Historical Crushes

Nellie Bly 680

Nellie Bly

Today is the birthday of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, one of my biggest Historical Crushes of them all . . . you probably know her better by her pen name, Nellie Bly. Back on November 14th, 2014, she was the topic of the “This Day in History” post as Ms. Bly started her 72 day journey around the world to see if she could beat the fictional journey of Phileas Fogg; she even met with Jules Verne as she passed through France. Chances are that Nellie Bly’s adventures are taught in schools across America, but as an English chap I must confess that I had not heard of her until I started researching the historical events of November 14th in order to make my daily history post, and upon reading about this amazing woman I immediately fell in love with her strength and integrity . . . and she’s also very pretty.

Nellie, however, was not my first historical crush; there have been other women from decades and centuries ago who have caused me to skip a heart beat and sigh with regret that, until I can get that darn time machine to work, I shall never meet these amazing people. Each time I reminded of the 1980 film Somewhere in Time, where Richard Collier (Christopher Reeves) wills himself back in time to be with Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) after falling in love with her.

The historical women who attract my attention are mostly strong minded, independent, political, and pioneers in the struggle against gender inequality; typically with the history posts I try to find inspirational stories of the disenfranchised combating the injustices that have been placed against them. Unlike Nellie, some of these women I had already heard of, but did not know that much about them. One such woman is Annie Oakley whom I ran a post about on November 1st, 2014.

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

Not only was Annie a strong woman, but she was also from Cincinnati, Ohio, the city that has become my unexpected home for the last couple of decades, so I feel a certain local hero pride for Ms. Oakley. Likewise with Theda Bara, another one of my historical crushes who started in Cincinnati. Theda is most famous for her silent screen role as the lead in Cleopatra (1917).

Theda Bara

Theda Bara

There are many actresses from the silent film era that manage to capture my heart, but from my list of early cinema crushes the number one actress has always been Louise Brooks whose most famous role was the temptress Lulu in Pandora’s Box (1929) which is actually part of the inspiration behind the naming of The Pandora Society. Despite her immortal glamor of the silent screen, Louise’s later life was marked by troubles and financial hardship, but she still manages to capture the hearts of many and inspired eighties new wave band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (also known as OMD) to write the song “Pandora’s Box” as a tribute to this great woman.

Historical crushes have an intensity that is unique from regular crushes for famous people and celebrities, and that is nostalgia. Whenever we develop a crush on a current celebrity there is that mystical aura in that our chances of meeting him or her are very slim, but we still feel an emotional connection with the person; of course some are tempted to take it further, but then that falls into the realm of stalking. Despite these slim chances, it still remains within distant possibility that one day you might meet said crush, but when they are historical you can only admire them through the lens of nostalgia . . . sigh!

So who are some of your historical crushes? Please tell us by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page 🙂


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2 Responses to “Historical Crushes

  • Mines not Steampunk. Elizabeth Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick)…probably the second wealthiest woman in England in the Renaissance. She amassed a fortune of money and land by being ‘canny’ about the estates of deceased husbands wealth and last will and testaments. In an age where women were second class citizens compared to men (apart from the Queen of course) she became a powerful and wealthy woman thanks to her exes. Truly a most formidable woman.

  • Hedy Lamarr. Not only much better looking than me; but much, much, smarter.

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