Phaidon Verlag was founded as a history and art-book publisher in Vienna in 1923 by Ludwig Goldscheider (1896–1973), Dr Béla Horovitz (1898–1955) and Frederick Ungar (1898-1988), all Jewish scholars. The founders named the com­pany Phaidon after a pupil of Soc­r­ates, to reflect their love of classical culture. The company's distinctive logo der­ived from the Greek…

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Spouse and I lived in Britain in 1972 and 1973, and worked in a Herts hospital. American Bill Bryson (b1951) first visited Britain in 1973 and worked in a Sur­rey hospital. Bill married a local nurse in 1975, moved back to Des Moines in 1975 to complete his studies at Drake Uni, then re-set­­t­led in…

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In year 11, I read both Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead, and found them full of two revolting qualities: 1] selfish individualism and 2] destructive, laissez faire capitalism. Thus I am relying on Jonathan Freedland and others for a more balanced review. Alissa Rosenbaum (1905-82) was born in St Pet­ersburg, the eld­est of 3 children. Alissa was enrolled in…

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It started in the early 1980s when Gateshead decided to take art to the public because it did not have its own contemporary art gallery. The early works were so successful that in 1986 a formal public art programme was launched. This was given a tremendous boost during the 1990 Garden Festival in Gateshead with…

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Lost Girls: The Invention of the Flapperwritten by Linda SimonPublished 2017Political, cultural and technological factors led to the rise of women’s independence and the flapper era. In WWI women entered the workforce in large numbers, receiving the higher wages that working women would later demand. Just after WWI, the cl­assic flap­per image was that of a…

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The 282-ton brigantine Amazon was built in 1861 in Nova Scot­ia Canada. In Nov 1872, and now called Mary Celeste, the ship sailed from New York Harbour en route to Genoa. It was a merch­ant ship with a tricky past so presumably the name change was to dis­associate itself from a series of mishaps eg the sudden…

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Few artists have captured Australian history as convincingly as Sid­ney Nolan (1917–92); his most iconic old works were synon­ymous with Australian mod­ernism. Nolan was known as an artist who celebrated the human spirit, so this story was previously unknown. Many thanks to Andrew Turley.By 1939, in Mel­bourne, Nolan first painted the darkness of concent­r­ation camps with…

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Found across S.E Asia, betel nuts were harvested from the Ar­eca palm and were chewed for their stimulating prop­ert­ies. The local Dutch realised how impor­tant betel nuts were to the ind­ig­en­ous people and how it was an essential part of hospitality. So the Dutch quickly incorp­or­ated betel use with their deal­ings with lo­c­­al elites, and…

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Bikur Cholim SynagogueThe Jerusalem Post reported that Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city with c4 million people. Izmir aka Smyrna is the principal seaport of Western Anatolia on the coast of the Aegean Sea. The Jewish community in Izmir goes back to the C4th BC. The city’s oldest district, Kemeralti, was home to the densest…

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The Up series of documentary films followed the lives of 14 Britons since 1964, when they were 7. The first film was titled 7 UP and the series has had 9 episodes, one every 7 years, spanning 56 years. The series has been produced by Granada Television for ITV, when Australian journalist Tim Hew­at organised the…

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Stella Tennant was born (1970-2020) in London, the youngest of 3 children to the Hon Tobias Tennant, son of 2nd Baron Glenconner, and Lady Emma Cavendish. Tennant rose to fame in the 1990s while mod­el­ling for Versace, Al­exander McQueen and other designers. Although she was the grand-daughter of a Duke, Tennant didn’t become one of…

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The first confirmed outbreak of sweating disease arrived in England in 1485, to­w­ards the end of the Wars of the Roses (1455–87). This led to spec­ul­ation that it may have been brought over from France by the French mercenaries used by Henry Tudor to win the English throne. Major ep­idemic waves followed in 1508, then 1517,…

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Thank you to History and Will. When the United States Industrial Alcohol Company/USIA decided to build a huge molasses tank, they put it smack in the mid­dle of Boston’s North End, a community made up largely of Italian immigrants in a densely populated neighbourhood.Pulling victims outSmithsonian21 people were killed on Commercial St in the North…

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New York’s prosperity before the Civil War was closely tied to slav­ery and the Cotton South. But it was only in the southern stat­es, where the economy was based on the plant­at­ion agriculture, that sl­av­ery was legal. Slavery had been ended in the nor­thern states where industrialisation did not require cheap labour. Thus the nor­th­ern…

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Wall St, immediately after the explosionWall St in New York was a global financial centre. In 1920 the stock market thrived and smart business lunches called. At noon on 16th Sept 1920 an ordinary man driving a horse-and-cart drove in, and stopped the animal with its heavy load of dynam­ite and iron weights. He was in…

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The two men shackled together,The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial, 2009by Moshik Tem­kin.Nicola Sacco (1891–1927) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (1888–1927) arr­iv­ed from It­aly in 1908 and settled in Boston, with its large im­m­igrant community that provided workers for manuf­act­uring ind­ust­r­ies. Sacco from Foggia was a shoe-maker; Van­zetti from Cun­eo sold fish. Each experienced prejudice against impoverished…

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Duke of Westminster and Coco Chanel, 1924I have been very interested in Coco Chanel’s unlikely path in this world, from neglected orphan to world famous designer. Now Anne De Courcy’s newest book Chanel's Riviera has focused on how the designer helped magnetise the Mediterranean playground from Monaco to St Tropez. Chanel’s lover since 1923, Bendor Duke…

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Charles Lindburgh and Amelia EarhartAmelia Earhart (1897-1937) was a Kansan who learned to love fly­ing while attending a Toronto air-show in WWI. She enjoyed flying lessons and set a women’s altitude record of 14,000’ in 1922, but wasn’t yet committed to a flying career. She studied health at Columbia Univ­ersity and then was a social…

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Portrait of Singer by Edward Harrison May, 1869Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-75) was the youngest child born in NY to German migrants. The parents divorced & abandoned the 8 children when Is­aac was only 12, so he left home with minimal education, took odd jobs at carnivals and formed a travelling troupe of repertory actors. After 9…

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By the early C19th, London had become the world’s largest city. To deal with concerns re preventing crime, Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel introduced the Met­ropolitan Police Act to Parliam­ent 1829. But people were afraid that the new police force would be used by the government to spy on them. So under the Act, the…

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