Friday, August 7, 2020

Late Victorian-Era Beauty Secrets by Kristin Holt

Kristin Holt | Late Victorian-era Beauty Secrets

Late Victorian-Era Beauty Secrets
by USA-Today Bestselling Author
Kristin Holt

19th Century Woman's Toilette

I continue in fascination as I discover more and more history of real life among average, working Victorian-American women. The wealthy may have bought pots and tubes from the burgeoning beauty industry, but what advice or methods circulated among the average Mary?
(Note: I've shared numerous links to related articles, below.) 
Kristin Holt | Late Victorian-Era Beauty Secrets. Cover image: Dr. Sloan's Cook Book and Advice to Housekeepers
Cover image: Dr. Sloan's Cook Book and Advice to Housekeepers

The following image contains a snippet from Dr. Sloan's Cook Book and Advice to Housekeepers, published 1905.

Kristin Holt | Late Victorian-Era Beauty Secrets - How To Keep Your Beauty (1905), a one-page snippet from Dr. Sloan's Cook Book and Advice to Housekeepers.

Because reading from this image is difficult, I've carefully transcribed the content for you. Read on!


The best way to keep the face free from wrinkles is to cultivate a serene disposition, take plenty of sleep, eat food that will digest easily, and when a wrinkle does appear erase it promptly by massaging well with a good skin food. Rub all the lines of the face upward as much as possible, as the face has a tendency to sag.

To have a good clear skin, the face must be kept free from dirt.

Cleanse the skin thoroughly with hot water, into which a little borax has been dissolved, and use a good pure soap.

Lather the face well with the soap and wash off with the hot water. Dry thoroughly and anoint with cold cream.

To whiten the complexion, take one-half pint new milk, one-quarter of an ounce lemon juice, and one-half an ounce of white brandy. Boil the whole, skin, and use night and morning.

If one's face is too red, be careful of the diet. Take no hot drinks, but cooling ones. Do not wash the face with cold water -- lukewarm water is better -- and try hot foot-baths before retiring at night.

To  keep your hands soft, rub them two or three times a day, after washing, with equal parts of glycerine and lemon juice. Let it stay on ten or fifteen minutes, then wash the hands quickly in lukewarm water, using a good soap, and dry thoroughly. If your hands are inclined to be moist, rub a very little lemon juice after drying.

For discolored or stained finger nails a teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup of warm water is invaluable. This is one of the best manicure aids. It will loosen the cuticle from the finger nails as well as remove discolorations.

Brittle nails may be cured by soaking them daily for a few minutes in blood-warm sweet oil. Polish the nails daily with the chamois-skin polisher to improve the circulation and make them clean and pink. No paste is needed.


What do you think of Dr. Sloan's solutions and beauty regimen? Please scroll down and comment. The "conversation" part is extra valuable, especially now!

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By Kristin Holt

Kristin Holt - USA Today Bestselling Author of Sweet Romance set in the American Old West... and an abundance of fun, informative Articles about nineteenth century LIFE

Copyright © 2020 Kristin Holt LC

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Batter Up!

Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I'd like to talk a little bit about baseball! 

The English language has changed over the last century and a half, including the terminology of the sport of baseball. In the 1880s, baseball was referred to as "base ball," two words. "Krank" was the contemporary term for what we would call a "fan," and "manager" meant the business manager of a club (what teams now call a general manager or a vice president of operations), whereas "captain" referred to whoever ran the team on the field, what we'd now call the manager.  Whew!

Ball clubs didn't have nicknames until after World War I, and while sportswriters often gave them unofficial ones, the teams were usually known by their city name or that of the athletic club they were part of (like a track or a swimming club today).

So why am I telling you this? Because I'm involved in a series with another author who is a baseball history buff. And he wrote a book in which the heroine is involved in, you guessed it, base ball! When reading over the manuscript I was astounded at the baseball history, the way the clubs were run and how they traveled from city to city to play. Not unlike today. I'd never heard the term "krank" and it took me a minute to figure out what it was. But soon I was enjoying the heroine's story of her life as told to the hero in bits and pieces throughout the book, not to mention her own inner dialogue. Here's a little excerpt that sums her life up before she meets our hero:

She’d known well-bred ladies in the cities her father worked in, and she’d never really fit in with them. Papa, he was considered a businessman, a sportsman, and the local nobs in Windsor and Helena had embraced him as one of their own. The gentry of Silvertown probably would too.

But between his departure from Philadelphia and his second trip to Windsor, it was another story. When he was a player – a paid player, a “ringer” in the kranks’ parlance – he was admired and even cheered from a distance, but looked down on from close up. Never mind that he’d always acted like a gentleman – he never got into scraps on the field, never abused umpires, never yelled back at inebriated fans. He was one of “them,” the unwashed who made their living by physical labor, no different from a coal miner or trash hauler in the eyes of the elite.

And she had taken his side. She spent her time for the most part with the players and their families, enjoying their rough humor and earthy affection. She filled in around the park, cooking food or maintaining the grounds or whatever was needed. During games, she was on the field, sitting next to or on the players’ bench when she wasn’t grabbing a bat for a hitter or aiding a pitcher who was warming up his arm. She wasn’t afraid of hard work, and she enjoyed being a part of the fun.

Needless to say the heroine, Philadelphia (yes, she was named after the city) led an interesting life, which made the hero, Alfonso, an Italian farmer in the Washington territory take notice!

You can find Alfonso on Amazon

Until next time!


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

PHOTOGRAPHS TO THE RESCUE (How one photographer created tourism for a town.) by MARISA MASTERSON

Imagine it. A small town sitting on a river, occasionally overrun by loggers. It has the only railroad bridge across the Wisconsin River, it's only reason for existing. To my way of thinking, this place should have disappeared once the railroad stopped running and the logging industry quit floating logs down the river. 

The town, Wisconsin Dells, is still going strong. In fact, last month my husband and I made our yearly trip to the spot. There, we took the free tour through the photography studio that saved the town and made The Dells a tourist destination.

In 1865, Henry Bennett set up a photography studio in Kilbourne City, Wisconsin. The man had to do something to earn a living. His gun backfired, badly wounding him during the Civil War. This made it impossible to return to his job as a carpenter.

He quickly found that there wasn’t a demand for portraits. Not enough people in the area. There were, however, incredible rock formations and a lot of activity on the Wisconsin River so he headed there with his equipment. Bennett even created a portable darkroom that went with him.

Those photos became cabinet cards and cards for a stereopticon. The photos became well known across the country. Tourism became an industry in the town as people flocked to the Dells. At the time, the town was called Kilbourne City. By the 1930s, the name was changed to reflect what the people really came to see.

Bennett’s studio went on to be one of the oldest still operating in the United States. He invented many items in the field, even built his own cameras (except for the lenses). His photographs so impressed people, I believe, because he invented the stop-action shutter. It allowed him to freeze motion in the picture, like this one with the man jumping from rock to rock.

The beauty of the landscape, the strange and unique photos, the activity on the river. It all added up to fame for Bennett and continued life for this small town that typically hosts four million visitors each year. 

One of the many waterparks in The Dells.
The Dells Ducks, rescued from WWII, take visitors across land and water.



While at The Dells, my husband and son explored. As for me, I wrote much of my next book. It's set in Kilbourne City, soon after the town is established.

Alice Cordell is done with isolation. After being shut away to nurse her dying father, she wants to find a community that needs her and will accept her, limp and all. To that end, she trains as a nurse, graduating with the school's first class. The future seems bright until she realizes she's once again being forced into isolation, cut off from her new community of Kilbourne City, Wisconsin

No one could blame Niall MacKenzie for growling at the woman. After all he’d caught her staring into his home through a back window. Worse yet, only minutes later she told him she was his caretaker. He already hates most people in Kilbourne City, Wisconsin after the bitter lie the community accepts about him. Her insistence that he start doctoring those locals shouldn't endear her to him..

Soon he has a fragile nurse to both watch over and resist. A woman that calls to him more as a man than a doctor. As for Alice, the surprise waiting for her will lead to an unwanted marriage and a rivalry that threatens her only hope for a career and a home.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Summer Camps for American Children in the 19th Century

In the years following the American Civil War, many families left the farm and moved to cities. They went to obtain employment that added to the national economy but was often in a mechanized or industrialized job. Taking up residence in the city often meant a smaller house than the family had previously, and it definitely meant the land they claimed as theirs was more constrained than before. If a family lived in an apartment building, little outdoor space was available for children to play. Parents grew concerned that their sons weren’t having the experiences deemed necessary to grow into manhood. Although misguided by today’s standards, they believed a boy or male youth who spent too much time indoors would become feminized. They also worried that exposure to only city life could lead to a corrupt or morally deficient lifestyle.
swimmers at boys' camp courtesy of

Religious and community leaders heard the parents’ pleas and the initial push was to open camps so boys could reconnect with nature, which would aid them to grow into better men. Parents believed attendance at these camps would build character and sought to enroll their sons in the few camps that were established in the 1870s-1880s. One such place was Camp Chocorua in New Hampshire established by Ernest Balch, a student of Dartmouth College. The activities—fishing, target shooting, rowing, swimming, climbing trees, sports—were geared to strengthen bodies as well as develop leadership skills. Education was also part of the activities, including lessons on moral behavior. The first camps were attended by children of the wealthy, and by the turn of the century the estimated number of camps is 100.

1897 baseball team courtesy of
Within a decade, that number swelled to 1,000 camps, opening opportunities to children of middle- and lower-class families. In 1920, the American Camp Association was founded, and the association worked to achieve certification for more regimented activities and health standards. Not until World War I did organizers have the realization that girls could benefit from summer camps. The curriculum, however, was quite different with the focus on life skills like cooking, sewing, and preparing for motherhood.

My latest release is A Bride for Cody  

Neither person is who the other expects, and soon nurse Riona and ex-soldier Cody worry if a marriage be they ever met in person is a big mistake.

Find my books here on Amazon Author Page  

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Cowboy Sayings - You Can Lead a Horse to Water but You Can't Make Him Drink

The day is hot and dry, and you're a cowboy riding your horse for the last hour or so, and know you have several more hours ahead of you. As you reach a stream, you lead your horse to it and offer it a drink. It denies it. You take off the bridle, as some horses are offended of the thought of drinking with a bit in his mouth, but still, the horse won't take the drink offered him. You pick up a handful of water and spread it over the horse's lips, hoping it will entice him, but no, he's still not interested.

When a horse isn't thirsty, it may refuse to take a drink, no matter what you do to encourage it.

As a horse owner, it's a frustrating prospect. You know what's ahead of the horse in his day. You know that this might be the last opportunity for the horse to get a drink for a few hours, but he doesn't know that. All he knows is that he's not interested in taking a drink right now.

The frustration of trying to make things better for a horse because of foresight but still having the horse refuse your help is what prompted this saying when it originated in the early 12th century. Today, however, it's used to describe people. A person who you try your best to help, but just won't take your helping hand is like leading a non-thirsty horse to water.

For example - A doctor can tell a person all about the diet and exercise program that can help them lose weight, but if the person doesn't take the advice and put it into action, it's like leading a horse to water...

Do you ever hear anyone using these phrases? Used it yourself? Let me know in a comment!

On average, P. Creeden releases a story each month. Interested in learning more? 
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Monday, July 20, 2020




What is a Sheriff? Many people imagine shootouts and gunfights in the Wild West. This is what movies have made us think about. It's hard to imagine there was actually sheriffs before then.

 The sheriff position spans over a thousands years.  When the English settlers came to America, they brought with them the office of Sheriff.  On record is an elected sheriff from 1651.  That sheriff was chosen by vote, however, most sheriffs are appointed.

 Unlike you see in the movies, sheriffs were not just poor cowboys who lucked on the job. Most sheriffs were already wealthy men and they also received good pay for doing the job.  

Throughout the years, sheriffs were given many assignments such as law enforcement, tax collections, overseeingthe jails and workhouses.

As Americans moved west, they took the concept of the office of sheriff with them.  Sheriffs were needed to establish order in the lawless territories and being a fast accurate draw with a gun were of upmost importance.  Sheriffs were either quick or dead.  Many sheriffs kept order by their virtue of authority rather than their guns. The images we see of sheriffs using their guns to have shoots outs on a daily basis just did not happen as often as one would think. 

(Watch this it is sooo funny)
Most Americans think the role of Sheriff ended with the taming of the Wild West, however there are over three thousand counties in the United States today and each one has a sheriff.

There is some debate about who was the first woman sheriff, but according to the Handbook of Texas

the first woman sheriff in Texas is Emma Susan Daugherty Banister. In fact, she is probably the first woman sheriff in the United States. She was the daughter of Bailey and Martha Ann (Taylor) Daugherty, born in Forney, Texas, October 20, 1871.  
September 25, 1894, she married John R. Bannister in Goldthwaite, Texas. Bannister was a former Texas Ranger In 1914, Bannister was elected sheriff of Coleman County and the family moved from the farm to the first floor of the Coleman County Jail. It was here that Emma served as John's office deputy, buying supplies, running her household and also oversaw the preparation of meals for the family and for the prisoners.  Back at that time, it was not unusual for the sheriff and his family to live in the county jail. 
On August 1, 1918, the sheriff died and the Coleman County Commissioners appointed his wife Emma to complete out the term of the office. She later declined an offer by the commissioners to have her name placed on the ballot for the November elections for a further term in office. When her term as sheriff ended, she and the family moved back to the farm at Santa Anna. She was succeeded by W.R. Hamilton.

Teresa Ives Lilly has picked up on the theme of Women Sheriffs in her series Brides of Waterhole, Texas Series.    Sam and her three sisters have come to Waterhole, Texas to fill the position their dead father had been offered, as town sheriff.   These gun toting, strong willed, green eyed girls will capture your hearts as they do the men of Waterhole, Texas.   
 There are other books in this series as well that introduce Brides who come to Waterhole, Texas.

Mail Order Matchmaker

Ruby was written as part of another series; however, it takes place in Waterhole, Texas as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Why Blog?
July is almost over. For most of us, we are more than half-way through the year. I like to take the time to take stock of where I am in my plans and goals.
Perhaps you’ve asked yourselves these same questions. Am I on target in our writing? How about that ‘blessed’ thing called marketing? How does blogging, and the time it takes, fit into all that? Why blog if no one reads or comments on what I’ve taken the time to think, research and write about? I rethink this every year, asking myself the same thing, why blog?
For me the answer is a bit complex. I’ll break it down into three sections. 1. Marketing 2. Research and 3. Name recognition, (the one that’s a bit tricky for me.)
1. Marketing:
If we write stories, be they short, flash or full length, we want people to read them. Even with non-fiction we want the information to get to those who might enjoy what we’ve researched and written.
For someone like me, who writes slow, there can be a long time between the various stories. Added to that, I write in two historical genres: Western and Medieval. I love both equally. You add to that the poetry I occasionally write, along with non-fiction work, and it gets busy. Facebook can only do so much, as well as emails. Plus, how do you expand your readership. To me, blogging is one of those ways.
I realize not everyone will like what I write, despite my desire that they do. At the same time, finding those readers who will like my work, is a challenge. It helps to use all the options at my disposal, and blogging is one of those for me.
Photo property of the author
2. Research:
This is probably the primary reason I blog. I want to share the research I have done with others. History and the people who made it are a compulsion with me. To tell the stories of the people and places from history is something I want to do. I don’t want those pieces from the past to be lost. The nice thing about blogs, especially with the tags, your posts are available via searches almost forever.
For over ten years I’ve researched the story of a Colorado criminal. I told his story at the Pikes Peak Library History Symposium presentation on June 9 of 2018. It is my hope to complete the story of the whole family. A very telling piece of history and the time in which they lived.
The other research that’s important for me to share is the story of the early women doctors in Colorado. While ‘Doc Susie’ is a part of that story, it has been slanted her way for far to long. There were so many others who did as much if not more than she. Between blog posts and articles I've begun to balance that scale. For those who may be interested, the article in Saddlebag Dispatches can be read here: Dr. Quinn, Doc Susie and the Reality of Colorado Women Doctors
The stories of the doctors and so many others need to be preserved for future generations. When you feel like you can’t do something, just take a look at what those who preceded you did. It sometimes helps when put into that perspective.
 3. Name Recognition:
Since I write fiction under a pen name: Angela Raines, it is important I share that information on my posts. When you add my online name, Renawomyn, it gets a bit tricky.
At the same time, my non-fiction work is important. I simply do not want readers of romance to pick up a book with my real name expecting a sweet story and they are reading about juvenile delinquents, early criminals or lynchings. By using pen names I hope to avoid that problem. Of course the reverse could also be true. Can you imagine buying one of my books about the trials and tribulations of early women doctors, and find your reading a story about a medieval woman and the man she loves?
In the end, whether anyone reads or comments on my blog posts, I have things I want to say. Yes, it hurts when no one seems to care, but in the long run, it’s the future I write for. So, here’s to the future and to the readers who want to know what I have to share.
And on a lighter note, the book birthday for my first story is this July. It will be six years old. How time does fly.
Here is a brief excerpt:
He wrapped strong arms around her, pulled her close, bent his head to kiss her forehead. He looked into her eyes, and without warning, put his hand under her chin and raised her lips to his. Clara stiffened at his touch. Then, he was kissing her. Clara put her arms to his shoulders. She relaxed, leaned into his strong chest. Their lips touched, breath slowing until nothing else existed except the two of them. It felt so good to think someone cared, someone loved her… even if it wasn’t really true. 
Sam drew back, his breath deep, as if swimming for the surface of the water. He stared into Clara’s eyes, as though he were trying to see if she had felt what he did. Lightening the moment, he stepped back, but continued to gently hold onto her. “Whoa, if I knew that kissing you... well I’d have done it a lot sooner.” He smiled
Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet