“Women who have really done things:” The Jazz Age Founders of The Society of Woman Geographers

You may known Marguerite Harrison from the silent-film era documentary Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life, which she made with the two men who later went on to make King Kong. In 1925, the same year Grass was released, she and three other women formed The Society of Woman Geographers. The story of The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society, by April White, is at Atlas Obscura.


Coffeehouse Archaeology in England

Artifacts from the Claphams Coffeehouse assemblage. Source: Cressford et al. 2017: Figure 8.

Before England fell in love with tea, there was coffee. Beginning in the 1600s, coffeehouses spread through England. Historians think of them as the more polite, refined counterpoint to taverns and alehouses, a place where the customers – mostly male – could drink and discuss and debate the news of the day.

It’s a bit surprising that almost no coffeehouses have been explored archaeologically, but Craig Cessford and colleagues now describe artifacts, tightly dated to between 1770 and 1780, from a small brick cellar associated with Clapham’s Coffeehouse in Cambridge, England.
Continue reading “Coffeehouse Archaeology in England”

Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research

An eyewitness account of trapping passenger pigeons in New Jersey in the early 1800s is one of only two publications by the woman who founded one of the premier paleontological museums in America.

In 1927, a short communication was published in the journal The Condor that quoted a letter from John Thomas Waterhouse to his parents back in England. Waterhouse described how the New Jerseyans hunted passenger pigeons using nets and guns. Continue reading “Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research”

The Field Trip that Founded, and Filled, the Oriental Institute

Oriental Institute Building

In 1919, James Henry Breasted, archaeologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, embarked on a year-long trip through the Middle East. His goal was to identify research opportunities throughout the area, and to obtain artifacts to bring back to Chicago. The story (from a 2010 exhibition at the Institute) was told in Archaeology Magazine.

The Jazz Age in Britain: New Exhibit at Two Temple Place, London

Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain has opened at William Waldorf Astor’s former Mansion, Two Temple Place, in London.

From the press release:

Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea, and then the sound, of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live.

The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture.

The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.

More details and photos at 1843 Magazine.