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 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: 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."
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 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>