Friday, June 23, 2017

Graphology--Victorian Entertainment or Analytical Science?


For my latest novella, Perfectly Mismatched, Book 1 of Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs, I started out to research parlor games from the 1870s-1880s to discover an activity the mail-order brides and prospective grooms could participate in. Like we in contemporary times might play the game where a name is pinned to your back, and you have to guess who it is.



What I learned is that graphology, or the analysis of handwriting, was quite the rage during Victorian times. As was phrenology, which is the interpretation of the bumps on a person’s head, and was used in psychiatry.  Many claim both to be only pseudo-science--but much of that was discovered long after the times when people enjoyed the practices as entertainment.

Graphology consists of a system of comparative analysis made on specific letters: a, e, g, I, m, o, p, t, w, and s. A person writes the two words: ‘two magpies’, and the “expert” pulls from the writer’s handwriting style differences in temperament such as: being shy or gregarious, being sedate or physically active, if the person is an attention-seeker, fears success, have an upbeat or downbeat personality, generous or stingy, etc.

As I read about the study, I envisioned how a person could use a newly acquired skill like this to set herself apart as a matchmaker, hoping to give herself an edge over the competition. Mail-order bride agencies and newsletters were used on a regular basis as a way to entice women to relocate to the western part of American. In my story, the matchmaker who has been hired to provide brides for bachelor miners in a Colorado town feels she has a way to pre-determine which men and which women might be good matches based on similarities she sees in their handwriting. But as with all stories, everything doesn’t go as planned.

Tagline: Running from the past to a new home and name, she runs into a man who follows the rules to the letter.

Buy link:  Amazon;  free in Kindle Unlimited

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about if handwriting can reveal personality traits. One commenter’s name will be chosen on Sunday, June 25th at 3PM, to win an electronic copy of any backlist title.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sarah Thal and Her Life on the Bitter, Windswept North Dakota Plains

by Heather Blanton
I love learning about the women who settled America. As a breeder of German Shepherds, I seek out certain characteristics and temperaments to create the best dogs possible. For a long time, America was no different. The bloodlines were amazing.
The people who thrived here were independent, strong willed, stubborn, adventurous risk-takers.
Just this morning I read the story of Sarah Thal, a German-Jewish immigrant who came to America with her husband in 1880. On the way here she contracted typhoid, but the couple soldiered on and settled in North Dakota. Her second child was born in a cabin so full of cracks that a make-shift tent was draped around her and the baby. They literally camped in front of the fireplace to keep warm. She watched prairie fires light up the distant sky on more than one occasion. Took shelter from tornadoes. Begged God for rain.
The winter of Sarah's first year in North Dakota, a neighbor and her child were lost in a three-day blizzard. The pair were found fifty feet from their front door. "I remember that beautiful baby to this day," Sarah wrote. "She wore coral ear rings and necklace. The frost glistened on her cheeks making her look more like a wax doll than a once live baby. The tragedy and the horror of that experience is as clear in my memory as though it happened yesterday."
Sarah lost a baby one winter because 10 feet of snow prevented her from getting to a doctor. "For many years we kept up the lonely graves. In time the wolves and elements destroyed them. They are unmarked in all save my memory. All the neighbors came to the funeral. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Gutting. Afterwards we became fast friends. The friendships of those days lasted as long as life itself."
This was Sarah’s existence. It never broke her. She didn’t let it turn her into a bitter old woman. She accepted God’s will and plowed on, making friends and living life for all she could wring out of it.
One year the German community decided to get together and celebrate the 4th of July. It was a 22-mile trip each way for the Thal’s to attend, but they were proud and eager to do so. As she wrote in a letter, “Each foreign colony celebrated in their own fashion, loyal to the traditions of the old land and faithful to those of the new. . . .”
Women who chose to come to America in those early days of the American West were strong and resilient as a rule. I would argue the toughest in the world. I appreciate their bloodlines and hope I do them justice in the stories I write.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A First and A First

Post (c) Angel Raines/Doris McCraw

Headstone of Julia E Lomis,
Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, CO
On February 24, 1870, six women graduated from the Cleveland Woman’s Homeopathic College in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the early if not the first class to graduate from this institution. These six went through the program to earn their M.D., to follow their dream to help alleviate the suffering of their fellow man. Below are the names of the graduating class and where they were living at the time of admission.

Ursla L Higgins- Elyria
Elizabeth Avery, Connecticut
Louisa M Butts, Michigan
Ada L Adams, Springfield, Ohio
Julia E Loomis, Tennessee
S. Elizabeth Morrell, Kent, Ohio

The same notice also stated the there were one hundred thirty-five cases that were successfully treated during the session. The Valedictorian of this group of women was Mrs. Dr. Higgins.

Julia E Loomis is of particular interest to me. She is the first documented female M.D. in Colorado Springs, having arrived between 1876? and 1878.  Below is her address to her fellow students.

My friends: I asked your kind indulgence while I occupy a few moments of your time. I should regret to leave this place without saying a few words to this class of ladies with whom I have been so long and so pleasantly associated.

My dear friends, we came to this college strangers to each other. We left our widely scattered homes, surmounting all opposing obstacles, with a single purpose in view, our minds all centered on this one great object, that object to prepare ourselves by study for the alleviation of suffering and the elevation of woman. And as we have mingled together with in these walls day after day and month after month, studiously following the same pursuit. Time has endeared you to my heart, and as the period is drawing nigh for separation, and we shall perhaps, no more see each other’s faces until we meet in the better world, my heart is filled with mingled emotions, while I am filled with joy and the greatest delight at the prospect of so soon meeting the dear loved ones at home. A sadness comes over me – a parting sadness.

And to these were the professors I wish to say, that why you have so nobly and faithfully discharge your duty in giving instruction to this class, I think I express the feelings of each individual when I say we highly appreciate your kind instructions, and the very able manner in which they were given. And now, speaking only for myself, I can say that while I sat on the seats before you from day to day a silent listener, I can assure you, your instructions have not been in vain even to this unworthy student. No, your words have been treasured up in the storehouse of memory for future use. Long having had a desire to acquire a knowledge of the practice of medicine, and the door being opened, I entered this college nearly ignorant of all leading branches connected with the science, in one sense like a child, yet with more than a child’s desire to learn. But now as I go out from among you, may I not hope to go prepared to some extent, at least to relieve the suffering of my own sex, and also to bear the responsibility pertaining to our position. Reference having been made to the trifling value of a diploma allow me to think otherwise. As I go out into this new field of action, I can take this roll in my hand, as I come in contact with opposition can use it as a shield of defense. It may therefore be considered as a token of great value to everyone who shall fill this useful and honorable profession.

Although the President of this college has been called by a wise Providence to rest from her toils, allow me to say to the trustees and coworkers that your labors have been productive of great good. You are doing a noble work, and we hope and trust you will not cease your efforts until you see this college resting upon a firm foundation, against which the storms of adversity may beat in vain. As it is now in its infancy and laboring under pecuniary embarrassments, may the future witness its great prosperity. God grant its success in raising up friends and means in abundance to elevated to the high standard that a woman’s college is worthy to attain.
To my sister students, to the trustees who have labored so unselfishly, into this faculty who have so efficiently performed their duty, permit me to bid each and all of you a grateful and affectionate farewell.

Julia's story is even more impressive when you realize she was born in 1816. When she graduated from medical school she was fifty-four years of age. An amazing woman, whose story I am in the process of telling. 





Doris Gardner-McCraw writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in Colorado and Women's History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Series: SWEETHEARTS OF JUBILEE SPRINGS

Today on Blog Tour Tuesday,
 Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog is happy to announce a new historical romance series.

Introducing…

We are kicking off this series with four novellas as shown above. We’ll tell you a little more about each book later. First, here is a little bit about the series:


Now, we introduce each of the first four books:

Book 1.           Perfectly Mismatched by Linda Carroll-Bradd

     Shame over her father’s arrest sends socialite Aurelia Northcliffe running for a new home and a new name. After she makes sure her younger sister is secure, she travels west to become a mail-order bride in Jubilee Springs, CO. Not only is she shocked at the size of the tiny mining town, the men she’s matched with make her second guess her decision. One potential groom is much too unsophisticated and the other much too discerning--even if he’s the one who makes her feel safe.
     Mine Manager Declan MacNeill prides himself on following rules to the letter. Initially resistant to the upcoming bride event, he remembers his short marriage in Ireland and realizes what he’s been missing. His first sight of his potential bride sets his protective instincts on high alert. Everything about her behavior indicates she’s keeping secrets. And Declan is determined on finding out why.

You may purchase this book from Amazon by CLICKING HERE.


Book 2.          Ellen’s Lesson by Patricia PacJac Carroll  
     

            She's a blond, blue-eyed beauty. (Well, not exactly.) He's a handsome, prosperous gentleman from a good family. (Yeah, not so much.) With their letters at odds, what will Tyler and Ellen do when they meet and discover the truth? It's a mail order bride mess.
            Ellen Barker feared her life was destined for the lonely outcome of a spinster school teacher. An advertisement in the paper asking for women to go to Colorado as mail order brides caught her attention. A few letters later, she was betrothed to Tyler Fletcher. A handsome upstanding citizen of Jubilee Springs.
            Tyler Fletcher needed to be married before he was twenty-eight. That's what his pappy had told him. That the mine owners sent off for some mail order brides for the miners was perfect timing. He got hold of one. The perfect lady for him. Pretty, blond and blue-eyed. A woman of high society.
                At least that is what his partner, Nels, told him. Once Tyler had some time, he was going to have to learn to read and write.
                From the moment Ellen met Tyler, she knew she'd disappointed him, and it wasn't as if he'd been the prize she was expecting either. He didn't want her. She would be left alone again. Maybe ...


You may purchase this book from Amazon by CLICKING HERE.


Book 3.          Aaron’s Annulment Bride by Zina Abbott


     Aaron Brinks, son of the Jubilee Springs mercantile owners, has been living in a small room above his parents’ store even though he is employed at the Prosperity Mine. When the mine owners announce they have contacted a mail order bride agency, and will allot company houses to the first ten miners who choose a bride and pay her way, he decides it is time for a house of his own.
     Shy Andrea Draper must escape her father’s ranch. Her father has discouraged all potential suitors because he does not want to lose his unpaid housekeeper, laundress, and the cook for him and his men. Then there is the problem of Lloyd McCreary, her father’s foreman.
     Learning her friend intends to go to Jubilee Springs as a mail order bride, going with her seems Andrea’s only option for escape. She agrees to marry Aaron even though she knows she is not worthy to be any man’s wife. While trying to convince him to be married in name only until he gains title to his house, at which time they can annul the marriage, Andrea’s father shows up to drag her home against her will.
     Learning what he is up against, Aaron must decide if it is just the house he wants, or if he wants Andrea.

You may purchase this book from Amazon by CLICKING HERE.


Book 4.          The Sheriff and the Miner’s Daughter by P. A. Estelle

      Jim Hawkins, sheriff of Jubilee Springs, watches as six ladies get off the train, ready to meet and hopefully marry men from the Prosperity Mine.  He watches as one of the women leaves the group and heads his way.
     She is there to find somebody.  Sheriff  Hawkins is more than happy to help her until he finds out the person is Amos Lehman.  He is a crusty old miner who has worked his mine before the town was even a town.  His cabin is old and hardly enough room for one, let alone a female.
     When Jim suggests she get back on the train and go back where she came from, he gets a small taste of the stubborness in the beautiful young woman standing in front of him.  Charlene Lehman had come way too far to do that and didn’t appreciate the sheriff’s interference.  Blue eyes scan him from boots to hat before dismissing him and walking away.
     The Sheriff’s interest is piqued.  Who is this girl?  Why is she looking for some old miner?  There is more to this story and Jim Hawkins intends to find the answers.

You may purchase this book from Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

This series is designed to be a collection of shorter novellas running between 20K to 25K words each, although some will run longer. Each will introduce you to new characters, plus mention long-standing residents of Jubilee Springs and the surrounding area. Each is a stand-alone story, but you may enjoy reading all of them in order.

All these books should be on their preorder sale price of 99 cents through TODAY. If you have not already ordered yours, please do so before they return to their regular price of $1.99 each. Also, all books will be available on Kindle Unlimited for at least 90 days after publication.

If you have not already done so, please sign up to follow the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog by email, RSS reader or Networked Blogs to be notified of new books in this series. The sign-up links are on the sidebar to the right.
 

Also, you may follow us on Sweet Americana Book Club on Facebook.

Two additional books are scheduled to be published in the next two weeks, and several in the weeks to follow. Watch for their preorder sale price of 99 cents each. Once the books are published, they will resume to their regular price of $1.99.

We hope this series brings you many hours of pleasurable reading.