Research Books I Have Loved

Every writer is first a reader. For writers of historical fiction, this truism extends further: for every book that’s written, at least five more new research books will be added to your already-groaning home bookshelves. I don’t mean dictionaries, or the thesaurus, or the encyclopedia your grandparents bought you in seventh grade for school projects. I’m talking about the odd-ball esoteric books, the ones that we often find used, remaindered, or at library sales, in museum shops or college bookstores or Amazon.UK. If you’re interested in the past, you recognize these books as treasures as soon as you spot them. They’re the books that help make history real.

Below is a short (very short) list of a few of my personal favorites, and why they’ve earned a permanent spot on my Greatest Hits list.

Titles and Forms of Address: A Guide to Correct Use, published by A & C Black, London, 1997. If you’re interested in English titled folk for whatever reason, this one’s a must. With this slender volume by your keyboard, you’ll never mistake a knight for a peer, or bumble over what to call the second wife of a duke’s third son. Also a useful section on honors and titles for the clergy, the military, and government officials.

Lost Country Life: How English country folk lived, worked, threshed, thatched, rolled fleece, milled corn, brewed mead…., by Dorothy Hartley, Random House, 1979. As the extended subtitle explains, this is primarily a guide to the daily lives of rural people from the middle ages well into the 19th century. Chapters are organized by month, with information that ranges from hunting to travel to medicinal plants, from celebrating holidays to mending wagon wheel.

Authentic Décor: The Domestic Interior, 1620-1920, by Peter Thornton, Viking, 1984. A thick picture book, filled with illustrations from original sources of European rooms of every class, from farm houses to palaces. If you’re a one-picture-worth-thousand-words kind of researcher, than this is worth the weighty-tome price.

Textiles In America, 1650-1870 by Florence M. Montgomery, W.W. Norton, 1984. Ready to move your characters’ dress beyond plain old silk to calamanco and beaverteen? As the subtitle says, “A dictionary based on original documents, prints and paintings, commercial records, shopkeepers’ advertisements, and pattern books with original swatches of cloth.” Yes, it’s primarily American sources, but most of these fabrics were imported, so works for Britain, too.

Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess, Columbia University Press, 1981. Every historical writer has a favorite cookbook, and this one’s mine. Forget Mrs. Washington in the title (why does the name Martha demand such commercial respect when it comes to domestic art?) This is a very old collection of family recipies dating from Elizabethan and Jacobean times that eventually descended to Martha. Wonderfully transcribed, explained, and elaborated descriptions of food, meals, and preparation.

The English Country House in Perspective, by Gervase Jackson-Stops. Toucan Books Ltd, 1980. Imagine Loretta’s maps, only for houses. Floor plans and “exploded” illustrations of a dozen famous English houses help put rooms in relation to one another in a way that not even videos can.

Textiles for Colonial Clothing, by Sally Queen
Textiles for Clothing of the Early Republic, 1800-1850 by Lynne Zacek Bassett
Both available from www.sallyqueenassociates.com. I discovered these in the Colonial Williamsburg bookshop; spiral-bound “workbooks” with actual fabric swatches attached to the pages. Yes, you’ll finally be able to tell the difference between nankeen and linsey-woolsey by touch as well as definition!

Now share and share alike, and reveal some of your own favorites! J

Bookishly,
Susan/Miranda

57 thoughts on “Research Books I Have Loved”

  1. I’m a card-carrying Historical Research Nerd and have so many favorites!
    Just a couple:
    IN THE FAMILY WAY: Childbearing in the British Aristocracy, 1760-1860 by Judith Schneid Lewis. Just what it says: all about conception, pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood for ladies from the late Georgian to Victorian times, including familiar characters like Caro Lamb, Lady Jersey and Princess Charlotte.
    THE COMPLETE SERVANT, by Samuel and Sarah Adams, first published in 1825. Written by a husband and wife butler and housekeeper, it lists all the duties of each type of servant, along with recipes for anything from boot polish to Savoy Cakes.
    ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE, 1780-1830, by E.W. Bovill. All sorts of great stuff, squires and servants, travel, fox hunting, house parties.
    Thanks for sharing your favorites, Susan!

    Reply
  2. I’m a card-carrying Historical Research Nerd and have so many favorites!
    Just a couple:
    IN THE FAMILY WAY: Childbearing in the British Aristocracy, 1760-1860 by Judith Schneid Lewis. Just what it says: all about conception, pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood for ladies from the late Georgian to Victorian times, including familiar characters like Caro Lamb, Lady Jersey and Princess Charlotte.
    THE COMPLETE SERVANT, by Samuel and Sarah Adams, first published in 1825. Written by a husband and wife butler and housekeeper, it lists all the duties of each type of servant, along with recipes for anything from boot polish to Savoy Cakes.
    ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE, 1780-1830, by E.W. Bovill. All sorts of great stuff, squires and servants, travel, fox hunting, house parties.
    Thanks for sharing your favorites, Susan!

    Reply
  3. I’m a card-carrying Historical Research Nerd and have so many favorites!
    Just a couple:
    IN THE FAMILY WAY: Childbearing in the British Aristocracy, 1760-1860 by Judith Schneid Lewis. Just what it says: all about conception, pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood for ladies from the late Georgian to Victorian times, including familiar characters like Caro Lamb, Lady Jersey and Princess Charlotte.
    THE COMPLETE SERVANT, by Samuel and Sarah Adams, first published in 1825. Written by a husband and wife butler and housekeeper, it lists all the duties of each type of servant, along with recipes for anything from boot polish to Savoy Cakes.
    ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE, 1780-1830, by E.W. Bovill. All sorts of great stuff, squires and servants, travel, fox hunting, house parties.
    Thanks for sharing your favorites, Susan!

    Reply
  4. On the matter of cooking and general housekeeping, I would recommend anyone who is writing in the setting of Victorian Britain to acquire one of the 19th-century editions of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Cookery and Household Management.
    It was first published in 1861, so is no good for the Regency and early Victorian era, but is absolutely spot-on for the upwardly mobile middle classes of the middle and later years of Victoria’s reign.
    My own copy of the 1888 edition seems to have cost me only £1 when I bought it about 30 years ago: they are a lot more expensive now, but were published in huge print-runs, so there are still plenty of them available.

    Reply
  5. On the matter of cooking and general housekeeping, I would recommend anyone who is writing in the setting of Victorian Britain to acquire one of the 19th-century editions of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Cookery and Household Management.
    It was first published in 1861, so is no good for the Regency and early Victorian era, but is absolutely spot-on for the upwardly mobile middle classes of the middle and later years of Victoria’s reign.
    My own copy of the 1888 edition seems to have cost me only £1 when I bought it about 30 years ago: they are a lot more expensive now, but were published in huge print-runs, so there are still plenty of them available.

    Reply
  6. On the matter of cooking and general housekeeping, I would recommend anyone who is writing in the setting of Victorian Britain to acquire one of the 19th-century editions of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Cookery and Household Management.
    It was first published in 1861, so is no good for the Regency and early Victorian era, but is absolutely spot-on for the upwardly mobile middle classes of the middle and later years of Victoria’s reign.
    My own copy of the 1888 edition seems to have cost me only £1 when I bought it about 30 years ago: they are a lot more expensive now, but were published in huge print-runs, so there are still plenty of them available.

    Reply
  7. Wow. . . I have some shopping to do. I don’t some of those. How I do love buying books!
    My main babies are my costuming books:
    EVERYTHING EVER WRITTEN by Janet Arnold
    She was the Queen of historic clothing studies. If you want to know how real garments were made, opened, closed, etc. These books are indispensable for their attention to the smallest detail of extant garments.
    “Costume in Detail: 1730-1930” by Nancy Bradfield, “Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail” by Lucy Johnston and “Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries” by Avril Hart, and “What Clothes Reveal” by Linda Baumgarten
    Wonderful pictures and details of extant garments. Can’t be beat if you want to see and understand the garments our charters would have worn (like where the pockets are!).
    “The Corset : A Cultural History” by Valerie Steele
    The best “one stop” book on corsets and stays, IMO.
    “The Male Image” by Penelope Byrd.
    The only book out there that really deals in detail with men’s clothing and the progression of the suit through the ages. A must own IMO.
    Other books I couldn’t live without:
    “The Rise of the Egalitarian Family” by Randolph Trumbach
    So much wonderful information here about how and why they married as they did, the development of the love match, etc. Wonderful.
    “The Regency Companion” by Sharon H. Laudermilk
    An AMAZING book. Get it ILL if the $300 price tag scares you (as it did me!).
    “City of Sin” by Giles Emerson
    Great details of how they lived and played.
    “Lobscouse and Spotted Dog” by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman
    Food, food, food.
    “History of Murder” by Colin Wilson
    Wonderful information about period murder cases (did you know, for example, that women accused of murdering their husbands were often not tried for murder, but for petty treason, for which the punishment was to be burned at the stake, not hanged?)
    The reprint of the first edition of “The Encyclopedia Britannica” (c. 1768)
    So nice to be to read exactly what my characters would have pulled from their library shelf. To see what “common knowledge” was.
    “Regency Reference Book” by Emily Hendrickson
    Simply the best “short cut” to research out there, IMO.
    And then there are biographies, period journals, diaries, and period novels. I read all of those I can get my hands on.

    Reply
  8. Wow. . . I have some shopping to do. I don’t some of those. How I do love buying books!
    My main babies are my costuming books:
    EVERYTHING EVER WRITTEN by Janet Arnold
    She was the Queen of historic clothing studies. If you want to know how real garments were made, opened, closed, etc. These books are indispensable for their attention to the smallest detail of extant garments.
    “Costume in Detail: 1730-1930” by Nancy Bradfield, “Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail” by Lucy Johnston and “Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries” by Avril Hart, and “What Clothes Reveal” by Linda Baumgarten
    Wonderful pictures and details of extant garments. Can’t be beat if you want to see and understand the garments our charters would have worn (like where the pockets are!).
    “The Corset : A Cultural History” by Valerie Steele
    The best “one stop” book on corsets and stays, IMO.
    “The Male Image” by Penelope Byrd.
    The only book out there that really deals in detail with men’s clothing and the progression of the suit through the ages. A must own IMO.
    Other books I couldn’t live without:
    “The Rise of the Egalitarian Family” by Randolph Trumbach
    So much wonderful information here about how and why they married as they did, the development of the love match, etc. Wonderful.
    “The Regency Companion” by Sharon H. Laudermilk
    An AMAZING book. Get it ILL if the $300 price tag scares you (as it did me!).
    “City of Sin” by Giles Emerson
    Great details of how they lived and played.
    “Lobscouse and Spotted Dog” by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman
    Food, food, food.
    “History of Murder” by Colin Wilson
    Wonderful information about period murder cases (did you know, for example, that women accused of murdering their husbands were often not tried for murder, but for petty treason, for which the punishment was to be burned at the stake, not hanged?)
    The reprint of the first edition of “The Encyclopedia Britannica” (c. 1768)
    So nice to be to read exactly what my characters would have pulled from their library shelf. To see what “common knowledge” was.
    “Regency Reference Book” by Emily Hendrickson
    Simply the best “short cut” to research out there, IMO.
    And then there are biographies, period journals, diaries, and period novels. I read all of those I can get my hands on.

    Reply
  9. Wow. . . I have some shopping to do. I don’t some of those. How I do love buying books!
    My main babies are my costuming books:
    EVERYTHING EVER WRITTEN by Janet Arnold
    She was the Queen of historic clothing studies. If you want to know how real garments were made, opened, closed, etc. These books are indispensable for their attention to the smallest detail of extant garments.
    “Costume in Detail: 1730-1930” by Nancy Bradfield, “Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail” by Lucy Johnston and “Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries” by Avril Hart, and “What Clothes Reveal” by Linda Baumgarten
    Wonderful pictures and details of extant garments. Can’t be beat if you want to see and understand the garments our charters would have worn (like where the pockets are!).
    “The Corset : A Cultural History” by Valerie Steele
    The best “one stop” book on corsets and stays, IMO.
    “The Male Image” by Penelope Byrd.
    The only book out there that really deals in detail with men’s clothing and the progression of the suit through the ages. A must own IMO.
    Other books I couldn’t live without:
    “The Rise of the Egalitarian Family” by Randolph Trumbach
    So much wonderful information here about how and why they married as they did, the development of the love match, etc. Wonderful.
    “The Regency Companion” by Sharon H. Laudermilk
    An AMAZING book. Get it ILL if the $300 price tag scares you (as it did me!).
    “City of Sin” by Giles Emerson
    Great details of how they lived and played.
    “Lobscouse and Spotted Dog” by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman
    Food, food, food.
    “History of Murder” by Colin Wilson
    Wonderful information about period murder cases (did you know, for example, that women accused of murdering their husbands were often not tried for murder, but for petty treason, for which the punishment was to be burned at the stake, not hanged?)
    The reprint of the first edition of “The Encyclopedia Britannica” (c. 1768)
    So nice to be to read exactly what my characters would have pulled from their library shelf. To see what “common knowledge” was.
    “Regency Reference Book” by Emily Hendrickson
    Simply the best “short cut” to research out there, IMO.
    And then there are biographies, period journals, diaries, and period novels. I read all of those I can get my hands on.

    Reply
  10. From Mary JO:
    Boy, Susan Miranda, you weren’t kidding about the number of books acquired with each new book written! I have most of the ones mentioned by you, Elena, and AgTigress. Another very useful favorite of mine is THE LONDON ENCYCLOPEDIA by Weintreb and Hibbert. Masses of great detail about London through the ages, including things like street lighting, entertainment, parks, building,etc.
    My cool fabric swatch books were acquired after SM showed me hers. 🙂
    A converse point: we buy research books for particular stories we’re developing–but we also acquire books that just look interesting, and we find that the topics end up getting incorporated into future stories.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  11. From Mary JO:
    Boy, Susan Miranda, you weren’t kidding about the number of books acquired with each new book written! I have most of the ones mentioned by you, Elena, and AgTigress. Another very useful favorite of mine is THE LONDON ENCYCLOPEDIA by Weintreb and Hibbert. Masses of great detail about London through the ages, including things like street lighting, entertainment, parks, building,etc.
    My cool fabric swatch books were acquired after SM showed me hers. 🙂
    A converse point: we buy research books for particular stories we’re developing–but we also acquire books that just look interesting, and we find that the topics end up getting incorporated into future stories.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. From Mary JO:
    Boy, Susan Miranda, you weren’t kidding about the number of books acquired with each new book written! I have most of the ones mentioned by you, Elena, and AgTigress. Another very useful favorite of mine is THE LONDON ENCYCLOPEDIA by Weintreb and Hibbert. Masses of great detail about London through the ages, including things like street lighting, entertainment, parks, building,etc.
    My cool fabric swatch books were acquired after SM showed me hers. 🙂
    A converse point: we buy research books for particular stories we’re developing–but we also acquire books that just look interesting, and we find that the topics end up getting incorporated into future stories.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. I get lost in research books! One of my favorite books to get lost in is _Book of British Villages_, an oversized tome published by Drive Publications Limited. It lists the villages in alphabetical order, with a description and history of each village, and several pictures per page.
    It also has a section on the various types of homes and cottages, with pictures and descriptions of timber framing, building materials, various kinds of roofing, and materials used for walls.
    In addition, there are sections on the village church, village holidays and celebrations, how villages got their names, the cottage garden, types of trees, Village crafts (thatcher, wheelwright, blacksmith, etc.), and more.
    Every time I take this book down from the bookshelf, I get lost for hours poring over its pages.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  14. I get lost in research books! One of my favorite books to get lost in is _Book of British Villages_, an oversized tome published by Drive Publications Limited. It lists the villages in alphabetical order, with a description and history of each village, and several pictures per page.
    It also has a section on the various types of homes and cottages, with pictures and descriptions of timber framing, building materials, various kinds of roofing, and materials used for walls.
    In addition, there are sections on the village church, village holidays and celebrations, how villages got their names, the cottage garden, types of trees, Village crafts (thatcher, wheelwright, blacksmith, etc.), and more.
    Every time I take this book down from the bookshelf, I get lost for hours poring over its pages.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  15. I get lost in research books! One of my favorite books to get lost in is _Book of British Villages_, an oversized tome published by Drive Publications Limited. It lists the villages in alphabetical order, with a description and history of each village, and several pictures per page.
    It also has a section on the various types of homes and cottages, with pictures and descriptions of timber framing, building materials, various kinds of roofing, and materials used for walls.
    In addition, there are sections on the village church, village holidays and celebrations, how villages got their names, the cottage garden, types of trees, Village crafts (thatcher, wheelwright, blacksmith, etc.), and more.
    Every time I take this book down from the bookshelf, I get lost for hours poring over its pages.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  16. Another couple of useful reference books:
    “The Victorian House”, by Judith Flanders, (London 2003). This is not just about architecture. It is arranged according to the rooms in a typical (urban middle-class) house, discussing not only how each was furnished, but how it was used.
    A slightly older classic, spanning a wider chronological range, is, “A Woman’s Work is Never Done; the history of housework in the British Isles 1650-1950”, Caroline Davidson, (London 1982). The arrangement is thematic (e.g. chapters on Water, Cooking, Heating etc.), not chronological, so it requires careful attention from the reader to ensure that the right facilities and responsibilities are attributed to the right period, but it is a fascinating volume.
    I think on this board my fairly extensive list of Second World War sources on social history, dealing with a period that I can just remember myself, is probably not of much interest, any more than my infinitely more extensive list of sources on ‘my’ period (the Roman Empire).
    🙂

    Reply
  17. Another couple of useful reference books:
    “The Victorian House”, by Judith Flanders, (London 2003). This is not just about architecture. It is arranged according to the rooms in a typical (urban middle-class) house, discussing not only how each was furnished, but how it was used.
    A slightly older classic, spanning a wider chronological range, is, “A Woman’s Work is Never Done; the history of housework in the British Isles 1650-1950”, Caroline Davidson, (London 1982). The arrangement is thematic (e.g. chapters on Water, Cooking, Heating etc.), not chronological, so it requires careful attention from the reader to ensure that the right facilities and responsibilities are attributed to the right period, but it is a fascinating volume.
    I think on this board my fairly extensive list of Second World War sources on social history, dealing with a period that I can just remember myself, is probably not of much interest, any more than my infinitely more extensive list of sources on ‘my’ period (the Roman Empire).
    🙂

    Reply
  18. Another couple of useful reference books:
    “The Victorian House”, by Judith Flanders, (London 2003). This is not just about architecture. It is arranged according to the rooms in a typical (urban middle-class) house, discussing not only how each was furnished, but how it was used.
    A slightly older classic, spanning a wider chronological range, is, “A Woman’s Work is Never Done; the history of housework in the British Isles 1650-1950”, Caroline Davidson, (London 1982). The arrangement is thematic (e.g. chapters on Water, Cooking, Heating etc.), not chronological, so it requires careful attention from the reader to ensure that the right facilities and responsibilities are attributed to the right period, but it is a fascinating volume.
    I think on this board my fairly extensive list of Second World War sources on social history, dealing with a period that I can just remember myself, is probably not of much interest, any more than my infinitely more extensive list of sources on ‘my’ period (the Roman Empire).
    🙂

    Reply
  19. From Pat Rice:
    Oh my, please don’t get me started collecting more books! I’ve moved my library so many times now that I swear I’m going to donate it if I have to do it once more. My problem is that I’ve written every time period (not necessarily published, mind you!) from the Dark Ages to the future, in three countries and an invisible one, and my books spilleth over. Should I donate the western research material I may never need again? Give up my Dark Ages? Where do I start? I have one whole entire room lined with books and still have boxes in the basement.
    I’m off to hide from this discussion right now!

    Reply
  20. From Pat Rice:
    Oh my, please don’t get me started collecting more books! I’ve moved my library so many times now that I swear I’m going to donate it if I have to do it once more. My problem is that I’ve written every time period (not necessarily published, mind you!) from the Dark Ages to the future, in three countries and an invisible one, and my books spilleth over. Should I donate the western research material I may never need again? Give up my Dark Ages? Where do I start? I have one whole entire room lined with books and still have boxes in the basement.
    I’m off to hide from this discussion right now!

    Reply
  21. From Pat Rice:
    Oh my, please don’t get me started collecting more books! I’ve moved my library so many times now that I swear I’m going to donate it if I have to do it once more. My problem is that I’ve written every time period (not necessarily published, mind you!) from the Dark Ages to the future, in three countries and an invisible one, and my books spilleth over. Should I donate the western research material I may never need again? Give up my Dark Ages? Where do I start? I have one whole entire room lined with books and still have boxes in the basement.
    I’m off to hide from this discussion right now!

    Reply
  22. Don’t even get me started on my 16th century books . . . I finally got my hands on all 7 volumes of THE GERMAN SINGLE LEAF WOODCUTS (got a screaming deal from STRAND BOOKS in NY for a NEW set) and I could just about die.

    Reply
  23. Don’t even get me started on my 16th century books . . . I finally got my hands on all 7 volumes of THE GERMAN SINGLE LEAF WOODCUTS (got a screaming deal from STRAND BOOKS in NY for a NEW set) and I could just about die.

    Reply
  24. Don’t even get me started on my 16th century books . . . I finally got my hands on all 7 volumes of THE GERMAN SINGLE LEAF WOODCUTS (got a screaming deal from STRAND BOOKS in NY for a NEW set) and I could just about die.

    Reply
  25. I do sympathise with other obsessive book-collectors. My husband is one too. The result, after about 40 years, is pretty overwhelming.
    And cost… The most expensive book that I have bought so far cost £600 (and that sum looks even worse in dollars). I don’t regret it, though.
    🙂

    Reply
  26. I do sympathise with other obsessive book-collectors. My husband is one too. The result, after about 40 years, is pretty overwhelming.
    And cost… The most expensive book that I have bought so far cost £600 (and that sum looks even worse in dollars). I don’t regret it, though.
    🙂

    Reply
  27. I do sympathise with other obsessive book-collectors. My husband is one too. The result, after about 40 years, is pretty overwhelming.
    And cost… The most expensive book that I have bought so far cost £600 (and that sum looks even worse in dollars). I don’t regret it, though.
    🙂

    Reply
  28. Hi Pat: Don’t toss those “Dark Ages” books. And whatever you do don’t put them up for a garage sale. I’ll give your “Dark Ages” books a good home.
    As one who doesn’t have a research book to her name (not these kinds anyway)… I’m looking for some good ones on the Knights Templar and the Devil Dragon. Got any?

    Reply
  29. Hi Pat: Don’t toss those “Dark Ages” books. And whatever you do don’t put them up for a garage sale. I’ll give your “Dark Ages” books a good home.
    As one who doesn’t have a research book to her name (not these kinds anyway)… I’m looking for some good ones on the Knights Templar and the Devil Dragon. Got any?

    Reply
  30. Hi Pat: Don’t toss those “Dark Ages” books. And whatever you do don’t put them up for a garage sale. I’ll give your “Dark Ages” books a good home.
    As one who doesn’t have a research book to her name (not these kinds anyway)… I’m looking for some good ones on the Knights Templar and the Devil Dragon. Got any?

    Reply
  31. Tonda–
    Ahh, I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.
    Two more if you don’t have them:
    Revolutions in Fashion, 1715-1815, published by the Kyoto Costume Institute. This is a hardcover exhibition catalogue, but nearly everything is beautifully photographed. The clothes are on manequins (though why the male manequins are headless remains a mystery), and fully accessorized, so you get the “full view.” One of the most beautiful books I own.
    Also I’ll buy anything by Aileen Ribeiro. Not only are her books (mostly for the Yale Press) elegantly designed and illustrated, but I can’t think of another costume-scholar who’s better at placing the clothes into their historical context. Coincidentally, since I’m now writing Restoration settings, her newest book is “Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England.”
    I LOVE costume books. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  32. Tonda–
    Ahh, I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.
    Two more if you don’t have them:
    Revolutions in Fashion, 1715-1815, published by the Kyoto Costume Institute. This is a hardcover exhibition catalogue, but nearly everything is beautifully photographed. The clothes are on manequins (though why the male manequins are headless remains a mystery), and fully accessorized, so you get the “full view.” One of the most beautiful books I own.
    Also I’ll buy anything by Aileen Ribeiro. Not only are her books (mostly for the Yale Press) elegantly designed and illustrated, but I can’t think of another costume-scholar who’s better at placing the clothes into their historical context. Coincidentally, since I’m now writing Restoration settings, her newest book is “Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England.”
    I LOVE costume books. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  33. Tonda–
    Ahh, I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.
    Two more if you don’t have them:
    Revolutions in Fashion, 1715-1815, published by the Kyoto Costume Institute. This is a hardcover exhibition catalogue, but nearly everything is beautifully photographed. The clothes are on manequins (though why the male manequins are headless remains a mystery), and fully accessorized, so you get the “full view.” One of the most beautiful books I own.
    Also I’ll buy anything by Aileen Ribeiro. Not only are her books (mostly for the Yale Press) elegantly designed and illustrated, but I can’t think of another costume-scholar who’s better at placing the clothes into their historical context. Coincidentally, since I’m now writing Restoration settings, her newest book is “Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England.”
    I LOVE costume books. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  34. No, Pat, no, never throw out ANY research books!
    I have tons of books on nautical history (what my family calls the “boat books”) left from when I used to write historicals with navy captains, privateers, and smugglers. Alas (or Avast!), that trend’s pretty much gone, but I keep the books still, because you Never Know.
    I can never move again, I have so many books. However, I figure they’re excellent insulation, and until my husband agrees to part with the zillions of old LP’s — well, we don’t mention my books.
    Miranda/Susan

    Reply
  35. No, Pat, no, never throw out ANY research books!
    I have tons of books on nautical history (what my family calls the “boat books”) left from when I used to write historicals with navy captains, privateers, and smugglers. Alas (or Avast!), that trend’s pretty much gone, but I keep the books still, because you Never Know.
    I can never move again, I have so many books. However, I figure they’re excellent insulation, and until my husband agrees to part with the zillions of old LP’s — well, we don’t mention my books.
    Miranda/Susan

    Reply
  36. No, Pat, no, never throw out ANY research books!
    I have tons of books on nautical history (what my family calls the “boat books”) left from when I used to write historicals with navy captains, privateers, and smugglers. Alas (or Avast!), that trend’s pretty much gone, but I keep the books still, because you Never Know.
    I can never move again, I have so many books. However, I figure they’re excellent insulation, and until my husband agrees to part with the zillions of old LP’s — well, we don’t mention my books.
    Miranda/Susan

    Reply
  37. I want all of those books. Every single one. Now. 🙁 🙁 My budget dictates otherwise, however. I’m writing (although not yet publishing) romantic suspense in the modern day South, so my reference books are more long the line of blood spatter analysis and rates of human decomposition (both fascinating, if you’re of that mind). But I read a LOT of historical romances and have a few reference books in the area, although not the hard-core contemporary ones.
    Mostly I’m just so happy to hear about the piles and shelves and boxes of books you all have, because it makes me feel better about the eight bookcases in my own home. Most hold two rows of books. And we won’t get into to the boxes under the beds…

    Reply
  38. I want all of those books. Every single one. Now. 🙁 🙁 My budget dictates otherwise, however. I’m writing (although not yet publishing) romantic suspense in the modern day South, so my reference books are more long the line of blood spatter analysis and rates of human decomposition (both fascinating, if you’re of that mind). But I read a LOT of historical romances and have a few reference books in the area, although not the hard-core contemporary ones.
    Mostly I’m just so happy to hear about the piles and shelves and boxes of books you all have, because it makes me feel better about the eight bookcases in my own home. Most hold two rows of books. And we won’t get into to the boxes under the beds…

    Reply
  39. I want all of those books. Every single one. Now. 🙁 🙁 My budget dictates otherwise, however. I’m writing (although not yet publishing) romantic suspense in the modern day South, so my reference books are more long the line of blood spatter analysis and rates of human decomposition (both fascinating, if you’re of that mind). But I read a LOT of historical romances and have a few reference books in the area, although not the hard-core contemporary ones.
    Mostly I’m just so happy to hear about the piles and shelves and boxes of books you all have, because it makes me feel better about the eight bookcases in my own home. Most hold two rows of books. And we won’t get into to the boxes under the beds…

    Reply
  40. “I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.”
    I was an avid historical costumer long before I was a romance writer. Still am if it comes to it. I just don’t have as much time for sewing lately, what with pesky editorial deadlines breathing down my neck. I just reserved a spot in an 18th century gown making class with Janea Whitacre, the supervisor of millinery and mantua making at Williamsburg. Should be fun. If I win the drawing to be “the model” I’ll even end up with a silk gown c. 1770 that I can wear to the Beau Monde Soiree in Atlanta (otherwise I’ll be in my Regency c. 1811 ball gown).
    One of the reasons I love writing historicals is being able to get into the nitty-gritty, sexy details of the clothing. I love the layers, the underwear, the way it goes on (and comes off!). I love how it makes you feel when you wear it.
    I own FASHION. Love that book. I have the two volume edition (another STRAND score). The first volume is identical to the one you mentioned, while the second one goes into their Victorian collection.
    And I love Aileen Ribeiro’s books (esp. “Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe 1715-1789”). And Norah Waugh’s, and the fabric swatch books that were mentioned earlier, and “A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics” and . . . you get the picture. I’m crazy enough that I even buy things in languages I can’t read (like “Moden 1790-1840” by Ellen Dorothea which is in Danish). I’m lucky enough to live near Lacis in Berkeley CA, so I can go and paw through the books before I buy, which is lovely (but can be deadly to my pocketbook, LOL!).

    Reply
  41. “I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.”
    I was an avid historical costumer long before I was a romance writer. Still am if it comes to it. I just don’t have as much time for sewing lately, what with pesky editorial deadlines breathing down my neck. I just reserved a spot in an 18th century gown making class with Janea Whitacre, the supervisor of millinery and mantua making at Williamsburg. Should be fun. If I win the drawing to be “the model” I’ll even end up with a silk gown c. 1770 that I can wear to the Beau Monde Soiree in Atlanta (otherwise I’ll be in my Regency c. 1811 ball gown).
    One of the reasons I love writing historicals is being able to get into the nitty-gritty, sexy details of the clothing. I love the layers, the underwear, the way it goes on (and comes off!). I love how it makes you feel when you wear it.
    I own FASHION. Love that book. I have the two volume edition (another STRAND score). The first volume is identical to the one you mentioned, while the second one goes into their Victorian collection.
    And I love Aileen Ribeiro’s books (esp. “Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe 1715-1789”). And Norah Waugh’s, and the fabric swatch books that were mentioned earlier, and “A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics” and . . . you get the picture. I’m crazy enough that I even buy things in languages I can’t read (like “Moden 1790-1840” by Ellen Dorothea which is in Danish). I’m lucky enough to live near Lacis in Berkeley CA, so I can go and paw through the books before I buy, which is lovely (but can be deadly to my pocketbook, LOL!).

    Reply
  42. “I can tell you’re another hard-core costume researcher. Anyone that begins with Janet Arnold and goes through Avril Hart — we are on the same wave-length here.”
    I was an avid historical costumer long before I was a romance writer. Still am if it comes to it. I just don’t have as much time for sewing lately, what with pesky editorial deadlines breathing down my neck. I just reserved a spot in an 18th century gown making class with Janea Whitacre, the supervisor of millinery and mantua making at Williamsburg. Should be fun. If I win the drawing to be “the model” I’ll even end up with a silk gown c. 1770 that I can wear to the Beau Monde Soiree in Atlanta (otherwise I’ll be in my Regency c. 1811 ball gown).
    One of the reasons I love writing historicals is being able to get into the nitty-gritty, sexy details of the clothing. I love the layers, the underwear, the way it goes on (and comes off!). I love how it makes you feel when you wear it.
    I own FASHION. Love that book. I have the two volume edition (another STRAND score). The first volume is identical to the one you mentioned, while the second one goes into their Victorian collection.
    And I love Aileen Ribeiro’s books (esp. “Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe 1715-1789”). And Norah Waugh’s, and the fabric swatch books that were mentioned earlier, and “A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics” and . . . you get the picture. I’m crazy enough that I even buy things in languages I can’t read (like “Moden 1790-1840” by Ellen Dorothea which is in Danish). I’m lucky enough to live near Lacis in Berkeley CA, so I can go and paw through the books before I buy, which is lovely (but can be deadly to my pocketbook, LOL!).

    Reply
  43. tal sez:
    What about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW: FROM FOX HUNTING TO WHIST–THE FACTS OF DAILY LIFE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND by Daniel Pool? I have that in a box somewhere (one of 175 cartons of books I have yet to unpack)
    And I must say a word for the Dover series of historical paper dolls, mostly by Tom Tierney, covering the Regency/Empire/Federal period. There’s a coloring book, too, and someone else’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE paper dolls–you get to see Lady Catherine de Bourgh in her undies!
    Y’all come over and we can play paper dolls! And when we get tired of that, I’ll let you play with my Jane Austen action figure:
    http://www.shopfosters.com/store/files/images/large/d_1994.jpg

    Reply
  44. tal sez:
    What about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW: FROM FOX HUNTING TO WHIST–THE FACTS OF DAILY LIFE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND by Daniel Pool? I have that in a box somewhere (one of 175 cartons of books I have yet to unpack)
    And I must say a word for the Dover series of historical paper dolls, mostly by Tom Tierney, covering the Regency/Empire/Federal period. There’s a coloring book, too, and someone else’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE paper dolls–you get to see Lady Catherine de Bourgh in her undies!
    Y’all come over and we can play paper dolls! And when we get tired of that, I’ll let you play with my Jane Austen action figure:
    http://www.shopfosters.com/store/files/images/large/d_1994.jpg

    Reply
  45. tal sez:
    What about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW: FROM FOX HUNTING TO WHIST–THE FACTS OF DAILY LIFE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND by Daniel Pool? I have that in a box somewhere (one of 175 cartons of books I have yet to unpack)
    And I must say a word for the Dover series of historical paper dolls, mostly by Tom Tierney, covering the Regency/Empire/Federal period. There’s a coloring book, too, and someone else’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE paper dolls–you get to see Lady Catherine de Bourgh in her undies!
    Y’all come over and we can play paper dolls! And when we get tired of that, I’ll let you play with my Jane Austen action figure:
    http://www.shopfosters.com/store/files/images/large/d_1994.jpg

    Reply
  46. My only reservation about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW is that things aren’t properly annotated so it has the wiff of “history salad”. They don’t make any distinction between the eras, and a lot changed from the late 18th century to the mid-Victorian, but you don’t know which bits apply to what eras.
    Kind of like AN ELEGANT MADNESS. I enjoyed reading it, but it has some problems (not the least of which is the author’s inability to differentiate between the two Lady Jerseys, the 18th century political hostess and her daughter, the Regency patroness of Almack’s).
    I just don’t trust either of these books.

    Reply
  47. My only reservation about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW is that things aren’t properly annotated so it has the wiff of “history salad”. They don’t make any distinction between the eras, and a lot changed from the late 18th century to the mid-Victorian, but you don’t know which bits apply to what eras.
    Kind of like AN ELEGANT MADNESS. I enjoyed reading it, but it has some problems (not the least of which is the author’s inability to differentiate between the two Lady Jerseys, the 18th century political hostess and her daughter, the Regency patroness of Almack’s).
    I just don’t trust either of these books.

    Reply
  48. My only reservation about WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW is that things aren’t properly annotated so it has the wiff of “history salad”. They don’t make any distinction between the eras, and a lot changed from the late 18th century to the mid-Victorian, but you don’t know which bits apply to what eras.
    Kind of like AN ELEGANT MADNESS. I enjoyed reading it, but it has some problems (not the least of which is the author’s inability to differentiate between the two Lady Jerseys, the 18th century political hostess and her daughter, the Regency patroness of Almack’s).
    I just don’t trust either of these books.

    Reply
  49. I forgot to mention that Dover also has back in print (last time I looked) the complete ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH POPULAR BALLADS by Francis James Child.

    Reply
  50. I forgot to mention that Dover also has back in print (last time I looked) the complete ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH POPULAR BALLADS by Francis James Child.

    Reply
  51. I forgot to mention that Dover also has back in print (last time I looked) the complete ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH POPULAR BALLADS by Francis James Child.

    Reply
  52. Another great topic – Thanks Susan! Mark Girouard’s books The English Country House and The French Country House rank among my fave books. Unfortunately almost all my books are in storage right now, until we get our new house built. *sniff* It’s only been a few weeks and I miss them so much.
    Elena – I found that the Vancouver Library has English Country Life!!! Yay 🙂

    Reply
  53. Another great topic – Thanks Susan! Mark Girouard’s books The English Country House and The French Country House rank among my fave books. Unfortunately almost all my books are in storage right now, until we get our new house built. *sniff* It’s only been a few weeks and I miss them so much.
    Elena – I found that the Vancouver Library has English Country Life!!! Yay 🙂

    Reply
  54. Another great topic – Thanks Susan! Mark Girouard’s books The English Country House and The French Country House rank among my fave books. Unfortunately almost all my books are in storage right now, until we get our new house built. *sniff* It’s only been a few weeks and I miss them so much.
    Elena – I found that the Vancouver Library has English Country Life!!! Yay 🙂

    Reply
  55. Tonda–
    Enjoy your costume class with the Colonial Williamsburg staff. My parents live in Williamsburg, and I’m there all the time — that’s one place that really takes the care (and the money) to make the historical clothing right.
    Teresa–
    I like the Mark Girouard books a lot, too. In fact I liked “Life in an English Country House” so much that I accidentally bought two copies of it. Got fooled by different editions with different covers in a UBS. Duh. Now I’m just saving it for a Worthy Friend. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  56. Tonda–
    Enjoy your costume class with the Colonial Williamsburg staff. My parents live in Williamsburg, and I’m there all the time — that’s one place that really takes the care (and the money) to make the historical clothing right.
    Teresa–
    I like the Mark Girouard books a lot, too. In fact I liked “Life in an English Country House” so much that I accidentally bought two copies of it. Got fooled by different editions with different covers in a UBS. Duh. Now I’m just saving it for a Worthy Friend. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  57. Tonda–
    Enjoy your costume class with the Colonial Williamsburg staff. My parents live in Williamsburg, and I’m there all the time — that’s one place that really takes the care (and the money) to make the historical clothing right.
    Teresa–
    I like the Mark Girouard books a lot, too. In fact I liked “Life in an English Country House” so much that I accidentally bought two copies of it. Got fooled by different editions with different covers in a UBS. Duh. Now I’m just saving it for a Worthy Friend. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply

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