10 Heartthrobs From History Who Drove The Fangirls Of The Day Crazy 0 27

Long before Elvis made the bobby-soxers swoon and Justin Bieber posters lined the walls of every teenage girl, these 19th century lads had the ladies reaching for their fans, and looking for the nearest fainting couch. It sounds like an oxymoron, but here are 10 of the hottest heartthrobs from the 1800s.

Beau Brummel, Fashion Icon And Regency Dandy

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Born in London in 1778, Beau Brummel was—and perhaps still is—the epitome of the male dandy. Vain and pompous, he was born into a wealthy family and soon befriended the Prince of Wales, all the while drinking and racking up debts throughout most of London society. The ladies loved him for his rakish good looks and debonair style of dress, which was certainly unlike any other throughout Regency England. It was rumored that it took Brummel five hours to dress each day and that his Hessian boots were bathed by his servants in champagne. As the tides turned and Brummel’s popularity among his former friends in London waned due to his rude behavior and pompousness, the women still were willing to entertain him and swoon in his presence. They thought he was the most handsome man in all of England. And Beau Brummel, for his part, just happened to agree.

Harry Houdini, Magician

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Magician Harry Houdini had fans that hailed from around the globe. Because he was a bit of a pack rat, his personal collection contained hundreds of their letters, which he had collected from his years in the spotlight. Among these were notes from young women, who often flocked to his shows to admire his boyish good looks and rather rugged (and often scantily clad) exterior. While the image of Harry Houdini as a kind and devoted husband to his wife, Bess, was one that was heavily played during his lifetime, since his death in 1926, rumors of multiple affairs—including those with female fans—have swirled in the public sphere. Whether or not these rumors were true, Houdini was certainly the object of many young girls’ affections in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And perhaps the picturesque appearance of Harry Houdini as a man immune to the intoxication of fame, may indeed be just another one of his illusions.

Edwin Booth, Stage Actor

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While John Wilkes Booth certainly usurped his older brother in notoriety when he assassinated President Lincoln in 1865, Edwin Booth, the handsome and successful star of the stage, was likely the first real celebrity actor of his time. Women swooned over the Shakespearean thespian, often waiting after his shows just to catch a glimpse of him in person. This was a new phenomenon for theater in the late 1800s, and the staff of the playhouses where he worked, as well as Booth, were unprepared for how to deal with his clamoring female “fans.” Often bits of his clothing were torn as young women reached out to touch their acting idol. One such woman, Annie L. Van Ness, mentioned an encounter with her idol in her diary after she went to see Booth in a performance and was able to meet him backstage in 1869. “We met Edwin Booth and I feel dead in love with him immediately,” she wrote. “He has such magnificent eyes.”

Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s Iron Chancellor

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You would think Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck, who lived from 1815-1898 and unified Germany, would be an unlikely recipient of undying female affection. However, the man they called the Iron Chancellor of Germany received well over 6,000 fan letters during his time in power. Nestled within these missives were professions of love from women who were already married (“I am unhappy in love but know that we could be wonderful together. I am a very good cook and stuffed pig’s stomach is my speciality.”) as well as dozens of proposals of marriage from women who were decades his junior. Apparently old Otto just had that etwas Besonderes that only 19th century German women could see …

Lord Byron, Poet

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George Gordon Byron, known to us all as the poet Lord Byron, died at the age of 36 in 1824, but left behind an impressive anthology of romantic poetry than makes even the modern reader’s heart flutter.

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright,

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

But Byron also left an extensive collection of love letters that were sent to him from his adoring, apparently sex-crazed fans, sometime between 1812 and 1814 that illustrate the power that his words had on the tender sensibilities of 19th century women.

Lord Byron, Playing Dress-Up

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While scholars believe Byron destroyed the majority of his mail, in the 45 missives that remain, sexual undertones abound on the part of his many female fans. The occasional woman even offers herself up for a meeting with the caddish wordsmith, alone and—gasp—unaccompanied.

One such woman writes, “Should curiosity prompt you, and should you not be afraid of gratifying it, by trusting yourself alone in the Green Park at seven o’clock this evening, you will see Echo.” The young miss goes on to prove she is both accommodating and actually rather desperate, by writing, “If this evening proves inconvenient, the same chance shall wait you tomorrow evening at the same hour.” Ostensibly, Byron will only get two chances with this female fan, however, because she closes her letter with the following, “”Should apathy or indifference prevent your coming, adieu forever!” Even Victorian female Poet stalkers have their limits, apparently.

Franz Liszt, Composer And Musician


More than any of the other men on this list, Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and piano virtuoso of the 19th century, drove women wild. While he displayed an extensive amount of skill on the keys at an early age, Liszt, who was born in 1811, simply revolutionized the concept of stage presence. It was the way he performed that made him a veritable overnight sensation. And soon, he became a literal phenomenon.

Liszt, Doing His Thing


Liszt’s female fans were actually obsessed with him, and would be overcome during his performances. The German poet Heinrich Heine, Liszt’s contemporary, dubbed the phenomenon “Lisztomania.” Women would flock to his shows, where Liszt would turn his piano to face his audience, his signature long hair thrashing against his face, as he swung his head to and fro while he played.

He dazzled them with his charm and sex appeal, and the scene was like nothing anyone in Europe had ever experienced. Women fainted and collapsed at the very beginning sounds of his Piano Concerto Number 1. Women threw their (19th century!) clothing on stage and elbowed each other out of the way for the chance to touch his boot or scrape up the butt of his cigar. It was chaos. Franz Liszt was clearly a rock star of epic… well… 19th-century proportions.

While We’re Talking, Let Me Lead You To My Bedchamber

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Casanova left very detailed diaries of his life and within them, he divulges the minute particulars of over 200 sexual encounters with women. Because of his views, which placed women as his equals—a highly unusual perspective for the late 1700s—there was one reoccurring thread that was woven throughout all of these sexual experiences. First, he claimed that he would not sleep with a woman unless he found her physically and mentally stimulating. And second, he wrote that he aimed to satisfy the women he slept with both intellectually and sexually, each time they were together.

Okay, so it’s not that difficult to see why Casanova found himself with so many adoring female fans.

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11 Products Most Women Use That Were Invented By Men 0 4

For all of our recent attempts at gender neutral and equality, there are certain products that are used mostly by women.

But surprisingly, many of those were designed by particularly insightful men—who knew not just what a woman wanted, but what she needed.


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The Tampax company was run by a rather formidable lady by the name of Gertrude Tendrich.

But the patent their prime product was based on was filed by a Colorado GP, Dr. Earle Haas. He sold the patent to Gertrude when he couldn’t get women to buy his product. He also pioneered the contraceptive diaphragm (and sold the patent for that off too for similar reasons).

Sanitary Pads

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Oddly, the modern pad is derived from something created by Benjamin Franklin. Yes. That Benjamin Franklin. The $100 dollar bill Benjamin Franklin.

He initially developed multi-level absorbent pads to block up battle wounds. Within a few decades, they’d been re-purposed and re-packaged for women’s use during that time of the month.

The Birth Control Pill

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The birth control pill was developed through two collaborations of gentlemen. Drs. Gregory Pincus and John Rock usually get the credit for the first oral contraceptive.

But the one most of us take today was a group effort by chemist Carl Djerassi, Dr. George Rosenkranz and their student, Luis E. Miramontes. Birth control as a concept was, however, pioneered by ladies and men.


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Coin purses and luggage have existed in one form or another for millennia. But the first order for something more akin to the modern handbag or pocketbook was placed by a British entrepreneur during the 1840s.

Candy magnate Samuel Parkinson demanded a moderately sized traveling bag for his wife’s personal effects. London leather goods company H.J. Cave & Sons complied with his order and then used it as the basis for the first line of modern designer hand bags.

Nylon Stockings

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Cloth and silk stockings were floating around for a while—but were rather expensive luxury goods for most of their history.

But the male-run Dupont company is what made them mass producible. They quickly realized that the new nylon fabric they created would translate into ladies’ legwear and set up such successful marketing there was a post-war stocking-riot when they couldn’t keep up with demand.

The Bikini

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Two male designers both compete for the title of the creator of the modern bikini— and they are both French.

Jacques Heim and Louis Réard purportedly came up with the design at the same time in 1946.

The Thighmaster

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The Thigmaster was popularized by 70s sitcom star Suzanne Somers.

But the mastermind behind the clunky and bizarre exercise device was a gent by the name of Joshua Reynolds. Incidentally, he’s also the same guy who marketed the world mood rings.

Hair Dye

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The synthetic hair dye that’s opened up such a wide arena of natural and unnatural coloring (for women and men) was also designed by a man.

French chemist Eugène Schueller developed the first recipe, and used it as the start up example for his new company—a little thing you might have heard of called L’Oreal.

Liquid Foundation

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Most make-up only used to come in white (seriously, everyone in Queen Elizabeth’s court looked like terrifying white-faced mimes).

The first foundations were not just white, they were made up of a terrifying concoction of chemicals that burned out the skin of the lords, ladies, and performers that applied it regularly. Enter German actor Carl Baudin. He’s the guy behind flesh-toned grease-paint—the precursor to modern liquid foundation.

Face Powder

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Likewise, face powder also used to only come in one color: bright white. It wasn’t really useful for anyone but the palest of showgirls and geishas.

Early Hollywood cosmetician Max Factor grew frustrated with the lack of variability and created face powder in different skin tones. And then went on to found one of the world’s greatest cosmetics companies.


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Two other make-up magnates both technically invented mascara: one each on either side of the Atlantic.

At the same time perfumer-maker Eugene Rimmel was making mascara for his clients in Paris, American T. L. Williams created a recipe for his sister Maybel. Eugene went on to found Rimmel. And Williams and his sister created Maybelline.

11 People You Wouldn’t Believe Used To Be In The KKK 0 3

The KKK is one of few groups that is so associated with fear and hate-mongering, its own members don’t want to reveal their faces. Today, we lift that shroud of mystery to take a look at some surprising people who were members of the KKK.

Ashley Wilkes

Granted, Ashley Wilkes is a character from “Gone With the Wind” and not an actual person, but it’s still rather jarring to know that the formation of the KKK is portrayed in the famous movie. The KKK was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, in 1866. The earliest inception of the group was to protect women and other citizens from the shanty towns that sprang up all over the south once the war ended. From these lofty ideals, the group quickly devolved into an organization bent on oppression and terror. Ashley Wilkes is like a great many real white southerners who joined the organization with good intentions in mind. But that was way back in 1866.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

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To be specific, the KKK began in Tennessee. The white hoods and sheets were meant to represent the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. But soon, the group was more about terrorizing blacks than it was about protecting whites. The KKK rode at night, perpetrating raids on areas where blacks lived. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general, was in command of the KKK until 1868. He formally disbanded the group at this point, appalled by the violence of it. The KKK lived on, however.

Hugo L. Black

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Congress created a committee in 1871 to investigate the Klan, and passed the civil rights act of 1871 to help curtail the group’s activities. But years later, the KKK would infiltrate the highest levels of government. We’re referring, of course, to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, a trial attorney from Alabama who joined the group in 1923. He was appointed to the Court in 1937, and there is no clear evidence that he ever left the KKK. Black is to the far left in this photo, standing with two other justices.

William McKinley

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President William McKinley, from Ohio, was a member of the KKK. He served in office from 1897 to 1901. McKinley is to the left here, next to his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson


The KKK had fallen out of fashion, but it became extremely popular right after World War I. President Woodrow Wilson was in office from 1913 to 1921, for the whole of the war and its immediate aftermath. He was also a member of the KKK.

Warren G. Harding


In the 1920s, the group reached its highest numbers in history with close to 4 million members. The KKK was highly influential in politics at this time. Warren G. Harding was President from 1921 to 1923, and died in office. Harding was purportedly sworn into the KKK while in the White House.

Gutzon Borglum


The artist who created Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, was an active member of the KKK. He reportedly served on one of their councils. When his involvement with the group came to light later, he publicly denounced the KKK.

Calvin Coolidge


Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, served in office from 1923 to 1929 and was an active KKK member. The KKK became much less popular in the late 1920s, as more about its violent actions became widely known. Membership went down to 40,000 by 1929, and states began passing anti-mask laws to curb KKK activity.

Harry S. Truman

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The KKK continued to operate throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and times were volatile for many African-Americans. Harry S. Truman was President from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a KKK member for about two years, but fell out with the group because he believed Roman Catholics should be allowed to be in politics.

Robert Byrd

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West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd joined the KKK in the 1940s at the age of 24. He served in the Senate for nearly six decades. The KKK experienced a brief resurgence in the 1960s, and violently opposed the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was directly responsible for the murder of several civil rights workers and attacks on activists at this time. But the glory days were over. The KKK would get weaker and weaker after this.



The KKK fractured into small splinter groups and had a membership of less than 10,000 by the 1990s. The KKK has weathered several lawsuits and arrests, not to mention laws and ordinances that prevent them from engaging in their various activities.

In a bizarre re-branding, one KKK chapter announced recently that it is accepting homosexuals, African-Americans, and Jewish people into the group. The Klan currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.

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