This website is dedicated to my personal and professional research, also known as  unusual discoveries.

My name is Dr. Ree, and I study people and places on the margins. Historians investigate the past through primary sources: text, visuals, sounds, spaces, objects. They further their understanding of history by consulting secondary sources, such as books, articles, documentaries, museums, etc.

Unusual Discoveries contains a wild myriad of primary and secondary sources for United States History since its prehistory to the present.

Enjoy yourself.

Video Review: First Taste of Chocolate Chocolate (30 minutes, or 5:56 minutes for a selected segment)

Found: Reddit, front page

Premiered: February 21, 2014

Short Summary: Although I have not yet watched the 30 minute long feature, the shorter 6 minute excerpt contains multitudes. Westerners overlook countless things in their everyday lives, such as clean water, a stable shelter, air conditioning or heating, the availability of diverse foods, etc. But one thing few might consider is the importance of chocolate. It’s in cookies, cakes, ice cream, milkshakes, even drinks. You can buy it at every gas station and at most businesses at the front counter. And yet the laborers who harvest the main ingredient of chocolate – cocoa beans – often do not know what chocolate tastes like. This fascinating segment shows coca bean laborers from the Ivory Coast tasting chocolate for the very first time.

Interesting Fact: Every chocolate bar starts as a pile of beans on banana leaves.


1790: George Washington on Bigotry

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Source: George Washington, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode Island, on August 21, 1790.

1862: The Arsenic Waltz

Colorful dresses in the mid-nineteenth century in Europe and the U.S. earned their wonderful hues from dangerous materials, such as arsenic, which made an unknown number ill and likely proved fatal to more than a few. The public was not exactly unaware of the cause and effect.

Source: The Wellcome Library of London, England.