Tag Archives: 19th century
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Three Bits of Advice from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine contained long short stories, plays, recipes, craft patterns, fashion plates, poems, and other items. These three bits of advice for their readers’ families appeared in the June 1866 issue as people were pulling their lives back together after the Civil War.

SOCIABILITY

It is often said of persons, in a complimentary way, that they are sociable, meaning that they are friendly and talkative; but it depends somewhat on the character of a person’s speech, as well as its quantity, whether his acquaintance is desirable or not. Persons may be ever so well meaning, but if their conversation is only of the prevailing sickness, or the last horrible murder in the papers, unless you incline particularly to such kind of entertainment, they will be likely to prove dull companions in the end.

Or if an acquaintance is simply prosy, and talks with as dignified an air as if he fancied himself to be delivering a lecture on some moral subject, without any of the familiar language which makes intercourse with friends so charming, you will be as likely to go to sleep during his discourse as you would in a railway carriage while it is in motion, and wake up when he stopped. Or, if your caller should happen to be one full of his or her own petty cares, who will treat you to a history of all their little vexations, you will soon become tired, or irritable, or both; but no matter, you must hear all their plans for the present and future, whether you will or not. Sometimes, too, from this kind of sociable people, you will hear nothing but bits of flying gossip about people you are not at all interested in.

But when a friend enters about your own stamp, and you cannot speak without calling up a response from his mind; when your ideas and experiences correspond, and you heart grows lighter with the friendly interchange of thought, you are enjoying one of the highest pleasures of social intercourse. Such hours need not be counted among the vanishing pleasures, for the recollection of them is agreeable to both ever after.

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Universal Suffrage and an Earnest Zeal for the Right

Sarah A. Talbot’s letter was published in The Revolution on November 4, 1871, almost fifty years before women won the right to vote throughout the country.

To the Editor of the Revolution:

What the cause of Universal Suffrage most needs, is the co-operation of both sexes to improve the condition of humanity everywhere by manifesting an earnest zeal for the right, and a strong determination to oppose wrong in all its forms. The ministration of good women is needed in our jails and asylums. Their influence is particularly required in the temperance cause and in the cure of the social evil.

I sometimes ask myself will the women of America, when admitted to the ballot, have the courage to attack these monster evils? When I heard Susan B. Anthony hissed while in the act of uttering wholesome but unpalatable truths to a Sin Francisco audience, I realized as never before what the women of this land might expect if they dared attack the evils of society! 

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Ferocious Dueling in Mobile

On Sunday a duel was fought between two gentlemen from New Orleans. The scene of it was in the grove, South of the buildings known as the “Six Sisters,” in the lower suburbs of the city.

The parties were Charles Roman, son of ex-governor Roman, and W. H. Bouligny, son of a late Senator from Louisiana of that name. The fight commenced at one o’clock with small swords for weapons. The first pass was made by Mr. Bouligny, whose sword struck upon the suspender button of his antagonist, and broke in two. In the pass of Mr. Roman, made simultaneously the sword penetrated the side of Mr. Bouligny, inflicting a slight but not dangerous wound. The sword being broken, the parties resorted to pistols at five paces. At first fire Mr. Bouligny received the ball of his antagonist back of the hip. The wound was painful, but slight. The shot of Mr. Bouligny passed on without touching.

We learn that the duel originated in an old misunderstanding, but after both parties had stood steel and fire, they conceived a higher respect for each other, and left the field reconciled. They returned to New Orleans yesterday in the steamer Oregon.

–Mobile Tribune, April 4.

Source: Frederick Douglass Paper, May 5, 1854

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

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A Word for the Poor in The Lily

This appeal for help for the poor, penned by Helen Bruce, appeared in The Lily in the March 1855 issue.

A Word for the Poor

Winter is here—a winter in the midst of fearfully hard times, and we are surrounded with the starving poor. Why are our cities thronged with helpless paupers, when there are thousands of acres of land overflowing with nature’s bounty, waiting for them to come and take possession? If all this waste population could only be turned out to thrive and fatten, to grow light-hearted and joyous upon those rich unoccupied lands, what a blessed thing it would be. But they are not there—they are here, and they crowd, steaming and half-smothering into cellars and garrets, and live in destitution and distress.

Hundreds who are willing to work cannot get work, and they must beg, steal or starve. One poor widow in Brooklyn, two weeks before Christmas, went for three days without a single meal for herself and her five children! She had not been used to beg, but actual starvation drove her to it at last. This is but one case out of thousands.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.

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What will Virginia Do?

This is an excerpt from an editorial that ran in the Richmond Enquirer on April 9, 1861.  This periodical can be found in The Civil War Collection » Part I: A Newspaper Perspective.  A Newspaper Perspective contains major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York HeraldThe Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

What will Virginia Do?

This question is propounded to us from the North, the South, the East and the West. It is very properly viewed as a question the solution of which involves the most important consequences, not only to Virginia, but to the two competing Republics which now stand upon the ruins of the old Union.

The solicitude in regard to the future position of this hitherto renowned Commonwealth is therefore clearly explained. We are not authorized by Virginia to define the line of policy which she intends to adopt. No one can tell with infallible certainty the relations which she will hereafter sustain the governments respectively of the North and of the South. But our opinion as to the course she will pursue, and the reasons for that opinion, are candidly submitted to the anxious enquirer.

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