Hotel Henry’s Haunts

The Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane opened in 1880 and was considered to be, at the time, a state-of-the-art psychiatric treatment facility. In official publications, the city and the asylum promoted an image of a peaceful retreat for effective mental-health care, and they distributed photographs of the facility’s grand pianos, welcoming parlors, well-stocked libraries, … More Hotel Henry’s Haunts

My Musical DNA

Based on my research, my roots aren’t very musical: I have a great-great-grandmother who sang opera and one distant cousin who played almost every instrument in existence, but that’s the extent of my family’s talent. AncestryDNA has teamed up with Spotify to create “Heritage Playlists: The Unique Sound of Your Ancestry” for their customers, and while … More My Musical DNA

On Trains & Tolstoy

This past week, I’ve been re-reading Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina–one of my favorite novels. Anna’s and Vronsky’s ill-fated affair is framed by the coming-and-going of trains: they’re a symbol of their love, of ties to the “West” and, ultimately, of the tragedy at the novel’s conclusion. Trains were, in many ways, at the center of … More On Trains & Tolstoy