Monthly Archives: February 2015

“¿Quién es?” Will a Death Certificate Finally Put the Legend of Billy the Kid To Rest?

This month, Robert J. Stahl arrived at the District Court in Fort Sumner, New Mexico with a request for the New Mexico Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics to issue a death certificate for William Henry McCarty, Jr alias William H. Bonney alias “Billy the Kid.”

Catching Fire: From Fire-Bombings To Hatchet Attacks, the Violent History of Women’s Suffrage in Edwardian England

In the history of women’s suffrage, few images are more potent that that of suffragette Emily Davison being crushed under the hooves of the King’s horse during a race at Epsom Downs on June 4, 1913. After a century of debate, there’s still some question over what she was trying to accomplish – to attach a ‘Votes for Women’ flag to the horse, to commit suicide, or simply to disrupt the race – but it either failed or succeeded spectacularly. […]

Week In Review: All Sorts of Jewels

In case you missed it….This week we looked at America’s secret history of female circumcision, my own family’s small part in introducing vaccination to the United States in 1801, and the remarkable journey of the world’s largest diamond.  

How Do You Send The World’s Largest Diamond Halfway Across the Globe? Stick a Stamp On It.

Pretoria, January 26, 1905. When Frederick Wells saw it, “it suddenly flashed across me that I had gone insane. I knew it could not be a diamond….Some practical joker, thought I, has planted this huge chunk of glass here for me to find it. He thinks I will make a fool of myself by bringing it into the office…” Major Wells went on instinct. He dug the crystal out with his pocket-knife and carried it to the office. Word went […]

The Speckled Monster and the Original Vaxxers

Sometime in 1801, Dr. Ezekiel Bissell made a tiny nick in the arm of little Heman Moulton. Days later, a “promising pustule” formed on the baby’s arm. The first phase of the experiment was complete. Bissell was one of the only physicians in Orange County, Vermont…a distinction that resulted in wearying hours traveling around the communities surrounding his home in Randolph. Still, he made the time to keep up with advances in his field. By 1800, he was reading about […]