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Articles Categorized History American

First Ladies in the “Roaring Twenties”

For various reasons, we are more aware of some First Ladies than others. Last week, I skipped over Edith Roosevelt and Helen Taft in favor of closing the blog with Edith Wilson. This week, I intended to begin with Lou Hoover, but I started thinking about 1920 as a pivotal year.  The United States had

First Ladies in Unusual Circumstances

After the civil war, American First Ladies were women with direct experience in the social movements of their time. As young women, none had any expectation of the office they would hold, but their role as presidential spouses continued to bring change to the White House. The Election of 1876 After eight years in the

First Ladies: Expanding the Role

During the course of the nineteenth century, First Ladies emerged from behind their husband’s careers to become separate personalities. Though these women were still identified most broadly as wives and mothers, social expectations changed. This second installment in my series about First Ladies profiles a selection of nineteenth century First Ladies who caught my interest:

Christmas Cards: From Convenient Greeting to Annual Burden

I grew up in a different America, one that had one black plastic rotary phone per household and one black & white family television powered by tubes. Yes, it was that long ago. Christmas trees were “live” with scraggly branches and decorated with strands of tinsel that had to be correctly placed, usually by a

The First Thanksgiving Feast

Over the years, historians have shared stories about the multi-cultural harvest event that took place in Plymouth in 1621. The usual version is that when the Pilgrims arrived on Cape Cod, the Wampanoag People showed them how to plant corn, and that when the harvest came in, everyone celebrated. If you don’t look too closely,

Cranberries — An American Fruit

Do you recognize this iconic Norman Rockwell picture? The artist created it in 1943 with the title Freedom from Want to illustrate one of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms justifying American participation World War II. The illustration went on to represent the perfect American Thanksgiving Celebration. Three generations gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly

Lillian Gilbreth & The Modern American Kitchen

This is a story about Lillian Gilbreth and how she applied principles of scientific management developed by Frederick Taylor to modernize American kitchens.  Taylor believed there was one best way to accomplish any task. The trick is to find it. Once the method is discovered, tools and work methods can be standardized to increase efficient

Ichabod Disappears

Imagine. Two horses approach Sleepy Hollow Bridge at a thunderous gallop. No doubt the first horse, Gunpowder, is on his last legs. He’s hardly fit enough for a trot. Now he catches his rider’s terror, and gallops as if the very devil is behind him. The second horse is sleek and muscular. His hooves pound

Ichabod Crane Flees The Headless Horseman

Ichabod Crane is a poor man with aspirations; a lover of ghost stories who fears the dark. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving creates an unsympathetic character as the subject of his American ghost story. Last week, Ichabod courted Katrina Van Tassel, hoping she would accept him as a suitor. One wonders why

Meet Ichabod Crane – Credulous Schoolteacher

October is best known for Halloween, a spooky holiday on the last evening of the month. The day is associated with costumes, ‘trick-or-treating,’ and spooky stories of ghosts and other supernatural beings. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published by American writer Washington Irving in 1819, is one of the most well-known. The famous headless horseman