francis willughby crows

The First True Ornithologist

Though he was once dismissed as a dilettante, naturalist Francis Willughby was in fact part of the vanguard of observation-based modern science.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.
Neville Chamberlain holding the paper containing the resolution to commit to peaceful methods signed by both Hitler and himself on his return from Munich, 1938

Reconsidering Appeasement

After 1938's Munich Agreement, "appeasement" became a dirty word in international relations. But scholars argue that appeasement can be a useful tool.
St Cuthbert Gospel

Why Europe’s Oldest Intact Book Was Found in a Saint’s Coffin

The St. Cuthbert Gospel is the earliest surviving intact European book. Some time around 698, it was slipped into the coffin of a saint.
Dr William Dodd, executed for forgery

Punishing Forgery with Death

In early nineteenth-century England, forging currency was considered to be such a subversive threat that it was punished with the death penalty.
Ectoplasm Helen Duncan

Ectoplasm and the Last British Woman Tried for Witchcraft

Spiritualist medium Helen Duncan was photographed emitting ectoplasm, supposedly proof of her ability to contact the dead.
Hannah Cullwick

The Bizarre Victorian Diaries of Cullwick and Munby

Arthur Munby was an upper-class man of letters who "collected" working class women, including his servant Hannah Cullwick, whom he married in 1873.
Telling the bees painting

“Telling the Bees”

In nineteenth-century New England, it was held to be essential to whisper to beehives of a loved one’s death.
Punch Jack the Ripper

How Jack the Ripper Became a Legend

In 1880s London, an anti-prostitution campaign, anti-immigration feelings, and a deep class divide set the scene for the Jack the Ripper media frenzy.
Tube London Blitz

What Life Was Like During the London Blitz

During WWII, 150,000+ people sought shelter in London's Tube stations each night. Over time, the various stations developed their own mini-governments.