Historical Tidbits

Hello my lovelies! I hope you’re all nice and comfortable while you read this, because I’m about to bore you senseless with useless historical details. Why? Because I’m awesome like that.

Research is both the bane of my writing existence and the joy of my nerdy heart. I can’t get every historical detail right, but I sure can have fun trying. History is full of all sorts of interesting (boring) tidbits that catch my eye. Here’s a few from primary sources that I thought you might enjoy. Or not. 🙂





Yes, a land steward must be concerned with the cross-breeding of turnips, as Swedish turnips are inferior in succulence and size to the English turnip.

~ The Modern Land Steward by John Lawrence, 1806, Second Edition, p. 470





In 1813, a novel was published called “She Thinks For Herself”. I can’t help but wonder who wrote it and what it was about. I did find a primary source critical review of it, and the novel appears to be written by an “old maid” of forty. I didn’t read the review, however. I’d rather guess at the contents! ~ The Universal Magazine of Knowledge, 1813





After the shipwreck of the brig Rattlesnake, 18 people were reported dead. However, it was later discovered that they had lived, trapped in the forecastle in chin deep water. But the most interesting aspect was that a young boy had been with them. The men had held him up so that his head was above the surface of the water for four hours, because they were “determined that so long as they lived he should not perish.” ~ The Universal Magazine of Knowledge, 1813




Yes, your Regency hero can say “kiss mine a-se”. Also, the part of the bread that touched the oven is called a “kissing crust.” ~ Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose, 1823

kiss my arse

A good natured kiss can have a bad effect. Beware! ~ The Mirror of Graces, by A Lady of Distinction, 1811




And last but not least, (1) I wish I had this dress, and (2) I wish the picture were in color. The top layer is white gauze with small pink dots!


Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at alyssa@alyssa-alexander.com.

13 Responses

  1. Nancy

    I do like these bits and pieces from magazines. A nicely eclectic collection. I would look like a wedding cake in that dress.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I have to say, I get a kick out of reading primary sources! And I can’t say I wouldn’t look like a wedding cake too. 🙂 But it’s so lovely, I have dreams of pulling it off!

  2. Barbara Monajem

    Turnip erotica! With an international flavor, no less. As for a good-natured kiss mine arse, the possibilities are endless…

  3. Ally Broadfield

    I really enjoyed “She Thinks for Herself.” As if that is a shocking admission. Egads, she thinks for herself! We must contact the authorities immediately!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Isn’t that fascinating? It’s rather subversive, in a way, and could be all sorts of scandalous as well. I’m tempted to see if I can’t find it, but I think my imagination is probably going to have too much fun with that. Just what could that novel be about…

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I love history! There’s something about that connection between past, present and future that is fascinating. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. giffmacshane

    I just love the story of the sailors and the little boy! And here’s a tidbit from one historical nerd to another: white cotton gauze or fine muslin with tiny flocked or embroidered dots is called “Dotted Swiss”. It was first made in Switzerland in the 1750s.