“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Ray Bradbury

After a month of turmoil, unemployment, sick animals, writing dead-ends and slugs on the potato plants, I’m itching to spend a glorious day out of the heat at the public library to peruse files of long forgotten people, steal their spirits and bring them home with that satisfied feeling that I’ve learned something. Even as…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

I could go on about this book FOREVER!!! If you love intrigue and corruption, avarice and stupidity all assembled in a breathtakingly well-researched and witty BIG read, then here’s the book for you. If you like flawed though strangely lovable characters, then again, here they are presented to you on a silver platter. There’s the…

Clara Driscoll: A Secret Genius At Tiffany Studios

A NEW WOMAN come to life! Clara Driscoll was the sort of gal who bicycled around Manhattan in a short skirt (above the ankles), actively followed politics and happened to design some of the most beautiful pieces of American decorative art for her boss Louis Tiffany like the lamp above. Her letters seem to suggest…

Nothing New Under The Sun: Immigration

Even honey bees are an invasive species. Plants, insects and people tend to move–and take over. Populations explode and people jostle for position. Mrs. Astor of the late 19th century had a big house in NYC with a ballroom. People naturally wanted to attend her soirees. If you were “in” you were one of “The…

And You Thought Women Couldn’t Build Bridges: Emily Warren Roebling

  Here’s a happy story for a change: During the Civil War Emily went to visit her brother then commanding the 5th Army Corps at his headquarters and fell madly in love with Washington Roebling, the son of John A. Roebling who designed the as yet to be built Brooklyn Bridge. Washington obviously felt the…

Lose a Battle, Rape Some Girls

“The next morning as they were breaking camp they were attacked by a war party of Cheyennes led by Chief Medicine Water. John and Lydia German, their son Stephen, and daughters Rebecca Jane and Joanna were killed and scalped. The Indians then took any goods they deemed usable and set the wagon afire. Captured and…

Immigrants of Yesteryear

Rock Springs, Wyoming 1885. A massacre that killed 28-50 Chinese miners seems a pretty solid case of racism–but no. Life and the hearts of men are never that simple. The  ideal of masculinity in the late 19th century was on a collision course with a new corporate manhood. One claimed a man to be an…

Books I’ve Known and Loved

The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Sigh. Yes, I’m the sort of American who wishes I had the guts and courage of say Lewis, Clark or Sacajawea “Janey” (and boy do I hate Night at the Museum for its weird romance between Sacajawea  and Theodore Roosevelt! Sacrilege on both counts!) Movie fans used to Transformers-style action…

Can You Write Stories for These Pictures?

Under the Lilacs book illustration. I’d never heard the term domestic genre stories but I LOVE it. These are the great stories of the late 19th century that spoke to the trials and travails of ordinary life and often with beautiful illustrations. I assume they’re the works that some people deem “of no literary merit”…