Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history

Whoever speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree,

—Florida Statutes, Chapter 836.04

(Source: flsenate.gov)

Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck for 50 years, also voiced Donald Duck’s voice in all foreign languages the Disney shorts were translated to (with the aid of the phonetic alphabet). They wanted to keep Donald’s voice consistent throughout the world

Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck for 50 years, also voiced Donald Duck’s voice in all foreign languages the Disney shorts were translated to (with the aid of the phonetic alphabet). They wanted to keep Donald’s voice consistent throughout the world

Frederick the Great was Probably LGBTQ

Frederick William II, Prince of Prussia, had a terrible relationship with his father growing up. Frederick preferred music to martial pursuits and his father thought him effeminate, weak, and unworthy to be heir to a militant kingdom like Prussia. In fact, Frederick Wiliam I often beat his son in public, trying to toughen him up. By 18 Frederick had had enough. He decided to run away with his best friend, and presumed lover, Han Hermann von Katte.

They didn’t get very far before they were discovered, caught, and imprisoned. Frederick was almost executed, but his father’s will unsurprisingly softened. His friend was not so lucky. Von Katte was beheaded and Frederick was forced to watch. They were so close that Frederick was able to beg von Katte’s forgivness, and receive it, before he died. Frederick spent the next ten years under his father’s thumb.

(Source: executedtoday.com)

Medieval Spanish ghost town becomes self-sufficient ecovillage

Spain has over 3000 abandoned villages, mostly dating from medieval times. Today a few are getting rebuilt. They are a few dozen “ecoaldeas” – ecovillages – some nearly thirty years old now. One of the more successful, Lakabe, generates all its own electricity and is economically independent selling a portion of the harvest and their popular organic sourdough bread. Lakabe even has a waiting list of people who want to move in!

click on the photo — its actually huge!  ”League Park, Cleveland.” Grandstand seating cost 75 cents; pavilion, 50 cents (circa 1910).

click on the photo — its actually huge!  ”League Park, Cleveland.” Grandstand seating cost 75 cents; pavilion, 50 cents (circa 1910).

"Washington Monument as it stood for 25 years," 1860. Photograph by Mathew Brady

"Washington Monument as it stood for 25 years," 1860. Photograph by Mathew Brady

Robert E. Lee’s Views on Slavery

"… There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day. Although the abolitionist must know this, must know that he has neither the right not the power of operating, except by moral means; that to benefit the slave he must not excite angry feelings in the master; that, although he may not approve the mode by which Providence accomplishes its purpose, the results will be the same; and that the reason he gives for interference in matters he has no concern with, holds good for every kind of interference with our neighbor, -still, I fear he will persevere in his evil course… . Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?"

from a letter dated December 27, 1856

Very Funny, JFK

In 1961, New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons contacted John F. Kennedy after seeing Presidential autographs for sale in a store and informed him of the prices. At the time, George Washington’s was priced at $175, Ulysses S. Grant’s at $55, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s at $75, Teddy Roosevelt’s at $67.50, and JFK’s at $75. Below is the response mailed to Lyons.

(Source: lettersofnote.com)

Mussolini is greated with a giant letter M in a small village in Piemonte (1928)

Mussolini is greated with a giant letter M in a small village in Piemonte (1928)

Cost of Living Changes Between 1963 and Now

The past fifty years have been a busy time in history and the cost of living has grown rapidly since the 1960s. This website tells you what things used to cost — and how different that is from today!

A technician making the long walk to defuse a suspected car bomb in Northern Ireland.

A technician making the long walk to defuse a suspected car bomb in Northern Ireland.

Tony Blair comments on Princess Diana’s death, BBC 1997

When Is George Washington’s Birthday?

George Washington, early military and political leader of the United States, was born, according to the Julian calendar in use at the time, on February 11. However, according to the Gregorian calendar, his birthday would be on February 22. In 1752, Great Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, so his birthday is given as February 22 in modern documents. The United States has a holiday to commemorate Washington’s Birthday. It is celebrated on the third Monday in February, which always falls between February 15 and February 21 and so can never fall on either February 11 or February 22.

(Source: allfunandgames.ca)

This is wallpaper from Tudor England. It used to decorate the inside of a box holding legal papers, and survived because the contents of the box were deemed important and catalogued, while the unimportant box was left behind.
The wallpaper was made by a process called block printing. First the pattern was carved onto blocks of wood. Then the design was printed on the paper over and over by hand. This piece of wallpaper displays the Royal Arms and badges, the emblem of St George, Tudor Roses and grotesques (ugly faces)

This is wallpaper from Tudor England. It used to decorate the inside of a box holding legal papers, and survived because the contents of the box were deemed important and catalogued, while the unimportant box was left behind.

The wallpaper was made by a process called block printing. First the pattern was carved onto blocks of wood. Then the design was printed on the paper over and over by hand. This piece of wallpaper displays the Royal Arms and badges, the emblem of St George, Tudor Roses and grotesques (ugly faces)