Posts Categorized: Early-modern-life


Glimpses of women athletes in 18th-century England

A Folger fellow and former Olympian shares images and stories of 18th-century women athletes in England who competed in races, fights, cricket matches, and more.


Eating plants in the early modern world

Explore turmeric, cinnamon, mint, and sugar to learn more about plants as food, and what they reveal about the early modern age and today.


Richard III: My kingdom for a horse

“My kingdom for a horse!” A titanic villain in Shakespeare’s history plays, Richard III departs the stage and this life at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Mark the battle’s anniversary with these posts and podcast episodes.


A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period

What was everyday life like for women throughout Tudor society? Elizabeth Norton, a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period, shares stories on the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast about the restrictions, but also some of the surprising freedoms, that touched these women’s lives. The excerpt below from our Shakespeare Unlimited interview with… Continue Reading »


Recipe: A 17th-century potato pie with marrow and dates

Sweet potato pies, a beloved staple of North American fall and winter cooking, are baked out of mashed or blended sweet potatoes mixed with condensed milk, eggs, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and allspice. Few Americans and Canadians would think of such a dish as traditionally English, yet many cookery books written in England during the seventeenth century show that English people made and enjoyed pies like this. We decided to try one of these recipes, found in the Folger collection, during our recent Pi Day celebration.


Early modern sleep care: Recipes for restful sleep

Thomas Sheppey devoted several densely written pages of his 17th-century manuscript to the topic of sleep — how to trigger it, how to interrupt it, how to influence its depth and length, and even how to stop people talking in their sleep.




Before the Thanksgiving turkey came the banquet peacock

Lavish dinners—and the cookbooks and instruction manuals for how to execute them—were popular during the Renaissance, and they emphasized the art of food, in addition to—and at times, over—its taste. Peacocks were thus an ideal banquet food because their colorful plumage made for artful display. But over the early modern period, turkeys came to replace peacocks as the customary food of ceremonies and holidays.