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    Marie Tussaud was one of the most successful career women of the 19th century. She is truly a fascinating woman. At the age of 17, she became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister and then, during the French Revolution, was hastily forced to prove her allegiance to the feudalistic nobles by making the death masks of executed aristocrats. In 1802, when her marriage dissolved, she left France and took her sons and her waxworks to England; where she began displaying her lifelike artwork.

    The ill fated Louis VXI and Family - Mme Tussaud's waxwork

    Madame Tussauds learned the art of wax modeling from Philippe Curtius, whose two celebrated wax museums she inherited upon his death in 1794. From 1780 until the French Revolution in 1789, she served as art tutor at Versailles to Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Élisabeth she was later imprisoned as a royalist. According to her memoirs, during the Reign of Terror she had the gruesome responsibility of making death masks from heads—frequently those of her friends—freshly severed by the guillotine.

    Mata Hari. “…Slowly, inertly, she settled to her knees, her head up always, and without the slightest change of expression on her face. For the fraction of a second it seemed she tottered there, on her knees, gazing directly at those who had taken her life. Then she fell backward, bending at the waist, with her legs doubled up beneath her…” Mata Hari, (7 August 1876 – 15 October 1917)

    Creepy: King Henry IV’s partially preserved head, which was separated from its body during the French Revolution, when monarchs’ graves were desecrated. You can read more about it here as well.

    Madame Tussaud lived from 1761 to 1850 and was born Marie Grosholtz. According to a sign at the museum, “During the [French] Revolution, Marie was commanded to take death masks of notable Royalist and Revolutionary victims of the guillotine, many of whom she had known.” The waxed scene of the above photo shows her searching for the guillotined head of Marie Antoinette.

    April 25, 1983: Samantha Smith invited to visit USSR. The 9-year-old girl was worried about a war, so she wrote directly to Yuri Andropov to ask him about his intentions. In return, she received a letter emphasizing the USSR's desire for peace, and an invitation to visit the country. She spent 2 weeks there with her parents, and wrote a book about her experiences when she returned home. Sadly, Samantha was killed in a plane crash two years later.

    Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; detail from a portrait of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Archduke Maximilian of Austria by Joseph Hauzinger. Circa 1776.

    Mary Ann Webster was born in London in 1874, one of 8 children. As a young woman she worked as a nurse then in 1903, shortly after her marriage, Mary Ann began showing symptoms of acromegaly a form progressive giantism that causes abnormal growth and distortion of the facial features and joint and muscle pain. To support her 4 children after her husband's death in 1914 she entered and won an "Ugly Woman" contest. She worked as a sideshow attraction from 1920 until her death Dec 26 1933, aged 59.

    The saddest rock in the world according to Mark Twain. The Lion Monument is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was hewn in 1820-21 to commemorate the 1792 deaths of the Swiss Guards during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. In his 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain called the work ”the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

    Marie Antoinette's Death Mask

    Louis XVI Death Mask, obtained by Mme. Tussaud herself after his execution.

    Death mask of Mary Queen of Scots. She was very beautiful

    Read the epitaph... One of the worst ways to die...

    Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman). Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett). Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst). Victoria (Emily Blunt).

    The Chemise worn by Mary Queen of Scots During her Execution; shown at Coughton Court

    The cellar where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were killed, 1918. "When the royal family and their servants went into the cellar, they had no idea that they were about to be shot. The bullets ricocheted off of them...The victims died a slow and agonizing death, and the girls who survived the bullets, were bayoneted until they died." It was later discovered that "18 pounds of the Romanov diamonds had been sewn into [the princesses'] undergarments, causing the bullets to ricochet."

    The reign of Henry VIII saw the first law against Witchcraft created. The Witchcraft Act of 1541 was the first to define witchcraft as a felony, a crime punishable by death and the forfeiture of the convicted felon’s goods and chattels.

    Marie Curie was a woman before her time. Born in 1867, in Poland, she was a genius in physics and in chemistry; she is the first woman ever to receive a Nobel Prize and the only woman in history to receive two Nobel Prizes.

    Josephine Baker tried to combat racism by adopting 12 children of different ethnicities from around the world. holds in her arms her 10th adopted child, a boy from Venezuela, as another of her adopted children looks on. 1959. age 53 #actor

    Chickasaw storyteller and actress Te Ata (Mary Frances Fisher). Te Ata (1895-1995) created one woman shows that highlighted Native American folklore through dance, music, and storytelling.  A member of the Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata traveled widely and incorporated traditions from other Native American cultures into her performances.  Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were among her admirers and Te Ata was invited to perform at both the White House and Hyde Park.