History Of Knowledge

Blog Post on Gossip

After my research stay at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, last spring, the editors of their History of Knowledge-Blog kindly invited me to contribute a blog post on gossip’s relevance to studying the history of knowledge.

My thoughts on gossip, queer history, and archives entitled “An Intimate Knowledge of the Past? Gossip in the Archives” can be found here.

Besides some theoretical observations about what defines gossip and how we know history, the post also has ALL the drama of Charlotte Cushman’s most notorious break-up.


First Day at the Library of Congress

Long overdue, but what better topic for my first blog entry than my first day of archival research at the Library of Congress? I am currently a Kluge Fellow here and will stay until Christmas, so expect a couple of additional posts from this amazing place.
My first trip after getting orientated was to the “Rare Books Reading Room,” where I had a glance at sample issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book (later Godey’s Magazine) to get an idea of the role of gossip in this seminal 19th century publication. Turns out, I’m lucky! In 1894 at least, there was a regular column titled “Foreign Gossip” (the first issue I came across incidentally covered Bayreuth of all places) and in 1895 they seemed to have introduced “Women Up to Date” – a comparatively tame tabloid column, but a tabloid column nonetheless. I also came across a lengthy portrait of the actress Mrs Potter, whose marriage and divorce drama already provided an insightful case study for my analysis of Town Topics‘ rhetorical style (the magazine’s evocation of a gossip community between “The Saunterer” and his readers will be the topic of another post soon).
​All in all, off to a promising start!

(author: Katrin Horn)