Welcome to another installment of “Where my research takes me,” an eclectic mix of cool historical tidbits I’ve uncovered in the process of my book researches. Enjoy!

1. “From the Ballroom to Hell.”

That’s one way to get a sermon written up in the newspaper: load it with fire and brimstone.


*from The San Francisco Call,Β February 25, 1896.

Perhaps one cannot refute the “hugging set to music” claim – why else would we do it? – but “…the stench arising from the carcass of a hog”…that’s harsh. After all, they didn’t have deodorant back then.

2. “The streets flowed with beer.”

Instead of grabbing a tankard and celebrating, the neighbors “fled from their houses in terror.”


brewery accident

The Sun, Dec 3, 1889. ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov

What an image: “Torrents of beer gushed from all the doors and windows, and, overflowing the gutters, poured into cellars….” The engineer who had to get into the engine room to fix the problem “had difficulty escaping a bath.” You simply cannot make this stuff up. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the engineer had shinier hair afterward. πŸ˜‰

3. American princesses.

snippet from The San Francisco Call, October 29, 1899. ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov

snippet from The San Francisco Call, October 29, 1899. ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov

I love the subtitle to this: “Twenty American girls who by marriage have become princesses and therefore ought to be happy.” Either the writer was irony-impaired, or these gals’ corsets are on too tightly. Below are additional snippets from the same page. Except for one lady, they don’t look terribly ecstatic to me:


View the full newspaper articleΒ here.

So, have you ever dreamed of being a princess, or wading through a sea of beer? Do you consider dancing as “hugging set to music”? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,


Interested in exploring other “Where my research takes me” posts?

Having a blast in the 19th centuryΒ (dynamite and bomb-making)

19th century health ads

Burglars, knitting, detective cocktailsΒ (and more)

19th century Pullman cars

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