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Invigorated by the crisp, bracing air, you skate, ski, snowshoe, toboggan, sleigh ride, tramp – whatever your fancy may dictate.  The 1920s is considered the dawn of winter sports tourism, driven in-part, or at least complemented by the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The Boston & Maine Railroad identified a new commercial opportunity and led the charge for the development […]

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Owen Jones (1809-1874), an architect and designer, became one of the foremost authorities on design theory and historical ornamentation and patterns. He was a major contributor to modern color theory, and his doctrine on patterns and ornament are still considered relevant to scholars and historians today. After predictable tours of the great European cities, he turned his attention to the East for Ancient Greek […]

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Somewhere around 100,000 German Jews served in the German Army during World War I, with about 18,000 awarded the Iron Cross. During the war, German Jews requested the appointment of field rabbis to serve as military chaplains for the Jewish soldiers and personnel at the frontline. This request was granted by the Kaiser, growing from 6 rabbis to 30 […]

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“Hen Fever”, as it became known during the Victorian Age, was an unprecedented obsession with owning, breeding, and showing the finest chickens in the world. The genesis of the poultry fancier owes much to Queen Victoria and her royal menagerie. In 1842, she acquired exotic chickens from China, and whatever the Queen did, the public would soon […]

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The Wreck of the Kite

Merchant sailor John Lee Scott was a shipwreck survivor of the Kite and endured a subsequent imprisonment by the Chinese during the Opium War. The Kite was a British brig providing supplies to the British fleet when it capsized near the Chusan islands. As survivors of the wreckage washed up near the port of Ningpo, they were captured by the […]

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For much of the early history the United States, wilderness was viewed as an adversary, something to tame and control for civilization to flourish. The evolutionary concept of wilderness as a cherished resource, something of great worth and benefit to citizens took many decades, only gaining momentum by the end of the 19th century. Some of the leading individuals who were […]

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The Comstock Act of 1873 inhibited publication, frank discussion, and dissenting attitudes toward sexuality, religion, marriage. One of its most outspoken adversaries was the physician and freethinker, Dr. Edward Bliss Foote, who challenged all obscenity legislation in Congress, state legislatures, and courts and also offered support to defendants in free speech cases. He campaigned against obscenity prosecutions, promoted […]

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Awnsham and John Churchill were influential and innovative early booksellers in England, providing the affluent with enhanced access to previously unavailable or untranslated works by some of the world’s most famous explorers, essayists, philosophers, and historians. One of their most successful publications was entitled, A collection of voyages and travels: some now first printed from original manuscripts, others now first published […]

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Knitting for Victory

While in England in 1915, awaiting her call to France as a nurse, Maud Churchill Nicoll was run over by an automobile. The serious accident left her an invalid, but she still devoted herself to the war effort in Europe through knitting, crocheting, and sewing clothing for the allied soldiers. With the help of her husband, Delancey Nicoll, a prominent New […]

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American interest in the Hawaiian islands began as early as the 1820s, when Christian missionaries from New England tried to spread their faith to the native inhabitants. By the 1850s, the booming sugar trade encouraged U.S. investment and territorial acquisition of sugar plantations on the islands. In 1890, the recently enacted U.S. tariffs greatly curtailed the sugar growers’ profit […]

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