The Second Industrial Revolution, the Gilded Age, and Robber Barons

The term “robber baron” described powerful 19th-century industrialists who used questionable practices to amass their wealth. Introduction The Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the “Technological Revolution,” was a phase of rapid industrialization in the final third of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. The First Industrial Revolution, which ended in[…]

Raubritter: Medieval and Early Modern European Robber Barons

Medieval robber barons most often imposed high or unauthorized tolls on rivers or roads passing through their territory. Introduction A robber baron or robber knight (German: Raubritter) was an unscrupulous feudal landowner who, protected by his fief’s legal status, imposed high taxes and tolls out of keeping with the norm without authorization by some higher[…]

Illuminating the Natural World in Medieval Manuscripts

Throughout the history of the book, scribes and artists have incorporated nature into their creations. Flowers are blooming in Los Angeles, and although we are spending much more time at home than usual, many of us are finding opportunities to be outside in nature at a safe distance from others. As manuscript curators, we have[…]

Experimenting with Natural Dyes to Learn More about Ancient Life

Studies of painting materials from the ancient world have revealed a very sophisticated use of natural dyes as colorful pigments. The onions, avocados, and herbs sat in the fridge, neatly packed in baggies that disguised their colorful potential. Each of these unsuspecting items could be used to dye fabrics. I am a conservator of ancient[…]