1870: Vices of the American Character



"A recent medical writer states that the vices of the American character may be briefly summed up as follows: 

  1. An inordinate passion for riches.
  2. Overwork of mind and body in pursuit of business.
  3. Undue excitement and hurry in all the affairs of life.
  4. Intemperance in eating, drinking and smoking.
  5. A general disregard of the true laws of life and health.”

~From The Home Advocate. (Jefferson, Tex.), January 15, 1870


Mary Bowser, former slave of the Van Lew family, infiltrated the Confederacy by working as a servant in the household of Jefferson Davis. Bowser was assumed to be illiterate, and as a black woman was below suspicion. Practically invisible, she was able to listen to conversations between Confederate officials and read sensitive documents, gathering information that she handed over to the Union.

(From National Woman’s History Museum Facebook Page)


tw: racism, slavery, torture



George Washington’s dentures, ca. 1780s

More than his teeth were false, as Michael Coard and others have documented:

Although Washington considered his enslaved black workers unworthy of proper clothing (among other items), he certainly found their teeth quite worthy, so much so that he replaced a number of his unhealthy teeth with their healthy teeth, to his mouth from their mouths. While schoolchildren often were taught and sometimes still are taught about his wooden teeth — a story based on myth, they never were taught about his “slave” teeth — a story based on truth…Instead of (or in addition to) wooden teeth or standard dentures, Washington had teeth that actually were “yanked from the heads of his slaves and fitted into his dentures… [and also] apparently had slaves’ teeth transplanted into his own jaw in 1784…”

Clarence Lusane zooms out:

The White House itself, the home of presidents and quintessential symbol of the U.S. presidency, was built with slave labor, just like most other major building projects had been in the 18th-century United States…President Washington initially wanted to hire foreign labor to build the White House, but when he realized how costly it would be to pay people fairly, he resorted to slave labor…

While professing to abhor slavery and hope for its eventual demise, as president Washington…did everything he could to ensure that not one of the more than 300 people he owned could secure their freedom. During the 10 years of construction of the White House, George Washington spent time in Philadelphia where a law called the Gradual Abolition Act passed in 1780. It stated that any slaves brought into the state were eligible to apply for their freedom if they were there for longer than six months. To get around the law, Washington rotated the people working for him in bondage so that they were there for less than six months each.

Scumbag of the day: founding fucking fathers edition


Every time I see Elizabeth i’s signature I get absurdly happy cause I just imagine her signing her name and doing a little twirly and then pausing and then adding a few more twirlies
“your majesty perhaps thats enough twirls” suggests William Cecil
“perhaps Im the motherfuckin queen” suggests elizabeth and adds 6 more

In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy British and European lovers exchanged eye miniatures, love tokens that captured the gaze of the recipients significant other. They were worn on the lapel as to be close to the heart.

Less than 1,000 are thought to exist, often both the owner of the piece and the subject within it are never identified.


Great women of science 

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) - British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie (1867-1934) - Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. 

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) - Chinese American physicist with expertise in the techniques of experimental physics and radioactivity. 

Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) - French mathematician, physicist, and author during the Age of Enlightenment.

Mae Jemison (1956) - American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

Vera Rubin (1928) - American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates. She is famous for uncovering the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. 

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) - English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world’s first computer programmer.

read more



Tony Jackson 

Ah, the dawning of the Jazz Age in Chicago. Divey drinking establishments, elegant suits and silk dresses, wonderful, wonderful music… and one ridiculously talented gay Black pianist and songwriter who had everyone in town copying his style!

Born in 1884 in New Orleans, young Tony Jackson was something of a musical prodigy. He constructed a harpsichord made from junk in his back garden at the age of ten because his family didn’t have the money to buy him a piano. By the age of 15, he’d become one of the most sought-after piano players in Storyville, the city’s red light district — and he’d also almost certainly realised that he was gay. This didn’t make life in New Orleans particularly easy for him. The memoirs of jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton suggest that Jackson complained to Morton about the difficulty of being out and gay in New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century (see below). By 1904, Jackson had left New Orleans to tour with various music outfits, and eventually he moved to Chicago, where he worked with and influenced artists such as Morton and Clarence Williams. Here’s what Morton had to say about him:

All these men were hard to beat, but when Tony Jackson walked in, any one of them would get up from the piano stool. If he didn’t, somebody was liable to say, 'Get up from that piano. You hurting its feelings. Let Tony play.' Tony was real dark and not a bit good-looking, but he had a beautiful disposition. He was the outstanding favourite of New Orleans… 

There was no tune that come up from any opera or any show of any kind or anything that was wrote on paper that Tony couldn’t play. He had such a beautiful voice and a marvellous range. His voice on an opera tune was exactly as an opera singer. His range on a blues would be just exactly like a blues singer… Tony happened to be one of those gentlemens that a lot of people call them lady or sissy — I suppose he was either a ferry or a steamboat, one of the other, probably you would say a ferry because that’s what you pay a nickel for — and that was the cause of him going to Chicago about 1906. He liked the freedom there. (from Alan Lomax, Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and Inventor of Jazz (1973) pp. 43-5)

(FWIW, I’m still researching exact details on the ‘ferry’ and ‘steamboat’ slang terms — any historical linguists out there who can help?)

In Chicago, Jackson quickly became just as popular as he’d been at home, performing at venues across the South Side (and apparently influencing other people’s fashion choices with his ascot ties and diamond stick pins!). Jackson doesn’t appear to have discussed his sexuality with many other people in great detail, but as Morton’s comments suggest, it doesn’t appear to have been any great secret either.

He didn’t make any recordings, which is a horrible tragedy to my mind, but he did publish a number of songs as sheet music with full or shared credit. One of these was  'Pretty Baby', which was apparently part of Jackson’s performance repertoire as early as 1912, but wasn’t published until 1916. The published version clearly refers to a female lover (there’s a picture of a woman on the cover of the songsheet, for example), but the lyrics themselves are ambiguous (and adorable and obnoxious in equal measures!): 

You ask me why I’m always teasing you. /
You hate to have me call you “Pretty Baby.” /
I really thought that I was pleasing you, /
For you’re just a baby to me… /
… And just like Peter Pan it seems you’ll always be /
The same sweet cunning little baby dear to me, /
And that is why I’m sure that I /
Will always love you best of all.

To me, there’s something particularly poignant in one of the last lines of the song —- And I’d like to be your sister, brother, dad and mother too, Pretty baby, pretty baby. At the time Jackson was writing, I suspect that to quite a large extent, out queer people very much did have to be one another’s families. 

Jackson died in 1921, possibly of alcoholism or syphilis (the sources I’ve come across so far are divided as to exactly what cased his death)… he was thirty-fucking-seven years old. In 2011, Tony Jackson was added to the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for being ‘an openly gay man when that was rare' — recognition that came very late, but definitely (for us, at least) better than never.


Bio from Out History: http://outhistory.org/wiki/Tony_Jackson#Tony_Jackson.2C_A_Gay_Blues_Pianist_from_Chicago

2011 induction into Chicago GL Hall of Fame: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33783

An early recording of ‘Pretty Baby’: http://ia700504.us.archive.org/9/items/BillyMurray_part4/BillyMurray-PrettyBaby.mp3

Bio from All About Jazz: http://musicians.allaboutjazz.com/musician.php?id=7944#.UNw8Nm_Za3s

Wiki page for ‘Pretty Baby’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Baby_(song)

Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Jackson_(jazz_musician)

Google Books link: Entry in Vaudeville Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in Americahttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XFnfnKg6BcAC&pg=PA559&dq=tony+jackson&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZUPcUOP0Fq6Z0QWH0IGYBQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=tony%20jackson&f=false

Google Books link: Information about Jackson in Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewallhttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=44lheqlq-jYC&dq=tony+jackson+chicago+whispers&source=gbs_navlinks_s



In honor of Lord Byron’s birthday I would like to remind you all of the time that Shelley and Keats, having not heard from him for some time, became concerned for his safety and it was determined that Shelley would go looking for him. Keats received a letter some time later that Shelley had found him in Paris, where he’d been having so much sex that he’d nearly died from malnourishment and dehydration. Keats’ entire response amounted to essentially, “You should probably have let him.”



Yes, lets imagine a world WITHOUT MUSLIMS, shall we?

Without Muslims you wouldn’t have:

  • Coffee
  • Cameras

  • Experimental Physics

  • Chess

  • Soap

  • Shampoo

  • Perfume/spirits

  • Irrigation

  • Crank-shaft, internal combustion engine, valves, pistons

  • Combination locks

  • Architectural innovation (pointed arch -European Gothic cathedrals adopted this technique as it made the building much stronger, rose windows, dome buildings, round towers, etc.)

  • Surgical instruments

  • Anesthesia

  • Windmill

  • Treatment of Cowpox

  • Fountain pen

  • Numbering system

  • Algebra/Trigonometry

  • Modern Cryptology

  • 3 course meal (soup, meat/fish, fruit/nuts)

  • Crystal glasses

  • Carpets

  • Checks

  • Gardens used for beauty and meditation instead of for herbs and kitchen.

  • University
  • Optics
  • Music
  • Toothbrush
  • Hospitals
  • Bathing
  • Quilting
  • Mariner’s Compass
  • Soft drinks
  • Pendulum
  • Braille
  • Cosmetics
  • Plastic surgery
  • Calligraphy
  • Manufacturing of paper and cloth

It was a Muslim who realized that light ENTERS our eyes, unlike the Greeks who thought we EMITTED rays, and so invented a camera from this discovery.

It was a Muslim who first tried to FLY in 852, even though it is the Wright Brothers who have taken the credit.

It was a Muslim by the name of Jabir ibn Hayyan who was known as the founder of modern Chemistry. He transformed alchemy into chemistry. He invented: distillation, purification, oxidation, evaporation, and filtration. He also discovered sulfuric and nitric acid.

It is a Muslim, by the name of Al-Jazari who is known as the father of robotics.

It was a Muslim who was the architect for Henry V’s castle.

It was a Muslim who invented hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes, a technique still used today.

It was a Muslim who actually discovered inoculation, not Jenner and Pasteur to treat cowpox. The West just brought it over from Turkey

It was Muslims who contributed much to mathematics like Algebra and Trigonometry, which was imported over to Europe 300 years later to Fibonnaci and the rest.

It was Muslims who discovered that the Earth was round 500 years before Galileo did.

The list goes on………..

Just imagine a world without Muslims. Now I think you probably meant, JUST IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT TERRORISTS. And then I would agree, the world would definitely be a better place without those pieces of filth. But to hold a whole group responsible for the actions of a few is ignorant and racist. No one would ever expect Christians or White people to be held responsible for the acts of Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma bombing) or Andreas Brevik (Norway killing), or the gun man that shot Congresswoman Giffords in head, wounded 12 and killed 6 people, and rightly so because they had nothing to do with those incidents! Just like the rest of the 1.5 billion Muslims have nothing to do with this incident!






 Forever reblog.



Thank God someone put this out there!

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t cow pox they were preventing it was small pox (which is way worse). And it was brought to England when lady Mary wortley montagu, went to Turkey and visited a bath house she noticed none of the women there had small pox scars (which she did). So she asked a few locals about it and found out about inoculation. Btw inoculation is basically cutting open your skin and putting some pus from a small pox pustule, from someone with a mild case of small pox, then wrapping up the cut with gaze. You would get sick but not as bad as the person you got it from. Then you were pretty much protected from getting smallpox after that. Only a small percentage died from inoculation. So yea lady mary brought it to England, and was able to get supporters from it because she had some power and money cuz her husband was in politics or something. And in the states dr zabdiel Boylston got the idea from his assistant/servant who was black and knew some other black people from I think the Caribbean who did this as well. Oh and both lady Mary and Boylston tested it out on their kids first. They couldn’t do it on themselves since they both had smallpox and knew well enough at the time that if you survived small pox you wouldn’t get it again.
So yes the Muslim people did invent inoculation along with many others. But Jenner did think of using cow pox to protect against smallpox.

Islamic history is great, because everyone thinks of the Middle Ages as some dark time between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance when in actuality just east of Europe all the Muslims were like, “Sorry, I can’t hear you over your witch burning, we’re too busy inventing chemistry.”