Loneliness Is A Modern Invention

Literally -- the word first appeared in the 1800s. Before that time, English had the words ‘oneliness,’ the state of being alone, and ‘solitude,’ also meaning the state of being alone.

And while loneliness is understood to be a painful condition today, oneliness and solitude were debated. Some European philosophers thought solitude was damaging to a person’s physical and mental health. Others held that it was crucial to stay sane. And crucial for spiritual health: solitary confinement was originally not a punishment, but an path to reformation through enforced contemplation of one’s sins.

The Creation of Rotterdam (Part 2)

A month ago (or so) I posted a couple paragraphs on the Dutch city of Rotterdam's history. It was titled "The Creation of Rotterdam." Imagine my surprise when I came across this map, showing the physical expansion of Rotterdam's port. It was truly created, that is to say, built by men.

The Boston Socialite Who Helped Shape The American Art World

American socialite Isabella Stewart first visited Europe as a teenager in 1857. While she was there, she was exposed to Italian Renaissance art, and she fell in love. (With the art, in case that wasn't clear.) Shortly after returning to the States, her former classmate Julia Gardner invited Isabella to Boston, where she met Julia's brother John Lowell "Jack" Gardner, 3 years her senior and one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. He was also rather wealthy.

Now named Isabella Steward Gardner, she became a provocative figure in Boston high society, partially owed to her taste in fashion and eccentric behavior. The Boston society pages called her by many names, including "Belle," "Donna Isabella," "Isabella of Boston," and "Mrs. Jack". Isabella and her husband Jack were avid travelers, and from the mid-1870s visited the Middle East, Europe, and Asia for long stretches. It was while in Europe they began amassing a large art collection, though Gardner also purchased work in Egypt and the Far East. They were interested not only in paintings, but also ceramics, silver, stained glass, and architectural elements like doors. By 1896, Isabella and Jack Gardner recognized that their house on Beacon Street in Boston’s Back Bay, although enlarged once, was not sufficient to house their growing collection of art, which by now included works by Botticelli, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. When Jack died in 1898, Isabella set out to build a museum for their vast collection.

She purchased land in what was then a marshy area next to Boston, and hired an architect to build a museum modeled on the Renaissance palaces of Venice that she had loved to stay in with Jack. The museum opened in 1903. And it is still hung to Gardner’s specification. You may know the museum because it was the target of a high-value and never-solved robbery in 1990.

Let's Learn About Mexico!

The birthplace of plant domestication in the Americas. The first New World country to gain independence from the Spanish Empire. The eleventh-largest country in the world, by population. Like the United States, Russia, and China, this is a country that any informed citizen should have at least a basic knowledge about.

On December 30th, 1809, wearing masks at balls was outlawed in Boston, Massachusetts. Leave it to the Puritan state to ban masquerades.

"History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them."

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 – 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer. He campaigned against social discrimination towards Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labor.

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    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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