Thursday, August 17, 2017

1857 Fabric Advertisement

Below is an ad from the New York Daily Tribune Nov. 30, 1857. What is curious for me is the India camel hair shawls. They sound scratchy to me but apparently they were the rage in 1857 in NYC, along with Chantilly Lace Flounces. On the other hand with the reduction of cost perhaps they were no longer the rage.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Different Buggy Topper

Below is a advertisement I found in the Hub magazine ©1895. I found it very different from other hoods for buggies. It basically looks like an umbrella. This is not the normal hood for a buggy, in all my research of Carriages & Wagons for the 19th century, I believe this is the first time I've run across such a design. I don't know how much they sold for, nor do I know how popular they became, if at all. But they would make quite the conversation piece if one strolled into town, I would have a lot of fun with this in a novel setting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1842 Bankruptcy

The Panic of 1837 caused financial hardships for many. By 1842 the country was beginning to rebound. For some unknown reason (to me at this time) Vermont however had many filings for bankruptcy. However, there are a few things I learned. In 1841 Congress enacted a 2nd Bankruptcy Law (formerly an 1803 bankruptcy repealed) in the wake of the panics of 1837 & 1839. In 1843 the second Bankruptcy law was repealed amid many complaints of corruption and expenses.

Ask yourself how did your characters fair during the Panics and the Bankruptcy Laws. If not your characters perhaps their parents or grandparents. Was there bitterness in the hearts of others who were unable to file for bankruptcy and lost their farms and homes? Was your character bitter? Was your character honorable? Or was your character less than honorable and did that have a cause and effect on someone else that profoundly changed your character's life.

These are some of the questions I look at when addressing issues surrounding the dates in which my characters were living. Perhaps these tidbits you will find helpful in learning more about your characters.

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Friday, August 11, 2017

1842 Hat Prices

Below is a copy of an ad from the New York Daily Tribune May 3, 1842. The advertisement is listing the price of various hats. I'll type them out because they are difficult to read:
Silk Hats @ $2.25, $2.50 & $3.00 (says it is a reduction of .50 cents from the former prices)
Fur Hat $4.00 compares other hat prices in the city at $4.50 & $5.00

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mourning Clothing

This is a repost from an original post in Aug. 2011

Having loss my son a few weeks back this topic has come up a fair amount in my mind. So, I thought I'd share some mourning customs and clothing as presented as social etiquette during the 19th century. Today's tidbit comes from Collier's cyclopedia of commercial and social information ©1882

The mourning for parents ranks next to that of widows; for children by then parents, and for parents by their children, these being ol course identical in degree. It lasts in either case twelve months—six months in crape trimmings, three in plain black, and three in half-mourning. It is, however better taste to continue the plain black to the end of the year and wear half-mourning for three months longer. Materials for first six months, either Paramatta, Barathea, or any of the black corded stuffs such as Janus cord, about thirty-eight inches wide; Henrietta cord about same price and width. Such dresses would be trimmed with two deep tucks of crape, either Albert or rainproof, would be made plainly the body trimmed with .rape, and sleeves with deep crape cuffs Col lars and cuffs, to be worn during the first mourning would be made of muslin or lawn, with three or foui tiny lucks m distinction to widows' with the wide, deep hem. Pocket hand kerchiefs would be bordered with black. Black hose, silk or Balbriggan, would be worn, and black kid gloves. For out. door wear either a dolman mantle would be wom or a paletdt, either of silk or Paramatta, but in either case trimmed with crape. Crape bonnets or hats , if lor young children, all crape for bonnets, hats, silk and crape; feathers (black; could be wom, and a jet ciasp or arrow in the bonnet, but no othei kind of jewelry is admissible but jet—that is, as long as crape is worn. Black furs, such as astrachan, may be worn, or very dark sealskin or black sealskin cloth, now so fashionable, but no light furs of any sort. Silk dresses can be worn, crape trimmed aftei the first three months if preferred, and if expense be no obiect the lawn-tucked collars and cuffs would be worn with them. At the end of the six months crape can be put aside, and plain black, such as cashmere, worn, trimmed with silk if liked, but not satin, for that is not a mourning material, and is therefore never worn by those who strictly attend to mourning etiquette. With plain black, black gloves and hose would of course be worn, and jet, no gold or silver jewelry for at least nine months after the com mencement of mourning , then, if the time expires in the twelve months, gray gloves might be worn, and gray ribbons, lace or plain linen collar and cuffs take the place of ihe lawn or muslin, and gray feathers might lighten the hat or bonnet or reversible black and gray strings.

Many persons think it is in better taste not to commence half-mourning until after the expiration of a year, extent in the case of young children, who are rarely kept in mourning beyond the twelve months.

A wife would wear just the same mourning for her husband'9 relations as for her own ; thus, if her husband's mother died, the would wear mourning as deep as if for her own mother.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Silly Goose and Other Expressions

The term "you silly goose" has been around for a long time. Recently one of my historical writer buds was asked to verify the use of this expression to a copy editor. The copy editor thought it was too modern of an expression. To the copy editor's credit, it would have been my first thought too because it is an expression we still use. However, it turns out that the use of this expression was used before 1826 and all the way through the 19th century. Below is a list I sent my friend with the proof of the expression based on the copyrights of the works.
1826 The london literary gazette and journal of belles letters, arts... pg.70 (And another publication same year, same story)
1846 A Dictionary of the English & German, and the German and English... Vol. 2 pg 407
1866 Saturday Reader Vol 2 pg 53
1869 Once a Week pg 131

I'm sharing this with all of you to point out that when researching and writing historicals we might use an expression that is historically correct but might not be thought of as historical. To check on expression type the expression in quotes and search libraries like google books. Narrow the search by selecting free books and 19th century (If that is the time period you are writing in.) and see if the expression you wish to use was used then.

Another point to remember: Editor's still might ask you to change the expression because they feel it might jar the reader out of the story even though you know you are historically accurate. In which case, you change the expression. I try to write expressions that are unique to the character, their surroundings and their personality. Sometimes I've come up with more powerful expressions for my characters. Other times, a common expression is the way to go because the reader zooms right past and doesn't require additional musing over your word choice. In the end work it out with your editor and be true to your story and characters.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1869 Advertising

Below is an Lord & Taylor ad from the New York Tribue, Apr. 21, 1869. What I find useful from this is the pricing of the various clothing items in this newspaper ad. It starts with the Black silk dress for $2.50 worth $3.50. A point to remember is that 1869 is one of the recovery years from the Civil War.

Here's the Ad:

Monday, August 7, 2017

1855 Portable Oven

Yup that's what the advertisement in the Oct. 12, 1855 Burlington Free Press says. It was made by Blodgett & Sweets and advertised to be useful for hotels, steamers and private families. It was made with galvanized steel and was to cook with less fuel.

Below is the ad with a picture of the item:

Friday, August 4, 2017

House Movers

Here's a different occupation that folks don't often think about, a house mover. They literally moved a house from it's foundation, moved it to another location and set it on it's new foundation.

Below is an advertisement from the Omaha Daily Bee, Feb. 12, 1886 advertising a house moving company.

Below are some illustrations of various types of buildings being moved from the Salt Lake Herald June 13, 1897

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Boston Symphony Orchestra

As many of you know I was born and raised in Massachusetts, in fact, my family heritage on my father's side always lived in Massachusetts until recent years. So, the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops were a part of our lives. I've never had the pleasure of attending a Boston Symphony or Pops concert in person but I'd love to one day.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is the topic of today's tidbit. Their first season was 1881-1882. A series of 20 concerts were played on Saturday evenings and you could purchase season tickets or individual ones. My writer's imagination kicked into high gear picturing my characters attending a concert, meeting at a concert, stumbling into trouble at a concert and on and on my imagination goes. You can read about this historical season At the BSO's website. On their site they also include programs from the season. It's a great resource. I can imagine many cities having similar orchestras.

Let your writer imagination run wild. Post some of your suggestions in the comments section.

Point of Reference: The Boston Symphony was not the first to give concert series in Boston. An example is the Harvard Symphony that started giving concerts in Boston in 1865.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sesame Oil

The Egyptians uses Sesame long before others. During the 19th century I haven't found many food recipes that involved sesame seed oil. Below are a few excerpts with some information on sesame oil and it's uses during the 19th century. Also note that sesame seeds were primarily grown in India and the Middle East. It would be extremely rare for someone in America to have sesame seeds in America.

Sesame oil, almond oil, earth-nut oil, and rape oil arc better fitted for the preparation of machine oils, and the last named, being the cheapest, is more used than all the others. Source: Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry Vol. 2 pg 481 ©1883

Was often mixed with Olive oil. Various sources

By Thomas Haben, Pharmaceutical Chemist.
The literature relating to sesame oil is very meagre, and in "Pharmacographia" alone do we find anything like a satisfactory description of the article and its uses. The learned authors of that work state that the oil "might be employed without disadvantage for all the purposes for which olive oil is used," and it is with the view of indicating the reliability or otherwiso of this opinion, that I have, acting on the suggestion contained in the "Blue List," undertaken the preparation of this report.
Sesame oil differs little in its physical characters from either olive or almond oils. It has not the tinge of green which all but the finest specimens of the former possess, and is of a rather more decided shade of yellow than the latter, but generally speaking the difference in colour is not very marked. The odour of a fine specimen of sesame oil is very slight, while the tasto is at first sweetish and bland with a peculiar after-flavour. Olive oil becomes grainy through the deposit of a crystalline fatty body at 5° C, but the olein does not solidify till about -5° C. Sesame oil congeals at-5° C, and almond oil is liquid till -20° C. is reached. The difference in the congealing points is doubtless due to the percentage of olein, of which almond oil " consists almost wholly" (" Pharmacographia "); sesame oil contains 76 per cent, {ibid.), and olive oil 72 per cent. (Braconnot). According to the best authorities, however, the percentage of olein varies according to circumstances; and, in like manner, different samples of the same oil differ in density, as is evident from the fact that hardly two authors agree in giving the same specific gravity for any one oil.
Source: Year-Book of Pharmacy comprising Abstracts of Papers pg 540 ©1883

Three varieties of sesame seed are cultivated in India—the white-seeded (Suffed-iil), the red or parti-coloured (Kala-til), and the black variety (Tillee); it is the latter which affords the greater proportion of the Gingelly oil of commerce. At the commencement of 1861, white seed was worth in the London markets 65s.; black and brown, 58s. and 60s. per quarter.
A second sort of sesame oil, sometimes called "rape," is obtained from the red-seeded variety.
Black sesame is sown in March, and ripens in May. Red sesame is not sown till June.
Sesamum seed has of late been exported largely to France, where it is said to be employed for mixing with olive oil. Source:House of Commons Papers Vol. 35 pg59 ©1877

Below is a clip from the Omaha Daily Bee, Feb 12, 1886. In the article the dairymen were trying to fight the increase of oleo margarine.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Clip Boards of the 19th Century called Letter-Clips

A question a while back on a historical writer's loop was searching for when clipboards were in use during the 19th century. Thanks to Carla for her links to the email loop with the answers that gave me further direction in answering this question.
Here are Carla's references:
An Attorney General's report 1880 lists the item.
The Writer Vol. 1-2 referencing a letter-clip with a description of the board.

I found some earlier references:
Below is an image of a letter clip in 1842 from The Practical Mechanice & Engineer's Magazine Vol. 1 Page 32.
The same image is in another magazine a year earlier 1841.

Referenced in the Household documents of an estate.
Referenced in a Patent book as similar to a letter-clip.
A Practical Dictionary with a description of the item.
The New Letter-Clip

Monday, July 31, 2017

Big Bonanza

The Big Bonanza was the events surrounding the Silver Mines in Nevada in the 19th Century. Dan deQuille, History of the Big Bonanza wrote the book in 1876 giving an account of the lives and people of Nevada.

Below I'm sharing the foreward written by Mark Twain, it is quite an endorsement.

One easily gets a surface-knowledge of any remote country, through the writings of travellers. The inner life of such a country is not very often presented to the reader. The outside of a strange house is interesting, but the people, the life, and the furniture inside, are far more so.

Nevada is peculiarly a surface-known country, for no one has written of that land who had lived long there and made himself competent to furnish an inside view to the public. I think the present volume supplies this defect in an eminently satisfactory way. The writer of it has spent sixteen years in the heart of the silver-mining region, as one of the editors of the principal daily newspaper of Nevada; he is thoroughly acquainted with his subject, and wields a practised pen. He is a gentleman of character and reliability. Certain of us who have known him personally during half a generation are well able to testify in this regard.
Hartford, May, 1876.