The History of Underwear, and What to Get For a Wedding Anniversary!

(Hello again, lovely listeners and readers! I’ve mentioned before that Dave makes very useful notes for the episodes that he takes point on, I tend to hand-write mine, which just means I end up typing them up at a later date anyway. So enjoy this bullet pointed outline of our somewhat more scandalous episodes!)


The History of Underwear

-In Ancient times, women would wear tight bands and cloths. This later developed into chemises, a loose, longer undergarment.

-By 16th century corsets appear. 1700’s French court ritual toilette dressing/undressing in front of public with corsets straight corsets.

– In 1850, the hourglass figure was desirable, while 1860’s featured more hoop skirts, and in the 1890’s bloomers came into fashion. Oddly, some corsets featured battery power to supposedly strengthen organs, as well as support the chest and a weak back. As a side note, there are a variety of coresets still around that emphasize cleavage and slim the waist line.

-1900’s Brassier replaces corset, and in 1910 bra is invented (using handkerchiefs) by Mary Phelps Jacobs. In 1910 closed crotch drawers eliminated difference between men and women’s underwear. 1920’s slips matched the boyish looks in fashion, less cloth. Some would wear stockings for modesty, it was scandalous to show knees in those days.


-1930’s open crotch drawers back for more sexual desirability to distinguish knickers form men. More feminine less restrictive and frilly. Finally, in 1933 fuller support bra created

– The war took some focus away from undergarment fashion, and in the 1940s women painted lines to appear as if wearing stockings. Corsets were given pockets for servicewomen so that they would be more functional.

-In the 1950’s Lingerie goes back to glam with bullet bras and pinup lingerie becoming widely available and popular. And the strange bra bag, which was inflatable with a straw, came into existence.

-1960’s, they went with no underwear or very shear, and there was a movement to embrace the feminine body, very playful, girlish, and frilly.

-The 1970’s went back to streamline sleeker silk lace, control panties allowed to slim stomach, and this was also the era of first sports bra.

-1980’s brought bolder colors, more sultry sexual provocative thongs, and bodysuits.

-Surprisingly, the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion show was in 1995.

-In 2005, Virginia State House tried to ban provocative displays of below the waist undergarments.

-The 2000’s brought sexy back with old fashion lingerie stockings, corsets, and suspenders while the 2010’s brought athleisure undergarments into fashion.

-Today, underwear trends seek to diversity and promote body positivity!!


Wedding Anniversary Episode

-The tradition of giving a gift on the anniversary of one’s wedding can be traced back to ancient Rome and medieval Germany. And by the 18th century, there is proof in Germany of anniversary gifts such as a silver or gold wreath.

– In the late 19th century, Victorians popularize this in England when exchanging gifts became more of a sense of commitment to stabilize love and relationships.

-It became more so important for the wife to receive gifts for her effort, as it was  believed that men didn’t need to work to keep a marriage. 

-Eventually, shopkeepers looked for ways to parallel celebrations with earlier anniversaries, and made a true business out of it.

-The 1859 Old Farmers Almanac provides a list of the suggested gifts for the more major anniversaries: one month from marriage makes a sugar wedding; one year makes a paper wedding” then wood at five, tin for ten, silver for 25, golden at 50, and diamond at 75. Other sources describe a “copper wedding” at twelve and a half years.

-By 20th century the sentimentality of marriage brought greeting cards and jewelers onto the scene. In 1910, The Standard Home Reference Library provided a longer list with yearly gifts for the first five years (paper, straw, candy, leather, wood) as well as special presents for years seven (floral), ten (tin), 12 (linen), 15 (crystal) and 20 (china). Gifts of pearl, coral, emerald and ruby filled in the roster for years 30 to 45. The diamond anniversary was acceptable either at 60 or 75 years. 

-1937 jewelers association tried to standardize list, to further business, but to date various lists exist, with items such as groceries on them. 

Dave and I are both very forward thinking individuals, as you can probably tell, and these were fun topics to discuss! While neither of us care much about lingerie, it is interesting to look back at the history, and how it ties in with the progress of women’s rights. With regards to wedding gifts, neither of us is married, so we can’t really provide much experience, but who doesn’t love a gift! Personally, I wouldn’t mind if someone took care of the groceries, or did something more useful than bought something shiny. Where I currently am in life, I much prefer experiences to material things.

Hopefully you had as much fun as I did revisiting these episodes. Keep an eye out for a few more catch-up blog posts heading your way!!




Superheroes have always been popular. From myths to historical figures, to comic book characters, humans have always loved a good superhero story. In honour of Avengers Infinity War coming out, we decided that it might be fun to just chat about superheroes (though Dave would have preferred to talk about dinosaurs).

I had a really hard time choosing a favourite, though upon further reflection, it’s probably Daredevil, but Spiderman has always been a top contender! Poor Spiderman has been done and done again, but I still adore him.

Dave’s favourite superhero is actually a folk hero, John Henry, with super strength who worked on the railroad. But after discussing the whole Disney/Marvel/X-Men relationship, Dave realised that Wolverine was his favourite, and then we geeked out about Hugh Jackman and The Greatest Showman because it’s amazing.

There are so many superhero comics and TV shows, and we couldn’t cover them all, but it was a fun episode, and inevitably talking about Power Rangers, the dinosaur ones. Do you have a favourite superhero? Comment/Tweet/Email us and let us know!!


“Miracle” on the Marne, Horseback Librarians, and I Haven’t the Foggiest, oh my!

(Abby here, just a quick note that this blog is a mash-up of Episodes 21, 22, and  23 to make things a little easier! As I’ve basically just taken Dave’s wonderful notes for these, they’ll be short, sweet, and bullet-pointed. Enjoy!)

The “Miracle” on the Marne

-Was a battle between September 5-12 1914 fought on 3 fronts.

-Before the Marne from August 24 to September 5 German forces pushed back Allies 150 miles into France.

-Allies retreated so fast in looked like near collapse of fighting force.

-Battle of Marne was actually composed of 3 separate battles. This was due in part to fast moving of the German offensive and infighting among German leaders that created a 30 mile gap.

-Initially, on Sept 7 looked grim for Allies as they continued to flee advancing Germany. Eventually, this led to the French commanding 600 taxis to rush men to the front lines. Yes, taxis.

-With the success of Allies restructuring and all the fast moving causing confusion, German High Command Helmuth Von Moltke suffered mental breakdown.

-Eventually Allies had a successive stand at Marne and managed to force Germany to retreat 30 miles, however, the Germans managed to reposition themselves well in advance of the Allies renewed offense push.

-While Allies prevented a complete defeat at Marne the result of was the beginning of Trench Warfare.

-Allies lost over 86,000 men Germany lost over 67,000.


Pack Horse Library Initiative- Horseback Librarians!!

-FDR as part of WPA enlisted librarians to ride horses to deliver books to rural Appalachia in a 10,000 mile section of eastern Kentucky. In 1930 up to 31% Kentucky residents were illiterate.

-Previous attempts had been made to bring literacy to more desolate areas. Mae Stafford raised money in 1913 but it only lasted a year. The Local Berea college also attempted in the early 1920s. Traveling libraries were in place from 1896-1933 but not very helpful due to the poor condition of roads.

-About 63 counties had no library services in Kentucky. 

-Unique aspect of other new deal programs requiring local assistance asked for any building to house a “library.” Librarians manned outposts and handed off books to carriers. These were mostly staffed by women.

-The carriers rode twice a month, could travel up to 100-120 miles a week and earned $28/month used their own horses.

-The reading material was generally donated. Librarians made every efforts to conserve the books and when they became worn out made new books by cutting and pasting. They made scrapbooks from them.

-In 1936, the Librarians on horseback served 50,000 families, and by 1937 155 public schools were also included.

-To earn trust, riders would read bible verses.

-This initiative ended in 1943 with the end of the WPA. It had served 100,000 families with 30 different libraries.

Not to worry though, because by 1946 bookmobiles were out and about!

-Wonderfully, just in 2014 Kentucky had the most bookmobiles in the country, with 75.


I Haven’t The Foggiest!

This was a very special episode- as we were both in the same place and could actually record it together in person instead of through the magic of Facebook videochat! 

“Crocodile Tears.”

What does this phrase mean, and where does it come from?

I (Abby) guessed that it might have something to do with Egypt, as crocodiles live in the Nile River, and are in their culture and mythology. Dave then went on a tangent to talk about his fear of sharks..

The phrase “crocodile tears” actually originated in a 14th century book in England. It was about a crocodile that would cry when he ate men. It didn’t stop him from eating them, but at least he cried about it? Shakespeare also used the phrase.

So, I must apologise, because I lied about where in Hamlet the crocodile tears came to play. It wasn’t when Hamlet and Laertes were fighting over Ophelia’s dead body, though they were mentioned then- Hamlet asked if Laertes’ grief was so much that he would eat a crocodile. The phrase “crocodile tears” is used by Hamlet when he confronts his mother, Gertrude, about marrying his father’s brother. Again, sorry. I should have known better..

We still don’t know if crocodiles actually can cry, so if you do, please email/comment/tweet at us with the answer!!


The Myth of Spring

Way, way back in the time of Greek Mythology, people blamed all sorts of strange weather and natural events on supernatural beings, gods. One such natural occurance, was that of the changing of seasons. So, Demeter was a goddess of the Earth, harvest, fertility and so forth. She had a very beautiful daughter, also an earth and flower goddess, Persephone, that Hades- the god of the underworld- had taken a liking to. One day, he opened a rift in the Earth, and brought Persephone to the underworld to live with him. Well, Demeter’s grief was expressed by the Earth itself, which went cold and barren, and Zeus got involved, as Zeus always did. Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds, and therefore had to stay in the underworld for a negotiable amount of time, but agreed to come back and live above-ground for 6 months of the year with her mother, and then spend the other 6 months with her husband, Hades. There you have it, seasons! The spring is Demeter’s anticipation of having her daughter back for summer! Although this spring, I believe that she’s missing her husband, and going back to visit him, as it keeps randomly snowing..


Hope you enjoyed revisiting these episodes! Look out for more updates of our blog in the coming days/weeks!


Our Favourite…… Fairy Tales!

Hello, Abby here. I love fairy tales, and the worlds they open up to children, especially those with quite an overactive imagination, like myself. They are often seen and used more as scare tactics to frighten children into behaving, or morality tales than literature. Really, they are a blend of all of these things, some being even more akin to folk tales than fairy tales.

Everyone knows of the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson, and their wonderful stories, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Little Mermaid, just to give a few examples. I do adore their classic, and sometimes troubling, tales, but my favourite fairy tale is a bit more contemporary, and a bit less known.

The famous (and fabulous) Oscar Wilde actually wrote some stories for children, in a book called The Happy Prince and Other Tales. They have all the workings of fairy tales, unexpected journeys, fantastical characters, even some talking animals! They are beautifully written with such a melancholy air. The Selfish Giant is one of the better known stories from this collection and is wonderfully allegorical, but my favourite story is The Nightingale and the Rose.

The Nightingale and the Rose is a tragic love story, that really packs a punch when it comes to the message. It tells of a Nightingale, who loves someone so much that she gives up her life so that he can be happy, and win over his true love. But the course of true love never did run smooth. Oscar Wilde is a masterful storyteller, and his use of the language is lyrical and witty. The message, while harsh, rings true. I highly recommend The Happy Prince and Other Tales to readers of all ages. Fairy Tales are not just for children, they carry even deeper meaning and wisdom for adults, as we are able to see behind what is being said, to what is being implied.

Meanwhile, since Dave is definitely less-read (slacker) wanted to argue in favor of John Henry as his favorite fairy tale even if it’s folklore rather than a fairy tale. Folktales are kind of just fairy tales with a bit of truth so I don’t see why they can’t qualify. But who can’t appreciate John Henry, a giant of a man who smashed through a mountain with a sledgehammer for the railroad?

Hopefully that little speech will inspire you to go out and read more fairy tales!

Let us know in the comments what your favourite fairy tale is!!

A (Quite Late) Turn of Phrase

(Just a quick note from the British side of the Pond to say I’m sorry for being so bad at keeping our blog up and running.. I’ll be playing catch up over the next few weeks, so prepare to be bombarded!)

“For Pete’s Sake!”

Who is Pete? And what did he do that so many people are using his name to express such exasperation, annoyance, even the pain of a stubbed toe?

Well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase “for Pete’s sake” was first recorded in 1903, and is what is known as a euphemistic replacement. Basically, substituting a stronger word for one that implies the original word, but is not it. For example, “for Pete’s sake” is actually “for God/Christ’s sake.” However, taking the Lord’s name in vain would break the third commandment, so it is replaced with a less potent name. “Pete” is still a reference to the Bible, to Saint Peter, so it still manages to get the point across. Another theory is that it is a variation on the phrase “for pity’s sake.”

The other phrase we took a look at was “raining cats and dogs”. There are two possible origins, one more believable than the other. In Norse mythology, Odin the god of storms was often depicted with dogs, and witches were often pictured with cats and witches were associated with storms. Thus, as a result of supernatural things, rain was the result of cats and dogs. The more believable option, however, was often times animals, especially cats and dogs would hang out on the tops of roofs and when strong storms came through it would wash the animals down thus making it appear as if it rains cats and dogs.

What were your best guesses as to where these phrases came from? Were you close to the mark, or way off in the outfield? Let us know in the comments!!

“Getting to Know You”

Hello lovely listeners and readers, this is the across the pond half of Across the Pondcast here with a fun and apologetic blog post for you all!

First, let me apologise for being horrible at keeping up with these, insert the usual excuse here, work, life, moving house, travel, etc. But it is a New Year, and we have new and exciting things coming up! More on that later…

And now for the fun! You have all been so wonderful lately, sending us emails, rating us, letting us know that you’re listening, and we are so thankful and would love to see more of that!! I thought that you might like to get to know the mysterious voices behind this little podcast better, so Dave and I have each composed a post about ourselves. Please keep up the communications, Tweet us, comment on Facebook, we’d really like to talk to you even more!

So Hi! I am Abby, the British half of Across the Pondcast. I am 24, I love tea, cats, and books. At the moment, I am working for a Publishing and Distribution Company in England. I’ve just applied for a PhD in Creative Writing, so writing about myself is not my forte, I’m much better at Poetry, or Fiction. I have quite a few hobbies, besides the obvious reading and writing, I crochet, knit, play several instruments. I also love to travel.

I am currently living in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, which is about an hour south-west of London. Hampshire is very much Jane Austen county, there is even a statue of her outside the local museum.

My favourite food would have to be mangoes.

I love all animals, but cats and bunnies are particularly special to me.

My favourite place that I’ve ever travelled would have to be Venice, Italy. (Though there are many close seconds, such as Scotland.)

I love the colour blue, though I am making an effort to incorporate more yellow in my life.

Hmm. A fun fact about myself.. I like to sing, especially old choral music. I’m an alto, and have been in a few choirs specifically for this style. Well, it was either that, or the fact that I wrote my Masters Dissertation on Jack the Ripper!

Hello all, this is Dave the American half of Across the Pondcast. Abby is definitely a tough act to follow with all the whimsy in her profile but here’s a brief snippet about the other voice you hear on our show. I’m a librarian who ironically doesn’t read as much as he should. I love the outdoors, even if I have a knack for getting lost, and absolutely adore dinosaurs. My favorite color is also blue and I’m lacking in any artistic skill besides being able to ramble on about nothing, which makes sense to have me on a podcast. My favorite food would have to be french fries, mostly because you don’t need silverware, and as for a fun fact Jurassic Park inspired me to become a paleontologist, which led me to become an archaeologist, and all this somehow turned me into a librarian who puts dinosaurs in everything he does. In short, I’d love to hear any and all dinosaur comments you may have, please!

Hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little more. Please, Please, Please continue to comment on our posts, tweet at us, send us emails, let us know what you think/like/want to hear. Honestly, we are always looking for ideas! We’ll probably even give you a shout out on the show! Well folks, that’s all for now, but we should have a new episode up for you tomorrow!!

There’s A Dinosaur Behind Me Isn’t There?

Jurassic_Park_Entrance_Arch_at_the_Universal_Islands_of_AdventureIn the latest episode, we discuss our favorite dinosaurs and other dinosaur-related things. While it may have contained some randomness, dinosaurs are obviously awesome so it’s still well worth listening to.

Before we get started, what’s your favorite dinosaur? This is admittedly a tough question because all dinosaurs are great but there are admittedly some dinos that really capture your imagination I’m sure.

If you’re tuned in to dinosaur related news, perhaps you read the piece about the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs proving they really did have the worst luck. ( Or perhaps you read about the T-Rex’s tiny arms being far more terrifying than we’ve given them credit for. (

After reading the new theories about the asteroid impact, I really feel bad for the dinosaurs because they had so many chances to survive that impact. Though, to be honest, if the dinosaurs were still alive where would that put us or for that matter so many of the cute furry critters we love around the world?

There are honestly new dinosaur news on a weekly basis, which just proves how awesome they are considering how long we have been digging up their bones and studying them. They will be forever captivating. Be honest, how many of you after seeing Jurassic Park, didn’t want to go on a dig to discover dinosaurs?

If you haven’t listened to our latest episode, you can find it under Across the Pondcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play!


A Bit of Poe for Halloween

Hello Friends! And welcome to our spooky special for Halloween! We hope you enjoyed our episode about the tragic yet beautiful poet, Edgar Allan Poe. (If you haven’t listened to it yet, you can do so here, on Stitcher!)

Edgar Poe was born on January 19, 1809. His parents were actors, and unfortunately died when he was very young, his mother from consumption, which is now known as tuberculosis. This disease was common at the time, and had no cure. Edgar Poe was taken in, though never legally adopted by the Allan family, thus the addition to his name. He attended the University of Virginia, but dropped out to join the army. In 1827, Tamerlane and Other Poems, Poe’s first collection, was published. He was a cadet at West Point for a short while, before starting to work for Literary Journals. Poe was an incredible critic, even accusing the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of plagiarism. In 1836, he married Virginia Clemm. This has caused much debate and eye-brow raising throughout the years. Virginia was Poe’s first cousin, and only 13. He was 26 at the time of their marriage. As with most of Poe’s life, his marriage has many theories, some theorise that it was a marriage of convenience, and was not consummated, others that they were truly and deeply in love. In 1845, possibly his most famous poem, ‘The Raven,’ was published, and earned a whopping $9, which was actually pretty successful for back then. Unfortunately, Poe’s life starts to decline, as Virginia died in 1847 of tuberculosis. Poe began to drink more, and the journals he worked for failed. In his last few years, Poe attempted to court a few more women, but nothing ever came of it.

Poe’s death was as tragic and strange as his life. On October 3rd, he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious, and was taken to the hospital. He was never coherent enough to explain the circumstances, why he was not wearing his own clothes, or why he kept saying “Reynolds.” On October 7th at 5 in the morning, Edgar Allan Poe died. Supposedly, his last words were “Lord help my poor soul.” His medical records and death certificate have since been lost. The newspapers printed that his death was caused by “congestion of the brain,” but that could mean many things. Again, there are many theories of what he could have died of, including cholera, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, even murder. However, the most popular theory is that of extreme alcoholism, as it was known that Poe started drinking an alarming amount after the death of Virginia.

On a lighter note, here are some fun facts about the strange and wonderful Edgar Allan Poe! He was very critical of other writers, and was a literary critic of his contemporaries, but strove for perfection in his own writing. He had a pet cat, a tortoiseshell named Caterina (very imaginative, I know). There is an….interesting movie called ‘Raven’ about a series of very Poe-esque murders, in which he is a suspect, and has a pet raccoon. Poe was friends for a while with Charles Dickens, who did have a pet raven named Grip who is thought to possibly be the inspiration for his poem ‘The Raven.’

The beloved poem (and our favourite) Annabel Lee, was the last poem Poe completed before his death, and it wasn’t published until shortly after. (If you listen to our episode, you can hear Abby read it, as a Halloween treat for you!)


Well, that’s all for now, folks! (Sidenote- If you love Edgar Allan Poe and other literary figures, check out Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner, a miniseries on Youtube. It is fantastic and hilarious, and just the thing for the season!) As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know! Drop us an email, or Facebook message! Comment, like, share, rate. We’re really friendly nerds, I promise. And we are always looking for new things to talk about, so let us know what you want to hear!!

One last thing….

Happy Halloween from Across the Pondcast!!

Plunging Necklines and Tan Lines, Oh My

Have you ever wondered why we call swimsuits “bathing suits”? That’s the topic we tackled in Episode 11 of the podcast you can listen and subscribe to on Apple Podcasts.

It’s kind of a funny story or maybe it’s not depending on you feel about nerdy facts. For the most of history, people swam naked so there was no need for swimsuits. #FreeTheNipple is definitely a movement our ancestors would get behind. Some may say there is Roman artwork depicting bikinis but scholars have noticed in this case they are wearing them to play sports. I’m sure we can all appreciate keeping things secure when trying to compete athletically.

Roman Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily. (286-305 AD)

Fast forward a few hundred years and we arrive in the 1670s where public baths are a necessity for keeping many people clean before we had indoor plumbing. It is in this instance where we see the creation of a “bathing gown” an outfit to be worn on your way to the public bath to clean yourself. It is this same outfit that in the mid-1800s when people start to gain more leisure time and swimming becomes a pastime the same “bathing gown” style would serve them as swimsuits.

Mermaids at Brighton c. 1829   

In the early 1900s, as more people took the beaches more skin started to show and we even start to see the emergence of two-piece swimsuits. It’s important to note these smaller swimsuits also arose as a result of practicality for the act of swimming itself. I mean who here things a wool swimsuit is a good idea? Considering the aversion to showing skin at the beach, swimsuits were monitored for their modesty, and people were arrested for too much skin.

Swimsuits being examined in Chicago in 1920s.

Eventually, by the 1940s thanks to war rations on clothing material the bikini was born! The bikini faced initial resistance and when it finally gained acceptance it was purely as beach attire. But as swimsuits became more commonplace and people learned to like tanning, the beachwear industry explored from the 1940s to create essentially every kind of possible swimsuit you can imagine!

What’s your go-to swimsuit style for when you head to the water?


Larger Than Life- Well, At Least One Of Them Was.

Hello to our lovely followers!

First, let us apologise for not getting a blog post out to you for the last episode, life became unexpectedly and extremely busy for us both. Also, unfortunately Abby was not able to get the Facebook Live function to work, so she couldn’t show you the cool sights of London. However, she will remedy that by including some pictures in this blog!




Anyway, on to our newest episode about folktales! We both chose to talk about our favourite folktales. For Dave it was Paul Bunyan, the larger than life lumberjack with a blue ox. Abby chose a true knight, well King, in shining armour, King Arthur.

For those of you who love to hear the background behind an episode, let me tell you the inspiration for this episode came from my craving of pancakes, yes pancakes. Paul Bunyan and Babe his big blue ox loved pancakes! Thus this latest episode was born and if you can listen to the whole thing and not feel hungry for pancakes then congratulations to you!

Both Paul and Arthur have been incarnated as Disney characters in their folklore and since we’re both Disney lovers all the more reason to love these larger than life characters seen below!


Do you have a favorite folktale you’d like share? Please feel free to email us at to let us know and as always give us a follow at It’s Across the Pondcast on Facebook and iTunes.