History

January Blog Series Round-Up

In January we looked at the different housekeeping tips that were published throughout each decade of the Twentieth Century.  This is the series end round-up, if you will. 


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Keeping House like an OLD Pro - 1951-1960

January is National Organization Month and also National Hobby Month, so I thought, why not combine the two and find  out what the latest fads in cleaning and organization have been throughout the past century.  This is part 6 and we'll be looking at the the 1950s, for part 1 covering the turn of the century click here , for part 2 covering 1911-1920 click here,  for part 3 about 1921-1930 click here, for part 4 covering 1931-1940 click here, or for part 5 covering 1941-1950 click here.

This is the last part of our series on cleaning and organizing tips from days past.  By the time the 1950s came, the United States was in an economic boom.  The 1950s marked the beginning of the suburbs, there were televisions in many homes and automobiles in most driveways.  In recognition of this change, here are some retro television ads for cleaning products from the 50s.  


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Keeping House like an OLD Pro- 1900 to 1910

January is National Organization Month and also National Hobby Month, so I thought, why not combine the two and find  out what the latest fads in cleaning and organization have been throughout the past century.  We'll start with turn of the century cleaning techniques.

In the earliest part of the 20th century, the top 10 causes of death (as listed by the Physicians' Pocket Reference to the International List of Causes of Death, United States Bureau of the Census, 1916) were a horrifying list of communicable diseases including:

 

  1. Typhoid Fever
  2. Typhus Fever
  3. Malaria
  4. Small Pox
  5. Measles

 

The cover of the August 1908 Good Housekeeping Magazine.  

The cover of the August 1908 Good Housekeeping Magazine.  

With a growing understanding of disease and medicine occurring throughout the late 1800s, it is no wonder that it became a national obsession in the first decade of the 1900s to keep a pristine home.  By 1908, with the debut of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute and Seal of Approval it had become a household name, harpooned by the new national fascination by cleanliness and thrift.  

The December 1908 issue of Good Housekeeping featured an article called "First Lessons of Keeping House,"  by Grace H. Russell.  This edition explores the topic of "Soiled Clothes."  

Housekeeping would be an easy and relatively simple process if the washing and ironing could be eliminated from the routine, but it seems impossible to eliminate them.  But it is possible to systematize and organize the laundering in a way to make it much less burdensome and far less taxing than it is at present.

 A very good beginning for the system is to provide for every person in the home a laundry bag in which soiled clothing may be put from day to day.  Then when wash day comes, it is a very simple matter to gather up the laundry bags and carry them down to the room where the washing is going to be done.  

The dining room, too, should have its laundry bag.  It should be hung in a place where it will be impossible for mice to get into it, as the small particles of food are very attractive and exceedingly alluring to the animal's delicate sense of smell.  A kitchen bag should also be provided and all soiled pieces should be kept their.  Be careful however, not to permit the insertion of wet cloths or greasy rags in the kitchen bag, for the wet cloths may mildew, and greasy rags will contaminate dust cloths and dish towels.  

Russel, Grace H.  "First Lessons of Keeping House."  Good Housekeeping, December 1908, pp. 108-110.  

You can read the complete text of this article, or the entire magazine here. 


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Five Most Popular Blog Posts from 2014

For The Historium, 2014 was a HUGE year.  We published a book, worked with some amazing people, launched The Historical Research Planner and blogged away.  In many ways this post is a year in review, in others it is a look at what has worked and what hasn't over the past year.  By taking a look at the social love you all have shown us, we compiled the top 5 blog posts of 2014.  The number one post had a whopping 3,700+ pins (not to mention the shares it got on Twitter and Facebook)! WOW! 

So, now it's our turn to ask you, what you would like to see here in 2015?  Take a second and let us know in the comments below before you go!

Here are the links to the posts above:

1. The Ultimate Organization Cheat Sheet for Genealogists

2. Why We Love History (And You Should Too)

3. Get Your Priorities Straight in 10 Easy Steps

4. Put The Story in Family History

5. Top 5 Best Museums in Minnesota

Don't forget to let us know what you would like to see next year! Hope your 2014 was as great as ours!


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Merry Christmas

I know postings have been a little bit sparse this month, but I want you all to know that I am thinking of you and wishing you warmth and joy this holiday season.  Thank you for making my 2014 here at The Historium my best one yet.  I am so blessed by each of you who have become a part of our little community and have went out of your way to let me know what you think of what we do here.  

I wish you all the best holidays yet, and hope that you create memories that will last a lifetime or more. 

Yours in History,

Tara Cajacob


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Read Your Heart Out

My husband made a joke the other day when we were packing my library that I could almost fit a 4th bookshelf in my new office space.  He backtracked quickly seeing my enthusiasm for the idea, since he realizes that hauling the 20+ boxes filled with books that I already own will be no easy task.  I love books.  I am a bibliophile down to my core.  

I thought at first that I wouldn't be as prone to like e-books or audiobooks because I love the look, smell and feel of real paper books.  But, I was so wrong.  What I love about these alternative books is that they don't deplete the time I spend reading paper books, rather, they add to the time I can spend reading and thus the number of books I can read.  

I can seldom be found without my nose in a book.  My hubby thought he was a big reader, he likes to say, until he met me.  So, I have my own holiday tradition, in which I indulge my obsession with a new book.  This year, because of all the extra traveling we'll be doing, I bought two. 

I am so excited to have a little bit of time to read.  It won't surprise anyone that my favorite genre of fiction is (drum roll please) historical fiction.  I picked up a couple books to get me through my holiday travels.  One I have been eyeing for ages, and one is a consolation gift to myself since I don't have the network on which the series is playing. 

What is your favorite genre? Do you prefer e-books, audio-books or old fashioned paper ones? What books have you been reading? Did they stand up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments below.


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


The History Dictionary

Today is National Dictionary Day here in the U.S. and I thought it would be a fun time to look at some unusual words that pertain to history.  These aren't really dictionary definitions.  After all, what fun would that be?  They are more, definitions as they apply to historical research.

Life is our Dictionary.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Context
[kon-tekst]
noun

Definition - the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

Origin -
early 15c., from Latin contextus "a joining together," originally past-participle of contexere "to weave together,"
from com- "together" + texere "to weave".

In history - 
When looking at a specific, small topic, like family history, establishing context can mean two things.  The first, is gathering information about outside events that might have affected the subject of your research.  For example, researching your ancestors living in Oklahoma in the 1930s, it could be very important to understand the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, so that you can understand what the sources you find mean within the context of those two events.  

The second form of context, can refer to bias.  Every piece of information is subject to bias.  You are bias, and the sources you choose to incorporate as well as the information you choose to wain from those sources and how you tell the story will be influenced by that bias.  Even your sources are bias, they were written by humans with opinions and objectives for specific reasons.  This establishes a context that can help you understand what further information you might need as well as how to interpret your sources. 

Heritage
[her-i-tij]
noun

Definition - 
the evidence of the past, such as historical sites, buildings, 
and the unspoilt natural environment, considered collectively 
as the inheritance of present-day society

Origin -  c.1200, "that which may be inherited," from Old French iritage, eritage , heritage, from heriter "inherit," from Late Latin hereditare,
ultimately from Latin heres (genitive heredis) "heir."

In history - 
Heritage has earned itself a rather controversial position in the historical vocabulary.  According to historian David Loewenthal, "The purpose of 'heritage' is to domesticate the past for present causes."*  It is the idea of using history as a kind of propoganda with a specific end in mind.  Consider it the ultimate bias-- and one more often than not political in nature.  This simple term, while often used innocently, can have rather dark connotations in some instances.
 

Historiography 
[hi-stawr-ee-og-ruh-fee, -stohr-] 
noun

Definition - 
the body of techniques, theories, and principles of historical
 research and presentation; 
methods of historical scholarship.

Origin -

1560s; see from history + -graphy. Related: Historiographer.

In History - 
Typically this refers to a method of doing research that we adhere to, in order to make our research valuable for future generations.  Historiography dictates that we should attempt to interpret history without bending it based on our personal biases or the biases of our sources.  It also tells us that to do this we should try to rely upon primary sources for our information where possible, rather than relying on the interpretation of another historian too heavily.  

*taken from John Fea's Why Study History? pp. 39-40.  

If you are interested in knowing more about the how and why behind genealogy and family history research, my book The Purposeful Family Historian delves into how to harness the bigger picture of historical context and research to find your purpose and propel your research. 

For 5 days only ( 10/16-10/20)  - starting today -  I'm giving it away for free on Amazon! 

It's normally $9.99, but to celebrate my birthday, I thought I'd give it away for a very short, limited time!

I am only asking one teeny, tiny favor: If you download the book and you love it, would you consider writing a review on Amazon? The more reviews the book gets the more potential others will find it and it will help them.  I really appreciate your help!

photo 4 (2).JPG

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here