19th century life

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  1. Eleanor Rose

    Does She Possess a “Witches Heart”?

    (Public Domain) How about this lovely young lady? (Public Domain) Well chances are they do, but we’ll never know since we can’t see inside their jewelry boxes. “Witches Hearts” were an early Victorian token given to a loved one, as a symbol of a “bewitching”. Single hearts were given to a...
  2. Eleanor Rose

    What Does Their Penmanship Reveal About Our Victorian Friends?

    Frederick Douglass (letter from 1857). Many folks believe there is a connection between handwriting and personality. For example, a thoughtful soul might write more neatly. A shy person might write in a smaller script. Older hands might tremble more. A hothead might write messily and an egotist...
  3. Eleanor Rose

    Song of Summer in 1843

    "Family Picnic" by Lee Dubin It seems every summer, radio DJs and promoters crown one pop song as the “Song of the Summer.” I wonder what our Victorian friends might have selected as their “Song of Summer.” I think it might be a song composed as an ode to summer. Summer in the 19th century...
  4. Eleanor Rose

    Veggie Victorians

    (Wordpress) In 1839, the actress and writer Fanny Kemble was quoted as saying that if she had to do her own cooking she “should inevitably become a vegetarian.” Well that got me wondering. Were a lot of Victorians vegetarians? Was that a “thing” in the 19th century? Well as it turns out...
  5. Eleanor Rose

    Authentic Sherry Cobbler

    Sherry became affordable for Americans in the Mid-19th century. They relied on imported sherry as well as its fortified cousin, Madeira. In the 1840s, the sherry cobbler became very popular. Our Victorian friends loved the “exotic” ingredients and ice was still a novelty. While ice wasn’t new...
  6. Eleanor Rose

    The Moral Dangers of Reading Novels in 1864

    "Young Woman Reading" by Alfred Stevens, 1856. Do you enjoy reading a novel every now and then? Perhaps one set in the 19th century that represents people and events with some degree of realism. If so, beware! In 1864 the warnings below were published in a New York religious tract entitled...
  7. Eleanor Rose

    More Valuable Than Letters From Home

    Wash day at camp: A pair of "drawers" hangs to dry on the log support behind the ax-wielding soldier on the right. While we all enjoy reading about epic battles, soldiers, generals and the fearless women who supported them, mere underwear actually has a Civil War story to tell. Yes. You read...
  8. Eleanor Rose

    Tussie-Mussies

    When I first came across the tussie-mussie, I expected it to be a reference to a Southern belle throwing an old-fashioned hissy fit. I was wrong! The tussie-mussie is a small flower arrangement compiled of fragrant herbs and blooms and was originally created to ward off body odor and poor...
  9. Eleanor Rose

    Duties of Husbands and Wives

    (Getty Images) Duties of Husbands and Wives (From Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1891.) The Husband's Duty A very grave responsibility has the man assumed in his marriage. Doting parents have confided to his care the welfare of a loved daughter, and a trusting woman has risked...
  10. Eleanor Rose

    Ingredients for a Victorian Picnic

    It was in the mid-19th century that picnics first became popular. Once our Victorian friends discovered them, they became a favorite pastime for many during the spring and summer. Late 19th-century church or social association records frequently mention huge picnics organized by women’s...
  11. Eleanor Rose

    We Can Thank the Victorians for These Easter Traditions

    By the mid-19th century, Easter had become a celebration period – a time of Easter fairs and various other fun-filled traditions. Here are a few of the most popular traditions and a little about their connection to our Victorian friends. Egg rolling is a traditional game played by many at...
  12. Eleanor Rose

    Decorating Easter Eggs in Victorian Style

    Victorian Easter egg gift basket. Household Elegancies, by Mrs. C. S. Jones and Henry T. Williams was published in 1877 and is full of amazing illustrations and advice on home decorating. I thought you might enjoy reading some of their advice for decorating Easter eggs. The following is an...
  13. Eleanor Rose

    A Recovering Southern Belle

    Angelina Emily Grimké Weld Here is Angelina Emily Grimké Weld, a recovering Southern belle of South Carolina, in 1837, in her own words: "Multitudes of the Southern women hold men, women and children as property. They are pampered in luxury and nursed in the school of tyranny; they sway the...
  14. Eleanor Rose

    Would You Have Booked a Ride on a Victorian Space Cannon?

    'Lord how this world improves as we grow older,' The March of Intellect. William Heath, 1828. Space travel is back in the news so it got me wondering. How did Victorians imagine space travel? How did they imagine humans could get to space? The most notable Victorian spaceship was imagined by...
  15. Eleanor Rose

    McClure's Magazine: Muckraking Journalism At Its Best

    Tabloids have been around for as long as anyone can remember. A lot of people seem to enjoy the stories – no matter how far fetched or scandalous they may be - that fill the pages. Our Victorian friends were no different. While McClure's Magazine enjoyed brief success in the 19th century as a...
  16. Eleanor Rose

    McSorley's: Where Our Victorian Friends Raised a Pint and You Can Too

    (Photo courtesy of Sarah Jacobs and Business Insider) It is rumored a lot of famous people walked through McSorley's doors during the 19th century, including President Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. More followed like Teddy Roosevelt, Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, Babe Ruth and Harry...
  17. Eleanor Rose

    They Found Their Voice Through Their Writing

    When we think of 19th century America, the Civil War and slavery come to mind. American slavery was designed to break the spirits of black people even as they worked to make America a global economic superpower. A key in the oppression of black slaves was the slave-owners’ deliberate attempt...
  18. Eleanor Rose

    The Power of a Name

    Angel Oak Plantation, July 1849. Slaves typically remained nameless from the time of their capture until their purchase by American masters. To show contempt for Slaves, the captors used “Buck” and “Wench” for naming the genders till they became trade terms, like “Filly” and “Shoat.” Contempt...
  19. Eleanor Rose

    Jumping the Broom: Slave Ritual Meets Couture

    It is said that broom jumping comes from an African Tribal Marriage Ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple's new home together. I have also read that the spray of the broom represents all of us scattered and the handle represents the Almighty who holds us together. Today...
  20. Eleanor Rose

    Groundbreaking Cinema In 1898

    Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown embrace in the 1898 film 'Something Good-Negro Kiss.' (Courtesy of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.) 'Something Good‑Negro Kiss' is the title of an 1898 film that was just recently discovered. Dino Everett, an archivist at the University of Southern California...
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