Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history
rough translation: The Englishman Arkwright wanted to make a spinning-frame. It took him such a long time that he became very poor and so his wife got mad and broke his machine. Angry at her, he sent her away. But even after all this, he succeeded and became extremely rich.

rough translation: The Englishman Arkwright wanted to make a spinning-frame. It took him such a long time that he became very poor and so his wife got mad and broke his machine. Angry at her, he sent her away. But even after all this, he succeeded and became extremely rich.

A set of prints depicting famous Western inventors and scholars which seem to have been produced by the Japanese Department of Education. It was around 1873, when Japan was undergoing rapid, government-sponsored westernization. They all depict problems and disapproval for the luminaries. The accompanying text, however, reveals that each was successful in the end. Perhaps to encourage perserverence in the next generation of Japanese?
Rough translation of the print above: “the American celebrity Audubon’s important travel documents that he had been copying and gave to relatives for safekeeping were eaten by mice. He was extremely sad but tried again, and after just three years, his boxes were once more full of paper.”

A set of prints depicting famous Western inventors and scholars which seem to have been produced by the Japanese Department of Education. It was around 1873, when Japan was undergoing rapid, government-sponsored westernization. They all depict problems and disapproval for the luminaries. The accompanying text, however, reveals that each was successful in the end. Perhaps to encourage perserverence in the next generation of Japanese?

Rough translation of the print above: “the American celebrity Audubon’s important travel documents that he had been copying and gave to relatives for safekeeping were eaten by mice. He was extremely sad but tried again, and after just three years, his boxes were once more full of paper.”

Ping-pong is one of the most popular games in China, but it was not invented in China. It originated in Britain, where it is called table tennis.

Ping-pong is one of the most popular games in China, but it was not invented in China. It originated in Britain, where it is called table tennis.

This Is What A Good Man Looks Like

Wilhelm Roentgen, the scientist who discovered X-rays, was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. He refused to take patents out related to his discovery because he wanted humankind as a whole to benefit.

(Source: facts.randomhistory.com)

The word “jumbo” comes from the name of Jumbo the circus elephant. Jumbo was hit by a train and killed on September 15, 1885 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. A statue was erected in his honor, and the name stuck.

The word “jumbo” comes from the name of Jumbo the circus elephant. Jumbo was hit by a train and killed on September 15, 1885 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. A statue was erected in his honor, and the name stuck.

The first six Moghul Emperors of India ruled in an unbroken succession from father to son for nearly 200 years, from 1526 to 1707, a remarkable feat considering that there was no tradition of primogeniture and there was often a bloody contest for the throne.

(Source: allfunandgames.ca)

The Tony Awards are the awards for Broadway — aka musicals.
In the first two years the Tonys were presented in 1947 and 1948, the ceremony began with a 9 p.m. dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, followed by dancing. Anyone could attend (it cost $7 for a ticket)
Most nominated production in Tony history: The Producers, which earned 15 nominations in 2011. 
In 1960, two musicals tied for Best Musical for the only time (Fiorello! and The Sound of Music)
Also in 1960, a nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical was split among the seven child actors—five girls and two boys—who played the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. 1960 was a weird year.
Originally, winners got a scroll, a money clip, and a cigarette lighter (for the men) or a compact (for the women).

The Tony Awards are the awards for Broadway — aka musicals.

  • In the first two years the Tonys were presented in 1947 and 1948, the ceremony began with a 9 p.m. dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, followed by dancing. Anyone could attend (it cost $7 for a ticket)
  • Most nominated production in Tony history: The Producers, which earned 15 nominations in 2011. 
  • In 1960, two musicals tied for Best Musical for the only time (Fiorello! and The Sound of Music)
  • Also in 1960, a nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical was split among the seven child actors—five girls and two boys—who played the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. 1960 was a weird year.
  • Originally, winners got a scroll, a money clip, and a cigarette lighter (for the men) or a compact (for the women).
Jeffrey Hudson was born, amusingly, in the smallest county in England -Rutland County- on June 14, 1619. His parents were ordinary stock, as were all his brothers and sisters. But Jeffrey simply did not grow. At seven he stood 18 inches tall. Everyone in the area, including the Duchess of Buckingham was curious about him. At her request, Jeffrey’s parents walked him a mile or so to the Duchesses’ mansion. From then on, Jeffrey would be dressed in velvets, silks, and satins, with two servants to attend his every need. The whim of the wealthy saved him from a life as a country fair attraction — instead only the titled, rich, and intelligentsia could laugh at Jeffrey. He eventually became a pet project of the Queen of England, and remained part of her entourage through the English Civil War. The story of the rest of his life sounds like a adventure novel, with pirates and storms at sea and duels.

Jeffrey Hudson was born, amusingly, in the smallest county in England -Rutland County- on June 14, 1619. His parents were ordinary stock, as were all his brothers and sisters. But Jeffrey simply did not grow. At seven he stood 18 inches tall. Everyone in the area, including the Duchess of Buckingham was curious about him. At her request, Jeffrey’s parents walked him a mile or so to the Duchesses’ mansion. From then on, Jeffrey would be dressed in velvets, silks, and satins, with two servants to attend his every need. The whim of the wealthy saved him from a life as a country fair attraction — instead only the titled, rich, and intelligentsia could laugh at Jeffrey. He eventually became a pet project of the Queen of England, and remained part of her entourage through the English Civil War. The story of the rest of his life sounds like a adventure novel, with pirates and storms at sea and duels.

a few true facts about John Wayne
Stalin ordered his death (the FBI intercepted 2 KGB assassins) and Nikita Khrushchev rescinded the order!
John battled cancer in his last years. He blamed smoking six packs a day. But it could also be from shooting a movie downwind of Nevada’s nuclear test site
John was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907
"John Wayne" was a moniker given by the studios that he had no part in choosing. He preferred "Duke" after his childhood dog
at 6’4” (193 cm) John was very tall for the time, and easily got a college football scholarship
his favorite pastime was — you’ll never guess — chess

a few true facts about John Wayne

  • Stalin ordered his death (the FBI intercepted 2 KGB assassins) and Nikita Khrushchev rescinded the order!
  • John battled cancer in his last years. He blamed smoking six packs a day. But it could also be from shooting a movie downwind of Nevada’s nuclear test site
  • John was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907
  • "John Wayne" was a moniker given by the studios that he had no part in choosing. He preferred "Duke" after his childhood dog
  • at 6’4” (193 cm) John was very tall for the time, and easily got a college football scholarship
  • his favorite pastime was — you’ll never guess — chess
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his cabinet members, rocking the black suits, in 1968.

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his cabinet members, rocking the black suits, in 1968.

Don’t Mess With A (Russian) Mother

Princess Olga of Kiev had a husband, Igor, who was murdered by the Drevlyans, an Eastern Slavic tribe. Olga took over the Kievan Rus as regent for their three-year-old son. The Drevlyans wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus, but Olga was determined to remain in power and preserve it for her son. The Drevlyans sent twenty men to persuade Olga, and she had them carried by her servants on a boat to the courtyard of the castle. The boat was dumped into a giant hole and the suitors were buried alive.

Then Olga annouced to Prince Mal that she accepted the proposal, but required their most distinguished men to accompany her on the journey. When they arrived, she greeted them warmly and invited them to clean up after the long trip in a bathhouse. Then she locked the doors and burned the bathhouse to the ground. With the top men of the tribe out of the way, Olga planned to destroy the remaining Drevlians. She invited them to a funeral feast so she could mourn over her husband’s grave, where her servants waited on them. After the Drevlians were drunk, Olga’s soldiers killed over 5,000 of them.

But wait, there’s more! Olga gathered her soldiers and prepared to annihilate the survivors. When they requested her forgiveness, Olga asked the remaining Drevlyans to give her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home. When the birds arrived, she had hot coals tied to their legs and set them back home. As the city burned to the ground from the resulting fire, the people that ran out of the city were either killed, enslaved, or extorted by Olga’s army. The entire Drevlyan tribe was basically wiped out in the following years.

Olga of Kiev is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Before Anne Frank’s diary was published, her father edited out certain parts — like her frank discussions of her period, learning about her labia and clitoris, some of her meaner comments about people, and that Mr. Frank really liked to talk about farting.

Before Anne Frank’s diary was published, her father edited out certain parts — like her frank discussions of her period, learning about her labia and clitoris, some of her meaner comments about people, and that Mr. Frank really liked to talk about farting.

Until 1977, an IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate (and legal!) in North Carolina.

tamorapierce:

historical-nonfiction:

A Scottish sailor recently found the oldest message in a bottle ever. He plucked a bottle from the sea and was surprised to discover it was in fact 98 years old.

Yeah, but what did the message say?!

It was a postcard, written in June of 1914 by Captain CH Brown, of the Glasgow School of Navigation. He promised a reward of 6 pence if the finder returned the bottle. It had been part of a scientific experiment in which 1,890 such bottles were released; they wanted to chart currents around Scotland with the help of some friendly beachcombers.

(Source: blogs.smithsonianmag.com)