Weekend Reading

William Shakespeare

• As Britain officially wades into the same-sex marriage debate, the BBC suggested “ten key moments in the history of marriage.”

• What did William Shakespeare sound like? Some claim his accent was closer to that of contemporary Americans than of today’s Britons. Now you can judge for yourself: the British Library has produced a CD of Shakespearean speeches and sonnets recorded according to original pronunciations. Click here to read more and listen to some excerpts. (H/T The Historical Society Blog)

• One of the most remarkable memorials in the world sits unobtrusively in Postman’s Park, London: it commemorates fifty-four otherwise ordinary women, men, and (surprisingly many) children of the Victorian Era who died saving the lives of others from fire, drowning, traffic accidents, and even suicide.

• Coming April 2nd: the full release of the 1940 U.S. Census. (Individual census records are sealed for 72 years.) The only census taken during the four terms of the FDR presidency, it included new questions about employment, income, and housing that had special significance in the wake of the Great Depression.

• The turbulent history of Sealand, the world’s smallest “micronation.” Three miles off the coast of England, the occupier of this abandoned WWII fort declared his “country” sovereign in 1967 and even received a German diplomat in 1978 to negotiate the end to a hostage situation.

• As Chris Benecke points out, for more and more historians the problem is not a scarcity of sources, but a “superabundance” of them — both primary and secondary.

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