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Individuality, Ownership & the Importance of Spousal Names

“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare put these words into Juliet Capulet’s mouth, to show that her love for Romeo was not restricted by his membership in the Montague family. The label of his name was immaterial to her, but, tragically, it would

Jane Teakittle, Tea Boycotts & American Revolution

Among the archive files, I found the following public notice in the Salem Gazette, Newbury & Marblehead Advertiser. Sept 13 1774To the Printer of the Salem Gazette , &c.Mr. Russell,You are requested to publish the following Bond, wrote by a Young Lady in Boston in 1737 (who was much grieved at the pernicious practice of

Ill-Fated Love: Eliza Emery & David Burditt, Part 2

The brief correspondence between Eliza Emery Burditt and Capt. John Crowninshield offers a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people. The story of young Mr. and Mrs. Burditt’s courtship and early married life of is told here. But just to recap the outline of their romance, Burditt commanded the brig Telemachus. Imagine him dashing and

Ill-Fated Love: Eliza Emery & David Burditt, Part 1

Research can turn up fascinating stories that aren’t directly related to the topic being investigated. Last October, I shared the story of Lady Agnes Frankland, the poor girl from Marblehead, Massachusetts who married an English Aristocrat. Last week while transcribing research notes I gathered at the Phillips Library, I met Eliza Burditt whose ill-fated romance

Rules For Teachers, or, Teaching Before it Became a Profession

Hawai`i Public School students and teachers went back to their classrooms last Monday, August 1st. I probably will never get used to the present calendar for the school year. I recognize it, without entirely buying into the new system.  When I attended school, we started about the third week in August and finished about the

Do We Want Our “Hair on Fire”?

The definitions are clear, the phrase Hair On Fire refers to a situation in which someone is impassioned, wild, crazy, filled with rage, frantic, and/or overwhelmed — but not necessarily out of control. You can probably remember one more realities in your life when you felt like your hair was on fire. You might have

Lady Mount-Edgcumbe, Faro’s Daughter

Have you ever taken a rapid, probably shallow breath, and said, “I feel like my hair is on fire.”? It isn’t, of course. It’s the same hair you’ve always had. It still sits on your head, and the flames that seem real to you are entirely invisible. You might be interested to find out that

Whither the Office Worker?

Long ago, before public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 sent workers home, about 50 per cent of Americans in the work force spent their days in an office, either in cramped open spaces or small cubicles spread out across a large room. During my early employment history, I worked in large desk-filled

On-Site Research: My Visit to Salem MA, pt. 2

The picture on the left looks back to shore from a mid-point on Derby Wharf. On the left side with a cupola, you can just see the red brick Customs House. Next to it, on the right, is Hawke’s House and the next house is Derby House, also built of red brick. Note the Derby

On-Site Research: My Visit to Salem MA, pt. 1

Site visits are an important part of my writing research, because being where my characters’ experiences occurred gives me a greater sense of closeness to their lives. My most recent book, Saxon Heroines, took me back to Whitby Abbey where I videoed waves pounding on the headland. When writing Rama’s Labyrinth, I visited Mukti Mission