Category: Victorian Life

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ursula lecoeur

Were the 1880s the Golden Age of the Dog?

Reader Charles Padgett asked what sort of pets Americans owned during Victorian times. Short answer—birds, dogs and cats—in that order. Settlers arrived in America with dogs, cats and a penchant for caging songbirds. The first two  served useful purposes on the farm. Caged birds provided entertainment indoors. By the second half of the 19th century, […]

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Lace Valentines Win Victorian Hearts

No one knows what swain or maiden fair wrote the first Valentine. Letters filled with sweet verse circulated in England as early as the 1700s. But we owe the huge popularity of these love notes to a new law passed purely for the good of commerce—the penny post. In 1840, England standardized postal rates. Anyone […]

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ursula lecoeur

Yellow Fever Kills Fictitious Men

Mary reporting. A recent blogpost suggested more than 400 ways to kill a character, listing every possible calamity from avalanche to tropical fevers. My writing partner and I had to kill three men before chapter 1. When we outlined The Willing Widow, our first romance in the Love in New Orleans series, we created widows […]

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Queen Victoria Sets Style

Mary Reporting. The glossy covers of magazines devoted to brides display one white wedding dress after another as wedding season 2014 approaches. Most brides today follow the tradition of a white dress, be it long or short, straight or full, strapless or sleeved, with or without a train. We owe the white wedding dress, for […]

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Birds of a Feather Trim Hats

Mary Reporting. My mother’s mother, called Grandy by her five grandchildren, loved hats, particularly wide-brimmed, plumed and variously ribboned ones. She rarely left the house without one. As the family story goes, when I was three, I eyed my grandmother in a wide-brimmed hat decorated with a stuffed bird nestled in a circle of tulle and […]

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