The Rest Is History

Mill workers on strike, sailors admiring icebergs, and queens in the bath.

By Angela Serratore

Friday, March 10, 2017


 Portrait of Caroline of Ansbach, by Jacopo Amigoni, 1735.

• Fighting for fair wages and fair treatment in the mills of Lowell, Massachusetts: “In the early 1840s, as factory owners tried to maximize profits in the face of a recession, the already-high demands of mill work ramped up. Many of these changes were sexist: In one mill, management cut wages for everyone; when the need for austerity ended, pay was raised again, but only for men. Another mill tried to double the number of looms that each weaver was responsible for. When a group of 70 women went on strike in response, they were not only fired, but blacklisted from ever getting another mill job. Earlier strikes by women workers—in 1834 and 1836—had ended similarly.” (Atlas Obscura)

• Looking for treasures at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. (Paris Review Daily)

• Mary Beard on the history of women in powerful public positions: “More often than we may realise, and in sometimes quite shocking ways, we are still using Greek idioms to represent the idea of women in, and out of, power. There is at first sight a rather impressive array of powerful female characters in the repertoire of Greek myth and storytelling. In real life, ancient women had no formal political rights, and precious little economic or social independence; in some cities, such as Athens, respectable married women were almost never seen outside the home.” (London Review of Books)

• Voltaire’s approach to Buddhism. (Public Domain Review)

• Consider the iceberg: “For centuries, Arctic explorers delighted and cowered at the sight of icebergs. In 1578, an English sailor named Thomas Ellis reported that he had seen a ‘great and monstrous piece of ice’ whose shape and size defied measurement and comprehension. Eighteenth-century explorers made sense of their reactions using the language of the sublime, an aesthetic category first described by Edmund Burke in 1757 and found most convincingly in landscapes of terrific scale and unfathomable depth.” (The Point)

• Bathing like a queen of Georgian England. (JSTOR Daily)