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Articles Categorized History American

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

Main Street in Rowley Mass.: A Step Back in Time

When I was young, I enjoyed visiting “historic” houses. At that time, I equated “historic” with an 18th or 19th century house. A house that was simply “old” didn’t impress me much, because a house from 1930 didn’t strike me as being all that different from a house of 1960. But a house from 1830

Rowley: A Small New England Town

The thing about research trips, or any sort of travel, is that you never know what you will discover. Case in point: Rowley, Massachusetts, a small town, population 6,161, on the Massachusetts North Shore. Prior to my visit to the Phillips Library, now located in Rowley, I knew nothing about this delightful small town that

Thanksgiving in 18th Century New England

Recent research for my current project has turned up a few interesting insights into how eighteenth century New Englanders celebrated Thanksgiving, which makes an interesting change for the annual stories about the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Over a hundred years since the Pilgrims stepped ashore, colonial Americans did not worry about starvation or share the

The Disappearance of Glen & Bessie Hyde

In November 1928, Glen & Bessie Hyde disappeared while on an expedition to run all the rapids on the Colorado River. They were never seen again. The newlyweds were engaged in a publicity stunt they hoped would earn them fame and fortune. Obscure fame they still have; fortune, not so much. In many ways, it

Tremont House: America’s First Luxury Hotel

I once had a professor who advised his graduate students that one should never chase rabbits while hunting for bear. The metaphor was his way of saying that while doing research, one should not follow enticing facts unless they are directly related to the current research project. Otherwise, the project will never get done. It’s

Lady Agnes Frankland —A Rags to Riches Fable

I’m writing a story that occurs in Salem, Massachusetts between 1760 and 1820. It’s an interesting period in American history, a time when English people in North America decided to break away from Great Britain. The famous skirmishes at Lexington and Concord took place in April 1775, and agitated citizens of Massachusetts began choosing sides

The Rehabilitation of Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to address a Congressional Committee and the first woman to run for president. She and her sister were known as spiritualists as well as being the first women to own a newspaper and a stock brokerage. But Victoria Woodhull’s most notorious reputation was her advocacy for free love. Thomas

Beecher-Tilton Scandal: Part 2

She Said – He Said – She Said Unable to ignore the public scandal surrounding allegations of an affair between himself and Mrs. Elizabeth Tilton, Reverend Henry Ward Beecher requested Plymouth Church to appoint a committee to investigate the charges. With reporters in attendance, committee members began gathering evidence on June 27, 1874. On July