Getting to Know the 1800’s Part I

Absquatulate: To take leave, to disappear.

I’m so sorry about that short hiatus, things have been so crazy. I’ve been dealing with several international bureaucracies, and I don’t even really have a moment right now. Hopefully, I’ll get back on a stable schedule and be able to post more regularly. In the mean time, I’m going to do a series of posts about Getting to Know the 1800s, taking excerpts from Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon. Perhaps it will entertain some of you, especially those of you who enjoyed the Olde Timey Insults! Funny what quaint slang they had back then, isn’t it?

Gotham: New York City.

You just thought it was from the Batman (admittedly, I accidentally wrote Bathman at first) comics, didn’t you? Well, actually, this name has been referring to the Big Apple throughout the early 1800s. McCutcheon cites a less-than-flattering description of New York City as Gotham:

“An Albany or Newark dog is well worth fifty cents, if brought to Gotham’s authorities, as if actually killed in Gotham’s streets… We understand that a dog’s flesh is quite a luxury in Gotham market.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 5 August 1836.

Gotham City

Pigs: Kept as pets and as future food sources in yards, towns, and cities all over America. Thousands of them ran freely on New York City streets during the first half of the century.

Queen Anne House: A house style popular in the 1870s and 1880s in England and America, actually based on a combination of Elizabethan, Tudor, Gothic, and English Renaissance forms. Notable features included polygonal or cylindrical towers, bay windows, balconies, and ornate woodwork.

Queen Anne House

Groom’s Seat: A small seat or rumble seat where a groom or footman rode at the back of a coach or carraige.

Dugway: Popular slang for a simple, dug-out road.

George IV Phaeton: An elegant, slipper-shaped carriage with folding hood, pulled by two horses. This vehicle was very popular with women because it was graceful and was open to allow the passengers’ fashion to be seen and admired from the street.

George IV Phaeton

-A.

Photos Courtesy Of:
http://www.rina2012.co.uk/communities/2/004/005/953/492/images/4514693977.jpg

Dresses of Tsarina Aleksandra Romanova

Tsarina Alexandra

I have to say, all of the images here are taken shamelessly from a Retronaut article on the same matter, but I’ve decided to share a few of my favourites along with a little history about the Tsarina’s story rather than simply exhibiting her fashionable garb. All information included here can be found on Wikipedia.

The sixth of seven children to Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Alix Viktoria Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine was a granddaughter of the powerful Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom. She was baptised into the Lutheran faith, and while she was not destined to inherit her father’s country, she would in fact rule great expanses through marriage. In 1878, six years after her birth, diptheria struck the household and killed both Alexandra’s mother and youngest sister.

Tsarina AlexandraAlexandra was a stubborn, strong-willed girl, who rejected her first promising suitor despite familial pressure from both her immediate household, and Queen Victoria herself. However, she had already fallen in love with Nicholas II of Russia, despite the fact that King Wilhelm II of Prussia was a mutual great-great grandfather, though he was one generation back on the Russian side.

Nicholas II also faced troubles in their potential engagement, as his father, Tsar Alexander III, was strictly anti-German and was hoping for a more fruitful and powerful alliance. He attempted to make his son marry Hélène, a pretender on the throne of France, and then Margaret, sister to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Both women were also unwilling, and refused to give up their respective faiths to join the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Tsarina AlexandraI could include some details of Nicholas II’s reign, their coronation, his shortfalls and successes, and their popularity, but as this is going to be a long article anyway, I think I’ll skip to the bits of their rule that directly pertain to the Tsarina. For example, Rasputin. To discuss Rasputin, however, we need to delve into the Tsarina a bit further.

She gave birth to the young prince, tsarevich Alexei during the height of the Russo-Japanese war. He was born with haemophilia, a blood-clotting disease that Alexandra’s grandmother, Queen Victoria, had passed down to almost all royal families in Europe by marrying off her daughters to the male heirs. It was generally fatal at the time, and, as the heir of the Russian throne, it was pivitol that Alexei survive.

Out of desperation to heal her fragile son, Alexandra turned to religion, and then mystics, such as Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin lived a lifestyle of drunkenness and sexual promiscuity, but even police reports that Rasputin “exposed himself at a popular Moscow restaurant and bragged to the crowd that Nicholas let him top his wife whenever he wanted” would not deter Alexandra’s faith that the man could heal her son.
Tsarina Alexandra

When Alexei suffered a devastating hemorrhage in Poland, his mother and father waited by his bedside, anxiously trying to give him any aid to help his recovery. As the pain continued and their efforts failed, Alexandra asked Rasputin for help. His optimistic prayer-laden response coincided with Alexei’s recovery and cemented Alexandra’s fondness for the mystic. This gave political influence to the unstable Rasputin, and undermined the tsarina’s relationship with both her husband and her country.

After the first World War broke out, Alexandra took control of St. Petersburg as her husband went to lead the military on the fronts. She failed as a politician and increased Rasputin’s role, leading to a failing bureaucracy that was deeply unpopular. As revolution exploded, she was kept in her Palace, and then relocated with her family to Tobolsk, Siberia. There, the Kerensky government meant to keep them out of harm. The Bolsheviks later removed them to Yekaterinaburg. The communist guards called her husband Nicholas the Blood-Drinker, and her, the German bitch.

Being told that they were being led away to escape from the imprisonment, the family was led into the basement on Tuesday, 16 July 1918. There, they were told by Cheka guards that their family had tried to save them, and now they had failed, so they would be shot. Nicholas could only respond with “What?” before he was shot several times in the chest. Alexandra watched as her husband fell next to her with three fatal wounds. Her manservants were then killed, and as the revolver pointed at her, she attempted to turn away and make a cross. However, before she could finish, Peter Ermakov shot her in the head that went in just above her left ear and left just above her right ear. Ermakov then stabbed both of their dead bodies, breaking ribs and chipping Alexandra’s vertebrae. Then, the children were shot. Because of a shirt encrusted with jewels to protect him from his haemophilia, Alexei needed to be shot in the head to be successfully killed. That day, all members of the Romanov family died. The revolution had won.

-A.

Romanovs

Photos Courtesy Of:
http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/dresses-of-tsarina-alexandra-romanova/

The Best Facebook Page!

First off, I must apologize for missing last Saturday!! Because it was Memorial Day weekend and I had a few extra days to myself, I lost track of time as well as the days of the week!!!

Second, congratulations are in order for A! This past week she accomplished a huge life milestone and I know I speak for all of us when I say we wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to seeing what she does next!

Now, I’ll get down to the meat and bones of my post for today….

Recently I came across an amazing Facebook page that shares everything macabre and beautiful. It’s called “The Macabre and the Beautifully Grotesque”.

They do a wonderful job of constantly updating with interesting photographs and posts from many aspects of every corner of art. From taxidermy to modeling and paintings, their posts will add a new taste to your everyday Facebook browsing!

Here are some of my favorite photographs they have posted:

The Odd World of Television

I’ve compiled a list of five of my all-time favourite television shows (some of which I have discovered extremely recently)! All of these are slightly offbeat and odd, but I think that’s what makes them so special…

Oddities (2010-)-

I came across this show awhile ago, and have to say that it is absolutely amazing. Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn co-own an amazingly quirky antique shop, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, in New York. They sell and buy stuff from mummified body parts to sideshow memorabilia. The show also features buyer Ryan Matthew Cohn, who is extremely interesting (and has the most perfect suits!!). The eccentric customers who come into their shop are really what make this show special, however. They are constantly demonstrating their talents or sharing the most captivating of stories. (Science Network)

Oddities

American Stuffers (2012-)-

This show revolves around taxidermist Ted Ross. His shop, Xtreme Taxidermy in Romance, Arkansas, specializes in pet preservation. He works with three eclectic employees and his family. It’s heartbreaking to watch pet owners suffering the loss of their best friends, but it’s rewarding to see how meaningful it is for them to have their pets back with them again. I am also intrigued by the process that Ted uses to preserve these pets. Instead of traditional mounting (where the hide is mounted to a mold), he uses freeze drying technology that allows for the preservation of the actual, physical body. (Animal Planet)

American Stuffers cast members Joseph Phariss, Dixie Grammer, Daniel Ross and Fred Greer

Family Plots (2004-2006)-

Family Plots followed the family running Poway Bernardo Mortuary in Poway , California. Although the show mostly chronicled the running of the home and the relationships within the family, it also gave viewers into the “mysterious” world of the funeral business. It is extremely interesting for me, for I am considering going into the funeral business, but really is enchanting for anyone. Although this show has not run for a few years, episodes can still be found online if you try to dig them up (oh…bad joke). (A&E Network)

Mysteries at the Museum (2011-)-

This show relays the history of numerous artifacts in multiple museums. Some include shrunken heads at the Mütter Museum, the damage caused by a hydrogen bomb at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History, and even Marilyn Monroe’s Pill Box. I really enjoy the fact that with this show you get to truly understand each individual artifact, because sometimes it is burdensome and awkward to read tiny plaques in front of things. Every episode is unique and extremely interesting. (Travel Channel)

10 Things You Don’t Know About (2012-) –

Taglined as “What your textbooks never told you,” this show shares some interesting facts about history’s best known people. For example, did you know that Benjamin Franklin was a suspected serial killer, that Mormons built Las Vegas, or that Abraham Lincoln slept with men? Historian David Eisenbach shares some of history’s best kept secrets. (H2)

Looking through this list that I’ve compiled, I’m realizing that some of these shows seem rather macabre… but maybe that’s just what I’m into haha. The hipster in me is sad that these types of shows and interests are becoming more and more “mainstream”, but at the same time, I’m so happy that these topics are being opened up to a broader audience.

-C

Photo Credits:

http://www.donewyork.com/shopping/listing/obscura-antiques-oddities/

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/oddities/bios.html

http://m.arkansasonline.com/news/2012/jan/01/arkansan-turns-taxidermy-work-starring-ro-20120101/

http://www.poptower.com/american-stuffers.htm

http://reality-tv.findthebest.com/l/444/Family-Plots

http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/photos/la-raid-bioterror-automaton

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/