Reading Ruth Goodman’s “How to Be a Victorian”

Reading Ruth Goodman’s “How to Be a Victorian”

Ruth Goodman is one of my favourite historians. I’ve watched several of her shows and have seen her as a guest on other history programs, and am always impressed by how she tries to live as period-authentic as she can during a project. I don’t have that much commitment to anything! I’ve recently finished her book How to be a Victorian, which I was very excited about. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that my favourite part of history are the smaller, everyday moments… (READ MORE)

Masters of Doom

Masters of Doom

The early days of home computers and video games has always been a particular interest of mine. In fact, it’s my stock answer for the “if you had a time machine” question – while I would love to visit all sorts of historical periods, I’d probably fare a bit better in the early ’80s as a very liberal, non-religious, mixed-race woman than I would in the Tudor era, for example! Masters of Doom isn’t a new book by any means, but when I saw that… (READ MORE)

Exercise for women in the 1910s

Exercise for women in the 1910s

Between my recent Instagram post about Gibson girls and revisiting a favourite article detailing how the ideal woman’s body has changed over the past hundred years, I’ve had the 1910s on the brain a little bit. I’d remembered an episode of Edwardian Farm where Ruth and her daughter were demonstrating the calisthenic exercises that became popular for women during the late 19th century, so I thought I’d investigate other exercises that were suggested for women at the beginning of the 20th. Margaret Mixter offers many exercises… (READ MORE)

Etiquette of morning calls and visits of ceremony

Etiquette of morning calls and visits of ceremony

One of the reasons I love reading Victorian/Regency novels is that I get a glimpse of the everyday rituals, strange to us now, that were so important to the people performing them. One of those rituals that always seemed at once charming and terrifying to me was the obligation of the morning call 0r social visit. So much seemed to hinge on those visits! For example, from Jane Austen’s Persuasion: “Where shall we go?” said [Mary], when they were ready. “I suppose you will not like to… (READ MORE)

The finality of history, and escapism

I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction lately, which is something I surprisingly haven’t read too much of in my life. But I’ve been enjoying it, returning to it regularly, with the same urgency I often feel about certain history and biography books I read. I am indeed an adult who deals with her problems, but at the same time, I’m also quite prone to escapism. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit fatalistic about the state of the world and the direction it’s heading in.… (READ MORE)

Connected to history

Memorial plaques for three of the family members of Plum Johnson, author of the memoir They Left us Everything (check it out at amazon.ca or amazon.com), which I mentioned in a recent entry. I would hesitate to call this “history,” but seeing these plaques (I had forgotten they were there, so they took me by surprise) brought up the same feelings that visiting actual historical sites or artifacts gives me. That sense that you can be so easily connected to history, despite the years (sometimes centuries) that… (READ MORE)

More Oakville homes, and They Left Us Everything

More Oakville homes, and They Left Us Everything

I love how many of Old Oakville’s historic homes are a reminder of the town’s historical connection to the lake. Edward Anderson, Mariner, 1835 Duncan Chisholm built homes for his workers, which still stand at 18-26 Thomas Street (though he and his own family never lived there). There is an interesting article about one of those houses here at the Globe & Mail. I’m also reading a quite good memoir at the moment, They Left Us Everything, by Plum Johnson (check it out at amazon.ca or amazon.com). It’s… (READ MORE)