Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here is a link to the American Historical Association with about the history of Halloween.  Includes several interesting links with videos.  Enjoy the history of the holiday along with all of the candy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Arsenic and Mrs. Wilkinson

In preparation for my seminar paper I'm spending the fall break weekend reading 1898 foreign relations documents and old newspapers.  Unfortunately, I'm frequently distracted by tidbits more interesting than the Peace Commission for the Spanish-American War.  Just felt like sharing this one from The New York Times:

ARSENIC SENT IN SUGAR: A Newark Woman Claims a Rejected Lover Attempted to Poison Her
Newark, N.J., Sept. 8, 1898

Mrs. Margaret Wilkinson who keeps a boarding house at 502 Warren Street, has reported to the police that an attempt was made to poison her, her three children, and her boarders two weeks ago last Saturday.  On that day, she claims, a boy came to the house and left a package of granulated sugar,with which she noticed there was something the matter, and as she had had trouble with one of her boarders she took the sugar to the Board of Health, where it was examined, and enough arsenic was found in the two pounds of sugar to kill 500 persons.

The chemist of the board certifies that about 4 percent of the stuff sent to him for analysis was arsenic.  Mrs. Wilkinson did not report the case to the police until she had received the report of the chemist.   When seen to-day Mrs. Wilkinson said she suspected a former boarder of trying to kill her.  This man, she said, wanted to marry her, but she had refused him.  There-upon he became angry, she claimed, and said he would get even with her.  The man mentioned by Mrs. Wilkinson denies her story.  The police are investigating.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm not sure where the time is going but it is already the eighth week of the semester and I'm am dreadfully behind in my studies.  So much reading and writing to do this semester and the more I think about it the more I panic and run from it and hide in some other nonsensical activity, which leads to less time to do my work and more panic and more hiding and, well, you get the idea.  Tomorrow I have to report to my seminar professor...too bad I  have nothing to report except for the work I have completed for other classes in addition to all the time I have wasted with my head in the sand.

As for the seminar paper, I had to give up on Nellie Bly because I could not find enough primary sources, particularly the newspapers she worked for, on-line.  I still believe she is a fascinating character and would like to return to her someday, but for now I have moved on the the Spanish-American War.  I've found 500 pages of foreign relations documents on-line and have been slowly (too slowly, unfortunately) wading through them for a few weeks now.  I desperately need to get started writing, which I hope to do later this week during fall break.  I'm running out of time to hide from my panic.

The last few days have been spent studying for a mid-term in Middle Eastern history.  I've been trying to cram 600 years of caliphs, Abbasids and Umayyads, Sunnis and Shiites into my tired brain.  Tonight is the test, so we will see how successful I have been.