies, so they are in our public consciousness.

As a descriptor, “resistance movement” is vague enough to encompass a variety of actions, although the idea of a movement requires some organization. Resistance can be armed or unarmed, violent or non-violent, against a government or against an occupying force, and can be aimed at objectives ranging from physical freedom to civil rights.

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Sea Otters and International Treaties

I returned to work today after the long weekend and flipped my calendar to September. The new month shows a mother and baby sea otter kicking back. Completely adorable, so today you get to read about sea otters and the first international wildlife conservation treaty.

I also saw a sea otter when I was at Morro Bay, but my photo was not this good. Sea Otter with Pup in her arms, Morro Bay, CA, March 23, 2007.
Attribution: “Mike” Michael L. Baird via Wikimedia Commons.
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A Nickname Makes a Comeback

I have always been fascinated by historical nicknames. First, because it’s interesting to learn how people define themselves or others. Second, because language evolves and when we look back into history, we can’t always be sure those nicknames mean what we think they mean.

Which brings us to Harald Bluetooth. Because Harald lived and died more than a thousand years ago, we don’t know everything about him. Although it’s possible he was born in 910, we don’t know that for sure.

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The Evolution of Paul Bunyan

I’ve always thought of oral traditions as a long game of telephone. You know, the game where each person whispers to their neighbor and at the end, you all compare the original statement with the final statement. Then you all laugh like crazy.

In the 19th century U.S., logging was a very big deal. Try to imagine how many trees there were growing naturally before people started moving into those newly cleared areas. The lumberjacks who cut down those trees were out in the middle of nowhere with no TV or smartphones. So after their work was done for the day, they told stories.

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Want to Be a Street Fighter?

I am going to flat-out admit my ignorance about the various forms of martial arts. I don’t know the differences between various martial arts, their underlying philosophies, or even the rules of the MMA fights that my daughter and her friends love to watch.

So it’s not surprising that I didn’t know anything about Krav Maga.

Krav Maga, which translates from Hebrew as “contact combat”, is a self-defense system of fighting in close contact. Basically, fighting off an attacker. It was developed in such a way that people of different ages, genders, and levels of fitness could learn it quickly.

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