19th Century

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 2

After being forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by her husband, Elizabeth Packard began advocating for herself as well as the improvement of treatment in such facilities. After her release, she lobbied for reform to the asylum system.

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 1

Elizabeth Packard’s marriage started out well, but soon, her questioning nature exploration of new ideas about religion led her husband to decide she was mentally ill. He had her forcibly committed to the Illinois State Asylum and Hospital for the Insane.

The 'Mysterious' Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur

When Arthur was selected as the Republican party’s vice presidential nominee in 1880, questions arose about whether he had been born in the United States and consequently whether he was eligible to be vice president at all. 

To the Hon. Chester A. Arthur; Respectfully, Julia I. Sand

In 1882 and 1883, decades before women had the right to vote, Julia Sand wrote a series of letters to President Chester A. Arthur that may have influenced his presidency. 


James G. Fair, Silver King

Fair was a contemporary of Levi Strauss, living and working in San Francisco around the same time as the denim magnate, but though Fair often appears on lists of the richest men in U.S. history, he doesn’t have the same name recognition.

Baron Franz Nopcsa

Nopcsa lived an adventurous, scholarly life, funded entirely by his family money. He identified dinosaurs, inserted himself into Albanian politics, and wrote volumes and volumes of books and papers. But his life was not entirely charmed. 


Juliette Gordon Low

The, founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America had an early life that’s somewhat surprising. But she was deeply interested in helping other from an early age, and when she learned about the scouting movement, she dedicated her life to it. 



The Tiara of Saitaphernes

Our April Fool’s Day story is the tale of an elaborate hoax. It starts with the Scythians and how their artifacts became highly prized in 19th century Europe, and ends with an artist who came into fame as a result of his part in a forgery. 



Transatlantic Cruising Before the Titanic

Ships were of course carrying cargo for centuries before the idea of carrying passengers in any sort of vacation sense existed. But once the Black Ball line decided to prioritize passenger comfort, the development of the cruise industry began. 

Alexandre Dumas Père

Alexandre Dumas wrote such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, and both those books’ sequels, eight Marie Antoinette romances, and a BUNCH of other novels and plays. And essays. And travel books. And memoirs. And a dictionary of cuisine. Hundreds and hundreds of works.