Monday, April 27, 2015

Gone Fishin' Some More

Monday, April 27, 2015
Four women fishing
Isabella & Loretta report:

As we mentioned last week, we were away for a few days for the New England Chapter/RWA conference.  We attended workshops, networked with published and aiming-to-be published authors, talked to editors and agents, and signed copies of our books.

It turns out we need to take a few more days off, in order to recover from the excitement and to catch up with the work that accumulated while we were away.

We won’t be gone long: You can look for fresh posts starting Wednesday.

Image:  William James, Four women fishing. Oakville, Ontario, Canada (ca 1904).

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will allow you to read at the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Breakfast Links: Week of April 20, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Ready for  your weekend reading pleasure - our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, blogs, articles, and images collected via Twitter.
• Spectacular drone photos catch historic places the "way they were designed to be seen."
• In search of the rope-makers of Stepney.
• Nothing is new: texting in medieval times.
• The people's palaces: gin in Regency England.
Image: So striking: Woman with Peacock, 17thc Mughal painting conceptualized on marbled paper.
• Lost and found: the revival of the French flower-making trade.
Child-stealing: the case of Thomas Dellow, 1811.
• 19thc. sportswear for women from La Mode Illustree.
• When exactly was the "Season" in London?
Image: 1890s black fan with tumbling pierrot figures.
• The forgotten treehouse bars of bygone summers in Paris.
• Rediscovered: the marriage bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
• Just remember that they're costumes, not history: Outlander designer Terry Dresbach on eight memorable costumes from the show.
• And more costumes: interview with Michele Carragher, historically inspired costume embroiderer for Game of Thrones.
• Alfhild, a swashbuckling 5thc. pirate princess, and daughter of the King of the Goths.
Image: Steamboat acrobats, c 1883.
Yoda? Is that thou? Figure in 14thc manuscript looks familiar.
• What turned a handsome, popular actor into America's most notorious murderer?
• Art + reading: 20 beautiful images of medieval & Renaissance women reading.
• The port of London in the 18th c.
• The president and the parsnip: Thomas Jefferson's seasonal vegetable charts.
Image: Fabulous zoomable panoramic shot of 1920s bathing beauties.
• What a magazine looked like in 1702.
• The hidden courtyard of one of Britain's best-preserved medieval castles.
• Laennec's baton: a short history of the stethoscope.
• Finally, even in 18thc America, flowers acquire scientific names and become status symbols.
Image: The glorious ceiling of Stowe House's Marble Saloon.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shameless Self-Promotion: Bookfair for Literacy

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
It's not often that the Two Nerdy History Girls – yes, us – are in the same place at the same time, but it WILL happen this weekend, and for a good cause, too.

We'll both both be signing copies of our books at the Bookfair for Literacy, part of the Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference sponsored by the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America. The signing takes place 1:30-2:30 pm on Saturday, April 25, at the Boston Marriott Hotel, which, despite its name, is located in Burlington, MA. Admission to the signing is free.

There will be more than twenty authors signing, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation. If you're in the area, please come say hello!

OK, so this isn't really a picture of us, but of the Dolly Sisters.  Still, there is a remarkable resemblance in the degree of fabulosity....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From the Archives: The fine art of walking city streets in the 19th century

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Louise-Léopold Boilly, Passer Payez, c. 1803
Loretta reports:

The art of negotiating city streets in bad weather, modeled on the Parisian method.
You must pay attention to your manner of walking, for fear of throwing mud around you, and spattering yourself as well as those who accompany you, or who walk behind you. Any person, particularly a lady, who walks in this improper manner, whatever her education may be in other respects, will always appear awkward and clumsy.

Every one knows that the Parisian ladies are celebrated for their skill in walking: we see them in white stockings and thin shoes, passing through long, dirty, and blocked up streets, gliding by careless persons, and by vehicles crossing each other in every direction, and yet return home after a walk of several hours, without soiling their clothes in the least.

To arrive at this astonishing result, which causes the wonder and vexation of provincial visitors on their first coming to Paris, we must be careful to put the foot on the middle of the paving stones, and never on the edges, for, in that case, one inevitably slips into the interstice between one pavement and another: we must begin by supporting the toe, before we do the heel; and even when the mud is quite deep, we must put down the heel but seldom. When the street becomes less muddy, we can compensate ourselves for this fatigue, which, however, in the end, leaves us hardly sensible.

This manner of walking is strictly necessary when you offer your arm to any one. When tripping over the pavement, (as the saying is) a lady should gracefully raise her dress a little above her ancle. With the right hand she should hold together the folds of her gown, and draw them towards the right side. To raise the dress on both sides, and with both hands, is vulgar. This ungraceful practice can be tolerated only for a moment, when the mud is very deep.
Elisabeth Celnart, The gentleman and lady's book of politeness and propriety of deportment: dedicated to the youth of both sexes, 1833  

Illustration: Louis Leopold Boilly, Passer-payez (ca 1803), courtesy Wikimedia Commons.  

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will allow you to read at the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as click on caption for more info.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

From the Archives: Sarah Bowdich Quells a Mutiny, 1816

Sunday, April 19, 2015
Isabella reporting:

Here's one of my all-time favorite "intrepid women" from the blog, and one whose story is definitely worth repeating.

In 1816, not all English ladies were leading a genteel, Austen-esque life in the country. At least one of them was sailing with her infant daughter to Africa to meet her husband. Sarah Wallis Bowdich (1791-1856) was the only woman, let alone the only lady, on board a small merchant ship full of desperate men. Here's Sarah's own telling of what happened one evening, from her 1835 book Stories of Strange Lands, & Fragments from the Notes of a Traveller:

"The surgeon whispered to me his apprehensions that all was not well, and that our people...were irritated and annoyed, and in a most discontented state. The first mate was in command of the vessel; and, though he was an admirable sailor, and a most obliging and excellent person, was very impetuous. The dinner was sent to table very ill-dressed, and the cook was summoned aft to receive a reprimand. He became impertinent, and the mate, seizing a butter-boat, threw it at his head....A general scuffle ensued, and the second mate, running to the chest of arms, loaded a brace of pistols, and stood in the door-way of the cabin, swearing to two men who came aft, that he would blow their brains out if they ventured a step further. I expostulated with him, but he only replied, "You do not know the danger, Ma'am; the men are in a state of mutiny, and if they seize on the small-arms, we may all be murdered." My child happened to be on deck; and, at the word murdered, I crept under the second mate's arm after her. She was perfectly safe, with Antonio [another sailor] beside her, as guard. My fellow-passenger [a convicted slaver!] was on the larboard side, striving by fair words to quell the tumult; but the first mate was nearly overpowered at the opposite gangway. In striving to reach my child, I became mixed up with their party; and, without knowing it, was close by the mate when when the cook made a plunge at him with the large knife with which he cut the meat. To seize the cook's arm, to snatch the knife out of his hand, and throw it into the sea, was an affair of impulse, not reflection; however, it probably saved the mate, for the knife had already cut through his waistcoat. This action, and my presence, seemed to produce a momentary pause, and gave time to those who were well-disposed to rally round their master. The cook was put in irons, and...went away muttering curses and threats; and I had no inclination to eat the offering with which he had tried to propitiate me....I accordingly threw it into the sea, and retired to the cabin, to prevent further identification with this painful concern."

But wait! This is only one tiny slice of this lady's amazing and accomplished life as an author, artist, zoologist, traveller, and naturalist, as well as a wife and mother. Read more about her here.

Above: Loaded pistols were served out to all the sure men by N.C. Wyeth, 1911, illustration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.
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