Born in 1788 in Chatham, Kent, William Cuffay was the son of an English woman, Juliana Fox, and a formerly enslaved father of African descent, Chatham Cuffay. William was a traveling tailor of a short height. He stood at 4 feet 11 inches. However, in that small body was a powerful activist.
Arabella Hunt (1662-1705) was celebrated for her beauty and her musical talents during her lifetime. Her contemporaries remarked that her soprano voice had the “reed of a bullfinch” and inspired various composers, including Henry Purcell and Dr John Blow.
Jane Austen left more than six novels. She left two unfinished works, juvenilia, and letters to family and friends. It’s from these sources that we get little Austenian nuggets of wisdom, wit, romance, and hope for future generations. Here’s a few for your reading pleasure.
The Ladies of Llangollen, Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, were two women that scandalized English society with their unconventional living arrangements. However, they made a number of friends and entertained several interesting guests, including Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Anna Seward, Sir Walter Scott, and even the Duke of Wellington.
Anne Lister was an English landowner and prolific diarist. Her diaries led to revelations that dubbed her the "first modern lesbian." She led numerous romantic relationships with women and married Ann Walker in what is regarded as Britain's first known lesbian wedding.
Frances Maria Kelly (1790-1882) was a celebrated actress who founded England's first recorded drama school with her own savings. She never married, and she paved her own way in a world where women were expected to raise a family and manage a household.
In July 1806, when Humphrey Hogarth was accused of cheating Henry Barry, the 8th Earl of Barrymore, at cards, he accepted the earl's challenge at a duel to defend his honor. When he showed up, cocked and loaded, he gave the gathering crowd quite an eyeful. Read on for more!
Beau Brummell was the leading fashion icon of his day. So much so, his influence on men’s fashion has trickled down into the modern day suit and tie. Despite being at the forefront of English dandies, Brummell also possessed a witty mind. Ranging from witticisms, advice, and biting sarcasm, for your reading pleasure, here are 9 quotes from Beau Brummell.
While women weren't officially allowed to fully serve in England’s Royal Navy until 1993, there are reports of women dressing as men long before. These women worked alongside male sailors for months, years, and sometimes lifetimes without revealing their gender to their shipmates. Some recognizable women who worked as sailors under these conditions were Anne Jane Thornton (1817-1877) and Mary Lacy (1740-1795). While it’s unclear exactly how many women dressed as men to go venturing on the high seas, some sources say that the first woman of African descent to serve for the Royal Navy was Miss William Brown, birth name unknown.