Author Archives: allennz

Charles Augustus Howell

  A portrait by Frederic Sandys (1882) One of my favourite Victorian scoundrels and an inveterate footnote of the period is Charles Augustus Howell. He is actually quite well-known – notorious – but mostly because he regularly features in the … Continue reading

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Cartoon of the Week

Facebook didn’t invent the cute animal and the cat in charge.

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Cartoon of the Week

This Puck cartoon of Theodore Roosevelt – the Political Janus – is from just outside of the Victorian period, and Roosevelt is hardly a footnote, but I couldn’t resist it as I sit reading reports of President Trump at the … Continue reading

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Cartoon of the Week

Something else from the endlessly fascinating Public Domain Review site, this time from the 1850s. For more information about the book, go to of-rome/

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Book(s) of the Month

Since my earlier post on Phrenology, I have been reading a couple of books about similarly obscure causes which would have been part of the package of most self-respecting radicals of the the Victorian period. Both involve challenges to medical … Continue reading

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Guest Post

This is a contribution from Dave George, an Australian historian who wrote a PhD thesis on a now forgotten English radical John Baxter Langley. In this post he introduces one of my favourite types of characters, the Victorian Scoundrel Count … Continue reading

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You need your brain examined

Looking back to the 19th century, there were many social and political causes that now seem, at best, curious and at worst bizarre and ridiculous. As science and capitalism progressed, they brought all sorts of questions, debates and answers. With … Continue reading

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Cartoon of the Week: Cartoon Characters

In the UK in the late 19th century, political cartoons were prolifically pasted around a constituency during an election. This is one of 270 in a spectacular collection held by Leeds Public Library. It shows a third party candidate – … Continue reading

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Cartoons of the Week: US Immigration in the 1890s

The Proposed Emigrant Dumping Site, from Judge magazine 1890. Above a group of prosperous Americans refuse entry to a new immigrant, while the shadows of their own immigrant past watch over. From Puck magazine 1893 And finally, entitled “Who is … Continue reading

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Cartoon of the Week: Going to the Opera in 2000 (a view from 1882)

Source: The Public Domain Review. This is a great site, see  

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