Annie Oakley Helps Usher In Motion Picture Era

In the race to create motion pictures, Thomas Edison and his team of engineers built the Kinetograph which was patented in 1891. Next, Edison needed subject matter that would be popular and commercial. Enter performers from the vaudeville circuit, traveling acts, sporting arena, and exotic dancers. Edison Manufacturing Company built a recording studio called Black Maria in…

A Bed of Poppies, 1909

Maria Oakey Dewing: Crazy for Flowers

“Flowers offer a removed beauty that exists only for beauty, more abstract than it can be in a human being, even more exquisite.” – Maria Oakey Dewing Painter, author, and amateur botanist Maria Oakey Dewing (1845-1927) expressed the visual power of flowers with these words in 1915. A leading light of the New York and…


Rare Handwritten Text from Jane Austen Revealed

A rare handwritten note from the British author Jane Austen has been revealed at West Dean College in West Sussex. The text was written by Austen in 1814 and gives insight into her thoughts on her brother’s sermons – echoing a discussion later featured in the novel Mansfield Park. The Book Conservation department at West Dean…

When History and Art Combine Perfectly

When Art and History Combine Perfectly

A photograph of a wax figure sculpted from a painting. That’s the idea behind Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Portraits, a series of nine-minute-long exposures of wax figures that were modeled from painted portraits. The result is a paparazzi-like photograph of a historical figure turned into a modern celebrity. Many of these photographs are now on view at…


Spotted! Another Women Photoshopped Out of History

In May of 2011, I wrote about the “writing out” of history of Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason in the famous photograph taken on the night Osama bin Laden was killed in an American military operation. It was an example, from our times, of how women are literally written out of the historical record. Nursing…


#HistoryGeek: 3 Things I Thought of When I Saw This Video

I heard about this video from The Two Nerdy History Girls. The folks at British Pathé have just put this online, along with thousands of other fantastic newsreel film clips from their archives. Give it a watch, it’s great. The video is from 1931 and here are three things I immediately thought of when I watched it:…


Lady Florence Norman, c. 1916

Lady Florence Norman, a suffragette, on her motor-scooter in 1916, travelling to work at offices in London where she was a supervisor. The scooter was a birthday present from her husband, the journalist and Liberal politician Sir Henry Norman. Source: Retronaut