Literary Links

May/June 2001


Good News and Announcements

NEW RWA CHAPTER!--It's official!  The historical writers of RWA spoke, and the result is a new RWA chapter--Hearts Through History--dedicated entirely to the historical writer.  Whatever era you write about, this chapter is for you.  For more information, visit their new web site (under construction).  Michelle Hoppe, Literary Liaisons president, is pleased to announce her association with this group.  She will be the Special Interest group leader for the Victorian Era. Be sure to check them out.

May/June 2001--This issue marks the four-year Anniversary of Literary Links, our on-line newsletter. We've made many changes in our pages since the first issue, from design to formatting to content to better serve you in your writing endeavors.  I thank you for your support over the years. 

RWA Pro--RWA National has adopted a special program to recognize unpublished members.  For more information, see the RWA National web site.

RWA Lifetime Achievement Award--Don't forget to vote for the winner of the RWA 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Ballots are in the May issue of your RWR.  

July 18-July 22, 2001--RWA 21st Annual National Conference in New Orleans, LA at the Sheraton New Orleans. Join RWA for Books, Blues & Bourbon Street. If you can't make the entire conference, be sure to stop in for the Literacy Autographing and meet your favorite authors on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. All proceeds go to literacy foundations. This event is open to the public, so tell all your friends.  For more information and registration forms, see the RWA National web site at


New On Literary Liaisons

There are many new additions to Literary Liaisons. After reading about them below, check them out on the web site.



Country House Camera by Christopher Simon Sykes

Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary by Marc McCutcheon 

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England by John Tosh

The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing You Novel from Start to Finish by Evan Marshall

The Mid-Victorian Generation 1846-1886 by K. Theodore Hoppen
The Victorian Visitors: Culture Shock in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Rupert Christiansen

Writing the Romantic Comedy by Billy Mernit


Featured Title

Men's Fashions: The Complete Sourcebook by John Peacock


NEW on Literary Liaisons! The Video Library

Check out our newest addition, The Video Library, featuring videos depicting the 19th century to help in your research


RWA Chapters On-line

Ottawa Romance Writers Association

Western New York Romance Writers


Researching the Romance

Country House Camera by Christopher Simon Sykes

Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary by Marc McCutcheon 

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England by John Tosh

The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing You Novel from Start to Finish by Evan Marshall

The Mid-Victorian Generation 1846-1886 by K. Theodore Hoppen
The Victorian Visitors: Culture Shock in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Rupert Christiansen

Writing the Romantic Comedy by Billy Mernit


Writers' Resources Online


World Wide Words

National Railway Museum (UK)

Victorian Lace


Medicine Through Time

Tower of London



Feature Article 


by Michelle J. Hoppe 

It matters not whether a lady has a title in order to be called a gentlewoman.  

Rather, a lady is identified by her behavior.  Manners are a compound of spirit and form, and should be part of the education of every person of whatever calling or station in life.  They know no social boundaries.  True courtesy is the basis of all social conduct and can be learned by all.  " Kindness of heart, of nobleness and of courage it true politeness of manner."

So what, then is a gentlewoman? And how does this translate into manners? Let's start at the beginning....


A girl learns proper manners early on.  The list is endless, from how and when to curtsey, to how to laugh.  The laugh, like one's voice, is a test of good breeding and cultivation.  It expresses refinement in its intonation. A lady's laugh should be short and unassuming.

Young ladies should also learn to cultivate their memories and learn to express themselves freely so as to be able to converse well.  


General Appearance

Here are just a few of the things a lady must keep in mind:

  • In walking, a woman's feet should be moderately turned out, the steps should be equal, firm and light.  She should avoid a rapid pace, just as she should avoid a slow gait.  And never should she shake from side to side when she walks.
  • Proper young ladies do not indulge in cosmetics, hair-dyes or other forms of insincerity in personal appearance.  
  • Ladies do not wear pearls or diamonds in the morning.


An unmarried young woman, up to the age of thirty, must always accompanied by a chaperone when she goes out.  This is to ensure that she is innocent, and to compel others to respect her innocence.  It is the chaperone's duty to investigate the background and social standing of bachelors who come into the girl's orbit and keep at bay those who do not pass muster.

Who could chaperone?  Only married women could act as chaperones.  An unmarried woman could not be alone in a room with a male visitor, even in her own home.  Nor could she go anywhere with a man to whom she was not related unless a married gentlewoman or servant accompanied her. The only possible exception to act as chaperone was a governess who, being of genteel birth, was known to be respectable, but represented no matrimonial competition because of her lowly status.


A lady should always grant permission for an introduction, unless there is a strong reason for refusing.  

When a lady is introduced to a gentleman, she should bow but not give her hand, unless the gentleman is a well-known friend of some member of the family.  She may do so as a mark of esteem or respect.  A gentleman must not offer to shake hands with a lady until she has made the first movement.

The kiss is the most affectionate form of salutation, but is only proper among near relations and dear friends.  It is given on the cheeks or forehead, and rarely in the public eye.  

Paying Calls

Under no circumstances could a lady call on a gentleman alone unless she is consulting that gentleman on a professional or business matter.

At the beginning of the Victorian Era, so long as a girl was unmarried and living at home, she had no separate visiting card.  This changed by the end of the century.  Should she have no mother, the card would bear her own name, along with her sisters if she has some.  If a female chaperone is in residence, this woman's name would appear above the girl's name on the card.


A good talker should be possessed of much general information, acquired by keen observation, attentive listening, a good memory, and logical habits of thought.   Simplicity and terseness are characteristics of a well-educated lady.  She never uses vulgarisms, flippancy, coarseness, triviality or provocation in her speech.  Scandal is the least excusable of all conversational vulgarities.

A lady is sympathetic, unselfish and animating in her listening.  To show any interest in the immediate concerns of people is very complimentary.  She must maintain cheerful conversation.  Religion and politics should never be introduced into conversation, for they are dangerous subjects to harmony.

In addressing persons with titles, always add the name, as in 'Dr. Smith,' never merely 'Doctor.'  Use the Christian name only for those who are relations or intimate friends.  A lady never interrupts the speech of others, nor does she discuss private matters in public.  

A lady avoids all exhibitions of temper before others.  Whether grief or joy, emotions should be subdued in public and only allowed full play in private apartments.

Dinner Parties and Receptions

In a private dance, a lady cannot refuse to dance with any gentleman who invites her unless she has a previous engagement.  However, at public balls, a lady should dance only with gentlemen of her own party, or those with whom she has a previous acquaintance.  Young ladies must be careful how they refuse to dance.  She should give a good reason, lest the gentleman takes it as a personal dislike.  Once a lady refuses, a gentleman should not urge her to dance, nor should the lady accept another invitation for the same dance.  An unattached lady never dances more than three dances with the same partner. 

A lady is never seen in a ball-room without gloves.  They must be white or of a very delicate hue.

In the Street

A true gentlewoman can be distinguished at first glance.  There is a quiet self-possession about her that marks her out from the florid lower classes.  Self-effacement is the rule of good manners.  A gentlewoman goes quietly along, intent on her own business.  She walks quietly through the streets, seeing and hearing nothing that she ought not to see and hear.  She recognizes acquaintances with a courteous bow, and friends with words of greeting.  She never talks loudly, or laughs boisterously or does anything to attract the attention of passers-by. 

A lady, meeting a gentleman with whom she has an acquaintance, shall give the first bow of recognition.  A young lady should never 'cut' a married lady.  It is the privilege of age to recognize those who are younger in years.

A lady never forms an acquaintance upon the street, or seeks to attract the attention or admiration of persons of the opposite sex.  

A lady never looks back after anyone in the street, or turns to stare in a public place.  She should never walk alone in the street after dark.  

She keeps from contact with her neighbor in public conveyances as much as is possible, never leaning up against another or spreading her arms.  She may accept the offer of services from a stranger in alighting from, or entering a conveyance, and should acknowledge the courtesy.  

On Horseback

For riding, stallions were too frisky for ladies.  Mares and geldings may be used, but women and children favored ponies.  They were smaller than horses and easier to handle.  In rare instances where women drove horses, they usually drove a one-horse carriage.  "Four-in-hands" were too much for a woman to handle.

On horseback, a lady rode side saddle, alternating sides each day so as not to develop an overly enhanced buttock on one side.  Riding astride was looked on as risque.  

So what is a true gentlewoman?  She is "an emanation from the heart subtilized by culture."

Coming Soon: Manners For Women--Part Two--Courtship and Marriage


Manners for Women by Mrs. Humphry, a facsimile reproduction of an 1897 publication. Reprinted by Pryor Publications, Kent, England,1993.

Etiquette: Rules & Usages of the Best Society, reprinted by the Promotional Reprint Company, Ltd., Leicester, 1995.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Similar books are available for purchase in our on-line bookstore in the non-fiction section.

Also see the Researching the Romance page of Literary Liaisons for more suggestions.


Editor's Note

Happy 4th Anniversary!  It's hard to believe I started this project four years ago.  It's even harder to believe that I still have all this valuable information to pass along to you.  But as the internet grows, so do we.  One of the most exciting things I have to share with you this year is the formation of a new RWA chapter called Hearts Through History, devoted entirely to the historical writer.  It's been a long time in coming, and many thanks to the ladies who organized the chapter.  I am thrilled to announce that I will be the leader for the Victorian Special Interest Group.  For more information on this chapter, click here!  Their web site is just under way, but expect great things.

I've also started a new feature on our pages--The Video Library.  If you're like me, you need visual stimulation as well as literary.  I've begun a list of videos to assist in your research of 19th Century Britain.  If you have any suggestions for the page, please contact me at:

Finally, congratulations to this year's Golden Heart and RITA finalists.  Good luck at National this year!

---Michelle Hoppe

Q&A Column

In honor of our anniversary, I'd like to share some reader comments with you:


--I have just read with very much interest 'Literary Liaisons'. What a marvelous web page! Congratulations on creating such an interesting and informative piece of work.....I shall make a point of visiting your web page quite often in the future as the Regency and Victorian Periods are where my novels are concentrated. 
Once again WELL DONE! and many thanks.


--Great site! Keep up the good work!
Jon B.


--I was very interested in your site and received valuable information.



Thank you for your support over the years.   

Michelle Hoppe
President, Literary Liaisons


Historical Calendar of Events


Alfred North Whitehead, English mathematician and philosopher

Aristide Maillol, French sculptor

Frederick Hopkins, English chemist



Prince Consort Albert of Great Britain

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet

Frederick William, King of Prussia

Pedro V, King of Portugal

Heinrich Marschner, German opera composer

Lola Montez, Irish-born dancer


Kansas becomes the 34th State of the Union. 

February 28--The Colorado Territory is formed.

March 2--The Dakota Territory and the Nevada Territory are formed. 

August --The Arizona Territory is organized and consists of all of New Mexico south of the 34th parallel.

Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States. 

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina secede between January and May, following the course of South Carolina in 1860.

February 4--Delegates from six seceding states meet at Montgomery, Alabama and form a provisional government, the Confederate States of America, naming Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, the provisional president. 

April 12--American Civil War breaks out when Confederates attack Fort Sumter.

June 9--Secretary of War Simon Cameron organizes a U.S. Sanitary Commission. Educator Clara Barton is hired to organize facilities for securing medicine and supplies for troops.

Dorothea Dix wins an appointment as superintendent of women nurses for the Union. 

Detective Allan Pinkerton uncovers a plot to kill president-elect Lincoln on his journey to Washington for the inauguration. Pinkerton is subsequently engaged by General McClellan to head a department of counterespionage. 

November 8--Arctic explorer Captain Charles Wilkes of  U.S.S. San Jacinto, stops the British mail packet S.S. Trent and removes former U.S. senators John Murray Mason and John Slidell, Confederate commissioners bound for Britain and France.  Secretary of State William H. Seward averts war by releasing the two men in 1862. 

Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise joins with the Mimbreno Apache in raids on Arizona after false charges of kidnapping a white child and failure of peace talks.  

December-- French, British, and Spanish troops land at Vera Cruz in to force Mexico’s Benito Juarez to honor his financial obligations and resume the payments he has suspended. 

France’s Napoleon III extends the financial powers of Parlement and mounts a grandiose program of public works despite the mounting expenses of his extravagant foreign policy. As a result, political opposition to the emperor begins to grow.

The King of Naples surrenders to Garibaldi.  Italy is united and proclaimed a kingdom by Parliament, with Victor Emmanuel II as king.

William I of Prussia succeeds Frederick William upon his death.

Louis I succeeds Pedro V of Portugal upon his death.

The Warsaw Massacre occurs when troops fire at demonstrators against Russian rule.

Russian serfs are emancipated.

Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin returns to Europe after escaping imprisonment in Eastern Siberia. Bakunin will be the leading European anarchist until his death in 1876.


The Arts

St. John by John La Farge

Orphee, Le Repos by Corot

Wood-cut engraving for Dante's Inferno by Gustave Dore


Book of Household Management by Mrs. Beeton

The History of England (fifth and final volume) by Thomas Babbington Macaulay


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Silas Marner by George Eliot

The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade

Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

"Elsie Venner" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Siegfried's Death by Friedrich Hebbel premiers January 31

Kriemhild's Revenge by Friedrich Hebbel premieres May 18 at Weinar's Hoftheater

Popular songs:

"Aura Lee" by U.S. composer George R. Poulton

"Maryland! My Maryland!" by James R. Randall

Mephisto Waltz by Franz Liszt premieres in January at Weinar's Grand Ducal Palace

"Abide with Me; Fast Falls the Eventide" a hymn by English composer-organist William Henry Monk


Daily Life
The Royal Academy of Music is founded in London.

Daily weather forecasts are begun in Britain.

Queen Victoria creates the Order of the Star of India.

The United States introduces the passport system.

The University of Colorado is founded at Boulder.

The University of Washington is founded at Seattle.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is founded at Cambridge, Mass.

Vassar Female College is chartered at Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Yale University awards the first American degree of doctor of philosophy (PhD.)

Bellevue Hospital Medical College is established at New York with Lewis Albert Sayre as the first U.S. professor of orthopedic surgery.

L'Osservatore Romani begins publication as the official newspaper of the Vatican.

The California State Legislature commissions Count Agoston Haraszthy to bring select varieties of European wine grapes to the state, thus inaugurating the modern era of California wine production. 

August 5--Congress levies the first U.S. income tax to raise funds needed for the Union Army and Navy. The law taxes incomes in excess of $800 at the rate of 3 percent.

U.S. tariffs rise as Congress passes the first of three Morrill Acts which will boost tariffs to an average of 47 percent. Duties on tea, coffee, and sugar are increased as a war measure

I. M. Singer sells more sewing machines abroad than in America and has profits of nearly $200,000.

Charles Digby Harrod takes over his father’s London grocery store in Brompton Road and works to turn Harrods into a department store. 

John Wanamaker opens a Philadelphia menswear shop with his brother-in-law Nathan Brown. Wanamaker pioneers selling all items at fixed prices with none of the haggling that has been customary between customer and clerk.

Marshall Field becomes general manager of Chicago’s Cooley, Wadsworth store.

Jay Cooke & Co. is founded at Philadelphia by banker Jay Cooke.

December 30--U.S. banks suspend payments in gold.

Chicago ships 50 million bushels of U.S. wheat to drought-stricken Europe, despite the outbreak of the Civil War and the shortage of farm hands. 

Britain produces 3.7 million tons of iron, France 3 million, the United States 2.8 million, the German states 200,000.

Britain produces 83.6 million tons of coal, France 6.8 million, Russia 300,000.

Indianapolis grocer, Gilbert C. Van Camp, helps sustain Union troops in the field by creating a new canned food staple--Van Camp’s Pork and Beans.

Philadelphia butcher Peter Arrell Brown Widener, obtains a government contract to supply mutton to Union troops in and about Philadelphia. Widener will pocket a $50,000 profit which he will invest in a chain of meat stores and in street railways, building a huge fortune.

America’s first commercial pretzel bakery opens at Lititz, Pa., with local baker Julius Sturgis in charge. 

Henri Nestlé begins his rise to world prominence when he takes financial interest in a chemical firm at Vevey.

Population reaches 76 million in Russia, 32 million in the United States, 23 million in Great Britain and 25 million in Italy.


The first horse-drawn trams appear in London.

Elisha G. Otis patents a steam-powered elevator.

The open-hearth process for making steel is developed almost simultaneously by German-born British inventor William Siemens, and French engineer Pierre Emile Martin.  It  will result in a rapid increase in steel production.

The Gatling gun invented by U.S. engineer Richard Jordan Gatling, can fire hundreds of rounds per minute. It will see service in the Civil War beginning in 1864.

A Western Union telegraph line opens between New York and San Francisco, one of whose hills will hereafter be called Telegraph Hill. The wire brings an end to the money-losing Pony Express started in 1860 by William Hepburn Russell.

Henry du Pont obtains enough saltpeter from England to keep his Delaware powder works producing. His firm will make 4 million pounds of gunpowder for the Union Army and sell it for nearly $1 million in the course of the war.

Gail Borden licenses more factories to produce his condensed milk, which the Union Army is purchasing for use in field rations. 

Charles Garnier designs the Opera in Paris.

Sandringham House is built in Norfolk as a country residence for Queen Victoria.

A skeleton of the Archaeopteryx is discovered at Solnhofen.

William Crookes discovers thallium.

Louis Pasteur confutes theories that lack of oxygen is what keeps canned food from spoiling. He also notes that milk requires more heat for sterilization, and heating it to 110° C. will stop the growth of “vibrios” and preserve it indefinitely. Also, the germ theory of disease has its beginnings in a paper published by Louis Pasteur that refutes the idea of spontaneous generation.

A lecture to the Royal Society of Arts demonstrates that 87 percent of London’s bread and 74 percent of the city’s milk is still adulterated despite the Adulteration of Foods Law enacted in 1860.

Baltimore canner Isaac Solomon reduces the average processing time for canned foods from 6 hours to 30 minutes by employing Humphry Davy’s discovery that adding calcium chloride raises the temperature of boiling water to 240° F. 

The Central Pacific Railroad is chartered in California to build the western section of a projected transcontinental rail link.  With manpower scarce due to the Civil War, officers employ workers from China, where the Taiping Rebellion has disrupted the economy. 

September 21--Paraguay’s Ferro-Carril del Estado (the state railway) begins regular operation between Asunción and Paraguarí using British-built locomotives and rolling stock. 

The velocipede developed by Parisian coach builder Pierre Michaux is the world’s first true bicycle. 

T.S. Mort of Sydney builds the first machine-chilled cold storage unit.


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