A Puritan Hero

Just discovered this blog, courtesy of a share by my friend and Alcott scholar, Kristi Martin, who brought Amy Belding Brown to my attention with this link. Kristi and I both work in Concord and greatly admire what is known as Orchard House, the home built by the subject of this piece, John Hoar, and which would later be home to Louisa May Alcott as she penned Little Women.

I love antique houses, women’s history, and stories of rebellious colonists of New England in the days before notions of antidisestablishmentarianism took hold. This one combines them all!

Collisions

Orchard House snowAbout a decade ago, I worked for a few years at the Orchard House Museum in Concord, Massachusetts.  Best known as the home of Louisa May Alcott and the place where she wrote the classic novel, Little Women, the house has an impressive history of its own.  When I was there the 300-year-old building, renovated by Bronson Alcott in the 1850’s, was in the midst of a massive preservation project, so I had the opportunity to see, up-close, some of the details of the colonial construction.  Ever since, I’ve been fascinated not just by how historical houses are decorated, but how they’re constructed.

At that time, I was finishing work on my novel, Mr. Emerson’s Wife, about the Transcendental circle in19th century Concord.  Little did I know that a few years later, I’d encounter the house again, as I researched a 17th-century Concord lawyer for my new novel,

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“No Blondes Need Apply?” Some things never change.

The blog pastispresent.org, written by the curatorial staff at one of my favorite New England Institutions, The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, is always a good read. The other day, the staff published a particularly comical piece, which featured a Chicago publication for the lonely-hearted and marriage-minded from 1876. While many of the ads would sound odd to us today (“musically accomplished” is a frequently-cited qualification), others are concerned with the more aesthetic features or fiscal concerns of the advertisers and potential respondents: “No Blondes Need Apply?” Some things never change.

http://pastispresent.org/2014/fun-in-the-archive/no-blondes-need-apply/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=no-blondes-need-apply