European History

The First Celebrity Chef: Marie-Antoine Carême

Today, there is an entire industry around celebrity chefs. But the first celebrity chef in the western world's history was born in late 18th-century France.

Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing

Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century. He wasn’t taken seriously then, but today he’s known as everything from the father of infection control to the conqueror of childbed fever.

The Minuscule Science of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek

Leeuwenhoek wasn’t REALLY a scientist -- he had no formal training. But he made dozens of scientific discoveries. He’s credited with discovering microscopic life in a variety of forms, using lenses he ground himself.

Giorgio Vasari

Vasari was an artist and architect in 16th-century Italy. But what really made him famous was his writing. He penned biographies of famous artists, but he wasn't exactly exacting about the details.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 2

The exploits of the Special Operations Executive are the stuff of legend. This episode continues to look at a few of the group's missions, and what became of the SOE after WWII.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Part 1

After the Germans invaded France in 1940, an idea sprouted in the highest levels of Great Britain's leadership. From that idea, the Special Operations Executive was born. And in many ways, it changed the way wars were fought forever.

The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

Tasty treats associated with winter holidays - candy canes, wassail and gingerbread - have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their histories was eaten. What do we actually know about these foods and their place in the holiday menu?

Six Impossible Episodes by Request

This installation of Six Impossible Episodes is a bit of a hodge podge, with several oft-requested topics. Included are Olive Yang, the Silent Parade of 1917, Glencoe Massacre, Marion Downs, Lena Himmelstein and the Great Windham Frog Fight of 1754.

3 Reformation Women: Katharina, Marguerite & Jeanne

Katharina von Bora, Marguerite d’Angoulême and Jeanne d’Albret all left their mark on the Reformation, but all in different ways. Each of them has a unique part in the battle over religious affiliation in 16th-century Europe.

SYMHC Live at NYCC: Rodolphe Töpffer and the First Comic Book

Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher drew entertaining doodles for friends. As he developed his sketches into stories told with multiple captioned images, he inadvertently invented the first sequential art comics in the Western world.