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Articles Categorized History American

West v. West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part I

In 1761 Elias Hasket Derby, age 22,  married Elizabeth Crowninshield, age 26. When they married, Elias’ father built them a brick house on Salem’s waterfront. Elizabeth’s father provided household items, including furniture, linen, brass kettles, and looking glasses. Elias acquired a new beaver hat to mark the occasion.  The couple were well-suited. The Derby family

The Earl of Northumbria, His Illegitimate Son, & The Smithsonian Institution

On August 10, 1846 President James K. Polk, a man little remembered today, signed The Smithsonian Institution Act to create what we generally generally think of as our national museum. But Polk’s action was neither the beginning nor the ending of the story I’m about to tell.  The story begins in 1688 with the birth

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses

Summer is here —Time to SLIP-SLOP-SLAP-WRAP SLIP on a shirt before you slide into the shade; SLOP on sunscreen; SLAP on a hat; and WRAP Sunglasses around your eyes.  Eye protection is important, not just to reduce glare and shade your view, but to prevent photokeratitis, or sunburn on your eyes from exposure to Ultraviolet

A TOAST TO ICED TEA

Iced beverages of any kind, but especially iced tea, have been a staple of hot summer days for generations. By definition, any form of cold tea is an iced tea, which implies, I can simply brew some hot tea, let it cool, and put the container into the refrigerator for a few hours, and voila,

Ketchup: The All-American Condiment

Ketchup is the go-to of  all American condiments. In fact, the average American consumes 71 pounds of ketchup each year. [Incidentally, this 1953 advertisement by Alcoa Aluminum uses the Del Monte catsup bottle as a prop to demonstrate how easy it is to open aluminum screw tops.] It’s easy to understand why Alcoa used a

TOMATOES: FRUITS, VEGETABLES, OR LOVE APPLES?

Most vegetable gardens, whether in the back yard or in pots on the balcony, feature tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash [usually the prolific zucchini]. All are easy to grow and attractive with their lush leaves and yellow flowers. I enjoy the lacy effect of these tomato blossoms in my garden. Americans also like the taste of

VICTORY OVER SMALL POX

While spending time sheltering-in-place at home, I, like many other people, considered previous pandemics. Many media stories compare COVID-19 to the 1918 H1N1 virus pandemic. But that event is one of many throughout history, including small pox, also known as the speckled monster, a virulent viral disease once endemic in Europe, Asia, and Arabia. It

How Do Groundhogs Predict Weather? Not very well.

Sunday is Groundhog Day, the day when a large rodent leaves his burrow, looks around, and decides whether or not winter will continue another six weeks. Some folks say the groundhog is correct about 37 percent of the time, though that could be pure luck. Groundhogs are actually squirrels, commonly known as marmots. Groundhogs are

Turkey, Football, & Shopping

At its most basic level, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about being grateful and eating a special meal. The menu generally includes a roast turkey, or tofu turkey. Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert choice, but far from the only one. The rest of the menu includes family favorites. Once the meal is over, thoughts