Category: United States

History United States

This Week in History: New Year’s Day 1920

One hundred years ago today, people were celebrating the start of what would be dubbed in the United States as the Roaring 20s.  What should have been a cause for celebration was slightly tempered.  This was the last New Year celebration before Prohibition would go into effect Jan. 16, 1920. In Boston, revelers gathered at cafes […]

Edwardian era History United States Victorian era

Christmas Shopping in a Bygone Era

The commercialization of Christmas began during the Victorian era.  Retailers encouraged consumers to shop for the holidays instead of giving homemade gifts, and shop employees also decorated their shop windows with lavish displays to attract passersby.  The tradition of Christmas shopping was born. So what were the popular gifts in this bygone era?  Let’s find […]

History Nonfiction United States Victorian era Writing & Editing

Photography Book Examines 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition

Michael Finney makes his book debut with 1893 Chicago’s Columbian Exposition: Arts and Culture on the Doorstep of the 20th Century, a collection of photographs taken during the fair.  It also includes Finney’s commentary and modern photography. The inspiration for the collection was a book of official photographs published in 1893 that an antique book […]

History United States World War One

Final Design Approved for National World War I Memorial In Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts approved the design for the new National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., in September. The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has been working on the project since 2014.  That year, Congress authorized “appropriate sculptural and other commemorative elements, including landscaping, to further honor the service of […]

Edwardian era History United States

School Kids in 1903 Explain Why Thanksgiving Turkeys are Important

“Kids Say the Darndest Things” may be a television show, but kids have been saying what’s on their minds –  and amusing adults – for centuries.  In 1903, the Sioux City Journal in Iowa asked the city’s school children to pen an essay on Thanksgiving turkeys. A sampling of the essays were published on Nov. […]

Edwardian era Fiction History United States Writing & Editing

‘Washed Away’ Tackles the Tragic Day in 1911 When the Dam Broke

The recently released novel, Washed Away by Jason Gray, Jr. tackles a very weighty subject.  The historical fiction novel takes readers to the scene of the 1911 dam break in Austin, PA., that killed dozens. On Sept. 30, 1911, the dam servicing the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill burst and destroyed the town.  The dam […]

Canada Edwardian era History United States

Forgotten Murders From the 1910s

My latest nonfiction book, Heinous: Forgotten Murders From the 1910s, was inspired by news stories I discovered while researching A Tale of Two Nations.  As I conducted my research, I discovered case after case of murder, suicide, murder-suicide, lynchings, cop killings, doctors and nurses poisoning patients, and fatal traffic accidents.  It became clear that crime […]

History United States

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Molasses.  Chances are it’s something you don’t have in your pantry, but 100 years ago it was a household staple.  Molasses is processed from sugar cane and is used as a sweetener; it is a dark brown, barely viscous liquid.  One January day, molasses also became synonymous with death. An industrial accident in Boston, known […]

History Journalism United States Victorian era

Lizzie Borden: Damned by the Press?

The silence of a small New England town was shattered on the afternoon of August 4, 1892.  Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, were brutally murdered with an ax.  No one heard anything while the crime was being committed, but the media sensation it caused was heard across the country. Maid Bridget Sullivan was […]

History United States Victorian era

Keeping Away the Darkness: The Electrification of Cities

This week marks the 139th anniversary of an very momentous event in modern civilization.  Dec. 31 is the day Thomas Edison first demonstrated his incandescent lightbulb in Menlo Park, NJ. The lightbulb was nothing new in 1879.  It had been around longer than the 32-year-old Edison.  Older models were expensive and didn’t burn for long.  […]

History United States Victorian era

Boss Tweed: A Name Synonymous with Political Corruption

Corruption always has been a part of American politics. No one exemplifies this more than William “Boss” Tweed.  Tweed was active in New York City politics in the mid-19th century.  He was portrayed by Jim Broadbent in the 2002 film The Gangs of New York, and is best known for his role as head of in […]

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