On 31 March 1855 – Easter Sunday – Charlotte Brontë died at Haworth Parsonage. She was 38 years old, and the last surviving Brontë child. In this deeply moving letter to her literary advisor W. S. Williams, written on 4 June 1849, she reflects on the deaths of her sisters Anne and Emily.
By Michael Gerhardt
John Tyler remains one of the most interesting, active, and constitutionally significant presidents we have ever had. To begin with, he is the first vice president to be elevated to the presidency because of the death of the incumbent, William Henry Harrison. Harrison died 31 days after his inauguration in 1841.
By Tim Allen
Josephine Baker, the mid-20th century performance artist, provocatrix, and muse, led a fascinating transatlantic life. I recently had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Anne A. Cheng, Professor of English and African American Literature at Princeton University and author of the book Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface, about her research into Baker’s life, work, influence, and legacy.
This March we celebrate Women’s History Month, commemorating the lives, legacies, and contributions of women around the world. We’ve compiled a brief reading list that demonstrates the diversity of women’s lives and achievements.
By Jad Adams
Tony Benn has left as an enduring monument: one of the great diaries of the twentieth century, lasting from 1940, when he was fifteen, to 2009 when illness forced him to stop.
Women musicians push societal boundaries around the world, while hitting all the right notes. In honor of Women’s History Month, Oxford University Press is testing your knowledge about women musicians. Take the quiz and see if you’re a shower singer or an international composer!
By Philip Carter
Way back in 2007, when Twittering truly was for the birds, a far-sighted editor at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography piped up: maybe people would like to listen as well as read? So was devised the Oxford DNB‘s biography podcast which this week released its 200th episode—the waggerly tale of Charles Cruft (1852-1938), founder of the eponymous dog show held annually in early March.
From politicians to psychiatrists, novelists to biologists, and actors to entrepreneurs, the January 2014 update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds a further 219 biographies of men and women who’ve made their mark on British history.
By Jared Orsi
Somewhere in the middle of the Great Plains in November 1806, the explorer Zebulon Pike worried that the lateness of the season jeopardized the completion of his expedition. A contemporary of Lewis and Clark, Pike commanded a US military party that was exploring the southwestern reaches of the Louisiana Purchase.
Hugh Trevor-Roper was born 100 years ago today on 15 January 1914. The following is a letter from Hugh Trevor-Roper to Xandra Howard-Johnston from One Hundred Letters From Hugh Trevor-Roper, edited by Richard Davenport-Hines and Adam Sisman.
Here we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. From his early days as an activist, to his trial and imprisonment, to his presidency, this reading list covers all aspects of his life, and looks beyond the work he did to see how he influenced South Africa and the world.
By Robert Colls
The man wants to admit his rebellious thoughts and reveal the deception but knows that by doing so he is going to make the rest of his life difficult, not to say short, and there will be no going back. He does it all the same. He has no accomplices, except his girlfriend. The world has yet to decide what will happen to him. I am of course talking about Edward Snowden.
By Sasha Dugdale
Tatiana Shchepkina-Kupernik was a friend of the Chekhov family and a frequent visitor to Melikhovo, Anton Chekhov’s house just outside Moscow.
December sees the annual update of Who’s Who, the essential directory of the noteworthy and influential in all walks of life, in the United Kingdom and worldwide. This year, over 1,000 new lives have been added to the resource. Who’s made it in in 2014? From actors to authors, and presenters to politicians, discover the entries of a vast selection of past and present influential figures, written by the individual themselves.
By Michael Gerhardt
There are few presidents more forgotten – and perhaps worth forgetting than – Franklin Pierce. To the extent he is remembered at all, historians and others dismiss him as a weak president who allowed strong-willed senators sympathetic to slavery interests to force him to take actions, which helped to provoke a near civil war in Kansas and bring the nation itself closer to the Civil War that formally broke out in 1861.
Doctor Who was first broadcast by BBC Television at 5.16pm on Saturday 23 November 1963. This weekend the BBC marks the fiftieth anniversary with several commemorative programmes on television, radio, and online—as well as a ‘global simulcast’ of the anniversary adventure, which places the two actors who’ve most recently played ‘the Doctor’…