Literary Links

July/August 2005


Good News and Announcements

Good News--Blythe Gifford's debut historical Knave and the Maiden is going to be released in England in not one, but three different print versions--hardback, trade paperback and mass market paperback.  The release date is January 2006.  Also for Blythe, The Knave and the Maiden placed second in the Best First Book category of the 2005 First Coast Romance Writer's Beacon Contest, and placed third in the Historical category of the same contest. Laura Moore is pleased to announce that In Your Eyes took first place in the Single Title/Mainstream category of the Holt Medallion contest sponsored by Virginia Romance Writers.

Although Literary Liaisons will not be attending the RWA conference this year, our authors will.  Pat White (aka Patricia Mae White) and Blythe Gifford will be presenting workshops.  Pat is speaking on "Promotion: The Good, The Bad and The Spendy."  Blythe will be presenting "Marketing is Not a Four-Letter Word."  Victoria Bylin, Allie Pleiter, Blythe Gifford and Pat White will be signing at the annual Readers for Life Literacy autographing.  For more information on any of these events, see the RWA web site. Blythe will also be presenting the Golden Heart Award for Best Short Historical.

Available Now!--A new writing guide for authors.  Michelle Prima has gathered years of experience in research and writing, and written a 14-page booklet for authors, 101 Organizing Tips for WritersClick here for more information on how you can become more organized and more productive. Blythe Gifford's, The Knave and the Maiden, was released in France on July 1, 2005 for the Harlequin Grands Romans Historiques line under the title L'aigle et L'ange. The title translates to The Eagle and the Angel. For more information visit the RomanceH web site.

Coming Soon--Look for author Ann Macela's debut paranormal romance this October, The Oldest Kind of Magic

Services Available--Need to get your home office or house organized? How about research for your new book?  Michelle Prima, President of Literary Liaisons, is now offering organizing, research and errand services through her company, Prima By Design, Inc., a Professional Organizing business for residential customers. She currently works in the Chicago area only, but will provide research services on-line for others.  Contact Michelle for more information.


New On Literary Liaisons

There are many new additions to Literary Liaisons. After reading about them below, check them out on the web site.






101 Organizing Tips for Writers




59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns by Kristina Harris

The Creative Writer's Style Guide by Christopher Leland

London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story by Michael Alpert

Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination edited by Carol T. Christ and John O. Jordan

You Can Write a Column by Monica McCabe Cardoza


Feature Title:


The Victorian Kitchen by Jennifer Davies



The Video Library


He Knew He Was Right



RWA Chapters


Black Diamond Romance Writers

Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA)

Louisville Romance Writers

Rose City Romance Writers


Researching the Romance


59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns by Kristina Harris

The Creative Writer's Style Guide by Christopher Leland

London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story by Michael Alpert

Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination edited by Carol T. Christ and John O. Jordan

You Can Write a Column by Monica McCabe Cardoza



Writers' Resources Online


Book and Newspaper Publishers

Miss Mary's Victorian Links

Romance Writing Contests

Sensation Novels

Women and the Sea


Feature Article 

History of the Umbrella

by Michelle J. Prima

Long an indispensable 19th century English fashion accessory, the umbrella actually has a history long preceding Queen Victoria's days.  Origins can be traced back as far as 3000 years ago, although the umbrella was a religious symbol at that time, rather than a useful item.  The Egyptians held umbrellas over their distinguished nobles to denote their higher plane of authority, and to symbolize the vault of heaven over a king.


The ancient Greeks also used the umbrella with their deity, beginning as an erotic symbol associated with Bacchus, but evolving into a means of providing shade.  The costume parasol persisted as a fashion in Rome for many centuries, its use continuous to the present day.


By the middle ages, the umbrella was very popular in Asia and Africa, but not so much on the Continent.  Perhaps this is because it was an important part of the regalia of the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore laymen were reluctant to adopt it because of its importance in religious ceremonies.


It wasn't until the early 16th century that the umbrella was used as a fashionable novelty as well as a religious object.  Its popularity began in Portugal after colonists reported their use in Asia and Africa.  The custom spread to France (Catherine de Medici brought a parasol with her to France to marry the Duke of Orleans) and England (Mary Queen of Scots owned a parasol of crimson satin trimmed with gold tassels.)  Parasols were also used in hunting expeditions in France, but more for the wealthy than the commoner. 


As travelers returned to England from abroad, the umbrella was slowly introduced to citizens.  But even though Catherine of Braganza (wife of Charles II) brought an umbrella with her from Portugal, it wasn't until the late 1600s the waterproof umbrella came into its own in England. Until now, people scurried for cover when it began to rain.  Both walking gentry and working-class citizens used waterproof umbrellas, although they were more common among women than men.  Men relied more on the surtout (a long, loose overcoat) when it rained. 


By this time, the umbrella was also being used and advertised as a sunshade.  A Paris manufacturer even had a folding model for the pocket.  The parasol provided a welcome alternative to protection from the sun than the veils and masks then in use.  But although it was becoming more popular, it wasn't a common sight in Britain until the last half of the 18th century, as it was cumbersome and heavy.  As designs improved, so did use.  A typical umbrella would have as a stick a metal tube containing a spiral spring which acted upon and pressed upwards an inner rod. This frame was usually passed along to a milliner to cover it. 


By 1800, the parasol and umbrella had achieved separate identities.  The parasol had become a luxury item of fashion, and the umbrella was a functional protection against the rain.  The parasol was light and elegant, constantly changing in style, material and colors.  It served as a dress accessory, shade from the sun and could be used to hide from unwelcome advances.  The umbrella was inelegant, and very few were considered suitable for persons of refinement.  The umbrella steadily descended on the social scale, as the elegant sunshade began to increase as a fashionable dress accessory. 


It is no wonder that women began to flaunt their latest parasol in an open carriage ride. They were used as much for protection as they were for flirting.  Parasols for carriage rides were generally smaller than those for walking.  Some models even came complete with a flask in the handle for the benefit of travelers. Towards the end of the 19th century, covers of chiffon and fancy silk on very long sticks became the fashion.  Ladies carried their umbrellas closed more than open, and gentleman carried theirs tightly furled to resemble a walking stick.  Popularity of the umbrella and parasol as a fashion accessory continued into the early years of the first world war. 



A History of the Umbrella by T.S. Crawford, Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1970.


For more references like these, see our Researching the Romance page.



Editor's Note

If you're like many romance writers, you are gearing up for the annual RWA conference.  This year's event will be the 25th conference for RWA, and is being held in Reno, Nevada at the Reno Hilton.  Due to prior commitments, we are unable to attend the gala celebration, but we will be there in spirit with our family of authors. So if you were looking to purchase the Victorian Research Guide at the Moonlight Madness Bazaar, we won't be there, but you can still purchase it online through our web site. We also have a new resource available for authors--"101 Organizing Tips for Writers".  If you are having trouble locating files, finding time to write, or organizing your research in a logical manner, this booklet will help you. In this competitive industry, you need to be one step ahead, and you can't get there (or at least not as fast as you wish) unless you are organized.  So enjoy conference if you are attending, otherwise we will see you online with more useful links and tips from Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: How did people in the first centuries light things apart from keeping a fire going. Did they use flints then? A knight for example. I mean if he was traveling and needed to stop in the forest somewhere how would he light a fire, surely not the old tried and trusted twirling a stick? Thank you.



A: Charlotte:


I was a bit confused by your question.  You mentioned 'the first centuries', then went on to talk about knights.  Since knights weren't around in the true first centuries (00-500AD), I'm assuming you mean the first centuries of the middle ages in relation to knights. 
Therefore, my answer is yes, they did use flints to keep the fires going. 
For a brief history of fire, curfew times and chimneys, visit this web site:
A Brief History of Fire and its Uses
Hope this helps!

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events




King Alfonso XIII

Ty Cobb--American baseball player




King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Alexander Ostrovski--Russian dramatist

Josef Viktor von Scheffel--German poet

Leopold von Ranke--German historian

Franz Liszt--Hungarian composer




Britain's first Salisbury ministry ended January 27 after only 7 months and a third Gladstone ministry began on February 12.
April 8--British Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone introduced a bill for Home Rule in Ireland.

Britain annexed upper Burma following a third Anglo-Burmese war.

The American Federation of Labor was founded.

The Bonaparte and Orleans families were banished from France.

General Georges Boulanger became French War Minister.

Alexander of Bulgaria abdicated after a coup d'etat. Stefan Stambulov became regent.

U.S. Congress passed an Oleomargarine Act to tax and regulate the manufacture and sale of margarine.
The Haymarket Massacre at Chicago gave the U.S. labor movement its first martyrs.  May Day would become recognized as a worldwide revolutionary memorial day.
Labor agitation for an 8-hour day and better working conditions made this the peak year for strikes in 19th-century America.
Seattle rioters drove 400 Chinese from their homes. Some were sent to San Francisco before federal troops are called in.

A new American Federation of Labor was founded under the leadership of English-American cigarmaker Samuel Gompers.  He will be AF of L president for 37 of the next 38 years.
A streetcar strike tied up New York City public transit completely until motormen settled for $2 for a 12-hour day with a half hour off for lunch.
The Supreme Court ruled in Yiek Mo v. Hopkins that a municipal order discriminating against Chinese laundries violated the 14th Amendment.
The last major Indian war in the United States ended September 4 with the capture by U.S. troops of the Chiricahua Apache chief Geronimo.



The Arts

"Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" by John Singer Sargent

"Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat

"Bubbles" by Sir John Everett Millais

"Meditation" by Ferdinand Hodler

"Girl Arranging Her Hair" by Mary Cassatt

"Beethoven" by Max Klinger

"The Kiss" by Auguste Rodin


The Romance of Two Worlds by Marie Corelli

The Bostonians by Henry James

The Princess Casamassima by Henry James

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Son of a Servant by August Strindberg

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy


Triumphant Democracy by Andrew Carnegie

Das Kapital by Karl Marx published in English

Napoleon I by Auguste Fournier


Les Illuminations by Rimbaud


"Manfred" by Peter Tchaikovsky premiered in Moscow on February 23

"A Night on the Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky premiered in St. Petersburg on October 27

Operas and Operettas:

Ophelia by Edward MacDowell premiered in New York on November 4



Daily Life


The English Lawn Tennis Association was founded.

William Renshaw won in men's singles at Wimbledon, and Blanche Bingley won in women's singles.  Richard Sears won at Newport.

The U.S. yacht Mayflower retained the America's Cup by defeating the English challenger Galatea 2 to 0.

The Amateur Golf Championship was first played.

The first world chess title went to Bohemian chess master Wilhelm Steinitz, who will hold the title until 1894.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

The Eighth and last Impressionist Exhibition was held in Paris.

Close to 60 percent of U.S. range livestock died in blizzards and from lack of grass on overgrazed lands.
North Dakota rancher Theodore Roosevelt sustained heavy losses and returned to New York to enter politics.
Gold was discovered in South Africa's Transvaal, and a gold rush ensued. Diamond king Cecil Rhodes founded Consolidated Gold Fields, Ltd.

Johannesburg in the Transvaal was laid out in September and soon has a population of 100,000-half of it native workers.

Sears, Roebuck had its beginnings at North Redwood, Minnesota.

A model Bloomingdale's department store opened on New York's Third Avenue at 59th Street near a station of the Third Avenue El.

Tobacco heir Griswold Lorillard began a new fashion trend on October 10 at the Autumn Ball of the Tuxedo Park Country Club in Tuxedo, New York when he wore a tuxedo dinner jacket, which was a short black coat with satin lapels modeled on the English smoking jacket.

Theatre managers B. F. Keith and Edward F. Albee founded the Keith-Albee Vaudeville Circuit.

The Pasteur Institute was founded in Paris.
Avon Products had its beginnings in the California Perfume Co. founded by Brooklyn, New York door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell.
H. J. Heinz of Pittsburgh called on London's 179-year-old Fortnum and Mason while on holiday in England and received orders for all of his products.
Maxwell House coffee got its name from the17-year-old hotel at Nashville, Tennessee which served its guests a blend perfected by Joel Cheek.
May 8--Coca-Cola went on sale at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, where local pharmacist John S. Pemberton formulated a headache and hangover remedy whose syrup ingredients include dried leaves from the South American coca shrub, an extract of kola nuts from Africa, plus fruit syrup.
Moxie was introduced under the name Moxie Nerve Food by Lowell, Massachusetts physician Augustin Thompson. Gentian root is the beverage's chief ingredient other than sparkling water.
Dr. Pepper was introduced as "The King of Beverages, Free from Caffeine" by Waco, Texas chemist R. S. Lazenby, who has called his drink Dr. Pepper's Phos-Ferrates.
Hires' Rootbeer was introduced in bottles, but advertising emphasized the advantages of brewing the drink at home from Hires extract.

The first trainload of California oranges left Los Angeles for the East.



The New York Tribune installed linotype machines, the first newspaper to do so.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed.

The Severn Tunnel opened.

More than half of Britain's 7.36 million tons of merchant shipping was in steam, up from less than 9 percent in 1856.

Flint, Michigan entrepreneur William Crapo Durant, started a buggy manufacturing company that will soon be the largest in the world.

Gottlieb Daimler perfected his internal combustion engine of 1882.

The British School of Archaeology opened at Athens.

German chemist Clemens Winkler discovered the element germanium.

Aminopyrine and acitanelide were discovered.

French chemist Henri Moissan produced flourine.

The first electrolytic magnesium plant opened at Hamelingen, Germany, near Bremen.

Oberlin College graduate chemistry student Charles Martin Hall pioneered commercial aluminum production.

Johnson & Johnson introduced the first ready-to-use surgical dressings.
Ernst von Bergmann used steam to sterilize surgical instruments.

U.S. inventor Frederick Eugene Ives developed a process for halftone engraving.

Charles Hall and P.L.T. Heroult independently produced aluminum by electrolysis.

Hydroelectric installations were begun at Niagara Falls.

German inventor Paul O. Gottlieb Nipkov pioneered television with his rotating scanning device.

Chicago's Rookery building was completed in South LaSalle Street by Burnham and Root.

Johnson's Wax was introduced at Racine, Wisconsin, by local parquet flooring peddler Samuel C. Johnson who has branched into paste wax.
Singapore's Raffles Hotel opened with 123 rooms to serve British colonials.
National Carbon Co. was founded to produce carbons for electric arc streetlights and similar carbon products.

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