Resistance Fighter Noor Inayat Khan Honoured With Plaque in Central London

Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive.

Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive.

Female spy, Noor Inayat Khan, born in Moscow to Indian and US parents, made history in WWII when she became the first Muslim woman to be deployed behind enemy lines in Paris, France in 1943.

Today she is making history once more as…

Source: Resistance Fighter Noor Inayat Khan Honoured With Plaque in Central London

The Hidden Histories of Black Americans in Paris – Atlas Obscura

Josephine Baker in Paris, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (right). © ESTATE OF BEAUFORD DELANEY BY PERMISSION OF DEREK L. SPRATLEY, ESQUIRE, COURT APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR, COURTESY OF MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY LLC, NEW YORK, NY; PUBLIC DOMAIN

Josephine Baker in Paris, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (right). © ESTATE OF BEAUFORD DELANEY BY PERMISSION OF DEREK L. SPRATLEY, ESQUIRE, COURT APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR, COURTESY OF MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY LLC, NEW YORK, NY; PUBLIC DOMAIN

MONIQUE WELLS MOVED FROM TEXAS to Paris in 1992 for a job, and she ended up staying indefinitely. Like generations of Americans before her, Wells and her husband fell in love with the City of Light. But since she went there as a veterinary pathologist, and not as a tourist, it was years before she asked herself where she’d go if she only had a few days in Paris.

Then Wells and her husband, Tom, started a company that created custom travel itineraries. Travelers would…

Source: The Hidden Histories of Black Americans in Paris – Atlas Obscura

Book Bite: The Woman Before Wallis | An Historian About Town

No matter what is happening in the British royal family, Edward VII and Wallis Simpson seem to come up a lot. And usually not in a favourable way, unfortunately. So, I was quite excited to see a younger, pre-Wallis Edward, in fiction! I’ve chatted about the rise of royal-ish fiction, but this is bonafide royal fiction, and how lovely it is. Today I’m chatting about why you need to read The Woman Before Wallis!

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and…

Source: Book Bite: The Woman Before Wallis | An Historian About Town

Sixteenth-Century Feminist: Lavinia Fontana | A R T L▼R K

On the 24th of August 1552, Italian painter Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna. She is considered the first-ever woman artist to work within the same sphere as her male counterparts, independently and outside a royal court or convent. “The most significant and prolific female artist of the 16th century, Lavinia Fontana opened up opportunities for successive generations of…

Source: Sixteenth-Century Feminist: Lavinia Fontana | A R T L▼R K

In Han Dynasty China, Bisexuality Was the Norm | JSTOR Daily

In the last years BCE, Emperor Ai was enjoying a daytime nap. He was in his palace, in Chang’an (now Xi’an, China), hundreds of miles inland, wearing a traditional long-sleeved robe. Laying on one of his sleeves was a young man in his 20s, Dong Xian, also asleep. So tender was the emperor’s love for this man that, when he had to get up, instead of waking his lover, he cut off the sleeve…

Source: In Han Dynasty China, Bisexuality Was the Norm | JSTOR Daily

The Jewish Ghetto and Photonostalgia: Roman Vishniac’s Vanished World | A R T L▼R K

A re-run from A R T L▼R K.

On the 19th of August 1897, one of the world’s most remarkable microbiologists and naturalist photographers, Roman Vishniac was born in Pavlovsk, the Russian Empire. Within the art world, however, he is best remembered for his photojournalistic coverage of the Eastern European Jewish ghettos prior to World War II. In the late 1930s, Vishniac was commissioned by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to photograph the Jewish poor of Eastern Europe. Out of the sixteen thousand photographs he managed to take, only two thousand survived. Most of them have been published several times in book form as Polish Jews (1947), A Vanished World (1969), and To Give Them Light (1992).

Vishniac’s body of work has come to be thought of as the last photographic record of a universe on the cusp of being comprehensively and cataclysmically…

Source: The Jewish Ghetto and Photonostalgia: Roman Vishniac’s Vanished World | A R T L▼R K

9 Sites on the River Thames That Tell the Story of Charles Dickens | Heritage Calling

Portrait of Dickens (detail) in 1843 when he was 21, painted by Margaret Gillies. Public Domain.

Portrait of Dickens (detail) in 1843 when he was 21, painted by Margaret Gillies. Public Domain.

2020 sees the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens, considered by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era; author of books such as Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend. Many of his novels – and his journalism – were shaped by a time of hardship in his childhood and by firsthand knowledge of the cruel…

Source: 9 Sites on the River Thames That Tell the Story of Charles Dickens | Heritage Calling

The Forgotten Trans History of the Wild West – Atlas Obscura

FROM 1900 TO 1922, HARRY Allen was one of the most notorious men in the Pacific Northwest. The West was still wide and wild then, a place where people went to find their fortunes, escape the law, or start a new life. Allen did all three. Starting in the 1890s, he became known as a rabble-rouser, in and out of jail for theft, vagrancy, bootlegging, or worse. Whatever the crime, Allen always seemed to be a suspect because he refused to wear women’s clothes, and instead dressed as a cowboy, kept his hair trim, and spoke…

Source: The Forgotten Trans History of the Wild West – Atlas Obscura

The hidden courtyard of one of England’s best preserved castles – Flickering Lamps

It may not be the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of England’s great castles, but in the North Yorkshire town of Skipton, a fine medieval castle dominates the skyline.  Skipton Castle, the earliest parts of which date from the Norman period, is one of the best-preserved…

Source: The hidden courtyard of one of England’s best-preserved castles – Flickering Lamps

The Victorian Tea “Infomercial” | JSTOR Daily

Recently, far-right commentator Laura Towler claimed to be “chuffed” that Yorkshire Tea had not openly expressed support for Black Lives Matter. Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips (another tea giant) fired back on social media. The former told Towler, “Please don’t buy our tea again”; both companies stated that they “stand against racism.”

Ironically, even though…

Source: The Victorian Tea “Infomercial” | JSTOR Daily

Meet Hercules, One of America’s Early Celebrity Chefs – Gastro Obscura

Washington's Philadelphia residence, as depicted by William L. Breton.

Washington’s Philadelphia residence, as depicted by William L. Breton.

AFTER A LONG DAY IN president George Washington’s executive kitchen, chef Hercules hit the streets of Philadelphia with sartorial flair and a keen eye for late-18th century fashion. Atop his head, the enslaved cook wore a voguish tricorn hat. Bright metal buttons held together his blue velvet-collared coat, a pair of shiny buckles dominated his fastidiously polished shoes, and a long watch-chain dangled from the side of his black silken…

Source: Meet Hercules, One of America’s Early Celebrity Chefs – Gastro Obscura

Nazi concentration camp guard convicted over 5,232 murders | World news | The Guardian

A 93-year-old former SS guard has been found guilty of accessory to the murder of 5,232 people at a Nazi concentration camp in the final days of the second world war.

Bruno Dey, who was 17 when he joined Stutthof concentration camp as a guard, was handed a two-year suspended sentence by a youth court in Hamburg on Thursday morning…

Source: Nazi concentration camp guard convicted over 5,232 murders | World news | The Guardian

5 Objects That Illuminate the Medieval Exchange Between Africa and Europe – Atlas Obscura

DURING THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD, BETWEEN the 8th to 16th centuries, West Africa was flush with vast resources and gold. Its kingdoms were some of the most prosperous the world has ever known. When the king Mansa Musa of 14th-century Mali made a stop in Cairo, Egypt, it’s said that he handed out so much gold to the poor that he single-handedly caused…

Source: 5 Objects That Illuminate the Medieval Exchange Between Africa and Europe – Atlas Obscura

It Wasn’t Just Pompeii. Archaeologists Say the Roman Republic and Even an Ancient Egyptian Kingdom May Have Been Ended by Volcanoes

Okmok Caldera, Alaska. Photo by J. Reeder. Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Okmok Caldera, Alaska. Photo by J. Reeder. Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

What led to the demise of the Roman Republic?

Experts now believe that the eruption of a remote Alaskan volcano may be partly to blame.

The Okmok volcano erupted early in the year 43 BC, spewing clouds of ash into the atmosphere and blocking the sun’s rays, causing two of the coldest years in the past two and a half millennia. The event triggered a famine that exacerbated existing political tensions in Rome and led to the rise of the Roman Empire, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings…

Source: It Wasn’t Just Pompeii. Archaeologists Say the Roman Republic and Even an Ancient Egyptian Kingdom May Have Been Ended by Volcanoes

France Before the Revolution – For Bastille Day | toritto

The Queen’s Chamber at Versailles

The Queen’s Chamber at Versailles

…Versailles had all the pomp and pageantry of power.  The Court was composed of some 18,000 people, perhaps 16,000 of whom were attached to personal service of the King [Louis XVI] and his family with some 2,000 being courtiers, the favored guests – nobles engaged in a daily round of pleasures who were also feathering their nests seeking favors from …

Source: France Before the Revolution – For Bastille Day | toritto