"No book worth reading ever fails to be steeped with the spirit of the person who wrote it."
Quick quote from 1868
"The author is, as we must ever remember, of peculiar organisation. He is a being born with a predisposition which with him is irresistible, the bent of which he cannot in any way avoid, whether it directs him to the abstruse researches of erudition or induces him to mount into the fervid and turbulent atmosphere of imagination."
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Women's Interest Articles From the 19th-Century
A Fortune Found In A Pickle Jar (Fiction—1889)
A Chef's Recipe for a Tender Husband (1888)
A Man in the Kitchen: The Difference Between A "Betty" And the Other Kind (1889)
An Old Maid's Paradise (1889)
An article about single living in 1889.
A Woman Without Cares or Children (1889)
A humorous piece from 1889 about the demands women impose on each other. (For fans of my Tales of Chetzemoka series —Addie's predicament at the beginning of Love Will Find A Wheel was inspired by this story.)
Come Find My Queen (Poem—1886)
Individuality and Equality (1894)
Kitchen Love and Loyalty (Fiction—1888)
A very sweet short romance from 1888 about an Irish maid-servant in America.
Miss Ray Frank (1897)
The Right Sort of Girl (Poem—1889)
Woman's Cycle (1896)
How women viewed the bicycle, by Mary L. Bisland. (For those of you familiar with the famous 1889 race around the world between reporters Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, this piece was written by Elizabeth Bisland's sister.)
Woman's Exchanges as Training Schools and Markets for Work (1894)
Women Inventors (1897)
Woman's Work for Woman (1889)
Strong Women Collection
Lady Writer Collection
Victorian Corset Images
The following is an excerpt from Appendix VII of my book, A Trip and a Tumble.
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"…Men's perplexity at where fashionable women store things (such as when Jacob puzzles over Theresa's "magician's trick" with his business card) was such a comic trope in the nineteenth-century that a poem on the subject appeared in a popular publication:
A Woman's Pocket
Just where it is one never knows
Beneath the folds it never shows;
Above, below, before, behind,
A puzzle to the human mind!
Man never knows his helplessness
Until he tries in woman's dress
To find the pocket.
'Twas sooner found in early days
Before they had the polonaise!
Dressmakers now are sore perplexed
To know just where to hide it next!
In these hard times of scanty purse
'Tis hard to find the dress--
But worse to find the pocket.
A fact by husbands too well known,
She finds his pocket; while her own
Is so concealed about her dress
It long since lost its usefulness.
She bears her purse now in her hand
Because she never can command
That hidden pocket.
He's new to matrimonial cares
Who volunteers to run up stairs
And fetch a trifle, more or less,
His bride left in some other dress!
Believe me, nature ne'er designed
That mortal man should ever find
A woman's pocket.
He opens wide the closet door;
Each hook so full of robes galore,
That ere he finds the proper gown
Each dress in turn has tumbled down.
Into the plaquet hole at back
He thrusts his arm; alas! Alack!
'Tis not the pocket.
He drags it out in his despair
And spreads it o'er an easy-chair--
He lifts up each tuck and fold and seam,
Walks round and round as in a dream;
He's much too good a man to swear,
Yet undevoutly wonders where
She keeps that pocket.
He grabs it up, and rushing down
Upon her lap he tosses the gown.
"In truth you are 'the better half'
If you can find— why do you laugh?"
"I laugh because you've brought me here
A petticoat, my hubby dear,
To find the pocket."
A Trip and a Tumble:
A Victorian Cycling Club Story
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"Antagonism between man and woman is, of all things, unnatural. Attraction is the natural relation."
—Gail Hamilton, 1872.
Woman's Worth and Worthlessness, 1872. p. 275.
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March in 19th-century history
March in 19th-century history
March 1, 1841: Happy birthday, Blanche Kelso Bruce!
Born a slave, Bruce would grow up to become the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate, serving as a Republican senator for Mississippi from 1875-1881. After leaving the Senate, he became U.S. Treasury register.
March 2, 1887: Annie Sullivan meets Helen Adams Keller for the first time.
March 3, 1891: Congress establishes the first forest reserves in the U.S.
March 5, 1850: A 1,511 ft Tubular Bridge opens in North Wales.
March 10, 1850: Happy birthday, Hallie Quinn Brown, orator, dean of Allen University in South Carolina, and principal of the Tuskegee Institute!
March 12, 1836: Happy birthday, Isabella Beeton! Mrs. Beeton was arguably the most famous and influential housekeeper of the whole Victorian era. Her Book of Household Management inspired generations of women throughout the 19th-century and into the 21st.
March 12, 1838: Happy birthday William Perkin, inventor of the first artificial dye!
March 12, 1898: First serious underwater test of the submarine craft Holland. The craft stayed submerged for thirty minutes under Arthur Kill, the channel betwee Staten Island and New Jersey. Source: Goldstone, Lawrence. Going Deep: John Philip Holland and the Invention of the Attack Submarine. New York: Pegasus Books, 2017. p. 157.
March 16, 1867: Joseph Lister publishes an article on antiseptics in The Lancet.
March 16, 1867: U.S. Congress awards George Peabody a gold medal for his charitable works.
March 17, 1820: Happy birthday, James Longmire, founder of Longmire Mineral Springs on Mt. Rainier!
March 17, 1853 Isaac I. Stevens appointed first territorial governor of Washington.
March 23, 1865: Happy birthday, Paul Leicester Ford! Ford wrote one of my favorite books, The Story of an Untold Love, a beautifully poetic romance. It is the story of a brilliant, but poor, young author in love with an heiress he has known since they were children together. When he learns that his own father embezzled a significant portion of her fortune, then lost it, he devotes his whole life to repaying her and earning her trust.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"No book worth reading ever fails to be steeped with the spirit of the person who wrote it."
"Some men do not try to win highly educated women because they are abashed by a sense of their own inferiority."
"A book stands very much in the same relation to a writer that a baby does to its mother."
"It may seem absurd, but not the least part of my eagerness that night was to see you in evening dress. If I had not loved you already, I should have done so from that meeting; and although you are dear to me for many things besides your beauty, I understand why men love you so deeply who know nothing of your nature."
"[B]etween an author, who has spent years on a book, and the average critic, who is at best superficial in his knowledge of a subject, the former is the more often right of the two."
A digital copy of The Story of An Untold Love is available at <https://tinyurl.com/ycp9e2ru>
Read more about Ford here: <http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/historians-us-biographies/paul-leicester-ford>
March 28, 1884: The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill validating the case of Sarah E. Seelye, officially acknowledging her service to the Union army during the Civil War. She had posed as a man and served in the army with distinction; she would later be granted a veteran's pension and a bonus. She recorded and published her experiences in her book, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army.
March 30, 1867: The United States purchases Alaska from Russia. This purchase acquired the U.S. the rights to the extremely valuable abundance of furs in Alaska. (It also gave us access to walrus ivory and whaling rights in Alaskan waters.) Read an 1892 article from The Cosmopolitan magazine about Alaska's fur seal rookeries and the obligation to properly manage this resource: <https://tinyurl.com/ya4sc33r>
March 31, 1833: Happy birthday Gail Hamilton (Mary Abigail Dodge)! Author of Twelve Miles From A Lemon (a laugh-out-loud story of the challenges of country living), A A Battle of the Books (an account of her trials and tribulations with the publishing industry which I believe should be required reading for all young or aspiring writers), Woman's Worth and Worthlessness, and others.
Gail Hamilton was quite a fascinating woman. She started as a suffragist but her experiences with other suffrage leaders convinced her that politics are not only overrated, but also inherently corrupt (and corrupting) beyond redemption. By the end of her life she was actively working against women's suffrage because she felt it would do more harm than good for her sex, and that allowing themselves to be dragged down into the quagmire of the political arena would undermine the authority women had in other much more important fields of action. Her book Woman's Worth and Worthlessness outlines her philosophies and how she reached these conclusions. A digital copy is available at <http://tinyurl.com/z9jw6w3> (When Google Books digitized this version, pp. 193—194 were unfortunately left out. The missing pages, scanned from my own personal copy of the 1872 edition, can be seen here: Missing pages from Woman's Worth and Worthlessness)
Some of my favorite quotes from this book (page numbers are for the 1872 edition) :
"In every known sense of the word, a woman owns the man who loves her more than he owns her... She sees the situation, where he only sees her. She is as strong as all his strength, because his strength is hers. With whatever of power, or wisdom, or renown he is endowed, she also becomes posessed, and no enlargement of his borders diminishes one iota of his dependence on her for the ability to enjoy them. If there is any difference, the supreme control... is hers." (pp. 158-159.)
"Antagonism between man and woman is, of all things, unnatural. Attraction is the natural relation." (Page 275.)
"No monarch has been so great, no peasant so lowly, that he has not been glad to lay his best at the feet of a woman." (Page 289.)
"Self-preservation is the first law of nature, but woman-preservation is the first law of civilization." (Page 248.)
"It is better for men, it is better for women, that each somewhat idealize the other." (Page 281.)
Special days in March
March 3: Happy Girl's Day to all our Japanese friends!
An 1888 article about a Japanese home: <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/a-japanese-home-1888.html>
March 7th: National Cereal Day. Fun fact: Both Cream of Wheat and Shredded Wheat date back to the Victorian era! The cereal we now know and love as "Cream of Wheat" already had a firm hold on people's hearts and breakfast tables as "farina gruel" by the 1890s, but it was officially packaged under its now iconic name in 1893. Shredded wheat was first introduced at the 1893 Columbian Exposition. More Victorian foods: <www.thisvictorianlife.com/victorian-food.html>
March 12th: My birthday! It would be a wonderful birthday present if you would buy a copy of one of my Tales of Chetzemoka books as a gift for one of your friends who hasn't read them yet. These books are how I make my living, so it means the world to me when people enjoy them and spread the word about them. Thank you so much —and happy reading to everyone!
The series: Historical Fiction <www.thisvictorianlife.com/historical-fiction.html>
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March 17: Happy St. Patrick's Day!
A very sweet short romance from 1888 about an Irish maid-servant in America <3 : Kitchen Love and Loyalty (Fiction—1888) <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/kitchen-love-and-loyalty-fictionmdash1888.html>
For all those interested in 19th-century Irish history, I highly recommend the book, "The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People" by John Kelly. Its Amazon listing: <http://www.amazon.com/Graves-Are-Walking-Famine-People/dp/1250032172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457372250&sr=1-1&keywords=the+graves+are+walking>
This excellent book gives the background and context for why so, so many Irish emigrated to Canada and the United States in the Victorian era.
March 20, 2019: Happy Spring Equinox!
Victorian flower poems and articles
"A Floral Flirtation" (1889) <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/a-floral-flirtation-poemmdash1889.html>
"Marguerite" (1886) <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/marguerite-poemmdash1886.html>
"Language and Sentiment of Flowers" (1891) <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/language-and-sentiment-of-flowers-1891.html>
"Out-door Botanizing" (1878) <http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/out-door-botanizing-1878.html>
Author: Sarah A. Chrisman
(Known around Port Townsend as "The Victorian Lady"
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