At the outset of Unmistakably Yours, Hank Murphy, proprietor of a fine new grocery emporium, is desperate to ensure adequate supplies to see his community through winter have arrived safely in Mountain Home. Much like Aesop’s fables about ants and grasshoppers, the American-Victorian era is ripe with moral-rich stories urging hard work during the summer to secure safety and comfort in the winter. This vintage newspaper article from 1880 showcases an example of the era’s “stories with a moral”.
Authors’ ideas come from the strangest places. Here, I’ll share one rhetorical question and one brief bit of poetry, both published in USA Victorian-era newspapers (within 6 years of my title’s setting), that contributed to the writing of Isabella’s Calico Groom.
In Victorian men’s fashion, Collars and Cuffs were something altogether separate and different than a shirt. A whole different paradigm, given today’s men’s dress shirts are one solid piece, with the collar and cuffs attached. See vintage images of the styles and reasons why tailors (and factory producers) bothered to make the collars separate–and why some were made of PAPER rather than fabric.
Nineteenth Century American women who desired an advanced education (and to work as a professional) fought an uphill battle. As late as the final decade (1890s) cultural beliefs demanded “good” women made home a bit of heaven on earth, toiled only as a help-meet to her husband, and found all the joy and satisfaction there she could possibly need. Historical sources underscore this dated belief system, and set the stage for the challenges faced by my character Dr. Isabella Pattison, DDS, in Isabella’s Calico Groom (within Calico Ball: Timeless Western Collection).
Victorian America enjoyed shooting contests in a wide range of settings–from professional marksman organizations to small town celebrations. Come see vintage newspaper articles about events that pitted man against man and measured skills of accuracy.