primary sources

Rabbit Trails: Criminal Intimacy & Pernicious Polygamy

Role ConfusionI’ve been trying to follow up on a previous post about the “divorce industry” in Oklahoma Territory (1889 – 1907), but I keep getting sidetracked by odd search results and unexpectedly engaging-but-off-topic tangents. I’m finally admitting that my ADHD (Abstemiously Distracted History Dysfunction) has won, and figure I might as well share some of the results.

Rabbit Trails: Mary Sallade & The One-Eyed Pickpocket

George AppoI’ve been looking into the “divorce industry” in Oklahoma Territory (1889 – 1907), and I spend more time than seems reasonable searching online newspaper archives for terms like “divorce” or “Oklahoma.” I’m not sure this makes me a crack researcher, but it has certainly led me down some weird paths.

Pick any topic – ANY topic – and start scratching at it. Something fascinating will almost always unfold… and yet leave you with a congress of unknowns, smirking and smug like Alice’s cat.

Forever Unfit To Be A Slave (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part Two)

FD Learning To ReadHere’s the number one reason governments and religions and parents and schools ban whatever they ban: it’s nearly impossible to maintain the illusion you’re doing someone a huge favor by keeping them locked under the staircase once they’ve visited Hogwarts – even by proxy. The power to question is the power to overcome.

Secession & Superiority (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part One)

South Carolina was upset that the North allowed so much discussion of things which threatened their way of life and went against their beliefs. They listed as one of their central reasons for trying to break the country their collective outrage that other states weren’t doing enough to stifle debate.

Their little white feelings were hurt and their dominant role in the world inconvenienced. Poor things.

Mary Boykin Chesnut's Diary, Part Two (Repost)

Historical documents of a personal nature can be difficult - especially for students - because tone is everything. Overlook a little flirting, or sarcasm, or other emoticon-deficient vibe, and you can misread a source completely. Mrs. Chesnut is kind enough to write on both levels simultaneously - the obvious, smiling appreciation for a friend’s long-awaited offspring, and - unless I’m projecting - a little wry commentary as well.

It might even be cruel.

Mary Boykin Chesnut's Diary, Part One (Repost)

Mary Boykin Chesnut was a Southern lady in the purest tradition, well-educated and well-bred. Her husband was the son of a successful plantation owner and an upwardly mobile politico himself.

Women in such circumstances were expected to be well-educated, but not given much opportunity to use their fancy brains. In retrospect, it might have been kinder to either keep them as ignorant as possible or let them do stuff - but such were the mores of the day. So she read, she observed, and she wrote. Lots.

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