ross shafer


Girl’s Book of Famous Queens // 1887 // Lydia H. Farmer

This book is a pretty comprehensive list of great and famous queens throughout history.

The author, Lydia Hoyt Farmer, wrote a number of books in her life, for which she became somewhat well-known. Her obituary, from 1903, can even still be viewed on the New York Times website.

From the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection. Photographed and written by Shafer Ross.

Happy 60th Birthday, Bill Nye!

Nye began his career in Seattle at Boeing, where, among other things, he starred in training films and developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for the 747.

Nye began his professional entertainment career as a writer/actor on a local sketch comedy television show in Seattle, Washington, called Almost Live!. The host of the show, Ross Shafer, suggested he do some scientific demonstrations in a six-minute segment, and take on the nickname “The Science Guy”.

From 1991 to 1993, he appeared in the live-action educational segments of Back to the Future: The Animated Series in the nonspeaking role of assistant to Dr. Emmett Brown, in which he would demonstrate science while Christopher Lloyd explained. 

The segments’ national popularity led to Nye’s hosting an educational television program, Bill Nye the Science Guy, from 1993 to 1998. Each of the 100 episodes aimed to teach a specific topic in science to a younger audience, yet it garnered a wide adult audience as well.

Today,  Bill is CEO of The Planetary Society, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to inspiring the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere.


Works of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. 6, Reynolds Pamphlet // pub. 1885 

Pictured here are excerpts from an 1885 collection of the works of Alexander Hamilton. Featured above are taken from Volume 6 of the series, in which is published the Reynolds Pamphlet.

Beginning in 1791, the married Alexander Hamilton had an affair with Maria Reynolds, a young mother who had sought him out for help. A two-year affair, of which Maria’s husband James was aware and consenting, ensued, resulting in over a thousand dollars being paid to Reynolds by Hamilton as hush money.

Maria eventually divorced her husband, with Hamilton’s peer and colleague, Aaron Burr, as her lawyer. Hamilton released the Reynolds Pamphlet in 1797 as a response to accusations that he had participated in illegal dealings with James Reynolds.

In clearing his name, Hamilton damaged his reputation and launched one of the country’s first scandals.

From the Weiner Collection. Photographed and written by Shafer Ross.