What if I were to tell you that the Opium Wars weren't really about opium? What if I told you that they were about trade, tea and silver? And what if one of the companies that began trading opium in the mid-nineteenth century is on the London Stock Exchange today? On this episode of Footnoting History, John explores the opium trade and how it led to open markets and the collapse of the Qing dynasty.
As his brother Napoleon rose to power in France, Jerome Bonaparte was in Baltimore, Maryland. While there the young Bonaparte did what many men do, he married a beautiful woman. Unfortunately his union with Miss Elizabeth Patterson was not welcomed by Napoleon, who had other plans for his little brother. In this episode we’ll examine what happened in Baltimore and how Emperor Napoleon’s disapproval dictated the future of the newlywed couple.
Carol Berkin. Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Desmond Seward. Napoleon's Family. New York: Viking, 1986.
Jerome Bonaparte Biography (June 2006) via The Fondation Napoléon
The following primary sources provide a glimpse into the coverage of the Patterson-Bonaparte relationship that appeared in contemporary United States newspapers. All links are via America’s Historical Newspapers:
‘Jerome Bonaparte’. Chronicle Express, Issue 103, page 2. New York, New York: November 11, 1803.
‘Married’. The Virginia Argus. XI: 1110, page 3. Richmond, Virginia: January 4, 1804.
‘Divorce’. Ostego Herald. XII: 614, page 3. Cooperstown, New York: January 1, 1807.
‘Mrs. Bonaparte’s Petition’. Commercial Advertiser. XV: 6368, page 2. New York, New York: December 21, 1812.
‘Prince Jerome Bonaparte and his two Wives’. Columbian Register. XLVII: 2448, page 1. New Haven, Connecticut: July 28, 1860.
As Britain celebrates the birth of Prince George's little sister, Footnoting History is pondering royal siblings who became influential figures in the country's history. Join us as we discuss how so-called "spares" ranging from Empress Matilda in the 12th century to King George VI in the 20th, found themselves in the spotlight.
Podcasters: Elizabeth and Christine
The average American eats 68 quarts of popcorn each year - making the salty treat the most popular snack food in the country. But where does popcorn come from and how did it get so popular?
Andrew F. Smith. Popped Culture: The Social History of Popcorn in America. University of South Carolina Press, 1999.
Cola di Rienzo had a turbulent career in fourteenth-century Rome. Find out how this son of a Roman innkeeper became embroiled in papal and imperial politics, held the ancient positions of tribune and senator, and ultimately died a violent death.
Ronald G. Musto, Apocalypse in Rome: Cola di Rienzo and the Politics of the New Age, University of California Press (2003)
Francesco Petrarch, The Revolution of Cola di Rienzo, translated by Mario E. Cosenza, Italica Press (2008)
Beloved children's classics such as The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys have been appearing in print for 75 to 100 years. The authors - Laura Lee Hope, Carolyn Keene, and Franklin W. Dixon - have kept children enchanted since the early 20th century...or have they?
The Stratemeyer Syndicate (Click on the links to the works you are interested in to find out more about specific authors!)
"Nancy Drew's Father" Meghan O'Rourke, The New Yorker (2004)
Carol Billman, The Secret of the Stratemeyer Syndicate: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the Million Dollar Fiction Factory (1986)
Kate Marsden was born and died in London, but in the intervening decades, she traversed thousands of miles - and engaged the patronage of two empresses - in her efforts to ameliorate the lot of lepers, from London to the Russian steppes. Her exploits and her writings about them both inspired and scandalized society. This week's podcast uses Marsden's career to discuss truth-telling, travel-writing, and Victorian ideas of virtue.
Kate Marsden, On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers (New York: Cassell, 1892)
Elizabeth Baigent, " 'One could never reckon up all her misstatements!' Lies and Deception in the Life and Texts of Kate Marsden, Traveller to Siberia in the 1890s," in: Women, Travel Writing, and Truth, ed. Clare Broome Saunders, 9-27. (Routledge 2015.)
Hilary Chapman, "The New Zealand Campaign against Kate Marsden, Traveler to Siberia," New Zealand Slavonic Journal 40 (2000), 123-40.
Dorothy Middleton, "Kate Marsden, 1859-1931," The Geographical Magazine 34 (1962), 651-57.
What if everything you ever knew about history and classical literature was fundamentally wrong? What if there were a massive conspiracy, set in motion by medieval monks, to create entire bodies of literature and claim they were much older, or to invent centuries of history? In this episode, we trace the pseudo-history of the great "monastic conspiracy" from its origins in the writings of a French Jesuit in the 17th century to the bizarre New Chronology of a Russian mathematician in the 20th.
Anthony Grafton, "Jean Hardouin: The Antiquary as Pariah," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 62 (1999): 241-267.
In the 1950s, a series of discoveries allowed biologists to capture and construct the double-helio structure of DNA. For these efforts, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Francis Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. The implications of this work transformed the field of biology and led to dramatic new advancements in medicine. But the story of DNA was not so simple. James Watson's personal behavior diminished the contributions of other scientists. In this episode of Footnoting History, we learn about the complex drama behind the scenes of a landmark and transformative discovery...and the complications that continue to dog the career of a prominent scientist today.
Jennifer Glyn, My Sister Rosalind Franklin. Oxford University Press: 2012.
Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA. Harper Perennial: 2003.
Franklin H. Portugal, A Century of DNA: A History of the Discovery of the Structure and Function of the Genetic Substance. MIT Press: 1980.
Israel Rosenfeld, DNA: A Graphic Guide to the Molecule that Shook the World. Columbia University Press: 2010.
Each year in early March, professional mushers and their dog teams converge on Anchorage, Alaska to run the Iditarod, a grueling race to Nome, more than 1,000 miles away, ostensibly in commemoration of the 1925 "Great Race of Mercy." That first "race" consisted of heroic dogs and sledders who rushed diphtheria serum to the stricken city, and ensured the sled dog Balto his place in doggie stardom (and a statue in Central Park). But the Iditarod's legacy has not been free of controversy. Join us as we explore the guts, glory, controversy, and fluffy protagonists of the long history of dog mushing, and examine the shifting relationships between human and canine that made it possible.
Tricia Brown. Iditarod. Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
Gay and Laney Salisbury. The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic. New York: Norton, 2005.
Elizabeth Ricker and Leonhard Seppala. Seppala: Alaskan Dog Driver. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1930.
Kenneth Ungermann. The Race to Nome. Sunnyvale CA: Press North America/ Nulbay Associates, 1993.
Many Iditarod racers have written memoirs, including Libby Riddles, Rachel Scdoris, and Gary Paulsen.
However, I particularly enjoyed:
Brian Patrick O’Donoghue. My Lead Dog Was a Lesbian: Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod – the World’s Most Grueling Race. New York: Vintage, 1996.
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