Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Never let it be said that Congress doesn't know a gold mine when it sees one. Or in Nevada's case, the 1859 discovery of the incredibly large and rich silver deposits at Virginia City.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Annie Edson Taylor, 63, was the first to take the plunge. While not the first person over the falls (and who knows how many were tossed over them against their will) she was the first to do it in a barrel. Poor and seeking fame and fortune, the Civil War widow and 2 assistants strapped herself into a barrel 5 feet high and 3 feet around. Leather straps and cushions lined the barrel to protect her. However, her 15 minutes of fame lasted only about that and there was no fortune for Annie. She spent the rest of her life working as a street vendor in Niagara Falls, and died there in 1921.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Victorians were trendy. Their entertainments reflected their awareness of trends, and their societal need to keep apace.
Napoleon III ran his Imperial Court with a flare unseen for decades on the Continent. Off-the-Continent, the Imperial Courts in the Americas were following suit. In particular, because Napoleon III sponsored the Mexican Imperials of the Second Empire - the Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota - that court particularly complied with protocal.
Two types of grand balls were accounted for during the Victorian era; State Balls and a casual tradition that was dubbed "Empress' Mondays". Victorian era authors may find it useful to include either style of ball to suit their authorial machinations. They differed in some of the following manners:
* were very grandiose
*sovereign hosts arrived by 9:30 p.m. as witnessed by a large audience of attendees
* held in ballrooms
* said hosts retired early for the night, by midnight
* balls often continued until 4 a.m.
* full orchestras played throughout the night
* all attendees wore ascribed court dress such as that worn by the lady-in-waiting displayed top right, Dona Sanchez-Navarre of the Mexican Imperial Court; essentially all women wore the same gown and all men wore the same court uniform or a military uniform with full decoration
* protocol was strict and ceremony was relied upon
* etiquette was strict
* public scrutiny was always of concern
* guest lists were a matter of politics
* visits of state dignitaries precedented state balls and determined when the ball was held
* displays of the latest technology were part of the entertainment, often part of the decor
* lighting at state balls was dimmed to enhance the display of attendee’s jewels
* physical appearances and beauty were irrelevant; the purpose of attending was political gain
* were less grandiose
*sovereign hosts started off the affaires around 10 p.m.
* held in Salons
* hosts remained at the ball throughout the night
* balls often ended by 2 a.m.
* partial orchestras played periodically, often hidden in the patios or gardens
* attendees wore trendy or traditional attire, often verging on a masquerade ball
* protocol was less strict and ceremony relaxed
* etiquette was relaxed
* balls were not available for public perusal
* guest lists were comprised of local Society, usually outside political arenas
* balls were warm and intimate, and held regularly on Monday nights
* décor was limited to the elegantly decorated Salons, and guests roamed the grounds
* lighting was normal
* guests might be invited simply for their charm or beauty
Saturday, October 21, 2006
In 1854, Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 women volunteer nurses, trained by Nightingale and including her aunt, Mai Smith, went to the Crimean. Sidney Herbert (Secretary at War 1845–1846 and 1852–1854) authorized the expidation. The nurses landed some 545 km across the Black Sea from Balaklava, where the main British camp was based.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
On second glance, we don’t know the meaning of change. We still drive cars filled with gasoline to our homes in the suburbs. While we did send a man to the moon, that was in 1969–thirty SEVEN years ago. We haven’t sent anybody to explore a new terrestrial body since. We still cook with the same stoves (the first home microwave oven came out in 1952!) We still use the same power supplies we’ve been using for over a century. Really, the only thing at all different is our communications. Personal computers, the internet and cell phones may have changed how we do some things, but for the most part our lives remain the same.
Now lets take a look at the early Victorian era. These people had to deal with CHANGE. From 1838 to1868, the world turned upside down. A good horse, a stiffened sail and some heavy shoe leather suddenly had competition to fill our transportation needs. Railroads began to span the distances, and if you couldn’t go by train, chances are a steamship would move you in the right direction. People began to travel, and more and more often families were separated by many miles. But that was okay; we could communicate via telegraph!
If we forgot what our loved ones looked like, they could send us a daguerreotype photograph. If we wanted to tell the entire village something, we could put an article in the newspapers that sprung up once the rotary printing press was invented.
Our homes could be built with reinforced concrete, and we could even safeguard them with the invention of the cylinder lock.
Imagine how life changed with the steel plow, the refrigerating machine, and condensed milk. Now add pasteurization, the hypodermic syringe, and antiseptic surgery. If your brain wasn’t swimming by this point, you could take your first elevator ride.
But while these new inventions touched on almost every aspect of our daily lives, one change was bigger than all the rest. Charles Darwin published the Zoology of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle in 1838, then came out with The Origin of Species in 1859.
Even if you didn’t believe his ridiculous "Theory of Evolution" nonsense, you now had to THINK about it. Not even Galileo had so many people THINKING about the world they lived in. Life would never be the same.
(On the other hand, did I just read we've invented an invisibility cloaking device?)
In 1869, Prussian-born mining engineer, Adolph Sutro, began work on four-mile-long tunnel through the solid rock of the Comstock Lode. Miners sank shafts deeper and deeper into the rock in search of more silver and gold. The further into the Earth they mined, the more water they encountered. This had to be pumped to the surface at great expense.
Enter Adolph Sutro. With his nifty invention of horizontal drainage, mine water would drain through a tunnel, minus expensive pumps. Handily, these tunnels could also be used to move men and ore in and out, greatly reducing transportation costs.
Everyone agreed the tunnel would be a boon to the Comstock. But they worried that Sutro would use his tunnel to take control of the entire Lode, and progress was continually slowed because of that fear. It was only by securing European capital that Sutro able to complete the $5 million project in 1878.
Every bit as successful as promised, Sutro’s tunnel drained two million gallons of water per year, and greatly reduced transportation costs. Alas, by 1878, the richer sections of the Comstock Lode had been tapped out, and profitability declined. Sutro, however, sold his tunnel in 1879 at a extraordinary profit, and moved to San Francisco where he became one of the city's largest landowners and mayor from 1894 to 1896.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Well for one thing, it was the leading cause of death in the U.S. in the 19th century. From the beginning of the century thru 1870, it was the cause of 1 in 5 deaths, or 20%! Compare that with the "scourge" of the late 20th century, AIDS, which is does not even hit the top 5 causes of death in the U.S. http://library.thinkquest.org/16665/causes.htm
Like those infected with AIDS, though, victims of tuberculosis could live a very long time. It was a wasting disease (thus the 19th century term consumption), its sufferers not dying within days or weeks, but living with attacks and remissions that could last for years or decades. It allowed those infected to get married, have children, and pass the disease on to them. Families, therefore, could suffer from the infection for 2 or even 3 generations, passing it from parent/grandparent to children. In fact, for much of the century, the physicians thought the disease was hereditary, not contagious. They believed that families had a predisposition to the illness.
We now know, of course, that tuberculosis is contagious, transmitted through the air. Why didn't people understand that back then, when it was considered likely with other illnesses, such as colds and influenza? I suspect that's because first and foremost, having the TB bacteria doesn't necessarily mean you will develop the disease. In fact, only 5-10% of the people who have the bacteria ever develop the disease. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs104/en/
Secondly, unlike diseases such as influenza or cholera, it can takes years to develop tuberculosis. You may have been exposed to it by a train passenger in 1850 and not develop symptoms for until 1855. Who could say, then, where you got the disease?http://www.concordma.com/magazine/winter03/tuberculosis.html
The majority of this information came from Living in the Shadow of Death, Tuberculosis and the social Experience of Illness in American History by Sheila M. Rothman
Larger in area than all but 18 of the world's nations, Alaska is derived from the Aleut Alyeska, meaning "great country", "mainland" or "great land". During the 18th century, Spaniards explored the coast and settled there – Cordova and Valdez.
U.S. Secretary of State William Seward (Seward’s Folly), urged the US to buy it, and while the transaction was completed on April 2, it wasn’t until October 18 that the hand over was completed. Or, if you go by the Julian calendar, Saturday, October 7, 1867 in Russia. Take your pick. That wasn’t the only problem Alaska had that day:
“Russia still used the Julian Calendar in 1867, and the world had not yet been divided into standard time zones; thus, there was no international date line, and the day began in the morning instead of starting at midnight. So, while the American day now ends with sunset in western Alaska, the Russian day then started with sunrise in "eastern" Alaska. Thus, Friday, October 6, 1867, the day before the physical transfer of ownership, was followed by Friday, October 18, 1867—which was Saturday, October 7, 1867 in Russia. The change in date was due to America bringing the Gregorian Calendar to Alaska, while the lack of change in day resulted from Alaska's shift from being the starting point of the Russian day to being the ending point of the American day.”
Get all that?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
And have you ever wished there was a publisher who actually wanted those stories that the others “aren’t looking for?” Maybe you have a story that’s a bit quirky, one that’s set in an era that isn’t selling well at this time, or maybe it features the old no-no of athletes or rock stars as heroes or heroines.
Meet The Wild Rose Press, a new and exciting small electronic and print publisher. Our titles span the sub-genre spectrum from sweet to sensually erotic and are available in all lengths including short story, novella, category and single title.
At The Wild Rose Press, where I am senior editor over the historical lines, we like to say “we help writers grow”. Not only are our editors willing to work with an author if they like the story or the characters, but we welcome those works that the bigger houses don’t want. Certainly that isn’t to say we publish works that are unpublishable because of poor writing skills or lack of an actual story, but we do enjoy finding new and different ideas. And we never hand out “form” rejections; each editor makes every effort to let the writer know what did and didn’t work for her. Most of us even take the time to include helpful suggestions in our rejection letters. Best of all, we have an entire “greenhouse” on our site full of articles on the nuts and bolts of writing to help writers at all levels of their career, from the beginner to the polished professional.
Each month offers new articles, interviews with authors and editors and lots and lots of new releases. I hope you’ll stop by our garden at www.thewildrosepress.com and visit us soon!
It was only in 1863 that a purse was awarded - £10 or about $50 at the time. However, the winner didn’t even get to keep the money! It was shared between the second, third, and fourth placed professionals. The Champ got to keep the belt for a year. In 1864, Old Tom Morris won the first Champion's cash prize of £6 (today it’s about $11). Today? £720,000 or $1,335,753.82.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Farming nearly impossible, and the conditions were deplorable. So Victorio decided this new reservation was unacceptable and moved his followers to more pleasant grounds at Ojo Caliente (Warm Springs). Unfortunately, this made him once again an outlaw in the eyes of the U. S.
In 1880, a combined force of U.S. and Mexican troops finally succeeded in tracking him down, surrounding them in the Tres Castillos Mountains. The Mexican soldiers sent the Americans away, and proceeded to kill all but 17 of the trapped Apaches. The exact manner of Victorio's death remains unclear. Some claimed an Indian scout employed by the Mexican army killed him. According to the Apache, Victorio took his own life rather than surrender to the hated Mexicans. Regardless, Victorio's death made him a martyr to the Apache people and strengthened the resolve of other warriors to continue the fight. The last of the great Apache warriors, Geronimo, would not surrender until 1886.
Victorio's sister was the famous woman warrior Lozen, Dexterous Horse Thief.
The character of Sierra Charriba, in Sam Peckinpah's film Major Dundee (1965), played by Michael Pate, was based off of Victorio.