34 episodes

Uncommon history with an unconventional pair. Join married hosts Rebecca Robbins (a Broadway actress) and Kim Kimmel (her college history instructor) as they delve into topics that run the historical gambit. A gifted storyteller, Kim taught history at the collegiate level for 29 years while as a student, Rebecca always sat in the front row of his Western Civilizations class soaking up every word he said. For the record, she made an A in his class. She went on to pursue a Broadway career (The Phantom of The Opera, A Tale of Two Cities) while he continued to teach at her alma mater (Curtis Institute of Music). Though you couldn't get more different than these two with their 23-year age difference, together they bring history to life with their unique perspectives, entertaining banter, and shared love of the past. Sometimes quirky, sometimes obscure, this is the kind of history you’ll actually want to remember. Now in our Second Season. New episodes bi-weekly on Wednesday mornings.

Historically Speaking Podcast Rebecca Robbins & Kim Kimmel

    • History
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Uncommon history with an unconventional pair. Join married hosts Rebecca Robbins (a Broadway actress) and Kim Kimmel (her college history instructor) as they delve into topics that run the historical gambit. A gifted storyteller, Kim taught history at the collegiate level for 29 years while as a student, Rebecca always sat in the front row of his Western Civilizations class soaking up every word he said. For the record, she made an A in his class. She went on to pursue a Broadway career (The Phantom of The Opera, A Tale of Two Cities) while he continued to teach at her alma mater (Curtis Institute of Music). Though you couldn't get more different than these two with their 23-year age difference, together they bring history to life with their unique perspectives, entertaining banter, and shared love of the past. Sometimes quirky, sometimes obscure, this is the kind of history you’ll actually want to remember. Now in our Second Season. New episodes bi-weekly on Wednesday mornings.

    Hard to Kill

    Hard to Kill

    There are a handful of people in history who seem to have had an uncanny ability to escape death. Whether evading a lone assassin, dodging friendly fire during the heat of battle, or simply defying the laws of nature by smoking over 200 cigarettes a day, these four historical figures featured in Episode 34 proved they were all Hard to Kill.

    Books:
    The Reign of Elizabeth by J.B. Black
    Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner 
    King Zog: Self-Made Monarch of Albania by James Tomes
    The Double Life of Fidel Castro by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez & Alex Gyldén 
     Film:
    Elizabeth I and Her Enemies (2017) Documentary
    Washington (2020) Documentary
    The Fidel Castro Tapes (2014) Documentary

    • 32 min
    The Restoration & Charles II

    The Restoration & Charles II

    The Restoration period is known as probably the most bawdy era in English history. And who was it that ushered in this remarkable age? Why, the Merry Monarch himself, Charles II. In addition to having a great fondness for the ladies and the good life, Charles had many remarkable qualities. Here in our first episode of Season 2, we take a closer look at this loveable rogue and the times in which he lived.

    Episode Edits:
    Charles had a stroke not months before his death but only about a week before his death.The William Penn Statue on top of City Hall in Philadelphia is the largest freestanding statue atop any building in the world.Books:
    The Later Stuarts by Sir George ClarkRoyal Charles by Antonia FraserThe Columbia Companion to British History by Juliet Gardiner & Neil WenbornThe Pageant of Stuart England by Elizabeth Burton Film:
    Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003) with Rufus SewellForever Amber (1947) with George Sanders and Linda Darnell 

    • 45 min
    The Salem Witch Trials

    The Salem Witch Trials

    The years 1692-1693 were some of the darkest times in American history. They were the years when mass hysteria ruled the land and young girls were inexplicably stricken with fits of screaming, barking, shaking, and crying. It was a group of roughly 9 girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, who were taken at their fantastical word of being physically tormented by certain members of their own village which eventually led to over 200 people being accused of witchcraft. Nineteen of those accused were hung and one was pressed to death. Here in our last episode of our first season, we take an in-depth look at the fascinating yet heart-breaking time in our history known as The Salem Witch Trials. 

    Books:
    A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft by Rev. John HaleThe Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide by K. David GossSalem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692 by Bernard RosenthalA Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience by Emerson W. BakerFilms:
    Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1986) with Vanessa RedgraveThe Crucible (1996) with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder

    • 35 min
    Jack The Ripper

    Jack The Ripper

    During the late summer and fall of 1888, a district in East London was being terrorized by an unknown Victorian serial killer. In a September 25th letter addressed to the Central News Agency, the yet to be identified murderer boasted of his recent killings and signed the letter “Jack the Ripper”. That name has endured for over 133 years, and the case remains open to this day. Why are we still fascinated by this case? With over 100 suspects, why was it never solved? Here in Episode 31, we walk you through the facts of what is known about the most notorious murderer the world has ever known.   

    Books:
    Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Casebook by Richard Whittington-EganThe Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper by Maxim JakubowskiThe Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip SugdenThe Complete Jack the Ripper by Donald RumbelowFilm/Documentary:
    Jack the Ripper (1988) with Michael Caine and Jane SeymourJack the Ripper: Tabloid Killer (2015) DocumentaryJack the Ripper (2017) Documentary with Trevor Marriott

    • 39 min
    A Handful of Holiday Histories

    A Handful of Holiday Histories

    Everyone has their favorite holiday, but do you know how your favorite holiday came into being? The answers may surprise you. For instance, in 12th century England, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25th, but the ancient Celts celebrated their New Year (Sumhain) on November 1st. So why do we now celebrate the New Year on January 1st? And why do we now use the Gregorian Calendar as opposed to the Julian Calendar? Also, did the Druids really use human sacrifices during their celebrations? And why would shepherds be tending their flocks in the middle of December? Did slavery still exist after June 19, 1865? Here in our 30th episode we answer every single one of those questions and much more!

    Episode Notes:
    King Numa Pompilius (c. 700 BC) is credited with adding January and February to the old 10-month Roman calendar, but March 1st remained New Year’s Day for Romans until the Julian calendar was developed around 45 BC.President Abraham Lincoln did not, in August of 1862, write to Horatio Seymour, former and future Governor of New York, about slavery and the Union, but rather to Horace Greeley, editor of The New York Tribune.  As promised, here is Rebecca’s Spotify playlist, “October Songs”. Books:
    A Brief History of the Calendar by David Harper, PhD, FRASNew Year’s Day Wikipedia articleThe Civil War Day by Day by E.B. LongLincoln by David Herbert DonaldHalloween by Ruth Edna KelleyA Brief History of the Druids by Peter Berresford EllisThe Christmas Encyclopedia by William CrumpHistorical Dictionary of Catholicism by William J. CollingeFilm:
    The Wicker Man (1973) – with Edward Woodward, Diane Cilento

    • 36 min
    Macbeth: Fact or Fiction?

    Macbeth: Fact or Fiction?

    Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a fascinating figure- resourceful, brave, insightful, reflective, but it’s his inordinate ambition that leads to his downfall. Can the same be said of Scotland’s real Macbeth? Here in Episode 29, we unpack the characters in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth alongside their historical (or mythical) counterparts including Banquo, Malcolm, McDuff, even the witches. We also let you in on a few theatre traditions involving “The Scottish Play” as well as why you can never say the word Macbeth in a theatre.

    Episode Notes:
    The word Bard means poet and because William Shakespeare was from the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, he was known as the Bard of Avon. Even though the title was never officially bestowed, in 1769 the Shakespearean actor David Garrick is credited with organizing the Shakespeare Jubilee for which he wrote a song referring to Shakespeare as the Warwickshire Bard which seems to have eventually morphed into The Bard of Avon. Here is a link to Garrick's original song, https://www.bartleby.com/333/77.htmlSir Laurence Olivier played the title role in Macbeth at the Old Vic Theatre in London in 1937.Books:
    Macbeth by William ShakespeareHolinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland by Raphael HolinshedScotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus MagnussonThe Reign of Elizabeth 1556-1603 by J.B. BlackThe History of Scotland by Sir Walter ScottFilm:
    Macbeth (1948) Directed by and starring Orson WellesThe Tragedy of Macbeth (1971) Directed by Roman Polanski, starring John FinchThe Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) Directed by Joel Cohen, starring Denzel Washington 

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

bobbacita ,

History Teacher Extraordinaire!

These episodes are the conversations you would have over the dinner table with a knowledgable friend. And the history professor I wish I had had. She asks the questions you would, and he seems to know everything! I love the unscripted style and have learned so much! Bravo

Always fun and infirmative. ,

Always fun and informative.

Great way to pick up on a bit of interesting history. The sessions lengths are perfect for my drive into the office. Always ready for the next episode. Keep up the great work!

Trusty Blaze ,

Trusty Blaze

I Am astonished at how much I have learned listening to the 10 episodes. Clearly my education was lacking. Thank you both.

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