Nineteenth Century

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 …

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Moving Day: New York Style

Early feminist Ernestine Rose, the heroine of my novel-in-progress, and her husband William changed residences multiple times during the more than 30 years they resided in New York City, which means that they frequently had to cope with what was known as Moving Day. Until well into the 20th century, most residential leases in New …

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Girl-Watching on Fifth Avenue

I couldn’t resist this charming poem and accompanying illustrations, apparently given as a contribution to a scrapbook in the early 1860s. (Sadly, I have only this page, not the rest of the scrapbook.) In case you have difficulty reading the poem, here’s a transcription: I’ve been requested in this bookTo write lines old or newBy …

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Robert Dale Owen’s “Marriage Declaration.”

On April 12, 1832, in New York City, thirty-year-old Robert Dale Owen married nineteen-year-old Mary Jane Robinson. The son of reformer and socialist Robert Owen, Robert Dale Owen shared his father’s views and was a writer and a publisher. He also served in the Indiana legislature and Congress, was the American ambassador to the Kingdom …

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Postmortem Photography: An Appreciation

WARNING: This post contains photos of dead persons, though none are sensational or gruesome. If you are upset by such things, please skip this post. A few years back, I began collecting nineteenth-century photographs. In doing so, I have acquired a number of postmortem photographs. I find them moving and in many cases quite beautiful. …

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