Who doesn’t love breaking news about “scandalous” women from the past? Evelyn Farr is taking the reputation of one of history’s favorite maligned madames, Queen Marie Antoinette of France, to another level in her new book, I Love You Madly, claiming that Louis XVI’s wife had an affair with a Swedish Read more
Barons of the Gilded Age in the late nineteenth century weren’t just men. In fact, the richest person around was a woman, Hetty Green, dubbed “The Witch of Wall Street” for her financial aptitude, as well as her alleged miserliness. Behind the Really Rich Music: Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Read more
Whether it’s issues with oil or human rights violations, Saudi Arabia is often in the news. But what do we really know about this mysterious monarchy, which contains thousands of often problematic princes, and how it came to be? The current king, Salman, and all of his predecessors, aside from the f Read more
Despite the staid image of religion in the Middle Ages, those who created books of religious and cultural significance weren’t always so boring. In fact, they had pretty darn good senses of humors, often drawing beautiful and unusual pictures in the texts’ borders. These images, called marginalia, w Read more
In the 1980s, a series of previously unknown letters written by Albert Einstein came to light for the first time. Among the genius’s words of wisdom was a mention of his previously unknown daughter, Lieserl. His two sons by his first wife, Eduard and Hans Albert, were well-known, but historians had Read more

How Did January Get Its Name?

Dec 31, 2015
Carly Silver - Contributor

Unlike its summery counterparts, July and August, wintery January got its name not from a two-faced Julio-Claudian, but a god with two actual faces. Who was Janus, and how did his double-headedness feature into the name of a month? The poet Martial dubs Janus in his Epigrams “the author and parent o Read more
With Steve Harvey’s recent Miss Universe flub and Iraq holding its first beauty contest since 1972, “scholarship programs,” as Candice Bergen infamously dubbed beauty pageants in Miss Congeniality, are in the news like never before. But how long have beauty pageants been a part of our history? The f Read more
1. How to lose your reputation in ten days: Write poetry or fall for the cute shop-boy The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine prided itself on giving good advice to young ladies, especially those looking for husbands. As a writer enthused in an 1866 issue, “a bevy of fair damsels, all tremulous with e Read more
The title of a 2012 Jezebel article entitled “What Is with Our National Anti-Fruitcake Obsession? Have Any of You Even HAD Fruitcake?“ perfectly encapsulates America’s hatred of one of the holiday season’s most infamous treats: the fruit cake. As the Washington Post described, it’s “cloyingly sweet, Read more
It’s too bad that kings, princes, dukes, pharaohs, and more didn’t have birth control. Quite a few had multiple wives and dozens of kids….both of which were a drain on personal finances and parental attention span! 1. Robert I, Duke of Parma: This nineteenth-century Italian prince of French descent Read more
1. Jean, Count of Dunois, waged war while his brother wrote Valentines in prisons. Best known by the charming epithet “the Bastard of Orléans,” Jean helped win the Hundred Years’ War for France.  His father, Louis, Duke of Orléans, younger brother of the insane Charles VI, was most famous for his br Read more
As the Cambridge quartet—the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as George and new addition Charlotte—released its absolutely adorable Christmas card photo, let’s celebrate five queenly Charlottes who set the bar high for the newest little princess. 1. Charlotte of Wales:  This princess was the r Read more
Has a police officer ever worried about slipping on black ice or getting across frozen tundra? Well, not in Norway, thanks to the reindeer police! Yes, you heard me–reindeer police. A Sami man with a reindeer. Not just Santa’s sleigh-draggers in Norway, the cute quadrupeds are utilized to patrol the Read more