Amusements, Holidays, and Daily Life Books

Amusements and Daily Life

New Oxford Book of Carols
Definitive guide to all sorts of carols from many periods of time.

The Good Old Days - They were Terrible!
Well researched by the owner of the Bettman Archives, an enormous archive of stock photographs. The book concentrates on the negatives, but is a fine introduction to many facets of Victorian life that are not otherwise pointed out.

Everyday Life in the 1800's
Excellent introduction to daily life in the Georgian and Victorian periods, with details of language, culture, customs, and more.

Reverend Beecher and Mrs. Tilton
The scandal that shook the nation. Henry Ward Beecher was accused of adultery with one of his parishioners. As Mr. Beecher was the key religious figure of his time, the effects were seismic.

Historic Ornament
Nothing went without ornamentation during the Victorian Period, unless it was utterly without merit. Even industrial machinery proliferated scrollwork and damascening. This collection provides an easy entre into the ornamental esthetic.

McGuffey's Readers
These readers were the educational background of generations of schoolchildren, beginning in the 1840's.

Against Slavery
The slavery question was central to American life in the mid 19th century and beyond. This collection of abolitionist writings may help your characters take a position on the most critical political and moral issue of the day.

The Forgotten Arts and Crafts
This wonderful book from Britain illustrates and discusses many of the activities and artifacts of 19th century life, from building a stile to churning butter, from starching laundry to making shoes. An irreplacable guide for the reenactor.

The Complete Price Guide to Watches
The best reference to dating and valuing pocketwatches.

American Shelter
This comprehensive history of American housing has extensive discussions of how houses were used in the 19th century. For example, that the central feature in an 1850 parlor was the table with its lamp around which the family gathered in the evenings to read, sew, work, and talk.

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management

Mrs. Beeton's Victorian Cookbook

The Good Housekeeper (1841)
Mrs. Hale is another icon of 19th century domesticity. Among other things, our system of cooking measurement can be traced to her work.

The American Frugal Housewife

Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette

The American Women's Home (Beecher 1869)
The most influential book for American women in the last half of the 19th century. The text is available for download here.

What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens knew
A review of English life in mid-century, with emphasis on the daily routine everyone took for granted.


Penmanship and Handwriting

Handwriting in America
A scholarly study of the varieties and development of handwriting in the US.

Penmanship Made Easy
From the 1820's the exercises and maxims can be used for the Spencerian styles of the last half of the century, or an older character may wish to emulate them directly.

Spencerian Penmanship
A reprint of one of Spencer's instruction manuals, with the exception of an ill-advised modernization of the capital "L", this gives the flavor of handwriting instruction in the schools.

The Universal Penman
From the 1820's the exercises and maxims can be used for the Spencerian styles of the last half of the century, or an older character may wish to emulate them directly. More complex than "Penmanship Made Easy"

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