Category Archives: Society

May 20

Denim and Popular Culture

On the 20th of May 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets. In San Francisco, Levi Strauss, a Jewish-German immigrant, had established a profitable wholesale dry goods business importing clothing and fabric to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to […]

May 19

Oscar Wilde in Prison

On the 19th of May 1897, Irish writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison after serving a two year  sentence for criminal sodomy and “gross indecency”. He had to go through hard labor and major deprivation, a very problematic situation for a hedonist accustomed to his creature comforts. His experiences in prison were the basis […]

May 16

Teen Marriage: Marie Antoinette & Louis-Auguste

On the 16th of May 1770, the wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was held at Versailles in the Chapel Royal. Following three centuries of rivalry, France and Austria had finally become allies in 1756, so in order to cement their fresh diplomatic ties, Louis XV and the Empress Maria Theresa arranged the marriage of […]

May 10

The National Gallery Before Trafalgar Square

“Monday, 10th of  May, 1824, probably did not strike contemporaries as especially notable. At the Guildhall Court ‘Eliza Cockburn, a rather interesting-looking girl, about 15 years of age, was charged with attempting to set fire to the house of her master.’ Kean was unable to appear in the title role in Richard III at Drury […]

May 09

Political Criticism in Harold Gray’s ‘Little Orphan Annie’

On the 9th of May 1968, American cartoonist Harold Gray died in La Jolla, California. His death marked the end of a very prolific career, but the fame of his newspaper comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, outlived him for a very long time. The story of an innocent vagabond girl wandering through a world of […]

May 07

Hurricane Katrina, The Eye-opening Disaster

On the 7th of May 1718, New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans) was founded by the French Mississippi Company, under the command of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Not long before that date, Bienville, who was the Governor of Louisiana at the time, set out from Dauphin Island to select a place on the banks of the […]

May 02

Women’s Magazines and Ideology Shifts

On the 2nd of May 1885, Good Housekeeping magazine was founded by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Still owned by the Hearst Corporation, it has ever since featured articles about women’s interests, product testing, recipes, diet, health as well as literary articles. It has become an institution known for its “Good Housekeeping Seal of […]

April 19

The Wobbly Beginnings of Motoring in Britain

On the 14th of April 1931, the first ever edition of the British Highway Code was published, sold for one penny and containing only 18 pages of advice! Some of it was directed at drivers of horse drawn vehicles to ‘rotate the whip above the head; then incline the whip to the right or left […]

April 16

Adler’s Bordello: Jewish Female Paths in America

On the 16th of April 1900, Pearl (Polly) Adler was born in Ivanava (Yanow), Belarus, as the oldest of 9 siblings in a traditional Jewish family. When she was 12, her father, a successful travelling tailor, decided to send her ahead as the first link in the Russian “chain emigration” to the United States to […]

April 10

The Titanic in Myth and Popular Culture

On the 10th of April 1912, RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage began from Southampton in England to New York City. Five days later, the passenger liner sank within less than 3 hours in the North Atlantic Ocean, after colliding with an iceberg. It caused the deaths of more than 1,500 people in one of the deadliest […]