The Rest Is History

Ancient prosthetics, a suppressed Nazi plot, and the story of America’s rich uncle.

By Angela Serratore

Friday, July 21, 2017


 Edward, Duke of Windsor, and his wife, Wallis Simpson, on vacation in Yugoslavia, 1936.

• In 1940, the Nazis considered installing Edward, Duke of Windsor, on the British throne—and Winston Churchill covered the whole thing up. (The Guardian)

• The millionaire who gave it all away: “Percy Ross was a trash-bag tycoon, a serial entrepreneur who had made millions in plastics in the 1960s and relished spending it. But in 1977 he staged an astonishing reinvention. Ross would become a philanthropist—and not just any philanthropist, but one for people like him: a ‘blue-collar millionaire,’ as he put it. He’d give money away the way he’d gotten it, in bills small and large, and always when it was needed the most. He’d portion out his millions in cash, in checks, accompanied by the satisfying clink of a silver dollar. Percy Ross would become, as the newspapers called him, ‘America’s Rich Uncle.’” (Longreads)

• The feminism of Mary Magdalene. (First Things)

• Prosthetics from the ancient world: “Etruscan bridgework consisted of animal teeth, or even (gulp) someone else’s human teeth, connected to intact teeth with a metal band. But the most famous European prosthetic is the Capua Leg, discovered north of Naples, dating from 300 BCE. Made of a wooden core sheathed in bronze, the leg was hollow near the top, presumably to accommodate padding for the owner. Thin rods and straps helped secure the limb in place. The bronze sheeting resembled the shin armor of soldiers, possibly suggesting that armorers rather than medical personnel built it. A hollow section at the ankle was probably designed for a separate foot, which was never discovered.” (JSTOR Daily)

• In 1900 students at Wellesley College staged an all-female production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. (The Atlantic)

• Reconsidering the revolutionary Martin Luther: “Luther himself was more catalyst than creator. Five centuries on, some Protestant sects still bear the marks of his thought and personality, but others seem barely touched by them at all.” (The Nation)