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Picturing a World

New Year's Eve

As we sail toward a new year, I have just hit this gorgeous illumination in a medieval manuscript, Egerton 10 f 33, at the British Library. Won’t someone please tell me a story to go with it?!? Best wishes to all for an imaginative new year. Read More 

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Little Woman in Blue

Blog tip: I have just read this post on Jeannine Atkins’ new novel Little Woman in Blue: The Story of May Alcott Nieriker with great interest. And, of course, I love it that Where the Light Falls is included in the recommended reading list at the end! Read More 

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Christmas morning 1908

As far as I’m concerned, an album of Carl Larsson images is the perfect way to glimpse a world we hope was true. Nostalgia? Sure. Merry Christmas, everybody!

For more strictly Christmas images by Larsson, click hereRead More 

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Helen Stratton

Born in 1867, artist Helen Stratton would be a near contemporary of my new heroine Mattie, who is employed in the children’s book publishing industry and would therefore know her illustrations. With no more relevance than that to my own work, I’m posting  Read More 

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Sherlock Holmes for Christmas

I’ve just learned what to read tonight: “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” by A. Conan Doyle. It ran in this December 12, 1908, edition of Colliers. And what fun—Maxfield Parrish! Surely, Mattie is a fan of Sherlock Holmes and probably of Parrish, too.

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Emily Dickinson's Black Cake

Blog tip: Too late for this Christmas, but for anyone interested in recreating Emily Dickinson's Black Cake next year, click here. Be warned, it calls for 2 lbs. butter, 5 lbs. raisins, and 19 eggs!

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X in Xmas

Mattie Palmer, my new heroine, is Jeanette’s younger sister. Since Where the Light Falls is set in 1878–1880 and ANONYMITY in 1908, this magazine cover comes halfway between the chronologically. It’s sort of like a Rorschach test: Would Jeanette’s art be leading her this direction? Would Mattie like it? The fact  Read More 

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Suffragette—the Movie

This week, I saw the movie Suffragette, about the working women who responded to Emmeline Pankhurst’s call for the suffragist cause in Great Britain.

First off, let me tell you that, yup, it passes the Bechdel Test on every criterion!  Read More 

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Torn party dress

As we enter the season of parties, parties, parties, we can either rejoice or regret that the era of the lady’s maid in the cloak closet is long past. In 1922, Emily Post could still write, “Fifteen minutes before the dinner hour, Mrs. Worldly is already standing in her drawing-room.… She knows without  Read More 

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