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Tuesday Ten: Favorite Research books

After posting this, I realized that the last Tuesday Ten was about research books too–on the West. Ah well, I wrote it, I’ll post it. Next time my rotation is up in the Tuesday Ten, I promise I will be more orginal.

Sorry Nic, for accidentally stealing your idea!

1.) The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette, by Professor Thomas E. Hill. The information in this book is adapted directly from material published by Mr. Hill between 1873 and 1890. It give me a good idea of how people at this time were “supposed” to behave, concerning conversation, table manners, traveling and a number of other things. Parts of it are just plain funny.

2. )Confidence Men and Painted Women, Karen Halttunen. I bought this mostly because it had the dates on it, 1830-1870, which encompasses a good portion of the Victorian period. I really didn’t expect to get much out of it, but it has a wonderfully large section on Victorian mourning rituals. This is particularly important to me, since I tend to kill people off in my books.

3.) American Beauty, Lois W. Banner I expected this book to tell me interesting things about makeup and hairstyles and things like that. It did to some extent, but it also has lots of information on the changing “style” of women in general from the thin women of the early Victorian period, to the more robust women of later years. It also talks a lot about the theatre, which was very useful in Wild Card.

4.) Hands and Hearts, A History of Courtship in America by Ellen K. Rothman. This was one of those books that other books I read on the subject kept referring to. So I took this book out of the library—a lot. When I start taking books out 2-4 times a year, I figure it’s time to buy it. It details the courtship rituals from 1770-1920, and uses many diaries and other original resources to back it up.

5.) Victorian America, Classical Romanticism to Gilded Opulence, Wendell Garrett, David Larkin. This book is just plain pretty. It’s a picture book of Victorian homes and the furniture in them. I’ve used it in pretty much every book I’ve written, and some of the rooms in my books come directly from this one. There’s discussion of furniture and changing architecture.

6.) John Ransom’s Andersonville Diary, John Ransom. I love this book, and I can’t tell you why. I think because it’s all about triumph of “good over evil” or at least of the human spirit over horrific circumstances. Regardless, Andersonville plays a part in a couple of my books, as background. Besides, I love John Ransom’s writing voice.

7.)The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America, John S. Haller, Robin M. Haller. This was interesting just for an all around view of how sex was viewed in the Victorian era. Also had some interesting information on birth control.

8.) Murder in America, Roger Lane Of course I like this one because I like to kill people off in my books. I don’t yet own this book, I just take it out of the library a lot. Probably time to order it. It is helpful in reading about punishment for murder during 19th century, and other times, also.

9.) The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser In Plain English, R.V. Pierce MD. This would be difficult to come by for most because the copyright is 1876. I “borrowed” it off my stepfather several years back and have yet to return it. It details common medical problems and remedies in the 19th century. I’d be glad to look information up, if anyone wants to learn something specific. I use it quite a bit, as I also tend to make characters sick (I’m really coming across as sadistic here, aren’t I?)

10.) Victorian Costume and Costume Accessories Anne Buck I need to dress my characters. This book helps because it has some pictures and it explains what various items are. It also talks about materials used and which were fashionable and which were not. There’s a section on men’s clothing and children’s, too. I consult it often.

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4 Comments

  1. Nicole McCaffrey says:

    Ahh but they’re all different than the books I listed, Dee. And I got some great reading ideas from this list!

    Off to pull up the library website and see what I can find…

  2. Kristin-Marie says:

    Another great list!

  3. Susan Macatee says:

    Great list, Dee!

    I don’t know how all of you can come up with these lists. I think it would strain my brain too much.

  4. Christine Koehler says:

    Echoing the others: This is a great list! I might have to get some of these titles, esp. the Murder in America one. Then again the title The Physician and Sexuality is intriguing. Almost makes me think someone’s having sex with their physician.

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