Shorthand experienced its heyday in the years immediately following the Civil War. As the end of the 19th century approached, many reporters began to swear off its usefulness, saying that shorthand's time had passed, and that it was no longer worth the significant effort required to learn it. By the early 1890's, the century's practice…Read more The Rise and Fall of Shorthand in Victorian-Era America
This weekend, I'll venture outside the borders of New England and write some words about, well . . . words. History resides everywhere - in the fieldstone foundations of our cellars, in the names we carry, and in the genes and traits we pass from generation to generation. History also resides in the very words…Read more If Ancestors Could Talk: Their History Captured in Our Words.
Eastern Massachusetts has its own way of saying things. Whether you're drinking a tonic, or slurping a frappe, or quenching your thirst with water from a bubbler, you know you're near Boston when the letter "r" starts migrating within sentences (think 'supah idear'). To linguists, New England breaks into two dialect regions: Eastern New England…Read more If Ancestors Could Talk: The Words of Nineteenth-Century New England
One of the more interesting aspects of writing a blog is seeing which topics attract the most interest. In mid-December, I wrote a post about the Spanish flu (link below) and its spread across Massachusetts in 1918 and 1919. Since then, it's been one of my most popular posts (placing fourth most popular of the…Read more 1918: Spanish Flu, Attitudes toward Housekeeping, and a Little Bit about Linguistic History