Featured Category Archives

The Lazy Historian’s Guide to Historical Accuracy on Screen

Author Hilary Mantel has been drowning in accolades since Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies hit the bookstore shelves, the stage and then the TV screen. But I found it surprising when Mantel said women writers must stop falsely empowering female characters in history, referring specifically to historical fiction authors. It’s interesting that Mantel dislikes that part about historical fiction but doesn’t mind changing up other …

Mad about Mad Hatter Disease

I’m a big fan of medical history so I was surprised when I heard the term “Mad hatter disease” recently and I was unfamiliar with it. The only Mad Hatter I was aware of until recently was the silly top hat-wearing gentleman in Alice in Wonderland. When I discovered that the disease actually related to hats, I got even more excited. (I love me a good …

Interview: Dr. Ian Mortimer, Author and Historian

About a month ago, I was really annoyed. I’m a huge fan of “everyday life” English history books. I have a special shelf in my office just for those types of books. You might notice two things about the above picture: Two books here are by Ian Mortimer. I’m a big fan. I’m missing a book about life in Restoration Britain. And that’s why I was …

Interview: Jennifer Robertson, Art Conservator

Careers based in the history industry fascinate me. I recently had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Robertson, a book and paper conservationist based in London, Ontario. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her job and share some images with us. You can learn more about Jennifer’s work at her website.   How did you become interested in this type of …

The History of Sex: A Brief Timeline

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I think it’s time. Let’s talk about sex. I previously did a timeline post about the Salem Witch Trials. It was a fascinating way of seeing the build up to the event, the climax and then the descent back to normality, which reminded me of doing this type of post. WINK, WINK. Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? 15,000 …

Historical Letter Writing Role-Playing

While preparing my recent blog post on costume bloggers, I came across a blog post on A Most Peculiar Mademoiselle where she briefly mentioned joining a “letter exchange role play.” I contacted her to find out more info. She and a group of other Jane Austen (almost exclusively Swedish) fans gathered in a Facebook group. Each person creates a fictional persona, posts some details of …

5 Historical Costume Bloggers You Should Follow

Although it’s probably a little late to start on your historical Halloween costume at this point, you can still drool over the costumes made by these amazing bloggers. Most of these bloggers are also on Pinterest and Instagram, so don’t forget to follow them on social media too. Note: all of the photos below belong to the bloggers and/or the original photographers. (Additional note: if my …

The Cast of Hamilton: Now and Then

Hamilton combines two of my favorite things—musicals and history—into something exceptional. The hip hopera swept the Tonys this year and has made writer/performer Lin-Manuel Miranda a household name. One of the many things that makes Hamilton unique is the choice to cast almost every role with non-white actors, to better show what America looks like now, a diverse ethnic melting pot. I’m a big history portrait nerd …

Review: The Private Lives of the Tudors

(Yes, I’m still alive. I’ve been busy moving into my first home and publishing my second novel. Okay!) The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman makes a great addition to any English history lover’s library, great for the Tudor enthusiast interested in the mundane details of daily life or the Tudor history novice looking for a broad overview of the dynasty. Borman’s previous …

Vincent van Gogh, Mental Illness and His Ear

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh sold few of his paintings, possibly only one. He was supported financially throughout his life by his brother Theo. In exchange for this support, Vincent would send Theo his paintings in the hopes that he could sell them and make some money back. With the exception of The Red Vineyard, he wasn’t successful. Now, van Gogh’s paintings are sold at auction …