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19th Century Ghosts

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Sharon - 19thcenturyghosts

Dreamer, writer, lover of all things historically strange.

The Comb Ran Away with the Razor: The Storied Furniture of William Burges

“Now this is how you engage with a piece of furniture!”

exclaimed Ian Dungavell, course leader for the Victorian Society in America’s London Midlands tour. Only amongst a group of decorative art and architecture enthusiasts would an intense discussion on furniture not only happen, but also be so stimulating.

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Olana: A Historic Painter’s Paradise on the Hudson

Only an artist could dream up a house like Olana, the Victorian Middle Eastern-style home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. The artistic oasis overlooks the Hudson River and it’s easy to see what drew Frederic Church to the landscape all those years ago. Today, visitors flock to the site to marvel at both the landscape and what lies within Olana’s beautiful archways.

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Book Review of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

A compendium of weird medical history? Yes please! (Disclaimer: if you just ate or are about to eat, you might want to read this later…)

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I’M PUBLISHED!

At last, two years in the making, the book I contributed to is finally out!

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Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion)

Among the many historic houses dotting New York’s Hudson Valley, Staatsburgh State Historic Site is a must-see. Otherwise known as the Mills Mansion, this Gilded Age beauty was the home of financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills. Originally a Greek Revival house, it was expanded and enhanced in the Beaux-Arts style in the 1890s.

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Once Upon a Movember: Peter the Great’s Beard Tax

As I am enamored by both Russian history and beards, what better way to kick off Movember than with a post on Peter the Great, otherwise known as the Tsar who sheared a nation.

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Book Review of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Here I am actually talking about ghosts! But make no mistake, Ghostland by Colin Dickey is more than a compendium of ghost stories. Rather, Colin Dickey treats each of these tales as a case study for examining different types of hauntings, their origins and development. Most of all, he is interested in what these stories say about America’s relationship to its past.

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Rockwood Mansion in Wilmington, DE

If you’re ever lucky enough to go historic house hopping in Delaware, Rockwood Mansion would be a nice addition to your list. That is, if you’re in the mood for strolling the surrounding park grounds and admiring the architecture. To be brutally honest, this house museum is best appreciated from the outside…

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Nemours Mansion & Garden, a Historically Modern Marvel

Delaware’s Brandywine Valley is home to many beautiful historic houses. Dare I say that, among these many fine structures, the grandeur of Nemours Mansion & Gardens rivals them all (even the nearby Winterthur Museum). Having toured both, Nemours left me more in awe. I went on a humid Saturday in July and that afternoon’s downpour added a magical glisten to the facade and grounds.

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