Author Archives: Heather Michon

Portrait of a Mother: Eliza Clerc Makes Her Deafness Visible, 1822

Their wedding in 1819 was perhaps the first of its kind in the United States: the union of deaf man and a deaf woman. When Laurent Clerc agreed to travel to America in 1817 to help Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet learn sign language and establish a school for the deaf, he made it clear he would be returning to France in 1820. That changed when he met 23-year old Eliza Boardman, one of his first students at the Connecticut Asylum for […]

This Is Not What A Feminist Looks Like

“Some idiot has drawn ladybits on the Queen Victoria statue on College Green.” Some idiot has drawn ladybits on the Queen Victoria statue on College Green @BristolPost Done in broad daylight! pic.twitter.com/Tq67kgHOlF — Bertram Fiddle (@BertramFiddle) January 7, 2016 Bristol street artist “Vaj Graff” is behind the graffiti, which appeared on the 127-year old statue on 7 January. This isn’t the first time she’s “corrected” art and signage in the city, 120 miles west of London. “Queen Vic was a […]

Was Lady Liberty Originally A Muslim?

“The Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a Muslim peasant woman and was to have stood at the approach to the Suez Canal,” writes Michael Daly in The Daily Beast, “a lantern in her upraised hand serving as both lighthouse and a symbol of progress.” The idea that our symbol of Liberty started as a Muslim is a powerful rhetorical tool in the fight to allow desperate Syrian refugees come to the United States and the decades-old debate over […]

Waiting To Become A Widow: Mary Brown and the Execution of John Brown

On the morning of December 2, 1859, Mary Day Brown and her companions Hector Tyndale and James and Sarah McKim left the Wager House Hotel in Harpers Ferry, Virginia for a walk at the start of what promised to be another long and trying day. They had barely started out when a gunshot cut the air; Tyndale felt a bullet brush by his head. Whether this was a serious attack or a prank by some over-excited local was not something […]

A Line Through the Desert

Readers of the New-York Tribune learned on December 1, 1866 that “Matrimonial advices from Utah state that Mr. Brigham Young has just taken a forty-fifth wide: the actual number of his family not being increased, as No. 23 died the other day.” The story was incorrect. He had married Amelia Folsom in January 1863 and wouldn’t again until he took Mary Van Cott as a wife in January 1868. Many historians sorting through the muddle of Young’s matrimonial history count […]

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