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Picturing a World

The more things change—

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Long before presidential tweets, there was pulp fiction. This morning, while looking into a question about the early 20th C publishing industry for ANONYMITY, I came across this title and couldn’t resist posting it.

It was published in Cleveland by The Arthur Westbrook Co. I suppose I could have had my Ohio heroine, Mattie, work closer to her native Circleville; but it would have been harder for her to keep her secrets there. She headed for the big time.

Incidentally, New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections Guide to the Levy Dime Novel Collection is rich source of titles to borrow, alter, or parody. Read More 
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Inez Milholland

Photographs of Inez Milholland in a white costume on a white horse leading the March 1913 woman’s suffrage parade in Washington appeared this past weekend in several stories about the 2017 Women’s March in Washington. She was brilliant; she was dashing; and she died  Read More 
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Stenographer or reporter?

Mattie Palmer, the heroine of ANONYMITY, my work-in-progress, is a “stenographer” or secretary in a publishing firm. Before going to New York around 1900, she had been a reporter in Cincinnati.

So far, I haven’t been able to find the short story, “A Girl Who Became a Reporter,” for which this is an illustration;  Read More 
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Clipping services

A minor plot turn early in ANONYMITY could be most easily handled if clipping services existed in 1908. They did! A Londoner named Henry Romeike seems to have begun the first one ca. 1880, and the idea rapidly spread. At first, they tended to be cottage industries; but soon companies were hiring readers, mostly women,  Read More 
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Suffrage with a smile

After rereading a couple of chapters of ANONYMITY, my work-in-progress, I took a break by Googling images related to women's suffrage. This one popped up without any documentation, but for my purposes, that didn't matter. What I love are the candid smiles and sense of motion. Just what I need to make me feel I'm back in a living, breathing time. Read More 
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Morris chair as narrator

I write first drafts of my fiction longhand in an old Morris chair that has been in the family for ages, but I never thought of it as the narrator. Running over a set of early 20th C images from children’s publications, I came across this one. Naturally, the chair caught my eye. Puzzled by the wording, I did an internet search and  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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Mark Kelso

CD by Mark Kelso
Having finished the first draft of a short story about a composer and sound engineer, I approached the brilliantly gifted musician Mark Kelso for help with technical details. I am comfortable with my setting, action, and the character’s psychology; but I’m no musician and certainly not a sound engineer. Mark graciously invited me to spend an hour today at his Muddy Angel Music Studio, where he composes, teaches, and records himself and other artists.  Read More 
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Suffragists in England

Blog tip For ideas about what Mattie's suffragist group might be up to, I read about the suffragist movement in England as well as America. Today's Spitalfield Life's East End Suffragette Map caught my eye.
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Mattie illicit lover

In the first chapter of my work-in-progress, Mattie dresses for her job as a stenographer but daydreams about the coming evening with her lover as she puts on a sexy corset which she has bought from a fancy corsetiere.  Read More 
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