Nineteenth Century

The Marriage Protest: The Wedding of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell

In May 1855, American newspapers were abuzz with talk of a wedding. The bride and groom were not society folk or European royalty: they were Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, abolitionists and women’s rights activists. Although in many ways their wedding ceremony was typical of the time—the bride wore a lovely dress, a clergyman performed the […]

The Marriage Protest: The Wedding of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell Read More »

From the Underground Railroad to the Water-Cure: David Ruggles

(This post originally appeared as a guest post on Linda Bennett Pennell’s blog, History Imagined.) In researching my historical novels set in nineteenth-century America, I have come across a number of people, now obscure, who deserve to be remembered for their heroism. One is David Ruggles, a black abolitionist. Born in Lyme, Connecticut, on March

From the Underground Railroad to the Water-Cure: David Ruggles Read More »

An Unlikely Escort: The Dentist Who (Maybe) Helped Mary Lincoln Out of Frankfurt

In 1870, the widowed Mary Lincoln and her son Tad, who had already been in one war zone in Washington, D.C., found themselves in another as France and Prussia faced off. After her husband’s assassination, Mary refused to return to Springfield, Illinois.[1] Although the Lincolns owned a home at Eighth and Jackson Streets there, and

An Unlikely Escort: The Dentist Who (Maybe) Helped Mary Lincoln Out of Frankfurt Read More »

The Bloomer Movement

In 1851, a new word entered the fashion lexicon: the “Bloomer.” It referred not to undergarments but to what had been known previously by such names as the “reform dress” and the “Turkish dress”: essentially, a short dress paired with pantaloons, in place of the constricting women’s garments of the day. It would become associated

The Bloomer Movement Read More »

Within the Golden Ball of St. Paul’s

In nineteenth-century London (and apparently into the 1960s), it was possible for the venturesome to climb all the way to the interior of the golden ball surmounting St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (right below the cross). One of those who made the effort was the intrepid feminist Ernestine Rose, who along with her husband was

Within the Golden Ball of St. Paul’s Read More »

Mother Knows Best

Ernestine Rose, the subject of my novel-in-progress, was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Ernestine was much closer to Susan B. Anthony, who accompanied Ernestine to Washington, D.C., in 1854, defended Ernestine against those who would have kept her off the platform because of her open atheism, and visited Ernestine, a

Mother Knows Best Read More »

“Hidden Mothers”: Hiding in Plain Sight in Victorian Photography

A while back, I posted on the solemn subject of Victorian postmortem photography. Here’s a more lighthearted aspect of nineteenth-century photography: the phenomenon of what collectors have nicknamed the “hidden mother.” Contrary to legend, having a picture taken didn’t mean that the subject had to stand still for minutes at a time, except in the

“Hidden Mothers”: Hiding in Plain Sight in Victorian Photography Read More »

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top