Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942), a resident of Beijing and a scholar at Peking (Beijing) University, joined other contemporaries interested in both popular culture and folklore in collecting and transcribing Chinese children's rhymes. The rhymes were shared by nurse-maids who cared for the children of expatriates living in the city as well as through interviews of kids who sang in the... Read More »
This late-seventeenth century recipe for gingerbread shows how colonization in the Atlantic world changed what men and women in England would have eaten. The recipe includes ginger and sugar. While both of these commodities were known by Europeans prior to Columbus’s journeys to the New World, they were often grown on Caribbean plantations for export to Europe. In turn, increasing supply of... Read More »
Very little extant information exists on the life of Spartan women, but one of the main sources is Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaemonians which catalogs Sparta's institutions and customs with the goal of explaining how Sparta came to be a powerful city-state despite its relatively small population. This excerpt concerns the education of children and marriage arrangements in Sparta and... Read More »
Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederikszoon were ordinary people from Holland who settled in Stellenbosch (near Cape Town) and took up farming there. Though not wealthy, they did own slaves and had sufficient property that they felt the need to draw up a will when Beletje became ill. Note the Christian beliefs expressed in the wording of the will.
Laurens was Beletje’s second husband,... Read More »
As a result of the "libels" against the court and especially the Queen, a sense was spreading that the monarchy was not fulfilling its obligations in ruling over France. Demonstrating that sentiment, this pamphlet is written in the voice of Parisian working women from the open–air market of the place Maubert. It describes how such hardworking, salt–of–the–earth,honest, family–oriented women... Read More »
Giovanni Boccaccio provided the most famous description of what happened during the Black Death in Italy. His report on the behavior of the Florentines after plague entered their city during the spring of 1348 serves as introduction and frame for his collection of 100 tales entitled the Decameron. The epidemic provides the pretext for a group of young men and women to leave Florence... Read More »
Aztec children were valued creations. Language used in rituals compared infants to precious stones and feathers, flakes of stone, ornaments, or sprouts of plants. The duty of parents and society, however was not to indulge but to socialize the child, so that they would not become "fruitless trees," as an Aztec proverb stated. According to sources written shortly after the Spanish conquest,... Read More »