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Articles Categorized Sandra Wagner-Wright

Christmas Carols, or, Boar’s Heads, Angels, & Partridges

With Thanksgiving behind us, we are on the cusp of Christmas Carol season. Retailers started playing the melodies weeks ago, but soon there will be a full roster of community, church, and school programs featuring traditional carols. On the left, is a sedate picture of a mother and her daughters singing in the dignified repose

Thanksgiving in 18th Century Salem, Mass.

This is a blog about Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday. It is not about the First Thanksgiving, or the late 19th century Thanksgiving, or the 20th Century Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving story is about Thanksgiving in late 18th and early 19th century New England, specifically Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of my upcoming novel. At

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