June 20, 2012
Death by Petticoat!
Each day, at museums and historic sites across America, stories are told that stick in our memory. Some are true; the phrase “mad as a hatter,” for example, came about because hatmakers were driven mad (or more accurately, poisoned) by mercury they used.
But a great many of these stories—for example, that many colonial women died from burns when their long petticoats caught fire and that this was the second most common cause of death, after childbirth—are myths. In Death by Petticoat, Mary Theobald debunks 63 myths of American history. Theobald’s true stories are every bit as entertaining as the myths themselves.