Christopher M. Cevasco, Author

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Linen-clad Idlers, Unite and Take Over!

Although Labor Day did not officially become a federal holiday in the United States until 1894, it was first observed as a celebration of the social and economic contribution of workers on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The CLU itself was established as a trade […]

The Panic of 1857

On August 24, 1857, the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company failed in the wake of fraudulent activities by its management. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, plunging the United States fully into what came to be known as the Panic of 1857. Ohio Life was a bank based in Ohio […]

London Bridge: The Ups and Downs (Part 1)

This is the first in a planned series of ZOUNDS! posts about the history of London Bridge. August 1 marked the 180th anniversary of the opening of the “New” London Bridge, which crossed the River Thames to connect the City of London to the district of Southwark in central London. But that particular bridge was […]

Halley’s Comet – Part 3 (12th-15th Centuries)

This is the third in a series of posts about the storied history of Halley’s Comet (officially designated 1P/Halley). If you missed the earlier posts, you can still read Part One here and Part Two here. The first appearance of 1P/Halley subsequent to its momentous AD 1066 apparition occurred in 1145. Like its predecessor, this […]

Casey Anthony, Joan of Arc, and the Legal System

Tired of hearing about the recent Casey Anthony verdict in Florida? Let’s rewind the clock to another young lady’s acquittal that took place 555 years ago today. On July 7, 1456, Joan of Arc–the peasant girl who led the French army to a number of major victories against the English in the Hundred Years’ War–was […]

Norse Greenland: When Adaptation Breeds Extinction

In 1408, a letter from the Norse colonies in Greenland brought word to Iceland of a wedding. There was no hint whatsoever in the letter of any actual or perceived threat to the men and women living there. After that, no further European contact with the colonists occurred until 1721, when a Norwegian missionary went […]

The Blessings of the Tawdry Saint Be Upon You

St. Æthelthryth (Etheldreda), whose feast day is celebrated on June 23 (the anniversary of her death in AD 679), was one of four daughters of King Anna of East Anglia–one of the independent kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy that eventually united into a single England later in the Anglo-Saxon period. Some time around 652, at […]

“Way Down Upon the Pee Dee River…”

Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? But actually, the Pee Dee River of North and South Carolina was the river that composer Stephen Foster, the “father of American music,” originally considered using in his 1851 lyrics to “Old Folks At Home.” He apparently also considered using the Yazoo River of Mississippi. […]

Happy 935th Birthday to Mstislav I of Kiev

On this day, June 1, in the year 1076, the Battle of Hastings was nearly ten years in the past for Gytha of Wessex. At that battle, her father Harold Godwineson was slain, ending his short-lived stint as King of England and ushering in the reign of the Norman duke who defeated him, a man […]

Halley’s Comet – Part 2 (1066)

This is the second in a series of posts about the storied history of Halley’s Comet (officially designated 1P/Halley). If you missed Part One, you can still read it here. The 1066 apparition of 1P/Halley was described in contemporary accounts as four times the size of Venus and glowing nearly as brightly as the moon. […]