For many folks, summer means…baseball! And you know what? That was true in the 1890s, too, when the sport was in its second full decade. Rule changes and refinements during this time helped shape the sport into a closer approximation of the game we now know. For more about the specifics, check out this baseball history guide.
Bubblegum baseball cards were popular when I was growing up in the 70s. It wasn’t too tough for kids to do an extra chore or scour some change out of the sofa to buy a pack: 16 cards, with a stick of bubblegum inside! Cool!
In the 1890s they had baseball cards, too, but a stick of gum wasn’t included. The cards were inside tins of tobacco. (Yeah, not for kiddie consumption). Here are some pics of 1895 baseball cards from Mayo’s Cut Plug tobacco:
Amos Rusie, pitcher, New York Giants, 1895.
Bill Joyce, centerfield, Washington Senators, 1895.
Cap Anson, first base (though the Baseball Reference site has him down as manager), Chicago Colts, 1895.
Charlie Abbey, centerfield, Washington Senators, 1895.
By the way, in case you’re curious about how the teams above did in the 1895 season, the Washington Senators finished 10th, the New York Giants finished 9th, and the Chicago Colts finished 4th. The Baltimore Orioles finished in 1st place that year.
The site Baseball Reference has kindly made its table available, so if you’re a statistics geek and love getting into the trenches, check it out below. If it doesn’t display, the hyperlink will get you there. Enjoy!
Do you collect baseball cards, or enjoy America’s Pastime? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
P.S. – Wonder why I’m talking about baseball? Well, there might a a tenuous connection to the next Concordia novel! Stay tuned….
Happy Tuesday before Thanksgiving! We’re all pressed for time right now, so I’ll just share a brief montage of interesting historical menus as you plan yours…who knows? It may give you ideas.
Another cool thing about the following menus is who is hosting it. We have a hotel, a college, and…a hospital. I guess everyone wants turkey on Thanksgiving, although some of these menus make it seem like turkey is an afterthought. *wink*
Hotel Vendome Thanksgiving Menu, 1895.
The one below is tough to read, my apologies. I can make out Mock Turtle Soup, and Salmon, but I have trouble after that. I’m sure turkey is in there somewhere.
1874 Vassar College Thanksgiving Menu.
Thanksgiving menu, 1864. Jarvis U.S.A. General Hospital, Baltimore.
Hmm, looks yummy. And what variety! Who knew hospital food was holiday-worthy? But someone needed spell-check on “turkies.”
Most of us won’t be eating at a fancy hotel or at a college, and I sure hope we won’t be eating at a hospital! So, if you’re cooking at home, be safe. Firefighters see house fires triple on Thanksgiving Day, with some states in the Union more prone than others. For more info on that, check out my 2014 post:
Today I’m over at Misterio Press, talking about what was considered proper conduct for engaged couples in the late-nineteenth century. Since Concordia Wells is an engaged lady in Beloved and Unseemly (book 5 of the series, and just released), it seemed a fitting topic!
Welcome to Day 6 of the quote-a-day countdown giveaway, to celebrate the November 1st release of Beloved and Unseemly. To learn more about the lady professor’s adventures in book #5, along with details of the contest and prizes, click here:
Here is today’s quote…uh-oh, looks like Concordia’s getting an earful!
Well, I suppose she’s heard that sort of thing on occasion….
Thanks so much for participating! By the way, if you’re looking for recipes to stay cozy in the chill weather or to celebrate Halloween, you’ll enjoy today’s post from Misterio Press! Included are two cocktail recipes of mine, one with alcohol and one without. Hope to see you there!
Welcome to Day 5 of the quote-a-day countdown giveaway, to celebrate the November 1st release of Beloved and Unseemly. To learn more about the lady professor’s adventures in book #5, along with details of the contest and prizes, click here:
Welcome to Day 4 of the quote-a-day countdown giveaway, to celebrate the November 1st release of Beloved and Unseemly. To learn more about the lady professor’s adventures in book #5, along with details of the contest and prizes, click here:
Francois Courboin, In the Cabinet des Estampes (Bibliothèque Nationale), 1897. Image via wikimedia commons.
In writing about the world of Concordia Wells, I have to make sure the lady professor and her colleagues are always suitably attired in the style of the day.
I use a variety of sources for descriptions and sketches of what these ladies wore during the Progressive Era. Two of my favorite books for research are the Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog of 1897 and Victorian Fashions & Costumes from Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898.
Other sources include newspaper advertisements from a search of Chronicling America (a digital archive of 19th century U.S. newspapers from the Library of Congress), and etiquette books of the period, such as Manners and Social Usages by Mrs. John Sherwood, an 1898 self-help book (yes, they had those way back then!), which I quote from extensively in book #5 (more about book #5 in a moment).
I also have to keep reminding myself not to overlook YouTube, which has a surprising collection of old film footage and picture montages. Below is one I think you’ll enjoy. If you want to skim (it’s a bit long), there’s a wedding dress at 5:12 and a series of bicycling outfits similar to what Concordia wears at 10:06.
Book 5 of the Concordia Wells Mysteries is complete and we have a cover! Official release day is Tuesday, November 1st. For those of you who have read the series from the beginning, book 5 comes full circle in several ways that I’m hoping you’ll find satisfying. Here’s a portion of the cover and the blurb:
A stolen blueprint, a dead body, and wedding bells….
Change is in the air at Hartford Women’s College in the fall of 1898. Renowned inventor Peter Sanbourne—working on Project Blue Arrow for the Navy—heads the school’s new engineering program, and literature professor Concordia Wells prepares to leave to marry David Bradley.
The new routine soon goes awry when a bludgeoned body—clutching a torn scrap of the only blueprint for Blue Arrow—is discovered on the property Concordia and David were planning to call home.
To unravel the mystery that stands between them and their new life together, Concordia must navigate deadly pranks, dark secrets, and long-simmering grudges that threaten to tear apart her beloved school and leave behind an unseemly trail of bodies.
I’m so excited and can’t wait for you all to read it! I’ll post the full cover reveal in my newsletter and here on the site when the links go live. I know you guys have been so patient(!) waiting for this next Concordia installment, and I really appreciate your loyalty.
If you don’t want to wait for November 1st, you can be one of my advance readers! I’m offering ten free advance review copies (ARCs) of the ebook version of Beloved and Unseemly.
I love ARCs. Not only does the reader get a freebie ahead of time, but releasing the book “in the wild” may generate early reviews. Reviews then help prospective readers decide if this book is their cup of tea.
Please note: readers receiving ARCs are under no obligation whatsoever to rate the book or post a review. This is per Amazon reviewer policy and I agree wholeheartedly. If something is free, it should not have strings attached. (But if you do decide to rate/review the book, Concordia and I thank you very much!)
So, if you’d like an ARC, send me an email at: contact(at)kbowenmysteries(dot)com. Let me know what format you want: mobi (Kindle) or epub (Nook or iPad/iPhone). I will send them out to the first ten readers who ask. Thank you!
One of the joys of researching historical mysteries is discovering new-to-me historical blogs. Icing on the cake is when the blogger generously shares her talents. A special thanks to the author of this piece, Tine Hreno, for permitting me to re-post this fascinating article on 1890s’ perceptions of electricity. I know you’ll enjoy it. As you’ll see from the full article, not only was electricity a source of light and power, it was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make some quick money on electric “health” products, such as the rheumatism ring below.
Image via Sears Roebuck Catalog, 1897.
Popular Perceptions of Electricity in the 1890s
by Tine Hreno
If you lived in a major city, like London, electricity had become part of your everyday life by the 1890s. You might not have it in your home, but even if you did, you might not understand what it was.
Even electrical engineers, like Nikola Tesla, used words like “energy” to describe that which was generated by electricity and that which he felt after sleeping. It’s not clear that many people distinguished between the two. Tesla actually got the idea for tuning radio frequencies through his belief that he and his mother were tuned into the same frequency when she died. Still, Tesla understood more about electricity than most people do today, but the electrical revolution was spreading rapidly.
A town called Godalming, Surrey, built the first central station to provide electricity to the public in the fall of 1881. They did so because the disagreed with the rate the gas company was charging them. I understand the feeling from dealing with my internet provider. Godalming’s system was first used for their street lamps, but within the year more than 80% of its homes were connected. Overall, the town wasn’t happy with their new electrical system and reverted to gas (also a familiar feeling in dealing with new internet providers). However, by 1882, London had a large-scale power station at Holburn Viaduct.