The Rise and Fall of Shorthand in Victorian-Era America

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 […]

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Cornhill – Once Boston’s Literary Center, Today Replaced by Government Center

It wasn’t Cornhill Street, Cornhill Road, Cornhill Avenue, or even the Cornhill; instead, it was just Cornhill, and in its day, knowing this was just one more way that those in the know had to distinguish locals from those visiting Boston as tourists. In its history, Boston has had two roads called Cornhill.  The first, […]

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In His Words: Charles Dickens’ Perspective on New England and Public Transport, 1842

We New Englanders have long called Boston “the Hub”.  And there’s a sense, just barely concealed, that we’re really referring to the hub of the universe, and not merely the hub of the state or region.   Undoubtedly, New England has a strong regional identity that includes the ubiquitous image of the “proper Bostonian” as well as a […]

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Performers of the Victorian Stage – Professor Samri Baldwin, Installment I

I’ve climbed my family tree.  Amidst laborers, farmers, and even a pirate hidden within its branches, I’ve also found circus performers and musicians clinging to the acorns.  Someday (yes, the proverbial and elusive someday), I think it would be interesting to write a story around the Victorian stage, and its actors and actresses – and […]

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How street dirt can change the world

Historical fiction, like any genre of fiction, relies on a solid, engaging storyline, but it’s just as important to get the details right.  Flub those and you’ll quickly lose credibility with readers.  Readers seek out historical fiction to escape into another world, and another time.  Who wouldn’t want to send this coming Monday a few […]

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