Angus Trumble’s 1824 In Retrospect


“‘A wonderful instrument called the Stethoscope…,’ reported The Times newspaper in London, ‘is now in complete vogue at Paris....It is quite a fashion if a person complains of a cough to have recourse to the miraculous tube which, however, cannot effect a cure but should you unfortunately perceive in the countenance of the doctor that he fancies certain symptoms exist it is very likely that a nervous person might become seriously indisposed and convert the supposition to reality....’”

Shipwrecks, dinosaurs, duels, natural disasters, revolutions, spoiled princesses, philandering popes and messy presidential elections made the news, and history, in regular contributor Angus Trumble’s 1824—the inaugural year of the first daily newspaper.

Angus Trumble (1964–2022) was the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. He was also a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, as well as a curator at the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Trumble wrote several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004) and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010). In 2015, he was named a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022, he was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater, Trinity College, Melbourne.