Author Archives: Vanessa Wilkie

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Posted on Jul. 19, 2022 by Vanessa Wilkie
3 Comment(s)
In 1736, just four days before Christmas, 5-year-old Mary “Molly” Leigh wrote a formal letter to her father, Theophilus Leigh, Master of Balliol College, Oxford. The first page of the letter is ruled...
Posted on Jan. 13, 2021 by Vanessa Wilkie
2 Comment(s)
When Congressional sessions resumed after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, many people watched televised proceedings set in motion some 200 years ago ...
Posted on Apr. 22, 2020 by Vanessa Wilkie
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The term "fake news" now features prominently in our cultural lexicon. While the nuances are unspoken, we tend to assume that fake news is the opposite of real news ...
Posted on Dec. 3, 2018 by Vanessa Wilkie
3 Comment(s)
The family feud between England's Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) and her cousin, the Scottish Queen Mary (1542–1587)—not "Bloody" Mary, Elizabeth's half-sister—has fascinated people since the 16th...
Posted on Dec. 13, 2017 by Vanessa Wilkie
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In April 1917, the Cambria set sail from London for New York. Most of the passengers had no idea that one of the world's great libraries sat below decks in 101 wooden crates. Shakespeare folios and quartos...
Posted on Dec. 19, 2016 by Vanessa Wilkie
1 Comment(s)
I wrote my first serious history paper in 7th grade on the Battle of Hastings—the epic scene in 1066 when Duke William II of Normandy invaded England defeating the Saxon King Harold. After the battle...
Posted on May. 31, 2016 by Vanessa Wilkie
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In the early 1980s, Mary Robertson, then chief curator of manuscripts, had an unusual meeting with a film production designer. Robertson was used to talking with people about the wonders and mysteries...
Posted on Aug. 28, 2015 by Vanessa Wilkie
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We love to hate villains. Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort horrifies us with his flagrant use of the Unforgivable Curses. Before him, Darth Vader of Star Wars fame was the true embodiment of evil as he built...
Posted on Aug. 4, 2015 by Vanessa Wilkie
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The Huntington's Ellesmere Chaucer, an illuminated manuscript produced around the year 1400, is the most handsome extant version of The Canterbury Tales in the world. Many scholars believe Geoffrey Chaucer...
Posted on Jul. 21, 2015 by Vanessa Wilkie
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A popular rule of etiquette recommends avoiding two topics in polite conversation: politics and religion. I would add a third—grammar. No discussion becomes more heated than a debate over whether it...

Recent Posts

Jul. 26, 2022 by Sandy Masuo
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When you step into The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science at The Huntington, you are instantly transported to another world. Consistently warm and humid conditions create a pocket...
Jul. 19, 2022 by Vanessa Wilkie
3 Comment(s)
In 1736, just four days before Christmas, 5-year-old Mary “Molly” Leigh wrote a formal letter to her father, Theophilus Leigh, Master of Balliol College, Oxford. The first page of the letter is ruled...
Jul. 5, 2022 by Sandy Masuo
4 Comment(s)
In the botanical world, the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum, has been an A-list celebrity. The Huntington first acquired one in March 1999, and five months later, the Scott Gallery Loggia was the...

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