When you write historical novels, you end up down the research rabbit hole more often than not. And, if you’re anything like me, you spend two days researching diapers for a half-line sentence that required no such research, but tell yourself (and your husband) that it was absolutely essential that you put your entire project on hold to do that research so that it was the PERFECT half-line sentence about diapers.
So…this Saturday, I though I’d do a round-up of five research-related links that I couldn’t live without.
- Map of London in 1818 – I have a map of London from 1908 hanging in my office, and that’s my go-to map for names and places, but sometimes I need to dig deeper, and that’s when I click here. Ignore the garish yellow background and the clunky design, and just trust me. It’s an awesome resource for finding little secret streets and nooks and crannies for your hero and heroine as they traipse across London.
- Candace Hern’s Regency World - I have a million books on fashion of the early 1800s, but I confess that my first stop is often Candace Hern’s website. She has an awesome collection of Regency-era fashion prints that she’s put online (some of which have been featured at The Ballroom for Regency Project Runway). Also on Candace’s site — accessories, a timeline of the Regency, Regency-era objects and people. It’s a treasure trove, and Candace is a treasure.
- British Titles of Nobility and other Awesome Info — In 1998, some amazing woman named Laura created a website that has an immense amount of information on titles, the peerage, entails, and other aristocratic things. It is AMAZING. It’s my first stop whenever I have a weird title question, like “When can I use the term dowager?” Or “If her brother’s wife’s third cousin is a Marquess, what does that make her?” But here’s the rub. Laura last updated this website in 2006, and I’m terrified it will someday go away, so I have downloaded every bit of information from it to my computer, so that if it does, I can continue to use her vastly superior knowledge. I recommend you do the same.
- The Oxford English Dictionary Online — This one is pricey. There’s an annual fee in the neighborhood of $250, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if you’re writing historicals, you need to know things like the fact that the word “moxie” wasn’t in use until the 1920s, but that that swear word you’ve been dying to use has been around since the 1500s. If you don’t want to swing for the OED yourself, your local library probably has a subscription. And if not, I like Etymonline.com for a free etymology dictionary.
- Two Nerdy History Girls — I’m wild about this blog. It’s probably the only one I visit regularly (present company excepted), in part because Lorretta Chase (yes, that Loretta Chase) and Isabella Bradford are a fabulous place to get great ideas. From posts about the brightness of candles to weekly roundups of researchy links, it’s an historical writer’s dream. Also, Loretta Chase.
What have I missed? If you have a great historical research link that you can’t live with out, please share it in comments!