Archive for the ‘History’ Category

News from Nowhere

Jan
06

Commonweal

The first installment of William Morris’ Victorian scientific romance News from Nowhere was published in Commonweal on January 11, 1890. Like Rip Van Winkle or Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the narrator William Guest slept …

The Ragged Ragtime Girls

Dec
30

the_ragged_ragtime_girls

Not only did Aleister Crowley serve as the Great Beast and the prophet of the Age of Horus, he managed a girl group. The seven women in the Ragged Ragtime Girls played violin and danced. The act was based on …

Burning Bluebeard: The Iroquois Theatre Fire

Dec
23

iroquoispostfire (1)Theatergoers did not know that when they went to see the musical Mr. Bluebeard on December 30, 1903, the Iroquois Theatre would become a deadly Inferno. Over 600 perished from the blaze. The Ruffians present Burning Bluebeard, a holiday show …

Humbug Billy’s Poison Candy

Oct
28

humbug1

On October 30, 1858, William “Humbug Billy” Hardaker inadvertently poisoned over 200 people. His peppermint humbugs were laced with arsenic. The incident reflected the state of Victorian pharmacology and led to law reform.

The tainted candy trail began with Bradford, …

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

Sep
30

Mutter

A wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, collects all sorts of unusual items. They may be objects d’art, memories or relics. These private collections of contemplation serve as the precursors for museums and freak shows. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia …

Edwardian Punks?

Sep
23

teds1962

Retro-fashion as a lifestyle in Mid-Century Great Britain? It’s the Teddy Boys!

Like the American zoot suit subculture, the Teddy Boys developed in response to the austerity of WWII. The fashion industry looked back to the dandies of the Edwardian …

Steampunks Invade the White City

Sep
16

fotwctours

The Friends of the White City and the Jackson Park Advisory Council run free Columbian Exposition walking tours. Steampunk Chicago encourages you to join a tour on Saturday, September 20 from 11am to 1 pm.

The tour will cover:

The …

Pullman Strike Begets Labor Day

Sep
02

Pullman Shooting

Congress instituted the Labor Day holiday in 1894 to quell dissent brought on by that year’s nationwide Pullman Strike that began outside of Chicago. Industrialist George Pullman’s employees turned against conditions that he imposed, caused a national furor and led …

The Krakatoa Eruption

Aug
26

Krakatoa_eruption_lithograph (1)

On August 26, 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatoa began to erupt. It spewed enough dust and gas to affect weather worldwide for the next several years. Over 35,000 people died as a result. By the following day, two thirds …

Frank Lloyd Murder

Aug
12

taliesin_wreckOn August 15, 1914, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mistress and her children were murdered in Wright’s love nest, Taliesin. The butler did it with fire, an axe, and acid.

The influential Prairie School architect fell in love with his Oak …