Biographies

The Photography of Frances Benjamin Johnston

Fannie Johnston is tied to SO MANY people and events that we have talked about on the show before. She’s like a history nexus point. And she was able to make a very nice living for herself as a photographer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

F.W. Murnau, Director of the Nosferatu

Murnau is most well known for directing the first vampire film, but the German-born creator went on to make a number of influential films before his early death.

Jeanne Baret

Baret was the first woman known to circumnavigate the globe. But her experience wasn’t just about the travel – she was working, and her work took her to places that were totally unexpected for someone of her gender and economic class in the 18th century.  



Robert Liston, Surgical Pioneer

Liston is most known for a tale about how multiple deaths resulted from one of his surgeries. But that means that his entire biography as a surgeon is dominated by the apocryphal events of one day. So today we’ll unpack his career and ethics.



Sarah Josepha Hale & Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book was the most popular magazine in the U.S. in the middle of the 19th century. Although it’s most well-known for its hand-tinted fashion plates, its content included poetry, fiction, household tips, music, and etiquette.

Thomas Harriot: Mathematician, Astronomer, Relative Unknown

Harriot's story is tied to SO MANY other notable historic things, including a lot of business with Sir Walter Raleigh. He’s really not a household name like many of his contemporaries, even though he was neck-and-neck with them in terms of discoveries. 

Thomas Cook, John Cook, and the Rise of the Tourism Industry

Thomas Cook and his son John Mason Cook were pioneers of the idea of a travel agency to manage tourist holidays. But Thomas Cook was initially motivated by his support of the temperance movement and his deeply held religious beliefs. 






Hatshepsut and the Expeditions to Punt

One of our biggest sources of information on Punt comes from Hatshepsut, who sent a huge expedition there in the 15th century B.C.E. The expedition to Punt is also an important and illustrative part of Hatshepsut’s reign.

Sylvia of Hollywood – Beauty Consultant to the Stars

In the 1920s and 1930s, Sylvia was famous for shaping up starlets, cementing the idea that Hollywood’s beauties were aspirational figures for the average woman. Many of Sylvia's ideas about fitness were totally sensible, but she could also be quite harsh
 

Marie Laurencin: Avante-garde Painter of Paris

Laurencin is a difficult painter to study. In addition to her work not quite falling in line with the artists who were her contemporaries, her personal papers are difficult to access, are censored, and have strict limitations put on their use.