Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventures in Research

Note to self: Not good idea to try and do research when have wicked hangover!

Ugh! I drank half a bottle of champagne last night and today I'm paying the price for having a good time. Some writer friends were going out to a goth club last night to go dancing and I wanted to hang out, even though I knew that I had so much research to do for Veiled Beauty. Plus I'm working tonight and tomorrow night and I needed the ole beauty sleep. So instead I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate not getting fired from my day job (I actually got a raise and a bonus), and joined them in their super secret lair while they got ready.

So today, I'm feeling mighty fragile. So I gingerly dragged my sorry ass over to the New York Historical Society to use their library. I was searching for an issue of Scribner's Magazine, which they didn't have just Century for June of 1898. I was a little bummed about that but I got the chance to look at the advertisements in the back of the magazine.

Hysterical! Particularly the ad for Ivory Soap. Yes, Ivory existed in the 19th Century, along with Ex-lax which was being marketed as a laxative for children. In the ad for Ivory, the woman of the house is talking to the housekeeper, who remarks at how Ivory Soap is great for washing clothes and keeps her hands so soft. Of course her employer insists that from now on, they will only use Ivory Soap in her house.

This ad could only be American. Can you imagine a 19th Century Englishwoman, middle to Upper Middle Class having a discussion with her housekeeper or maid about doing the laundry? I also learned that skirts and jackets could be bought for as little as $2.50 and a complete outfit for $14.00 in a variety of fabrics. Oh, and bicycles cost up to $125 which is pretty much what they cost today isn't? Although I did see less expensive bikes for $40.00.

It was amazing to have a magazine from 1898 in my hands. Well actually it was a bound copy but it was so interesting to see ads for what books were popular at the time, and what kinds of articles people were reading back then. I got more of a sense of the influences on the young women in my book.

Then I went downstairs to see the Ashcan artists exhibit which was very good, even though the only artist I recognized was Edward Hopper. I definitely need to go back and see it again, along with the exhibition on Lafayette's visit to American in 1824, where he went to all 24 States that existed in the Union at the time.

Oh and I wanted In Country or whatever it's called on CMT where Bobby Brown, Sisqo, Julio Iglesias jr. Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), Carnie Wilson, Diana DeGarmo, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister try to be country stars. It was actually good and not nearly as exploitive as I thought it was going to be. I'm hooked.

Have a good weekend! I'm off to watch Miss America (seriously it's for work).

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