All posts by Mollie Braen

Rags to riches

Courtesy of

Ching Shih, born Shi Xianggu in the Guangdong Province of China in 1775, started out underprivileged, a young woman forced into a life of prostitution. But with tenacity, cunning, and sheer force, she grew into one of the most powerful and..

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A pair of firsts

Bessie Coleman in 1922. Courtesy of

Recently, as I was browsing Google, I noticed their doodle for the day.[1] It was honoring Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, who was born 26 January 1892. She was the first woman of African American and Native American..

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In praise of Sybil Ludington

Image via Karen Kelly,

Paul Revere’s famous ride is often the jumping off point for thinking about the Revolutionary War. But there is a lesser known patriot – a woman, too – who helped win the war and..

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Solvang revisited

Courtesy of the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art

Back in 2002 or so, my mother and I took a trip to the small town of Solvang, California. Just north west of Santa Barbara, in the Santa Ynez Valley, this small town of 2.4 square miles is modelled on the traditions..

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A growing sense of community

The Stamp Act, passed in 1765 by the British Parliament, was a levied tax on legal documents, almanacs, and newspapers – basically, any form of paper used in the American colonies. The reason Britain passed the Stamp Act was to pay for the British troops stationed in..

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DNA and your pet

Coco Braen

Perhaps you already know this, but out there in the World Wide Web there are many websites devoted to helping people discover their pet’s ancestral DNA.

With the technological advances in DNA testing, humans have started to use it more and more to help..

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A family tradition

Courtesy Hill Farmstead Brewery.

Last March, I made the move from Los Angeles to Boston. It was a pretty big change: not just the fact that, for about six months of the year, really cold stuff falls from the sky, but definitely the history, culture, and way of life..

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