How the “Penny Papers” of the 1800s could make or break a woman’s reputation

We tend to think of tabloids as a modern-day phenomenon, beginning in the 1970s when housewives purchased them at supermarkets and returned home to read about Jackie Onassis’s latest scandal. In fact, The National Enquirer was first published in 1926, and cheap newspapers covering salacious crimes and celebrity gossip, also known as “penny papers,” first […]

The “Murderous” Corsets of The Gilded Age

Women’s fashion at the turn of the century was constrictive, to put it mildly. In some cases, it was lethal. In the opening scene of The Ghost in Her, the heroine, Maggie O’Connor, walks along a desolate back street with her sister Nessa, who is in child labor, and eyes an advertisement for corsets. Excerpt […]

To Thine Own Self Be True

Trying to look like Annie Lennox at McGill, 1985. Hi, it’s Anika Savoy! Welcome to my blog. Now I know what some of you are thinking: Anika Savoy looks a lot like true crime author Anne K. Howard. Okay, I’ll confess. We are one in the same. I had a good run with my true […]

The Hidden Horrors of Blackwell’s Island

Visit Roosevelt Island today and you will encounter a pleasant oasis set apart from the hustle and bustle of New York City. That’s not to say that it is vacant of modern structures. In addition to a high-tech campus, restaurants, upscale apartment buildings, and a trendy hotel, you will walk upon grassy parklands teeming with […]

A Gnome. A Time Machine. The Gilded Age. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s Christmas Eve. A gnome arrives at your doorstep. He looks like Santa Claus’s mini-me; roly-poly with a long white beard and a red velvet cap. He introduces himself as Randy. Yes, the gnome’s name is Randy. His stubby little finger points in the direction of an evergreen tree on your front lawn, beneath which […]

Anderson Cooper takes a spirited deep dive into his Gilded Age ancestry.

The nightmare began at the beginning of the 19th century, when an eleven-year-old boy named Cornelius Vanderbilt dreamt of making vast quantities of money that would one day set him apart as the richest man in America. Vanderbilt followed the rule book for all aspiring tycoons: work your ass off, ruthlessly attack your competitors, even […]