Flowers formed from pith paper captured the imagination of British society in the 19th century, sparking a search for the elusive ‘rice paper’ plant.
With the US riven by civil war, Napoleon III seized the opportunity to install an emperor in Mexico. The new regime soon fell apart in a catastrophic manner.
Official secrecy and institutional rivalry obscured the achievements of two crash programmes hastily launched to teach Japanese during the Second World War.
The 19th-century craze for spiritualism ‘resurrected’ the dead through manipulated photography, a practice that boomed with the trauma caused by war – though it was not without its sceptics.
The Renaissance face provided clues about the wealth and health of its owner. Those who had been disfigured were often mistreated, but to alter one’s appearance carried a stigma of its own.
At its founding, Pennsylvania had one of the most tolerant criminal law systems in the world, but by the middle of the 18th century its capital Philadelphia was a ‘hell of the officials and preachers’.
Work was once deemed suitable for women only until they married. And it was not just men who thought that should be the case.
The aim of Charles I’s foreign policy was to restore his nephew’s lands in the Rhineland. France, he thought, was the key to success.
Exploring the important, but elusive, diplomatic role played by people of African descent in early modern Europe.
The distant past is not often illustrated with plentiful descriptions of everyday life. Instead, the picture has to be put together from different sources, piece by piece, like a jigsaw. But there are often still gaps, which can be filled with historically informed creativity.