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Articles Categorized Sandra Wagner-Wright

West v.West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part 2

On May 23, 1783, Elizabeth Derby married Nathaniel West. As noted in last week’s blog, Betsey, as she was known, was the eldest daughter of the richest man in Salem, Massachusetts. Betsey was 21 years old, free to marry the man of her choice. Nathaniel West, five years older than his bride, had been sailing

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

Last of the Summer Reads

Before we bid farewell to summer, there’s still time to enjoy a final three fictional escapes. Each story is attached to a place, and one or more points in history. Each involves at least one feisty heroine who takes control of her own life, however reluctantly.  I almost didn’t pick up The Lions of Fifth

Hunting Unicorns

Unicorns are elusive creatures, though I’m not sure they can be called shy.  In the Middle Ages, about the time unicorns became officially magical, people thought the creatures symbolized purity. This is probably why the standard color for unicorns is white. On the other hand, unicorns were said to be vain creatures who happily spent

Unicorn Tales

Sometimes fanciful thoughts relax our minds by reminding us of whimsical, carefree times. And what could be more whimsical than riding a unicorn? If the unicorn is white, with a multi-colored tale, it is clearly a fantasy. But unicorns of other descriptions were once thought to be real. The unicorn, a mythical, magical beast sporting

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

Summer Reads: Mysteries in Exotic Places

It’s the end of July, the height of the summer season. Many of us have emotional baggage — those suitcases and backpacks that finally accept they won’t be going anywhere this summer. But we can still escape into other worlds via mysteries with intriguing locales. This month’s episode of Summer Reads features mysteries in locales

“By the Beautiful Sea”

Before people started going to the beach, there was Sea Bathing for health, of course. In 1753 Dr. Richard Russell published The Use of Sea Water, a treatise recommending sea water as a cure for various diseases. The salty water was recommended as an immersive cure and a healing tonic. Russell’s book remained in print

ICE COLD LEMONADE ON A HOT SUMMER DAY

Last month’s blog on Iced Tea got me thinking about other thirst quenching drinks for hot summer days, and Lemonade is every bit as common as Iced Tea as a summer beverage. Lemons and sugarcane, two prime ingredients for lemonade, are native to India where people mix a beverage called Nimbu Pani. The ingredients include