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Elizabeth Maitland, Duchess of Lauderdale

Elizabeth Maitland, Duchess of Lauderdale (1626–1698), was a prominent figure amongst 17th-century English and Scottish nobility, known for her beauty, influence and involvement in the politics and arts of her time. Born Elizabeth Murray, she was raised in court circles during the years leading up to the English Civil War and received a well-rounded education from her parents. She had eleven children by her first husband, Lionel Tollemache, five of whom survived to adulthood. Upon her father's death she inherited Ham House – her childhood home – as well as his titles, becoming Countess of Dysart and Lady Huntingtower. During the Interregnum, she was involved with efforts to restore the monarchy. After Lionel's death she married John Maitland, a close advisor to Charles II, bringing her into the heart of politics. She later became Duchess of Lauderdale. During their marriage, they substantially remodelled Ham House, filling it with luxury furnishings and artwork. Elizabeth died there in 1698. (Full article...)

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George Washington by Nels N. Alling
George Washington by Nels N. Alling

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February 11: National Foundation Day (Japan) (660 BC)

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Stellerite

Stellerite is a rare mineral discovered by and named after Georg Wilhelm Steller, a German explorer and zoologist. The mineral has the general formula Ca[Al2Si7O18]·7H2O. Like most rare minerals, there are few commercial uses for stellerite other than as part of mineral collections, although it has been studied along with other zeolites using a dehydration process, to gauge the potential use of their phases as molecular sieves, sorbents, and catalysts. This stellerite crystal measuring 5.5 cm × 4 cm × 2.5 cm (2.17 in × 1.57 in × 0.98 in) was found in Imilchil, Morocco.

Photograph credit: Ivar Leidus

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