Tag Archives: america

Patriot Games

I found this buncha nonsense on Futility Closet’s blog here. The original story was found in Barbara Tuchman’s The Proud Tower. “Until 1890, the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives could block a vote by ‘disappearing’; they’d demand a roll … Continue reading

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Peculiar Bets

I found this story in The Star, Thursday, Iss: 104 (August 30, 1900); pg. 1. It reads: “Peculiar bets on the outcome of the Presidential election are causing considerable amusement in the Western States. If Mr. McKinley is elected, Henry … Continue reading

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Edward Fitzgerald, 7th Duke of Leinster

Do you guys want another story about a debauched aristocrat? Of course you do! I’ve been reading Marcus Scriven’s Splendour & Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties (2009), and have discovered the rather remarkable, decadent life of Edward … Continue reading

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Klondike Kate

I’m wrapping up my posts on nineteenth-century courtesans. All quotations are from Susan Griffin’s The Book of the Courtesans: A Catalogue of their Virtues. Klondike Kate, born Kathleen Rockwell, was a famous courtesan who struck it rich during the Klondike gold … Continue reading

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Oblong Man Weds Normal Woman

Just a quick one today. I heard this story on an episode of QI (series “N”, episode “News”). In the 1970s, an Illinois newspaper the Bloomington Pantagraph ran a headline titled “Oblong Man Weds Normal Woman“. What they were referring to was … Continue reading

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Smock Marriages

I found this story on an episode of QI (series N, episode “New”). In the eighteenth century in New England, there was a particular type of marriage called a “smock marriage”, in which the bride would attend her wedding completely naked. … Continue reading

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Nora Hildebrandt

I hear this story on an episode of QI (series N, episode “Naval Navigation”). Nora Hildebrandt was America’s very first professional tattooed lady (that we know about, anyway). She had 365 separate tattoos, and she claimed that she received them after … Continue reading

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