Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic! The Evolution of the Barbie Doll

History of Barbie

A doll with a skinny frame, long blonde hair, blue eyes, perfectly done up makeup, swathes of clothing, and a companion named Ken. Sound familiar? Most Americans will recognize this as the familiar Barbie doll, invented by Ruth Handler and marketed by the well-known toy company Mattel. Yet, this description that we nowadays so often …

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The Irish Famine

Image source: Atlasobscura.com Prior to the eighteenth-century famine was normal in most societies, people regularly starved and died in large numbers. In every pre-industrial society, the rate of population growth usually outstripped the rate of growth of the food supply of a society and this led to food shortages and even outright famine. A chance …

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Buffalo Bill Meets Dracula: William F. Cody, Bram Stoker, and the Frontiers of Racial Decay

Buffalo Bill

Image Source: CodyArchive.org

On a summer day in 1887, crowds of passers-by gathered to stare as an unusual group of celebrities drove through Oatlands Park, London. For many, seeing a group of fashionably dressed gentlemen that included England’s greatest living actor, Henry Irving, would have been exciting in itself. But one of Irving’s companions made the coaching party even more intriguing. With long black hair spilling down over his shoulders and stunning good looks, the figure that adorned thousands of colorful lithograph posters that blanketed London that season was instantly recognizable. Beside Henry Irving sat William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the impresario of the Wild West show sweeping the English capital that summer. Together, the pair drew gasps and, occasionally, shouts of approval from onlookers. 

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North of the Colour Line: Sleeping Car Porters and the Battle Against Jim Crow on Canadian Rails, 1880-1920

IN APRIL 1854, the Great Western Railway declared that it urgently needed eight hundred workers to guard its tracks against stray cattle and hog crossings. Its advertisement, strategically placed in Canada’s most important black newspaper of the day, the Provincial Freeman, sought African Canadians for the task. [1] Before the turn of the century, African …

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How Not to (Re)Write World History: Gavin Menzies and the Chinese Discovery of America

In 1421: The Year China Discovered America (2002), aspires to rewrite world history on a grand scale. He maintains that Gavin Menzies)four Chinese fleets, comprising twenty-five to thirty ships and at least 7,000 persons each, visited every part of the world except Europe between 1421 and 1423. Trained by Zheng He, the famous eunuch-admiral, Chinese …

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