19th Century Ghosts

Singer Castle of the Thousand Islands: A Storybook Dream

Singer Castle on Dark Island of the Thousand Islands is a marvel straight out of a storybook. Literally! The architect, Ernest Flagg (1857-1947), based his design around the medieval castle depicted in Sir Walter Scott’s 1832 novel Woodstock.

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Book Review: Tales of Royal Mistresses in Sex with Kings

In Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge, Eleanor Herman pens quite a romp through some of history’s most scandalizing pages. Divided into twelve chapters, the book explores the history of royal mistresses and details the art of pleasing a king (er…beyond the bedchamber), rivalry, jealous husbands, royal bastards, and more.

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Boldt Castle of the Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands are a wonder in their own right. But two majestic architectural specimens residing within them deserve special attention: Boldt and Singer castles. In the Gilded Age the nation’s wealthiest flocked to the Thousand Islands for their summer retreats. Boldt Castle and Singer Castle are what remain of this era. Each, in its own way, is straight out of a fairytale. This first of two posts concerns Boldt Castle.

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A Gilded Age Wonder: Bannerman Castle

On Pollepel Island in Fishkill, NY stands a decaying wonder of the Gilded Age: Bannerman Castle. Not much remains of the once grand architectural complex, now merely a ghost of its grand predecessor, as an explosion, fire, vandalism, and natural disaster reduced it to its current fragile bones.

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Book Review: How to Be a Victorian

I very much enjoyed reading Ruth Goodman’s How to be a Victorian and no, I definitely do not want to be one.

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Book Review: Victorian Secrets, a Corset Memoir

When Sarah Chrisman’s husband gave her a corset for her 29th birthday, little did she know how much it would change her life.

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Finally Published! Mustache Article in Atlas Obscura

I recently published an article based on my master’s thesis about Darwinism and facial hair. Take a look here!

The Victorian Penchant for Plumage

Naturalia bloomed in the Victorian period. People filled their parlors with ferns, terrariums, aquariums, shell collections, and taxidermy. Fondness for the natural world literally translated from parlor to person. Flowers, fruit, furs, birds, feathers, reptiles, and mice were popular decoration for the fashionable accessories of the late nineteenth-century and predominantly so on women’s hats.

[Image credit: Silk bonnet with birds, ca. 1890, Metropolitan Museum of Art]

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Film Review: 10 Days in a Madhouse

The movie Ten Days in a Madhouse  recently premiered, which is based on Victorian journalist Nellie Bly’s exposé on the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum in New York City. As a costumed interpreter of the famous journalist and overall Nellie Bly fan, I felt obligated to see the film. So, one morning, I, along with three senior citizens, sat for approximately two hours of disappointment.

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