22 episodes

A feminist women's history comedy podcast about the scandalicious stories of people from olden times. Hosted by Ann Foster.

Vulgar History Ann Foster

    • History

A feminist women's history comedy podcast about the scandalicious stories of people from olden times. Hosted by Ann Foster.

    Milkmaids, Harem girls, and the History of the Smallpox Vaccine (Pandemic Super Special)

    Milkmaids, Harem girls, and the History of the Smallpox Vaccine (Pandemic Super Special)

    Smallpox was a highly contagious, deadly disease which likely first appeared around the 3rd century BCE in Egypt. From then on, it followed trade routes and colonization, decimating populations in many countries. The development of the smallpox vaccine can be traced back many centuries, to people in India, China, West Africa, and the Ottoman Empire who used a technique known of variolation to inject healthy people with pus from those afflicted by smallpox. In the late 18th century in England, Dr. Edward Jenner popularized and advocated for the injection of cowpox cells to immunize humans against smallpox, leading to the eradication of the disease by 1980.

    Crowdfunding site for Dr. Jenner’s House Museum and Garden

    References:

    Princesses, Slaves, and Explosives: The Scandalous Origin of Vaccines by Kiona Smith-Strickland, Gizmodo

    Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes who fought them by Jennifer Wright

    Wikipedia

    COVID-19 May Permanently Shutter Museum Devoted to Vaccination Pioneer (Smithsonian)

    • 23 min
    Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the English sweating sickness (Pandemic Super Special)

    Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the English sweating sickness (Pandemic Super Special)

    From 1485 - 1551, England experienced several epidemics of a mysterious illness known only as the sweating sickness. Unlike other diseases that affected the very young, very old, and the poor, this one seemed to target young, healthy, rich people. And two of the rich people affected were King Henry VIII and his mistress, Anne Boleyn.

    EDIT: Two corrections were brought to my attention after this episode published. 1) Henry VII defeated Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth on August 22 1485; therefore, he and his troops did not arrive in England from France on August 28th, as I stated in the episode. What happened is that the first case of English sweating sickness was reported on August 28 1485, and 2) Henry VIII's BFF/brother-in-law was *Charles* Brandon, not Henry Brandon, as I said in the episode. Charles Brandon's son Henry died in the sweating sickness.

    References:

    The 'Sweating Disease' That Swept Across England 500 Years Ago is Still a Medical Mystery (Discover Magazine)

    The Sweating Sickness Returns (Discover Magazine)

    Anne Boleyn and the Tudor sweating sickness (On the Tudor Trail)

    The Mysterious Epidemic That Terrified Henry VIII (History.com)

    Anne Boleyn: 11 Surprising Facts (History Extra)

    How Did King Henry VIII 'Self-Isolate' From The Sweating Sickness? (History Extra)

    • 17 min
    Joanna of Naples

    Joanna of Naples

    Joanna of Naples (1326-1382) was Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily for thirty action-packed and highly scandilicious years. This story has it all: kidnappings! Revenge murders! Evil popes! Evil husbands! Being trapped in an iron cage for fourteen years! The black plague! But how will Joanna herself score on our scandilicious scale? The results may SURPRISE YOU!!

    References:

    Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples by Anne Theriault on Longreads

    The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone



    Other stuff:

    Vulgar History Recommended Reads on Bookshop.org

    My Patreon

    Follow Vulgar History on Instagram and Twitter

    Vulgar History merch

    • 58 min
    Anne, Queen of Great Britain

    Anne, Queen of Great Britain

    Anne I (1665 – 1714), best known as the main character of the movie The Favourite, was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland and then of Great Britain and Ireland for twelve years. Her life story is a gossip buffet of rivalry, death, and resiliency. But how will she score on the scandilicious scale??

    References:

    My essay on Queen Anne I

    Queen Anne: Politics and Passion by Anne Somerset

    The Favourite: The Life of Sarah Churchill and the History Behind the Major Motion Picture by Ophelia Field

    Other stuff:

    Vulgar History Recommended Reads on Bookshop.org

    My Patreon

    Follow Vulgar History on Instagram and Twitter

    Vulgar History merch

    • 47 min
    Eyam, The Plague Village (Pandemic Super Special)

    Eyam, The Plague Village (Pandemic Super Special)

    In 1665, the tiny English town of Eyam was beset by the same plague that was affecting London. Under the guidance of the town's reverend, the villagers agreed to quarantine themselves in order to protect nearby villages. After fourteen months, all but 83 of the town's 344 residents had died.
    References:
    Eyam Historic Plague Village (the town's current website)
    Did this sleepy village stop the Great Plague? (BBC)
    Plague-Infested Village Self-Quarantined to Stop the Plague of 1666 (Interesting Engineeering)
    Eyam plague: The village of the damned (BBC News)
    Eyam Plague Village Museum – Eyam, England (Atlas Obscura)
    The Black Death and the Great Plague: a comparison (Teachit History)

    • 19 min
    Charles II de Valois And The Pillow Fight Of Death (Pandemic Super Special)

    Charles II de Valois And The Pillow Fight Of Death (Pandemic Super Special)

    Charles II de Valois (1522-1545) was the third son of the French King Francis I. He died very young from an entirely preventable and ridiculous pillow fight related situation in the middle of a plague-ridden town. 
    References: 
    Francis I: The Maker of Modern France by Leonie Frieda
    Charles II de Valois, Duke of Orleans (Wikipedia)

    • 22 min

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