Literary Links

September/October 1997


Good News and Announcements

October 10, 1997--Elections are coming up for RWA Board positions and Region Directors. Ballots will be mailed September 15, 1997, so watch the mail and be sure to return your ballot by the deadline of October 10, 1997.

October 17-19, 1997--Region II Conference--Schaumburg, IL. Region II RWA is holding their Two Hearts Conference at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield from October 17th to 19th, 1997. Susan Johnson is the Keynote Speaker, and Julie Garwood will also be speaking. Steffie Walker, RWA Bookseller of the year, will be sponsoring the Book Fair. Fifteen percent of all proceeds will be donated to literacy. For more information, e-mail me at

October 17, 1997--Literacy Autographing--Schaumburg, Illinois. This event is sponsored by Region II and will be conducted in association with the Two Hearts Conference. It is open to the public and will be held Friday, October 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield. Your favorite authors will be on hand to sign new releases and some backlist titles.

October 18, 1997--Bookseller of the Year Banquet--Schaumburg, Illinois. The Region II Conference will award a Bookseller of the Year plaque on Saturday, October 18, 1997, at the Two Hearts Conference banquet.

October 19, 1997--"Self-Promotion and the Author"--Michelle J. Hoppe, president of Literary Liaisons, Ltd., will be part of a panel speaking at the Two Hearts Conference about self-promotion. She will talk about publicity on the Internet.


New On Literary Liaisons

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


The Non-fiction section of the Literary Liaisons bookstore is now open in association with Please visit the store, and follow the instructions for ordering for any book you wish to purchase. Thank you for your patronage.

RWA Chapters On-line

Chesapeake Romance Writers
Coeur du Bois Chapter (Boise, ID)
Fort Worth Area Romance Authors
Heart of Louisiana
North Texas Romance Writers of America
Wichita Area Romance Writers

Researching the Romance

Briggs, Asa. Victorian Cities. Los Angeles; University of California Press, 1993. ISBN#0520079221
Promotional Reprint Company, Ltd. Etiquette: Rules & Usages of the Best Society. Leicester, Promotional Reprint Company, Ltd., 1995. ISBN#1856483193
Seaby, Peter. The Story of British Coinage. London, B.A. Seaby, Ltd., 1990. ISBN#0900652748
Simmons, Jack. The Victorian Railway. London, Thames & Hudson, 1991. ISBN#0500278407

Writers' Resources

Celtic Homepage--Includes Celtic storytelling and merchandise, and links to other Celtic Internet sites
Elizabethan England--A high school project with articles on Life in Elizabethan England, including historical Figures, Everyday Life, Arts & Architecture and Shakespeare
Library of Congress--Copies of documents and manuscripts located in the Library of Congress
Living History Links Galore--A page from the "Recreating History" site, it covers Ancient to Modern History with links on the Internet


Feature Article

The Ritual of Mourning by Michelle J. Hoppe

Victorians treated death and mourning with the same serious attention they paid courting and marriage. There was a correct way to grieve, just as there was a correct way to pay an afternoon call. The elaboration of the funeral depended upon one's wealth, but rules governed all classes just the same.

Once a family member died, funeral arrangements began immediately. Death and funeral announcements were published in local papers. In the instance where a small village had no local paper, relatives and friends received personal invitations to the ceremony. The notepaper had a heavy black border to indicate mourning. It was considered poor manners not to accept an invitation to a funeral.

The deceased's family then set about preparing both house and humans for the ritual of mourning. The entire household went into "deep mourning." Drapes were drawn, clocks stopped and mirrors covered. The staff donned mourning attire. Female servants wore black work dresses and caps and male servants wore black gloves and cravats or ties. All correspondence was done on black-edged writing-paper and envelopes, with black seals. Even calling cards were reprinted with black edges. The width of the black band narrowed as mourning time passed.

It was in poor taste to pay calls of condolence while the deceased's body was still in the house. Family received only their most intimate friends at this time. Also, family did not leave their house in the interval between the death and the funeral. Servants or friends ran any necessary errands.

The funeral procession was draped in black also. Four black horses wearing tall black plumes led the mourning carriages. The carriages containing the clergyman and pall-bearers preceded the deceased in the funeral procession. Pall-bearers numbered six, or eight if the deceased was a prominent citizen. They were generally chosen from the closest acquaintances of the deceased, and were near the same age as the departed. After the deceased came closest relatives, more distant relatives and finally friends. The family provided all mourners with black gloves and scarves for the ceremony.

Once buried, the dead were not necessarily safe. Body snatchers roamed graveyards in search of fresh corpses to use in medical research. Many families hired guards to protect their loved ones from this fate.

About one week after the funeral, close friends could call upon the family and offer condolences. Within a month, acquaintances could visit the family, but only after receiving a note from the family that they were once again receiving visitors. Callers never wore bright colors while visiting the deceased's family.

A widow was most affected by mourning etiquette. Her grieving period went through several stages. First or Deep Mourning lasted a year and a day. During this time, she wore widow's weeds. This included black clothes of a dull cloth like bombazine draped with black crape. She also wore a black widow's cap and veil, but could not wear ornamentation of any kind. Second Mourning lasted for another twelve months. Her clothes were still wholly of black, but with less crape, and no cap or veil. She could, however, wear a quiet black hat and Jet ornaments. Half Mourning followed in the third year. The widow could now be relieved of her all-black clothing, but was restricted to gray or mauve as the accenting color. If a widow or other bereaved could not afford a mourning wardrobe, she dyed her current gowns black.

Some widows chose to remain in full mourning for the remainder of their lives, since it carried certain social advantages. They gained respect and admiration for showing devotion to the dearly departed, and they were accepted into the gracious social set who behaved properly. Queen Victoria remained in mourning for Prince Albert until her own death. Widowers had it easier. All they had to wear was a black armband.

Near relatives also followed a set of rules. The closeness of one's relation to the deceased determined the length of the mourning period. Parents and children mourned for one year, starting with deep mourning and discarding it by degrees. A brother, sister or grandparent was mourned for six months, an aunt or uncle for three months and a first cousin for six weeks. In-laws were mourned also, but for a lesser period of time.

The above would all be disregarded, however, if the deceased was a child or young unmarried girl. In that case, mourners wore white, and the procession was draped in white also. And if the person had committed suicide, until 1823, he was required by law to be buried at a crossroads with a stake through his heart (so as to prevent his ghost from walking.) Until 1832, a suicide victim had to be buried at night. And until 1870, all the deceased's property went to the Crown in the case of a suicide.

Mourning for Royalty was a national observance. Streets were hung with black and windows in shops were draped. It wasn't until 1901 when Edward VII decreed that mourning for Queen Victoria cease after four months that the rigid etiquette began to relax.

Yet despite all these ritual and rules, pomp and display were to be avoided. This was, after all, a solemn occasion and should be treated as such.


Editor's Note

This will perhaps be one of the most difficult letters I will have to write as editor, as with most of you, I am mourning the death of Princess Diana. I never met her, although I've walked on her soil, walked the streets of London, walked through the palace which was her house--Kensington. I feel a certain kinship with not only her, but also her people. For they, too, are grieving her. One word comes to mind when I think of this situation, and that is "tragedy." It is a tragedy that her fairy-tale wedding turned sour. It is tragedy that she died trying to escape people who had no business invading her privacy. It is tragedy that she died without realizing how much she was really loved.

Looking back and hearing the stories of her life, I am struck by the fact that she could have been a heroine in one of our romance novels. For she not only overcame forbidding obstacles and royal opposition, she remained herself--full of life and fun, and unfailing in her love for her family. She protected her sons as best she could while still trying to give them a normal life. As a mother, I admire her for that. She gave freely and willingly to others, and balked at ceremony. She was at once endearing and rebellious--a true heroine. She will be missed.


FAQ Column

Someone recently asked when the Literary Liaisons Bookstore will be open. The answer is--NOW! At least part of it, that is. After getting tired of waiting for the government to process my papers, I finally decided to form an association with the Internet's largest on-line Ordering books will be easier, as it can be done on-line. All you need to do is click on the highlighted title in our bookstore, and you will be connected to From there you can add the book to your shopping cart, then return to Literary Liaisons for more browsing. Further instructions are located on the Bookstore pages.

I will eventually be handling my own orders, here. These will be done my mail, and may or may not include books or items other than what I link to on Time will tell. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience, and please visit out new Bookstore.


Historical Calendar of Events


November 23, 1839--Queen Victoria announces her engagement to Prince Albert.

First Opium War breaks out in November between Britain and China.

Frederick IV, King of Denmark, dies and is succeeded by his nephew, Kristian.

The independent republic of Natal is founded by the Boers.

Ranjit Singh, Indian ruler and founder of Sikh kingdom, dies.

William I of the Netherlands recognizes Belgian independence April 19, letting the Belgians have the western part of Luxembourg, keeping the rest as a grand duchy for himself.

John Galt, Scottish novelist, is born.

Jared Sparks's "Life of Washington" is a bestseller.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow publishes "Hyperion" and "Voices of the Night."

Edgar Allan Poe publishes "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Paul Cezanne, French painter, is born.

Mendelssohn conducts the first performance of Franz Schubert's Symphony in C major.

Two British ships, the "Erebus" and "Terror" set out for an Antarctic voyage.

Charles Goodyear, American inventor, makes possible the commercial use of rubber by his discovery of the process of "vulcanization."

Moritz Jacobi of St. Petersburg, Russia, announces his process of electrotyping.

German-Swiss chemist Christian F. Schonbein discovers and names ozone.

Swiss physicist Carl August Steinheil builds the first electric clock.

American army officer Abner Doubleday lays out the first baseball field and conducts the first baseball game ever played.

Scottish inventor Kirkpatrick Macmillan constructs the first bicycle.

Telegrapher Samuel F. B. Morse makes the first daguerreotype portrait in America.

George Cadbury, English chocolate manufacturer, is born.

Ninety-five chests of Assam tea arrive in London. The new black tea begins to gain popularity.

Samuel Cunard starts with his partners, the British and North-American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, later known as the Cunard Line.

The first Grand National is run at Aintree, England near Liverpool.

Rugby rules are devised by Cambridge University student Arthur Fell.

John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist, is born.

Italy gets its first railway, an 8 kilometer stretch between Naples and Portici.

George D. Weed's antislavery pamphlet, "Slavery As It Is" is published.

Boston University, The University of Missouri, and Boston's Lowell Institute are founded.

The Virginia Military Institute is founded in Lexington.

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