How A Major Canadian University in Ontario Connects To Chengdu, In Western China

Queens University in Kingston, Ontario was founded in 1841 by a royal charter from Queen Victoria. Although initially founded to prepare Presbyterian ministers, it quickly added a medical college, and even a women's medical college in 1883. Near the turn of the century one Dr. Omar Leslie Kilborn graduated with both his bachelor’s and his MD from Queens University. And in 1891, he left Canada for western China as a medical missionary. Dr. Kilborn's goal was to open a series of clinics in the region in order to make healthcare more widely available to the people there. His first clinic opened its doors on November 3, 1892, and he went on to open a number of other clinics and hospitals, including a women's hospital and a dentistry clinic. He also helped establish the Medical College of West China University so local clinics and hospitals might be staffed by locals. Today, a number of hospitals in Chengdu trace their history to Dr. Kilborn.

Get Pregnant, Get Fired

Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, American women could get fired from a job for being pregnant. And many were.


"History never says goodbye. History says, 'See you later.'"

Eduardo Galeano (1940 - 2015), a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. He was particularly famous for writing about soccer/football.

The First Female Prime Minister of Pakistan Set More Than One Record

Pakistan was the first Muslim nation to elect a female prime minister. Benazir Bhutto served as the 11th prime minister from 1988 to 1990, and the 13th prime minister from 1993 to 1996. Ideologically a liberal and a secularist, she chaired or co-chaired the center-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the early 1980s until her assassination by a suicide bomber in 2007.

NASA Forced Out Its First Black Astronaut Trainee, So He Became A Famous Artist Instead

Noted sculptor Ed Dwight was a test pilot for the US Air Force while getting a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1961, the Kennedy administration selected Dwight to be the first African-American to train as an astronaut. His selection drew international media coverage. After Kennedy was assassinated, NASA forced Dwight out of the program by assigning him to a German test pilot school that did not exist, making Dwight resign in 1966.

After NASA, Dwight worked as an engineer in real estate and at IBM, before learning how to operate a metal casting foundry in the mid-1970s, and getting a Masters of Fine Arts. His career in sculpture took off from there. He is noted for his pioneering use of negative space, and has created over 100 public sculptures, all involving blacks and civil rights activists. Today he owns and runs a studio in Denver, Colorado.


"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."

William Goldman (1931 - 2018). He was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. Goldman first came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to screenwriting. He won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976). He also wrote, among other things, a thriller novel Marathon Man (1974) and comedy-fantasy novel The Princess Bride (1973), both of which Goldman adapted for film.

The Prime Minister and the Geisha

Sasuke Uno was the prime minister of Japan for just over two months -- from early June 1989 to early August 1989. He resigned after it came out that he had kept a geisha as a mistress for a period of five months before becoming prime minister.

The problem was less his extramarital affair, and more how callous and stingy he was with the lady. He offered her money the first night he met her, claimed to have "saved" her with his money, and generally treated her "disdainfully." It was the first time that a Japanese politician's private life was publicized in the media in such a way.

The Mystery of Belle Gunness

Belle Gunness was a Norwegian-American serial killer who vanished from her farm in Indiana on April 28, 1908, after having killed as many as 40 people. Belle had a simple pattern: she would start pen-pal relationships with men, who responded to her personal advertisements for investors looking for possible relationships. She corresponded with her victims for a number of months, and would then convince them to visit, bringing with them their life savings in cash while telling no one where they were going. A number of men, most of them homesick for their native Norway, would turn up at her door with a $1,000 or more wrapped in paper parcels, after which they would never be seen in one piece again.

Belle was believed at one time to have died in a fire at her home, where the remains of three charred bodies, thought to be her children, and an equally burned female torso were found. Belle’s sometime boyfriend, Ray Lamphere, was arrested and questioned and charged with arson. However, when police began to excavate the farmhouse, they found a number of bodies, and body parts, that clearly had nothing to do with him. It was later believed that the headless torso was not that of Gunness at all but rather her housekeeper. Who had just happened to disappear around the time of the fire. Another piece of evidence that she was not dead: Gunness had withdrawn large amounts of money from the bank immediately prior to the fire. Lamphere is said to have confessed before his death that he helped Gunness to set the fire, and drove her to the train station to make good her escape. There were many sightings over the years, but Gunness' whereabouts -- alive or dead -- have never been determined.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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