Category Archives: 1850-1900

It’s Sunday. Time to drink some tea and catch up on Victorian gossip.

Victorian gossip columns are a thing of beauty, full of back-handed chatter and salacious innuendo. In the late 1800s, a well-connected man (or woman) could make quite a nice living printing other people’s secrets and adding a few spots to … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Flaunting social conventions, Victorian Style

  In the dark ages before texting, Victorians used texting-like shorthand on a surprising variety of publications. I first encountered this practice on a poster advertising the Needham Congregational Church’s 1891 Strawberry Festival. Since then I’ve been noticing it nearly … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sweeps, nomads, quacks, and crawlers — Victorian London captured on film

Tooling around the Intertubes this week, I stumbled upon this photographic tribute to what my Seven-Year-Old calls the Olden Times — Everyday life in London in 1870, courtesy of the Mail Online. Street vendors of everything from locksmithing to strawberries, … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mrs. Broadmoore’s Amazing Painting Cat

Back in 1994, Heather Busch published Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthestics. I was aware of it at the time and thought it sounded like a fun book to browse through at some point. It’s languished on my … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The time-honored practice of collecting pew rents

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham. Among the original documents tucked away in the archives of the Congregational Church of Needham is the Weekly Calendar for June 15, 1890. The calendar is notable not only for its mention … Continue reading

Posted in 1800-1850, 1850-1900, Congregational Church of Needham | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Swindling, shooting, and stalking — just another day in Boston’s South End (1880s)

For those of you interested in this sort of thing, I found a fun set of crime reports from the wayback machine this week. My favorite passage: October 2, 1880: Swindling couple brought to justice Boston police had been looking … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Leave a comment

The Greatest Day in Needham’s History

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham. Nowadays the Congregational Church of Needham saves copies of each week’s bulletin. But that wasn’t always the case. Which is why whenever I come across a stray calendar from our first 100 … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900, Congregational Church of Needham | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Tale of the Rajah’s Man and the Indomitable Lady Doctor

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham. As a writer, I’m always looking for a good story. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a photograph of a turbanned man on a camel in our church … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

1907: The Ceremonial Burning of the Mortgage

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham. When I think of special church services, I think of Christmas, Easter, baptisms, and weddings. I don’t think of the ceremonial burning of financial documents. That’s really more a private thing. So … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900, 1900-1920, Congregational Church of Needham | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Was Walter Potter related to Beatrix Potter?

Cross-posted to Caterpickles. Hey it’s NaNoWriMo. I’ve got be careful how I use my time. 🙂 When I learned recently of a Victorian taxidermist named Walter Potter who delighted in crafting ornate scenes using preserved animals dressed in period costume, … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900, 1900-1920 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment