History Carnival for December 2011

Welcome to the December History Carnival, a potpourri of the best in history blogging for the month of November. I am happy to present for your reading pleasure a selection of nominated posts and some curator’s choices. Only at the History Carnival can you find in one place readings on letter writing, bloodletting, the extinct Dodo Bird, the Bee Gees, and Occupy Wall Street. There’s even a tale of a gender bender thrown in for good measure. Most importantly, it’s just in time for the holiday season, so replenish your historical knowledge so you too are able to give unsolicited facts and opinions to family and friends at holiday gatherings. They’re going to love it! You’re welcome….

The Chicago History Museum Blog’s highly entertaining three part series Ellis Glenn’s Queer Story features a turn-of-the-century woman masquerading as a man and swindling money and hearts across the U.S.
Fëanor, from Jost A Mon, introduces us to A Gibb in India and the indigent and military ancestry of the Bee Gees.

In The Last Dodo: The Feast That Led To Extinction, Giles Milton at Surviving History teases us with the possibility that mariner Volkert Evertszoon and his shipwrecked crew may have eaten the Dodo Bird into extinction.
Posting at Madame Guillotine, Christopher Scott’s Apotheosis of Mary Jane Kelly
 shows us that no matter how much you think you know about a Jack the Ripper victim, you are always eager to read one more article on the subject.
David Turner from Turnip Rail shares his thoughts on Slavery and the Financing of Britain’s Early Railways.
Mike Rendell, posting for the English History Authors, shares with us the fascinating details and peculiarities of the postal system and letter writing of 18th and 19th century England in The Humble Envelope.
The always fascinating and obsessively prolific blog Executed Today tells us about Haitian General Jacques Maurepas and His Entire Family who were tortured and executed by Napoleon’s minions towards the end of the Haitian Revolution.
At the Chirurgeon’s Apprentice, Lindsey Fitzharris’ article Lancets and Leeches and Cupping! Oh, My! Bloodletting Practices in Early Modern England proves there is always more to be learned about leeching and bloodletting.
Jonathan Dresner from Frog In A Well: Japan gives us his book review of Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide and makes me wish I had taken more Far Eastern art history classes in grad school.
In The Strangest Dream – Reykjavik, 1986, Jonathan Hunt writing for Not Even Past, reminds us that even though it was in most of our lifetimes, the historic implications of that famous meeting between two political super powers is lost on today’s younger generation.

The next two posts exemplify the golden rule of History: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Alan Flower at History and the Sock Merchant traces the violent and revolutionary history of Egyptians in Trouble in Cairo: The Force of History. And the Tenement Museum’s blog educates us on Occupy Wall Street’s Historic Precedent.
Scandalous Women offers us two posts this month on “women behaving badly.” Gillian Bagwell introduces us to Jane Lane: The Girl who Saved the English Monarchy. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, in The Mysterious Disappearance of Aimee Semple McPherson, features one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history.
On the anniversary of The Crystal Palace Fire, Sarah J. Young contemplates the mystique of the building by digging up a vintage newsreel and comparing descriptions of the event.
Madame Guillotine tells us of The Escape of Princess Henrietta, who at age 3, was spirited away by her entourage and traveled 95 miles by foot to Dover, England to escape to France.
And finally, Mike Cosgrave shares the challenges of teaching, world politics, and gaming in Gaming Reality History.

Calling All History Geeks: December History Carnival at Chick History

Chick History is hosting the History Carnival for December. So, keep your eyes out for awesome articles, posts, and blog entries written in the month of November. And of course, if you write something that you want to share, self-nominations welcomed and encouraged! Click here for the Nomination Form.

Very important disclaimer: The post DOES NOT have to be on women’s history. The History Carnival is going to give me the chance to embrace and indulge all the other facets of my history geekness.


Most Trusted Source on Halloween Written by a Woman

This vintage Halloween
card shows a poem a
young girl would recite
while looking into a
mirror in hopes of
seeing the face of her
future husband staring
back at her. Creepy.

How did Halloween make its way to the United States? How did our foremothers and their families practice it? And how hard did I have to twist the apple stem so it came off at “B” so I knew I would marry Bon Jovi?

In celebration of this year’s Halloween, the National Women’s History Museum released A History of Halloween, a short video that explores the ancient origins of the holiday as well as the early practices by American women at the turn of the 20th century.

It notes that Ruth Edna Kelley wrote the first historical record of the holiday’s American origins and traditions. Kelley was born in 1893 in Massachusetts and became a librarian and author. In 1919, The Book of Hallowe’en was published, which traces the holiday’s history back to pagan sun worship and outlines it’s evolution over the centuries.

An exert from Chapter XV: Hallowe’en in America reads:

“In Colonial days Hallowe’en was not celebrated much in America. Some English still kept the customs of the old world, such as apple-ducking and snapping, and girls tried the apple-paring charm to reveal their lovers’ initials, and the comb-and-mirror test to see their faces. Ballads were sung and ghost-stories told, for the dead were thought to return on Hallowe’en.”

Turns out I’m not the only one who used the clairvoyant properties of apples.

Watch the full video of The History of Halloween made by the National Women’s History Museum:

Further Resources:
The History of Hallowe’en Digital Book
National Women’s History Museum Halloween Release