Arsenic and Old Lace

What is follows is an historical article that appeared in The Hartford Courant in 1916 about the arsenic murders carried out by Mrs. Archer-Gilligan. This story is the basis for the 1944 Hollywood film “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane and directed by Frank Capra.  The movie is based on the play by Joseph Kesseling of the same that appeared in 1939.

For a fee, Amy Archer-Gilligan promised to care for the elderly tenants of her Windsor home until they died.

Some inmates, as tenants at the time were called, paid a flat sum of $1,000 for life. Some arranged to leave their estates to Archer-Gilligan. Others paid a weekly fee.

For those who made weekly payments, there was an added benefit: Archer-Gilligan might not murder them.

The Archer Home for Elderly and Indigent Persons at 37 Prospect St. operated from the fall of 1907 until May 8, 1916, the day that state police arrived in Windsor to question Archer-Gilligan, search the home and ultimately arrest her for the murder of Franklin R. Andrews, an inmate who had died on May 30, 1914.

“Police Believe Archer Home For Aged A Murder Factory,” read the lead headline in the next morning’s Courant. “Mrs. Archer-Gilligan Accused Of Murder Of Inmate. Autopsy Shows Two Who Died Were Killed By Poison.”

Archer-Gilligan reacted calmly to her arrest. “I will prove my innocence, if it takes my last mill,” she told the arresting officers. “I am not guilty and I will hang before they prove it.”

A Suspicious Loan

Andrews’ sister became suspicious about her brother’s death. As The Courant noted in its Page 1 story on May 9, 1916, “The arrest of the Windsor woman yesterday is the result of the suspicions aroused when Mrs. Nellie E. Pierce of No. 205 Vine St., Hartford, found in the effects of her brother, Franklin R. Andrews, after he died at the Archer House, a letter from Mrs. Archer-Gilligan asking for a loan, ‘as near $1,000 as possible,’ about which the woman had said nothing to her.”

Pierce questioned Archer-Gilligan about the loan and, at first, she denied receiving one. Later, Archer-Gilligan said it was a gift of $500. After a lawyer hired by Pierce demanded the return of the money, Archer-Gilligan paid it back, “not because she could not keep it but because she did not feel it worth quarreling over,” The Courant reported.

The questions continued. Andrews, 61, had been in good health and, on the day of his death, had been “seen about the Archer Home as usual,” The Courant reported. “He spent part of the day working on the lawn at the place.” He was dead before midnight.

Pierce became suspicious weeks later after finding the letter seeking a loan. She took her concerns about what was going on at the Archer home to Hartford State’s Attorney Hugh M. Alcorn and, after apparently not being satisfied with his response, to Clifton L. Sherman, managing editor of The Courant.

Sherman, intrigued by what Pierce told and other rumors he had heard about the Archer home, assigned Aubrey Maddock, the assistant city editor, to investigate what was happening in Windsor.

Using death certificates, then and now public documents, The Courant investigators determined that 60 people had died at the Archer Home since its opening in 1907. “Forty-eight of them, a number declared to be far in excess of the normal death rate at an institution of this kind, have been reported since January 1, 1911,” The Courant reported. Only 10 or 12 people lived at the home at a time.

The reporters also determined, again using public documents, that Archer-Gilligan had purchased substantial quantities of arsenic at pharmacies in Windsor and Hartford, which she said was to deal with a rat problem. The Windsor pharmacy was also selling Archer-Gilligan morphine, which she consumed with regularity.

Among the 60 people who had died at the Archer House was James Archer, Archer-Gilligan’s first husband, and Michael Gilligan, who died less than three months after marrying Archer-Gilligan. He left her an estate of about $4,000.

The Courant presented its evidence to the governor, and state police began a quiet investigation into the doings of Archer-Gilligan at her Windsor home.

During that investigation, the remains of two of Archer-Gilligan’s tenants were exhumed, including that of Andrews. Later, three more bodies were exhumed.

‘They Are Old People’

On the day of her arrest, police asked Archer-Gilligan about the excessive number of deaths in her home. She replied, “Well, we didn’t ask them to come here but we do the best we can for them. They are old people, and some live for a long time while others die after being here a short time.”

And when asked about the financial arrangements she made with her inmates, she said she barely got by. “I am a poor, hard-working woman and I can’t understand why I am persecuted as I have been during the last few years. This is a Christian work and one that is very trying as we have to put up with lots of things on account of the peculiarities of the old people.”

Andrews’ body had been buried in a Cheshire cemetery for two years when he was dug up on May 2, 1916, a week before Archer-Gilligan’s arrest for his murder.

Capt. Robert T. Hurley of the state police testified at Archer-Gilligan’s trial that he and the doctors who examined Andrews’ body arrived at the cemetery about 9 p.m. The grave had already been opened by cemetery workers.

“The box was taken from the grave,” The Courant reported on June 26, 1917, during the trial. “It was taken with the body from the grave and carried by the handles to the tool house. The body was well preserved, as was the clothing. The stomach, before the autopsy, appeared to be bloated.”

Dr. Arthur J. Wolff performed the autopsy by the light of two lanterns. He removed several organs, including the stomach. Further analysis revealed the presence of arsenic.

A former tenant, Loren B. Gowdy, 71, testified at Archer-Gilligan’s trial that he and his wife, Alice Graham Gowdy, 69, inquired about moving into the Archer House in May 1914. The couple wanted to move into the room occupied by Andrews and a roommate on June 1, and Archer-Gilligan told them that she could arrange it.

Andrews died on May 30, 1914. On May 31, 1914, Archer-Gilligan sent a telegram to the Gowdys telling them that their room was ready.

The Gowdys moved into the Archer House a few days later and Archer-Gilligan received payment of $1,000, $500 for each. Alice Gowdy died on Dec. 4, 1914, and after her body was exhumed, arsenic was detected in her body.

Loren Gowdy moved out of the Archer House and was alive two years later to testify against Archer-Gilligan at her trial.

Although she was tried only for the murder of Andrews, Archer-Gilligan had been indicted for the poisoning murders of five people: Andrews; Alice Gowdy; Archer-Gilligan’s second husband, Michael Gilligan; Charles A. Smith, who died on April 9, 1914; and Maud Howard Lynch, who died on Feb. 2, 1916. All but Lynch died of arsenic poisoning. Lynch was poisoned by strychnine.

Authorities suspected that Archer-Gilligan actually killed at least 20 of her tenants.

Insanity Defense

The trial began on June 21, 1917, in Hartford. Alcorn was the prosecutor, and Benedict M. Holden defended Archer-Gilligan. The trial drew large crowds and was covered widely in the press.

One of the people who followed the case was playwright Joseph Kesselring, who took inspiration from the Archer-Gilligan case in writing “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

On July 13, the jury began deliberating and took only four hours to find Archer-Gilligan guilty.

Archer-Gilligan was sentenced to die by hanging on Nov. 6, 1917. Meanwhile, her lawyers appealed. Gov. Marcus H. Holcomb granted a reprieve as the appeal progressed.

The Supreme Court of Errors, as it was known, found that the trial judge had erred and ordered a new trial. The second trial began in Middletown on June 12, 1919, and her lawyers mounted an insanity defense.

The trial came to an abrupt end on July 1, 1919, when Archer-Gilligan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Alcorn insisted that Archer-Gilligan was guilty of premeditated murder and expressed confidence that the jury would agree, but agreed to the plea to second-degree murder.

The defense offered psychiatrists and psychologists, who were then known as alienists, to testify to Archer-Gilligan’s mental illness. They also brought up Archer-Gilligan’s use of morphine.

“We believed and still believe, her mentality of such a grade that, aggravated by her use of morphine, as the evidence showed, she was not capable of premeditating the murder of Franklin R. Andrews to the extent that it could be called first-degree murder,” Holden said.

In accepting the plea, Judge John E. Keeler said, “I am satisfied that, from the evidence they have heard and from my instructions to them, the jurymen would have been satisfied that during the period when she is claimed to have planned and executed the murder of Franklin R. Andrews, there were some doubts as to her sanity, her ability to premeditate and act with the expressed malice the law demands for murder in the first-degree.”

Archer-Gilligan was immediately sentenced to life in prison and began her sentence at the state prison in Wethersfield.

Five years later, on July 17, 1924, Archer-Gilligan was declared insane and transferred to the “state hospital for the insane at Middletown.”

Playwright Kesselring traveled to Hartford to meet with Alcorn, who gave Kesselring access to court records. Kesselring was struck by the extraordinary image of a sweet, church-going lady quietly poisoning people off, The Courant reported in 1974, as the Hartford Stage Company presented “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Alcorn attended the comedy’s premier on Broadway in 1941 and didn’t care for the show. “He couldn’t understand all the laughter over something he thought was a deadly serious matter,” one of his sons told The Courant.

Archer-Gilligan spent the remaining 38 years of her life at Connecticut Valley Hospital, where she died on April 23, 1962, at the age of 94.

Hospital officials described her as a quiet and cooperative patient. In its April 24, 1962, report on Archer-Gilligan’s death, The Courant reported: “Mostly she sat in a chair, dressed in a black dress trimmed with lace, a Bible on her lap, and prayed.”

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Highlander Bible

Fruits of the Empire: Licorice Root and Juice

Liquorice, the roots of Glycirrhiza Glabra, a perennial plant, a native of the south of Europe, but cultivated to some extent in England, particularly at Mitcham, in Surrey.

Its root, which is its only valuable part, is long, fibrous, of a yellow colour, and when fresh, very juicy. [...] Read more →

Painting Plaster Work and the History of Terra Cotta

The 1896 Victorian terracotta Bell Edison Telephone Building – 17 & 19 Newhall Street, Birmingham, England. A grade I listed building designed by Frederick Martin of the firm Martin & Chamberlain. Now offices for firms of architects. Photographed 10 May 2006 by Oosoom

[Reprint from Victoria and Albert Museum included below on [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt

BOOKS CONDEMNED TO BE BURNT.

By

JAMES ANSON FARRER,

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1892

———-

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

Mocking Bird Food

Mocking Bird Food.

Hemp seed……….2 pounds Rape seed………. .1 pound Crackers………….1 pound Rice…………….1/4 pound Corn meal………1/4 pound Lard oil…………1/4 pound

 

Home Top of Pg. Read more →

Traditional JuJutsu Health, Strength and Combat Tricks

Jujitsu training 1920 in Japanese agricultural school.

CHAPTER V

THE VALUE OF EVEN TEMPER IN ATHLETICS—SOME OF THE FEATS THAT REQUIRE GOOD NATURE

In the writer’s opinion it becomes necessary to make at this point some suggestions relative to a very important part of the training in jiu-jitsu. [...] Read more →

Of the Room and Furniture

Crewe Hall Dining Room

 

THE transient tenure that most of us have in our dwellings, and the absorbing nature of the struggle that most of us have to make to win the necessary provisions of life, prevent our encouraging the manufacture of well-wrought furniture.

We mean to outgrow [...] Read more →

The Character of a Happy Life

How happy is he born and taught. That serveth not another’s will; Whose armour is his honest thought, And simple truth his utmost skill

Whose passions not his masters are; Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the world by care Of public fame or private breath;

Who envies none that chance [...] Read more →

The Flying Saucers are Real by Donald Keyhoe

It was a strange assignment. I picked up the telegram from desk and read it a third time.

NEW YORK, N.Y., MAY 9, 1949

HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATING FLYING SAUCER MYSTERY. FIRST TIP HINTED GIGANTIC HOAX TO COVER UP OFFICIAL SECRET. BELIEVE IT MAY HAVE BEEN PLANTED TO HIDE [...] Read more →

Glimpses from the Chase

From Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches, A Quarterly Magazine Descriptive of British, Indian, Colonial, and Foreign Sport with Thirty Two Full Page Illustrations Volume 10 1893, London; Mssrs. Fores Piccadilly W. 1893, All Rights Reserved.

GLIMPSES OF THE CHASE, Ireland a Hundred Years Ago. By ‘Triviator.’

FOX-HUNTING has, like Racing, [...] Read more →

How to Make Money – Insurance

Life insurance certificate issued by the Yorkshire Fire & Life Insurance Company to Samuel Holt, Liverpool, England, 1851. On display at the British Museum in London. Donated by the ifs School of Finance. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)

From How to Make Money; and How to Keep it, Or, Capital and Labor [...] Read more →

The First Pineapple Grown in England

First Pineapple Grown in England

Click here to read an excellent article on the history of pineapple growing in the UK.

Should one be interested in serious mass scale production, click here for scientific resources.

Growing pineapples in the UK.

The video below demonstrates how to grow pineapples in Florida.

[...] Read more →

Chinese 9 Course Dinner

The following recipes form the most popular items in a nine-course dinner program:

BIRD’S NEST SOUP

Soak one pound bird’s nest in cold water overnight. Drain the cold water and cook in boiling water. Drain again. Do this twice. Clean the bird’s nest. Be sure [...] Read more →

The Kalmar War

Wojna Kalmarska – 1611

The Kalmar War

From The Historian’s History of the World (In 25 Volumes) by Henry Smith William L.L.D. – Vol. XVI.(Scandinavia) Pg. 308-310

The northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, as already noticed, had been peopled from the remotest times by nomadic tribes called Finns or Cwenas by [...] Read more →

Fly Casting Instructions

It is a pity that the traditions and literature in praise of fly fishing have unconsciously hampered instead of expanded this graceful, effective sport. Many a sportsman has been anxious to share its joys, but appalled by the rapture of expression in describing its countless thrills and niceties he has been literally [...] Read more →

Indian Modes of Hunting – Setting Fox Traps

Aug. 13, 1898 Forest and Stream, Pg. 125

Game Bag and Gun.

Indian Modes of Hunting. III.—Foxes.

The fox as a rule is a most wily animal, and numerous are the stories of his cunning toward the Indian hunter with his steel traps.

Origin of the Apothecary

ORIGIN OF THE APOTHECARY.

The origin of the apothecary in England dates much further back than one would suppose from what your correspondent, “A Barrister-at-Law,” says about it. It is true he speaks only of apothecaries as a distinct branch of the medical profession, but long before Henry VIII’s time [...] Read more →

Valentine Poetry from the Cotswold Explorer

 

There is nothing more delightful than a great poetry reading to warm ones heart on a cold winter night fireside. Today is one of the coldest Valentine’s days on record, thus, nothing could be better than listening to the resonant voice of Robin Shuckbrugh, The Cotswold [...] Read more →

Life Among the Thugee

The existence of large bodies of men having no other means of subsistence than those afforded by plunder, is, in all countries, too common to excite surprise; and, unhappily, organized bands of assassins are not peculiar to India! The associations of murderers known by the name of Thugs present, however, [...] Read more →

Artist Methods

Como dome facade – Pliny the Elder – Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Work in Progress…

THE VARNISHES.

Every substance may be considered as a varnish, which, when applied to the surface of a solid body, gives it a permanent lustre. Drying oil, thickened by exposure to the sun’s heat or [...] Read more →

The Crime of the Congo by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Man looks at severed hand and foot….for refusing to climb a tree to cut rubber for King Leopold

Click here to read The Crime of the Congo by Arthur Conan Doyle

Victim of King Leopold of Belgium

Click on the link below for faster download.

The [...] Read more →

Looking for a Gift for the Book Collector in the Family?

Buying a book for a serious collector with refined tastes can be a daunting task.

However, there is one company that publishes some of the finest reproduction books in the world, books that most collectors wouldn’t mind having in their collection no matter their general preference or specialty.

JP Morgan’s Digital Currency Patent Application

J.P. Morgan Patent #8,452,703

Method and system for processing internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network.

Abstract

Embodiments of the invention include a method and system for conducting financial transactions over a payment network. The method may include associating a payment address of an account [...] Read more →

A Few Wine Recipes

EIGHTEEN GALLONS is here give as a STANDARD for all the following Recipes, it being the most convenient size cask to Families. See A General Process for Making Wine

If, however, only half the quantity of Wine is to be made, it is but to divide the portions of [...] Read more →

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

 

Nov. 5. 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 371-372

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

New Smyrna, Fla., Oct. 21.—Editor Forest and Stream:

It is not generally known that the fish commonly called jewfish. warsaw and black grouper are frequently caught at the New Smyrna bridge [...] Read more →

The Stock Exchange Specialist

New York Stock Exchange Floor September 26,1963

The Specialist as a member of a stock exchange has two functions.’ He must execute orders which other members of an exchange may leave with him when the current market price is away from the price of the orders. By executing these orders on behalf [...] Read more →

Chinese Duck Cooking – A Few Recipes

Chen Lin, Water fowl, in Cahill, James. Ge jiang shan se (Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368, Taiwan edition). Taipei: Shitou chubanshe fen youxian gongsi, 1994. pl. 4:13, p. 180. Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. scroll, light colors on paper, 35.7 x 47.5 cm

 

Here’s Many a Year to You

” Here’s many a year to you ! Sportsmen who’ve ridden life straight. Here’s all good cheer to you ! Luck to you early and late.

Here’s to the best of you ! You with the blood and the nerve. Here’s to the rest of you ! What of a weak moment’s swerve ? [...] Read more →

English Fig Wine

Take the large blue figs when pretty ripe, and steep them in white wine, having made some slits in them, that they may swell and gather in the substance of the wine.

Then slice some other figs and let them simmer over a fire in water until they are reduced [...] Read more →

Arsenic and Old Lace

What is follows is an historical article that appeared in The Hartford Courant in 1916 about the arsenic murders carried out by Mrs. Archer-Gilligan. This story is the basis for the 1944 Hollywood film “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane and directed by Frank Capra. The [...] Read more →

Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois and the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Noel Desenfans and Sir Francis Bourgeois, circa 1805 by Paul Sandby, watercolour on paper

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was England’s first purpose-built art gallery and considered by some to be England’s first national gallery. Founded by the bequest of Sir Peter Francis Bourgois, dandy, the gallery was built to display his vast [...] Read more →

Why Beauty Matters

Roger Scruton by Peter Helm

This is one of those videos that the so-called intellectual left would rather not be seen by the general public as it makes a laughing stock of the idiots running the artworld, a multi-billion dollar business.

https://archive.org/details/why-beauty-matters-roger-scruton

or Click here to watch

[...] Read more →

Naval Stores – Distilling Turpentine

Chipping a Turpentine Tree

DISTILLING TURPENTINE One of the Most Important Industries of the State of Georgia Injuring the Magnificent Trees Spirits, Resin, Tar, Pitch, and Crude Turpentine all from the Long Leaved Pine – “Naval Stores” So Called.

Dublin, Ga., May 8. – One of the most important industries [...] Read more →

Palermo Wine

Take to every quart of water one pound of Malaga raisins, rub and cut the raisins small, and put them to the water, and let them stand ten days, stirring once or twice a day. You may boil the water an hour before you put it to the raisins, and let it [...] Read more →

Mudlark Regulations in the U.K.

Mudlarks of London

Mudlarking along the Thames River foreshore is controlled by the Port of London Authority.

According to the Port of London website, two type of permits are issued for those wishing to conduct metal detecting, digging, or searching activities.

Standard – allows digging to a depth of 7.5 [...] Read more →

The Cremation of Sam McGee

Robert W. Service (b.1874, d.1958)

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night [...] Read more →

Wine Making

Wine Making

Grapes are the world’s leading fruit crop and the eighth most important food crop in the world, exceeded only by the principal cereals and starchytubers. Though substantial quantities are used for fresh fruit, raisins, juice and preserves, most of the world’s annual production of about 60 million [...] Read more →

The Shirk – An Old but Familiar Phenomena

STORE MANAGEMENT—THE SHIRK.

THE shirk is a well-known specimen of the genus homo. His habitat is offices, stores, business establishments of all kinds. His habits are familiar to us, but a few words on the subject will not be amiss. The shirk usually displays activity when the boss is around, [...] Read more →

A History of Fowling – Ravens and Jays

From A History of Fowling, Being an Account of the Many Curios Devices by Which Wild Birds are, or Have Been, Captured in Different Parts of the World by Rev. H.A. MacPherson, M.A.

THE RAVEN (Corvus corax) is generally accredited with a large endowment of mother wit. Its warning [...] Read more →

Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

“Ours is an educational association organized for the benefit of the banking fraternity of the country and within our membership may be found on an equal basis both employees and employers; [...] Read more →

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Officers and men of the 13th Light Dragoons, British Army, Crimea. Rostrum photograph of photographer’s original print, uncropped and without color correction. Survivors of the Charge.

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the [...] Read more →

Bess of Hardwick: Four Times a Lady

Bess of Harwick

Four times the nuptial bed she warm’d, And every time so well perform’d, That when death spoil’d each husband’s billing, He left the widow every shilling. Fond was the dame, but not dejected; Five stately mansions she erected With more than royal pomp, to vary The prison of her captive When [...] Read more →

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!” he said. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Home Top of [...] Read more →

A Cure for Distemper in Dogs

 

The following cure was found written on a front flyleaf in an 1811 3rd Ed. copy of The Sportsman’s Guide or Sportsman’s Companion: Containing Every Possible Instruction for the Juvenille Shooter, Together with Information Necessary for the Experienced Sportsman by B. Thomas.

 

Transcript:

Vaccinate your dogs when young [...] Read more →

Blunderbuss Mai Tai Recipe

Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger

If you’re looking for that most refreshing of summertime beverages for sipping out on the back patio or perhaps as a last drink before walking the plank, let me recommend my Blunderbuss Mai Tai. I picked up the basics to this recipe over thirty years ago when holed up [...] Read more →

Fortune, Independence, and Competence

THE answer to the question, What is fortune has never been, and probably never will be, satisfactorily made. What may be a fortune for one bears but small proportion to the colossal possessions of another. The scores or hundreds of thousands admired and envied as a fortune in most of our communities [...] Read more →

Texas Tarpon

Early Texas photo of Tarpon catch – Not necessarily the one mentioned below…

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg.10

Texas Tarpon.

Tarpon, Texas.—Mr. W. B. Leach, of Palestine, Texas, caught at Aransas Pass Islet, on June 14, the largest tarpon on record here taken with rod and reel. The [...] Read more →

The Racing Knockabout Gosling

The Racing Knockabout Gosling.

Gosling was the winning yacht of 1897 in one of the best racing classes now existing in this country, the Roston knockabout class. The origin of this class dates back about six years, when Carl, a small keel cutter, was built for C. H. [...] Read more →

The Preparation of Marketable Vinegar

It is unnecessary to point out that low-grade fruit may often be used to advantage in the preparation of vinegar. This has always been true in the case of apples and may be true with other fruit, especially grapes. The use of grapes for wine making is an outlet which [...] Read more →

Napoleon’s Pharmacists

NAPOLEON’S PHARMACISTS.

Of the making of books about Napoleon there is no end, and the centenary of his death (May 5) is not likely to pass without adding to the number, but a volume on Napoleon”s pharmacists still awaits treatment by the student in this field of historical research. There [...] Read more →

Country Cabbage and Pea Soup

Add the following ingredients to a four or six quart crock pot, salt & pepper to taste keeping in mind that salt pork is just that, cover with water and cook on high till it boils, then cut back to low for four or five hours. A slow cooker works well, I [...] Read more →

King William III on Horseback by Sir Godfrey Kneller

Reprint from The Royal Collection Trust website:

Kneller was born in Lubeck, studied with Rembrandt in Amsterdam and by 1676 was working in England as a fashionable portrait painter. He painted seven British monarchs (Charles II, James II, William III, Mary II, Anne, George I and George II), though his [...] Read more →

Preserving Iron and Steel Surfaces with Paint

Painting the Brooklyn Bridge, Photo by Eugene de Salignac , 1914

 

Excerpt from: The Preservation of Iron and Steel Structures by F. Cosby-Jones, The Mechanical Engineer January 30, 1914

Painting.

This is the method of protection against corrosion that has the most extensive use, owing to the fact that [...] Read more →

Pickled Eels

Vintage woodcut illustration of a Eel

 

This dish is a favorite in Northern Europe, from the British Isles to Sweden.

Clean and skin the eels and cut them into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. Wash and drain the pieces, then dredge in fine salt and allow to stand from 30 [...] Read more →

Art Fraud

A la Russie, aux ânes et aux autres – by Chagall – 1911

Marc Chagall is one of the most forged artists on the planet. Mark Rothko fakes also abound. According to available news reports, the art market is littered with forgeries of their work. Some are even thought to be [...] Read more →

Rendering Amber Clear for Use in Lens-Making for Magnifying Glass

by John Partridge,drawing,1825

From the work of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake entitled Materials for a history of oil painting, (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846), we learn the following:

The effect of oil at certain temperatures, in penetrating “the minute pores of the amber” (as Hoffman elsewhere writes), is still more [...] Read more →

The English Tradition of Woodworking

THE sense of a consecutive tradition has so completely faded out of English art that it has become difficult to realise the meaning of tradition, or the possibility of its ever again reviving; and this state of things is not improved by the fact that it is due to uncertainty of purpose, [...] Read more →

Cocillana Syrup Compound

Guarea guidonia

Recipe

5 Per Cent Alcohol 8-24 Grain – Heroin Hydrochloride 120 Minims – Tincture Euphorbia Pilulifera 120 Minims – Syrup Wild Lettuce 40 Minims – Tincture Cocillana 24 Minims – Syrup Squill Compound 8 Gram – Ca(s)ecarin (P, D, & Co.) 8-100 Grain Menthol

Dose – One-half to one fluidrams (2 to [...] Read more →

Tuna Record

TROF. C. F. HOLDFER AND HIS 183LBS. TUNA, WITH BOATMAN JIM GARDNER.

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 11

The Tuna Record.

Avalon. Santa Catalina Island. Southern California, June 16.—Editor Forest and Stream: Several years ago the writer in articles on the “Game Fishes of the Pacific Slope,” in [...] Read more →

List of the 60 Franklin Library Signed Limited Editions

The following highly collectible Franklin Library Signed Editions were published between 1977 and 1982. They are all fully leather bound with beautiful covers and contain gorgeous and rich silk moire endpapers. Signatures are protected by unattached tissue inserts.

The values listed are average prices that were sought by [...] Read more →

What’s the Matter?

A rhetorical question? Genuine concern?

In this essay we are examining another form of matter otherwise known as national literary matters, the three most important of which being the Matter of Rome, Matter of France, and the Matter of England.

Our focus shall be on the Matter of England or [...] Read more →

Furniture Polishing Cream

Furniture Polishing Cream.

Animal oil soap…………………….1 onuce Solution of potassium hydroxide…. .5 ounces Beeswax……………………………1 pound Oil of turpentine…………………..3 pints Water, enough to make……………..5 pints

Dissolve the soap in the lye with the aid of heat; add this solution all at once to the warm solution of the wax in the oil. Beat [...] Read more →

Salmon Caviar

Salmon and Sturgeon Caviar – Photo by Thor

Salmon caviar was originated about 1910 by a fisherman in the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and the preparation is a modification of the sturgeon caviar method (Cobb 1919). Salomon caviar has found a good market in the U.S.S.R. and other European countries where it [...] Read more →

Travels by Narrowboat

Oh Glorious England, verdant fields and wandering canals…

In this wonderful series of videos, the CountryHouseGent takes the viewer along as he chugs up and down the many canals crisscrossing England in his classic Narrowboat. There is nothing like a free man charting his own destiny.

Harry Houdini Investigates the Spirit World

The magician delighted in exposing spiritualists as con men and frauds.

By EDMUND WILSON June 24, 1925

Houdini is a short strong stocky man with small feet and a very large head. Seen from the stage, his figure, with its short legs and its pugilist’s proportions, is less impressive than at close [...] Read more →

Clover Wine

Add 3 quarts clover blossoms* to 4 quarts of boiling water removed from heat at point of boil. Let stand for three days. At the end of the third day, drain the juice into another container leaving the blossoms. Add three quarts of fresh water and the peel of one lemon to the blossoms [...] Read more →

The Legacy of Felix de Weldon

Felix Weihs de Weldon, age 96, died broke in the year 2003 after successive bankruptcies and accumulating $4 million dollars worth of debt. Most of the debt was related to the high cost of love for a wife living with Alzheimer’s. Health care costs to maintain his first wife, Margot, ran $500 per [...] Read more →

Shooting in Wet Weather

 

Reprint from The Sportsman’s Cabinet and Town and Country Magazine, Vol I. Dec. 1832, Pg. 94-95

To the Editor of the Cabinet.

SIR,

Possessing that anxious feeling so common among shooters on the near approach of the 12th of August, I honestly confess I was not able [...] Read more →

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

The greatest cause of failure in vinegar making is carelessness on the part of the operator. Intelligent separation should be made of the process into its various steps from the beginning to end.

PRESSING THE JUICE

The apples should be clean and ripe. If not clean, undesirable fermentations [...] Read more →

The Hoochie Coochie Hex

From Dr. Marvel’s 1929 book entitled Hoodoo for the Common Man, we find his infamous Hoochie Coochie Hex.

What follows is a verbatim transcription of the text:

The Hoochie Coochie Hex should not be used in conjunction with any other Hexes. This can lead to [...] Read more →

Cup of Tea? To be or not to be

Twinings London – photo by Elisa.rolle

Is the tea in your cup genuine?

The fact is, had one been living in the early 19th Century, one might occasionally encounter a counterfeit cup of tea. Food adulterations to include added poisonings and suspect substitutions were a common problem in Europe at [...] Read more →

Indian Modes of Hunting – Musquash

Hudson Bay: Trappers, 1892. N’Talking Musquash.’ Fur Trappers Of The Hudson’S Bay Company Talking By A Fire. Engraving After A Drawing By Frederic Remington, 1892.

Indian Modes of Hunting.

IV.—Musquash.

In Canada and the United States, the killing of the little animal known under the several names of [...] Read more →

Snipe Shooting

Snipe shooting-Epistle on snipe shooting, from Ned Copper Cap, Esq., to George Trigger-George Trigger’s reply to Ned Copper Cap-Black partridge.

——

“Si sine amore jocisque Nil est jucundum, vivas in &more jooisque.” -Horace. “If nothing appears to you delightful without love and sports, then live in sporta and [...] Read more →

Copper Kills Covid-19 and the Sun is Your Friend

The element copper effectively kills viruses and bacteria.

Therefore it would reason and I will assert and not only assert but lay claim to the patents for copper mesh stints to be inserted in the arteries of patients presenting with severe cases of Covid-19 with a slow release dosage of [...] Read more →

What is the Meaning of the Term Thorough-bred Fox-hound

Reprint from the Sportsman Cabinet and Town & Country Magazine, Vol.1, Number 1, November 1832.

MR. Editor,

Will you allow me to inquire, through the medium of your pages, the correct meaning of the term thorough-bred fox-hound? I am very well aware, that the expression is in common [...] Read more →

How to Distinguish Fishes

 

Sept. 3, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 188-189

How to Distinguish Fishes.

BY FRED MATHER. The average angler knows by sight all the fish which he captures, but ask him to describe one and he is puzzled, and will get off on the color of the fish, which is [...] Read more →

Guaranteed 6% Dividend for Life. Any takers?

Any prudent investor would jump at the chance to receive a guaranteed 6% dividend for life. So how does one get in on this action?

The fact of the matter is…YOU can’t…That is unless you are a shareholder of one of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks and the banks under [...] Read more →

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The [...] Read more →

Why Beauty Matters – Sir Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton – Why Beauty Matters (2009) from Mirza Akdeniz on Vimeo.

Click here for another site on which to view this video.

Sadly, Sir Roger Scruton passed away a few days ago—January 12th, 2020. Heaven has gained a great philosopher.

Home Top of [...] Read more →

Commercial Tuna Salad Recipe

Tom Oates, aka Nabokov at en.wikipedia

No two commercial tuna salads are prepared by exactly the same formula, but they do not show the wide variety characteristic of herring salad. The recipe given here is typical. It is offered, however, only as a guide. The same recipe with minor variations to suit [...] Read more →

The First Greek Book by John Williams White

Click here to read The First Greek Book by John Williams White

The First Greek Book - 15.7MB

IN MEMORIAM

JOHN WILLIAMS WHITE

The death, on May 9, of John Williams White, professor of Greek in Harvard University, touches a large number of classical [...] Read more →

Peach Brandy

PEACH BRANDY

2 gallons + 3 quarts boiled water 3 qts. peaches, extremely ripe 3 lemons, cut into sections 2 sm. pkgs. yeast 10 lbs. sugar 4 lbs. dark raisins

Place peaches, lemons and sugar in crock. Dissolve yeast in water (must NOT be to hot). Stir thoroughly. Stir daily for 7 days. Keep [...] Read more →

Target Practice

Nov. 12, 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 396

The Veterans to the Front.

Ironton. O., Oct. 28.—Editor Forest and Stream: I mail you a target made here today by Messrs. E. Lawton, G. Rogers and R. S. Dupuy. Mr. Dupuy is seventy-four years old, Mr. Lawton seventy-two. Mr. Rogers [...] Read more →

Beef Jerky

BEEF JERKY

Preparation.

Slice 5 pounds lean beef (flank steak or similar cut) into strips 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, 1 to 2 inches wide, and 4 to 12 inches long. Cut with grain of meat; remove the fat. Lay out in a single layer on a smooth clean surface (use [...] Read more →

Of Decorated Furniture

DECORATED or “sumptuous” furniture is not merely furniture that is expensive to buy, but that which has been elaborated with much thought, knowledge, and skill. Such furniture cannot be cheap, certainly, but the real cost of it is sometimes borne by the artist who produces rather than by the man who may [...] Read more →

A Creative Approach to Saving Ye Olde Cassette Tapes

Quite possibly, the most agonizing decision being made by Baby Boomers across the nation these days is what to do with all that vintage Hi-fi equipment and boxes full of classic rock and roll cassettes and 8-Tracks.

I faced this dilemma head-on this past summer as I definitely wanted in [...] Read more →

Some Notes on American Ship Worms

July 9, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 25

Some Notes on American Ship-Worms.

[Read before the American Fishes Congress at Tampa.]

While we wish to preserve and protect most of the products of our waters, these creatures we would gladly obliterate from the realm of living things. For [...] Read more →

Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events

In July of 1968, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), published NASA Technical Report TR R-277 titled Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events.

The catalog begins with the first entry dated November 26th, 1540 at ∼05h 00m:

Feature: Region of Calippus2 Description: Starlike appearance on dark side Observer: Observers at Worms Reference: [...] Read more →

Public Attitudes Towards Speculation

Reprint from The Pitfalls of Speculation by Thomas Gibson 1906 Ed.

THE PUBLIC ATTITUDE TOWARD SPECULATION

THE public attitude toward speculation is generally hostile. Even those who venture frequently are prone to speak discouragingly of speculative possibilities, and to point warningly to the fact that an overwhelming majority [...] Read more →

Horn Measurement

Jul. 23, 1898 Forest and Stream, Pg. 65

Horn Measurements.

Editor Forest and Stream: “Record head.” How shamefully this term is being abused, especially in the past three years; or since the giant moose from Alaska made his appearance in public and placed all former records (so far as [...] Read more →

The Basics of Painting in the Building Trade

PAINTER-WORK, in the building trade. When work is painted one or both of two distinct ends is achieved, namely the preservation and the coloration of the material painted. The compounds used for painting—taking the word as meaning a thin protective or decorative coat—are very numerous, including oil-paint of many kinds, distemper, whitewash, [...] Read more →