Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Eight Interesting Tidbits About the Gilded Age

To celebrate my latest release, “Behind the Scenes,” I decided to share a few interesting tidbits I’ve discovered about the Gilded Age. In all honesty, I was considering doing a Top Ten list since my latest release is technically my tenth published historical romance. However, since two of those stories are novellas, I didn’t think My Top Eight Interesting Tidbits with Two Smaller Tidbits Mixed In would make a good title. But, I’m becoming distracted, so…on to my Eight Interesting Tidbits. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gilded Age, it was a time that began directly after the Civil War and ran until right about the start of World War I. Industry was booming, fortunes were being made at an unprecedented rate, and the Knickerbocker set (the established social families of the day) were up in arms because the nouveau riche were trying to elbow their way into society.  It was a time of glitter, progression, and greed. A time when fortunes were won and lost on a whim, and a time when scandal, intrigue, and fashion were simply a part of life for the more fortunate people of the day.   


1. Alexander Turney Stewart was the owner of A.T. Stewart & Company, and died in 1876. Three weeks after his death, his body was stolen and held for ransom. What was really disconcerting about the abduction was Mr. Stewart’s body had been buried in the family vault, twelve feet under the ground, in a coffin, but the thieves didn’t take him in his coffin – they merely snatched his decomposing body and disappeared. I can’t even imagine what the stench was like. Negotiations to return his body did not go as planned and his body remained missing for a few years. Then, in 1879, his widow delivered $20,000 to an unknown man, receiving a bag of bones in return – all that was left of A.T. Stewart. The thieves were never caught.

2. Another tidbit about A.T. Stewart is that no matter his extreme wealth, he was not invited into New York high society. The guardian of that society, Caroline Astor, did not believe merchants had any business mingling in high society. She even remarked to friends that while she purchased her carpets from A. T. Stewart & Company, there was absolutely no reason to feel compelled to invite Mr. Stewart into her home to walk on those carpets. In retaliation for the snub, A.T. Stewart built a huge monstrosity of a home, complete with marble statues – directly across the street from Caroline’s sensible and less than attractive brownstone. 

3. And speaking of Mrs. Astor, her story is never complete without mentioning Ward McAllister. He was an overly pompous sort, and it was he who championed Caroline Astor to become the queen of society, while he took on the position of social arbiter. Oddly enough, he addressed Caroline as his Mystic Rose. To me, considering he was married to another woman, and one who possessed the fortune that allowed him to travel in society, calling Caroline his Mystic Rose seems untoward. I’ve yet to find any documentation, though, that suggest Caroline and Ward were anything other than social companions. Their friendship ended abruptly when Ward published his memoir, spilling some of society’s secrets. Caroline turned her back on him and didn’t bother to attend Ward’s funeral, claiming she had a prior engagement.

4. Because Caroline was such a snob, I was delighted to learn about the lady who thwarted her and changed the dynamics of New York society - Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, the former Alva Smith. William and Alva were not well-suited, but Alva got the fortune she desired through their marriage, while William got a socially ambitious wife. Even though the Vanderbilt family was one of the wealthiest families in the country, Caroline Astor proclaimed they were unfit for polite society, which is why Alva decided to host a costume ball in March of 1883 at her new mansion at 660 Fifth Avenue. Everyone wanted to attend, especially Caroline’s daughter, Carrie. However, because Caroline, the society matron, had never paid a call on Alva, Alva let it be known that, per one of Caroline’s society rules, it would not be socially acceptable to invite the Astor family to her ball. Realizing there was nothing to do but give in, Caroline had her driver whisk her over to Alva’s house, waited in the carriage for her groom to deliver her calling card to the butler, and just like that, Alva was free to invite the Astor family to the ball, and was, from that point forward, considered a member of high society. 



5. And while we’re speaking of Alva Vanderbilt, I should mention the troubling notion that she forced her only daughter, Consuelo Vanderbilt, into marriage with the Duke of Marlborough in 1895, even though Consuelo was in love with another gentleman. The duke admitted he was only marrying her for her money because he needed to maintain Blenheim Palace, his palatial home. They did not enjoy a happy marriage. They finally divorced after years of separation in 1920, and one year after that divorce, the Duke of Marlborough married Gladys Deacon.


6. Gladys Deacon was one of the most beautiful women of the times, and she knew it. She decided she wanted the Duke of Marlborough not long after he married Consuelo, and made it a point to befriend Consuelo. That allowed her to get close to the duke, who, unfortunately, fell under her spell. Gladys was so vain she’d spend hours gazing into mirrors, and when she decided there was a small dimple marring the space right above her nose, she had it injected with paraffin in 1900. It was like an archaic form of Botox, and…while it seemed to puff out that dimple for a short amount of time, the paraffin began to melt, settling in clumps around her chin and jaw. She eventually had to have four surgeries to get it removed, which left permanent scars and gave her a rather curious appearance for the rest of her days. 

7. The next tidbit concerns Ward McAllister’s successor as social arbiter, Mr. Harry Lehr. Harry was a gentleman who knew how to win over the ladies. He knew how to dress them, entertain them, and make them laugh. He was, however, a man of little fortune. Because he was so well-liked by the ladies, it was decided by society matrons that Harry needed a wife. They chose the widowed Elizabeth Drexel for him, heiress to a large fortune. Harry and Elizabeth were soon married, but unbeknownst to her, Harry was not attracted to ladies. On her wedding night, she ordered a dinner for two to be delivered to her hotel suite, but Harry never arrived to share it with her. She finally sought him out in his suite of rooms, where he informed her that theirs was to be a marriage in name only, he was not attracted to her, and he’d only married her for her money. Because she knew a divorce would kill her mother, Elizabeth stayed married to Harry until he died of a brain tumor in 1929. Her memoir, “King Lehr” and the Gilded Age, never allows the reader to know if she realized Harry was not heterosexual, but after his death, she did remarry, and one must hope it was to a man who loved her. 




8. And last, but not least, while reading Elizabeth Lehr’s memoir, I thought I uncovered a real-life Cinderella story. In chapter twelve, I learned about Mary Lily Kenan who spent her time sewing in an attic room that belonged to Mrs. Pembroke Jones in Newport. Mary was described as a plain woman with no one to love until Mr. Henry Flagler paid a visit to Mrs. Jones. He was recently divorced and seemingly disillusioned with the world. But, he took one look at Miss Kenan and fell head over heels in love with her. The story then went on to say that he returned the next day, using the excuse he’d lost a button to have a reason to see Miss Kenan again. While Mary sewed on the button, Henry declared his love for her, then whisked her away to her happily-ever-after. 

I should have just left it at that, but no, I decided to look further into their history. Needless to say, what I discovered was no Cinderella story. Mary Kenan met Henry in 1891 when she was 23 and he was 61. She was a beautiful and most sought-after lady, and Henry was smitten. However, he was also married to his second wife, Alice, who was showing signs of insanity and had homicidal tendencies. Alice was institutionalized two years after Henry met Mary, and while he tried to seek a divorce over the ensuing years, he and Mary remained…close. He presented her with a fortune in jewelry on her, gave her a million dollars’ worth of oil stock, and began building her a mansion. He finally secured his divorce in 1901 when the Florida Legislature passed a new law, making incurable insanity grounds for divorce. He and Mary were then married and lived a lovely life until he died in 1913, leaving her a fortune worth over 100,000,000. However, tragedy soon struck when Mary remarried in 1916, and while she and her new husband, Robert Worth Bingham, were celebrating their recent marriage at a party, she fell ill, dying a mere six weeks later. Two months after that, her body was exhumed and it was discovered she’d been poisoned. Robert was suspected of the murder, but he was never arrested, claiming his innocence until the day he died. And that was the end of what certainly turned out to be anything but a Cinderella story.

Now it’s your turn. What is one historical tidbit you’d like to share?


Today Jen is generously giving away five signed copies of Behind the Scenes. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.  So do leave a comment and share your juicy historical tidbits! 

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn't guaranteed to "take." After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she's finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym "Miss Quill."

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it's simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she's determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she'll end up at risk as well.


As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there's more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .


And don't miss the opportunity to download the delightful novella that starts the series Apart From the Crowd. At Your Request is free for Kindle! 





 A USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano is known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her novel, Playing the Part, was nominated as a 2016 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award Finalist, while After a Fashion, was nominated as a 2015 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award Finalist, as well as being named a 2015 top ten romance from Booklist.  Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013.  Her latest series, Apart from the Crowd released with a free e-novella, At Your Request in January 2017, with the first full-length novel, Behind the Scenes releasing in April.   When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time roaming in and around Denver. She can be found here on Facebook or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. 

170 comments :

  1. Welcome back to Seekerville, Jen! Deeelighted to have you here. I've got tea and scones for your visit. And coffee for the night owls. (me!)

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    1. Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today, Tina! I'm just on my first cup of coffee, got Al off to the airport - he's going to Texas today, and now I'm ready for the day. It's snowing here in Denver, so good day for me to be in my office.

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    2. Snow in April. Fat snow too, no doubt. Gotta love it.

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    3. Hmmm...I'm not sure love is exactly what I'm feeling, Tina:)

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  2. I am a HUGE fan of Molly Brown and took the Seekers to tour her home in Denver in 2009 when ACFW was there. But did you know that Molly Brown was NEVER known as Molly in her lifetime? She was Maggie or Mrs. JJ Brown?

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    1. I remember that tour and that fact because who'd have thought it?

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    2. That house and "Molly's" history was so fascinating. Thank you for taking us, there, Tina. And I still vividly remember the magnificent state capitol building you took us to!

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    3. Love the Molly Brown House, Tina! Sorry I missed your tour. I wasn't a part of ACFW then, but I do hope they'll come back to Denver one day.

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    4. Tina, I loved the tour of the Brown house. The history about her fascinated me.

      Janet

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    5. Sorry I missed the tour, Tina! Silly me, attending the conference instead. ;-D I did love the movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown, with Debbie Reynolds.

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    6. Your husband was with us Myra. I think a few of you met with your publishers and agents.

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    7. Yeah, Project Guy has all the fun.

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    8. I missed the tour. Like Myra, I was attending workshops. :(

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    9. Debby, we may need to adjust our priorities--LOL!

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  3. ONe history tidbit that always amazed me was the story of Sarah Winchester and the Winchester house. Without going into detail, Sarah believed her house was haunted and that loved ones were killed by spirits. She visited a psychic or medium who told her she was being haunted by spirits of indians and civil war soldiers that were killed with the Winchester rifle. She told Sarah to move west and build a large house for all the spirits to live in and as long as construction on the house never stopped, she wouldn't be killed. She did just that and from what I understand you can visit the house and you will find staircases that go nowhere, doors that open to a wall and no room, etc. Strange.

    I would love to be entered to win your book Jen. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Whoa. I must look this up, Cindy! I've never heard of that. Okay, I did. It's in San Jose, California and they do tours.

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    2. I remember seeing a TV program about that years ago. She just kept building & building & building.

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    3. Oh, I love that story, Cindy. I ran across Sarah's story in a research book a few years back, and I'll have to find that book again. It had pictures of the staircases leading nowhere. It's certainly a fascinating, and incredibly weird, story. Thanks for sharing!

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    4. I read about this somewhere. It is quite fascinating.

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  4. Jen, thank you for being here today! I've got a delightful historical series I'm working on, but I tend toward the grit and grime of pioneers or colonials so this is very different!

    When we look back, isn't it amazing how times define themselves? How leadership or money can set a tone that remains set for years or decades?

    And how often it goes unseen at the time.

    Nice to have you over here and this is a fun topic I need to learn more about!

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    1. Hi Ruth!

      Thank you so much for having me today. I'm delighted to be here.

      What a difference there was between the pioneers you write about and the society crowds found in my books. The differences in lifestyles is almost unfathomable, which I think will make an interesting story if either of us ever decides to take a character from one setting and plop them right into the other. Talk about a fish out of water story:)

      Good luck with your series!

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  5. Good morning, Jen! Through the years I've enjoyed reading non-fiction about the bigger-than-life personalities and over-indulgences of the Gilded Age. I've toured some of the big mansions still standing as well. How fun it must be to write stories set in that era and bring these "tidbits" to life!

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    1. Good morning, Glynna!

      I love the Gilded Age, although it is sad that many of the mansions that marched up and down Fifth Ave. have been demolished. I would have loved to visit Alva Vanderbilt's home. From the pictures I've uncovered, it was quite the sight. I'm hoping to get to Newport this summer, though - wouldn't mind seeing some of those 'cottages.'

      Thanks for stopping in this morning!

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  6. Wow! Fascinating, Jen. Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Hey Susan!

      Thanks for dropping by today. Always delightful hearing from you:)

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  7. I loved reading all those stories, but they're a great reminder that money doesn't buy happiness. Thanks, Jen!

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    1. Thank you, Sandra!

      It is a great reminder, Sandra. I'm always taken aback to uncover all of these really disturbing stories and wonder if some of these newly rich industrialist ever longed to return to a simpler life.

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  8. Good morning, Jen. Such a fascinating account of socialites. I had to chuckle as I read. I felt like I was watching one of the "Housewives" shows with all the scandal and gossip. Truly fascinating. It just goes to show you that celebrities with bad behavior transcend the ages.

    Thank you for visiting today. I love those beautiful book covers.

    ~ Renee

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    1. Thank you, Renee!

      And you're right. New York high society was exactly like an episode of any number of reality shows. It's always interesting to me how there's this idea of how the past was - very prime, very proper - when in actuality...not so much:)

      Have a great day!

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  9. Just goes to show that the past was not as prim and proper as some would lead us to believe. What an interesting post! Thank you Jen

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    1. Hi Cindy!

      That's so funny you wrote that about the prim and proper because I just wrote that in my reply right above this post:)

      Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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  10. my first thought about the tidbits is "wow... rich ladies are MEAN, MEAN, MEAN" I would have never made it in high society. I would've probably been one of the hired help pining for a better life but just making due on the "mercy" of her betters.
    I like reading about the Gilded Age, but I've a feeling I would NOT wanted to live during that time.
    I've read At Your Request (awesome read!), which has definitely whetted my appetite to read Behind the Scenes. Would love to be in the draw.

    Thanks for the peek into high society. It is very interesting and very sad too.

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    1. Hi Deb!

      Delighted you enjoyed "At Your Request!" Thank you for that:)

      As for the ladies, yeah, I think the really high society ones were not all that pleasant. They took the high school mean girl thing of today to a whole different level.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

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  11. Hi Jen. I love these tidbits.

    You know one tidbit I found that I've never used and would like to, now I can't remember her name. RATS! A black woman got the job of delivering mail, this was after the Civil War in the Rocky Mountains, Montana I'm thinking. And for twenty years, she never missed a day of work. If the snow was too deep, she'd walk carrying the mail on her back. i think she had to carry it on to a farther town so realy treacherous roads and blizzards.
    They had contests for mailmen and she was famous for hitching up a horse to the mail coach faster than men half her age.
    And she was beloved by the people she delivered mail to. Not treated poorly for her race or gender. She lived to a ripe old age, too.

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    1. Hi Mary!

      Cool tidbit - I've never read about that lady, but she would fit in wonderfully well with one of your stories:)

      Thanks for sharing - hope to see you sometime this year!

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  12. Jen, welcome back to Seekerville. Thanks for all these fun and fascinating Gilded Age tidbits! I'm sure the research had to be riveting. The parties given in the cottages of Newport were beyond lavish.

    Your covers are gorgeous! Perfect for the period.

    Janet

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet. I love visiting Seekerville.

      As for my covers - Since I have almost nothing to do with their creation, except for filling out a character/setting sheet, I don't feel weird at all saying they totally rock:)

      Have a great day!

      ~ Jen ~

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  13. HAH I found it...by googling Black Woman Delivers Mail 1800s....

    It's Mary Fields.
    https://priceonomics.com/mary-fields-former-slave-pioneer-woman-certified/

    Quote about her: She was born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, but lived to become one of the freest souls that ever drew breath. Gary Cooper.

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    1. Mary - I had a feeling you'd be looking for the name:)

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  14. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by to visit with us. What fascinating tidbits. I never realized how interesting the gilded age was. I guess I just got stuck on the Victorian era and failed to walk on. lol.
    I'm reading this going, "and this is America?"
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Amber!

      When I first started writing historical romance, I actually wrote in the Regency period. But then, I happened upon a book about Alva Vanderbilt, and that was it - my love for all things gilded began. It is an incredibly fascinating period in time, and somewhat neglected in my humble opinion. Although, because the man who developed Downton is said to be developing a new series based in the Gilded Age in NYC, I think we might see a new interest in the period.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  15. And as if the ASTOR fortune didn't come from Trade. He bought and sold furs from Mountain Men, or his ancestors did. Dork

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    1. So this is interesting, Mary - Caroline Astor was born Caroline Schermerhorn, daughter to one of the established Knickerbocker families. She then married John Backhouse Astor II - but made him lose the whole Backhouse part of his name because she felt it was common - he was the grandson of John Jacob Astor who did, indeed, make his initial fortune in furs - almost completely decimating the beaver population by the time he moved on to real estate - Anyway, Caroline decided that it was okay for her to marry into this fortune because it had been three generations since the Astor family dirtied their hands in trade - But here's what's interesting - William K. Vanderbilt, Alva's husband, was three generations removed from when his grandfather started the Vanderbilt fortune - so Caroline only seemed to adhere to that rule when it suited her:)

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    2. Did she get into that social stratus with HER name and drag that slimy, low ranking millionaire tradesman Astor with her? Maybe that was her back door.
      I'll bet I wouldn't have liked her. :)

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    3. You know, it's a little odd that Caroline did marry an Astor because she came from money and she must have felt he was beneath her. However, she wasn't known to be an overly attractive lady, so perhaps that had something to do with her decision. I don't think I'd have cared for her either - and then, when her daughter, Carrie, abandoned her husband and sailed over to Europe in pursuit of her lover, Caroline brushed that scandal under the carpet after Carrie returned to the states, and pretty much forced society to accept Carrie again, even though Caroline had been responsible for shutting the door on other ladies who weren't nearly as scandalous.

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  16. Wow, Jen! Thanks for sharing those juicy tidbits! So interesting. I love history and really should study it more. I might actually decide to write a historical novel someday! (I love reading them.)

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    1. Hi Missy!

      Thanks for stopping in. Love hearing you enjoy reading historical novels since that is what I seem to enjoy writing! Good luck if you decide to write one.

      I have a lot of other juicy tidbits, but I didn't think anyone would want to read thousands and thousands of words today:)

      Have a wonderful week!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. OH THOSE VANDERBILTS!!! Gloria Vanderbilt is 92 now and her history is just as nutty as the rest of the family gravy train!

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  17. Wow! I love this post, Jen. I love your books too!! This makes that era seem even more interesting. I LOVE watching the Titanic movie and seeing the different classes represented. Right now, my research is focused on 1939-1940 London, but America sounds great too. Might have to look up some of these items and learn more. Have a great week everyone!

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    1. Hi Kelly!

      Great to hear from you as always!

      I'm sure your research is fascinating as well. I don't know that much about London during that time period. My focus was always on Regency back in the day, but that was so long ago, I doubt I could pen a credible novel set in that period now.

      Good luck with your book, and thank you for loving my books!

      ~ Jen ~

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  18. Hi Jen, Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for such an interesting post. What a lot of research and history. smile. I love doing research and obviously you do also. Thanks also for the free download. Its always fun to get hooked on a new book. Have fun today.

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    1. Thank you, Sandra!

      And I'm sure you're like me as well, you know, the part where you decide to add something - like when I decided to set a story on a yacht, yet realized rather quickly I knew absolutely nothing about yachts in 1883. That little oversight cost me three weeks of trying to track down info about yachts - which was far more difficult than I thought it would be, and the books I did uncover were dry as dirt.

      Hope you enjoy "At Your Request."

      ~ Jen ~

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  19. Fun post today. Thanks for being here, Jen. I love interesting stories like this. The rich people of that time couldn't have been very happy, although I'm sure they thought they were. I come from a background of hardy pioneers who settled in Nebraska during that time period. Nothing like the rich people back East.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the book. It looks interesting! I am off now to download At Your Request. Looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Sandy!

      I have a hodgepodge of ancestors, most of whom settled in the East - Boston area from what I've been able to uncover - although my great aunt was researching our history quite a few years ago- it was all she could talk about - but then...silence. I'm thinking she turned up something of an unsavory nature:)

      Enjoy the novella!

      ~ Jen ~

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  20. Jen, thanks for the fascinating stories! Oh my! Life was different in the Gilded Age!

    I'm fanning myself and fearing I might have the vapors!!!

    Hugs!

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    1. We'll need to get you a vial of smelling salts, Debby - as well as a fainting couch for you to lounge on while in the midst of the vapors:)

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  21. Interesting stuff, Jen--thanks for sharing all these fascinating tidbits about the Golden Age! I know very little about the era, but one of the highlights of living in the Carolinas was a Christmastime visit to George Vanderbilt's Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC. Such luxury! I can't even imagine that kind of wealth and power. Hoping we can go back sometime when the gardens are in bloom!

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    1. Hi Myra!

      Oh, the Biltmore - now that's an impressive piece of architecture. I can't even imagine living there. My first experience with an old-money estate was the Goodyear Family mansion in Akron, but even it didn't prepare me for when I went to visit the Biltmore.

      Hope you get to visit again when the gardens are in bloom:)

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. This month's Southern Living features the estate and the city of Charleston S.C. Such history. On my bucket list.

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    3. The Biltmore is amazing.

      Did I hear Seekerville road trip?

      And Charleston is my one of my "happy" places.

      One trip, two destinations. Sounds enchanting!

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  22. Love, love, love this post. And it proves life is stranger than fiction! HA! What very interesting real-life characters...using only one or two of their traitors in fiction would make an excellent story. I really enjoyed reading your post.

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    1. Thank you, Rose!

      I have to admit I have an entire box filled with little snippets I've uncovered about this age. Plenty of fodder for future stories - and the tidbit about A.T. Stewart and his body going missing? Well, there might be something inspired from that in the last book in this series - currently untitled, but one I'm working on right now.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  23. I do not have any juicy pieces of history to share, but I surely want to learn more about the Gilded Ages after those eight tidbits.
    I really enjoy your books and cannot wait to read "Behind the Scenes"!

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    1. Thank you, Terressa!

      "The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York" is a great resource if you just want to get the basics. Most libraries can get a copy - fascinating reading.

      Thanks for enjoying my books! Good luck with the giveaway.

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Terressa! Welcome to Seekerville. Gosh, I love the spelling of your name. What's the interesting tidbit behind that?

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  24. Caroline Astor sounds like Nellie Olsen in spades, and with gazillions more money and influence. Methinks I would not have liked her overmuch. I'm sure the feeling would have been mutual. If she'd ever thought of me at all.

    The Gilded Age is fascinating. So glad you've got a knack for telling those stories, Jen. Like Mary, I tend to lean toward writing about the poor, the downtrodden, and the hand-to-mouth set! lol

    Welcome to Seekerville!

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    1. Thanks for having me, Pam!

      And yes, Nellie Olsen is a great comparison, although I do believe Caroline Astor would be most put out with that observation:)

      Have a great day!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Pam, I always thought what a blast Mrs. Olsen had playing her part. Her and Nellie both.

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  25. Number two most fascinating people from history in Denver: Drumroll! Baby Doe Tabor. I have read her story over and over and still find it interesting. It's like reading a scandal sheet.

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    1. There used to be a Baby Doe's restaurant in Dallas. No idea if it's still around, but it was a fun and quirky place to dine! I always wondered where it got its name.

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    2. I always thought her story was so sad in the end, losing everything and dying in a shack. But, she did steal Mr. Tabor from his first wife, so...

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    3. Baby Doe's Matchless Mine Restaurant. They are all closed now.

      Yes. Very sad story. But lots of history in Denver. Their name is everywhere.

      Ever been to Old Colorado City next to Manitou? Another cool place. Original capital of Denver.

      Hmm, maybe I should try to write historical.

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    4. Tina, I love how you bring up Colorado history. I love those stories too from my native State. Thanks for sharing them (and making me a tad "home"sick)

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    5. Yeah, the "Matchless Mine" part came to me while I was making a sandwich for lunch earlier.

      It does sound like you have a penchant for history, Tina. :)

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    6. I have been to Old Colorado City - Dom went to UCCS in Colorado Springs for a few years so I was down there often. And, we used to go up to Santa's Workshop all the time - but once, it was closed due to weather - we ended up at Cave of the Winds and did their ghost tour - very sad business connected with those caves - the wife of one of the owners fell off a cliff and died on the wagon ride back to town to get her help.

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  26. Loved reading your Eight Interesting Tidbits. Thanks for sharing! #8, in the addition, reminded me of Jane Eyre lol. An interesting historical tidbit: I can trace my ancestry to Olive Schreiner, a South African author in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Her father was a missionary from Germany.

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    1. Thank you, Sally!

      How interesting about your ancestry. I bet Olive had some great stories to tell!

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  27. $20,000 for a bag of bones!!! These stories are so interesting and entertaining!!! So excited for your new release! Just love the guilded age!!!

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    1. Ashley Johnson! Welcome to Seekerville!

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    2. Hey Ashley!

      Great to see you here:) And, I had to cut this bit out of my first draft - but the ransom for A.T. Stewart's body was originally set at $250,000. Can you imagine - and, there is a question whether or not those were actually his bones, but it would have been next to impossible to know back then. It's a really disturbing story. But, because of that ransom, one of Cornelius Vanderbilt's sons hired on a guard to watch over his father's grave, (some reports say that protection lasted for almost 50 years) and the guards were required to punch a clock every fifteen minutes to prove they weren't sleeping on the job!

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  28. I'm totally drawing a blank on historical tidbits...but I love reading all the other tidbits people have shared. Can't wait to read this book; I really enjoyed At Your Request.

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    1. Adrienne, welcome to Seekerville!

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    2. Thank you, Adrienne!

      So glad you enjoyed the novella:)

      Have a great day!

      ~ Jen ~

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  29. One of the most fascinating true stories I read was about Deacon Miller, a hired killer. He dressed fancy, didn't smoke, drink or curse, and went to Church often--earning him the name. He wore a long dress coat even in summer.
    It was rumored he killed his grandparents when he was 8 years-old and that began his killing spree. He was arrested numerous times, but would always be released. People liked him.
    There's too many accounts to mention, but the most interesting was when a sheriff shot Miller in the leg and arm, but he didn't go down. Then the sheriff unloaded his pistol into his chest, but Miller still didn't go down. The sheriff fled, but later learned Miller wore a metal breast plate under his coat, of course, which is why he wore it year around, even in Texas.

    Jen, I LOVE your book covers!
    Your tidbits were fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Whoa! The first kevlar vest! A case for the FBI Profilers. Now I know why you write both suspense and historical, Connie.

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    2. Hi Connie!

      Thank you for sharing about Deacon Miller. I've never heard of him before, but what a fascinating man, although rather disturbing as well.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  30. HI Jen!! I love your books and it's not just because I'm a Coloradan. :)

    History is so fascinating. I do a lot of research about the Korean War and it's effects on women, specifically brides of war. I'm hoping to write a few historical books from that time period.

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    1. Thank you for stopping in today, Sharee, and I'm sure you're enjoying the lovely weather we're having in Colorado today. Honestly, I just bought some super cute sandals that I wore a few weeks ago, but today...had to break out the boots again.

      I don't know much about the Korean War, but I imagine the brides of war will make great stories.

      Good luck with your writing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  31. Thank you for letting us download your novella Jen! I haven't read much on the Gilded Age other than about the Titanic disaster because my husband's quite fascinated with that story and even built a model of the Titanic when he was in grade 8. What fascinates me is how the first WW destroyed the class system and America went in to a second "Gilded Age" in the Roaring Twenties post-war. I've seen a documentary on Sarah Winchester and the Winchester house - such a sad story about wealth and mental illness, but it was fascinating at the same time. Please put me in your draw! I'm off to download the novella, thanks again.

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    1. You're very welcome, Laurie. I hope you enjoy the novella - and it does include the first few chapters to "Behind the Scenes."

      There are so many sad stories throughout this time, but you're right, they are fascinating. Sometimes I get completely distracted when I run across something new and riveting - which doesn't exactly keep me on my writing schedule at times:)

      Good luck with the drawing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  32. Hi Jen! I loved reading your juice historical tidbits; they were so interesting and just proved that the real story is often just as compelling, if not more, than the fiction we writers create!

    How about this for some juicy historical tidbits? The French composer Berlioz fell in love with a beautiful actress he saw in a play, and inundated her with flowers, letters, etc. This freaked her out (she'd actually never met him), so she refused to meet him. He then wrote his Symphonie fantastique for her, which tells the story of vision Berlioz had of his accidentally killing his love, then being tried for her murder, and ends with witches and goblins dancing around him as he is led the scaffold to face justice. Cheery, no? Anyway, when the symphony debuted, the actress he had fallen in love with was in the audience, and after hearing the music, she agreed to meet Berlioz. They ended up getting married a few months later and, unsurprisingly, did NOT love happily ever after, since they barely knew each other and didn't even speak the same language!

    Thanks for letting me share. I'll have to look for this book!

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    1. Oh, that's a great tidbit, Stephanie. Although, one wonders if she understood his Symphonie, what with the killing of his love and all the witches and goblins -

      Thanks for sharing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  33. Accckkk! My perfectly beautiful comment... Gobbled up by Blogger. :(

    Alas... I'll try again. *slugs back a strong one* (Coffee) ;)

    Jen, loved your feast of tidbits today. I didn't realize there was so much scandal and sensationalism in the Gilded Age. Of course, I guess every decade has their morality issues and indiscretions, along with a little crime thrown in. Though...stealing a dead body...after several weeks? Ewww... Can. Not. Imagine. Wonder how they stomached the smell...or hid it, for that matter? I mean, that kind of smell's difficult to disguise. (There was this time when I was kiddo an elderly lady, who lived near my nana, went to her heavenly reward one hot summer afternoon. The neighborhood did not realize it for...a few days. DAYS, not weeks. My cousin and I thought the ghastly odor emanating from across the field was related to the local trash dump. It was not. Sorrrrry. I digress.)

    Anywho, if you visit the Ozarks you must save a day for the Titanic Museum at Branson, which is chock-full of historical tidbits, stories, and facts. Our kids always loved the temperature-regulated water station. You stick your hands inside the pitcher of water which is the same exact temperature the water was the night the Titanic sank. (Not many visitors can leave their fingers in the frigid water for very long.) I'm too chicken to try.

    Would love to win a copy of Behind the Scenes. (I want the cover model's hair, too, please.)

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    1. Hey Cynthia!

      Thanks for visiting. A part I didn't include with the stealing of the body was that the authorities thought the thieves might have stashed the body in a mausoleum within that same graveyard, which would have been a bright idea since I'm sure the smells were somewhat disgusting back then.

      If I'm ever in the Ozarks, I'll look that museum up. Sounds very cool and I would like to experience how cold the water was the night the Titanic went down. It's one of those things I really haven't thought about much.

      Good luck with the drawing!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Ahh. The mausoleum would make perfect sense.

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  34. Ohhh, and inherent to the region in which I live, I must mention the Shepherd of the Hills. TONS of history and tidbits in that Ozarkian tale about life and love in these old hills and hollows. :)

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  35. Hi Jen! What a story about Alexander Turney Stewart!

    Speaking of Consuelo Vanderbilt (Balsan), I was fortunate enough to tour Blenheim Castle years ago. The tour guide told us a story about a painting of Consuelo, her husband the duke, and their children. According to the guide, Consuelo was taller than her husband. He was quite sensitive about that fact. In order not to over-stress that point, when Sargent painted the portrait of the family standing on a staircase, he had Consuelo stand a few stair steps up from her husband so their height difference wasn't so obvious.

    Consuelo and the duke divorced years later, and she had a happy second marriage. I didn't think to ask if her second husband was taller than she was :-)

    Thanks for the free ebook and the interesting tidbits!

    Nancy C

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    1. Ha! Good story, Nancy! Tom Cruise would relate.

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    2. Hi Nancy!

      I've seen that portrait in a few of the research books I have about the Vanderbilt family. There's another one done of Consuelo that has one of her sons in it, and he was added because she thought her arms looked too long as the artist was painting it.

      It was a marriage that should have never happened. She was in love with a very attractive, somewhat rogue sort of gentleman, and the duke actually told her before he married her that he was in love with another woman but would abandon that love in order to secure Consuelo's fortune. He was practically destitute at the time of their marriage and needed her money to shore up his estates.Not a cheerful way to begin a marriage, and it's said she cried all the way down the aisle.

      Hope you enjoy the novella!

      ~ Jen ~

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  36. I can't wait to read this book!!

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    1. Heidi! Welcome to Seekerville.

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    2. Hi Heidi!

      And I can't wait for you to read it:)

      Thanks for visiting today!

      ~ Jen ~

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  37. It seems quite odd that everyone wants to build a castle in America. Yet it's true. We have one here in Phoenix.

    Tovrea Castle was born out of the vision of Italian Alessio Carraro. Carraro came to Phoenix in 1928 with a dream to build a resort hotel castle surrounded by an exotic cactus garden and a subdivision of deluxe homes. While Carraro's dream of a hotel-resort never came to be, he did build the castle. It was purchased by stockyard mogul E.A. Tovrea in 1931, and the unique home became a historic Arizona icon in the city of Phoenix .

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    1. I always found it interesting that some of the castles built in NY were made from parts of real castles brought over from Europe. Seems a little much, but I guess since they weren't paying taxes on those castles when they were built, it seemed like a good idea at the time - or at least a way to impress the neighbors. :) Did you ever go to the Cherokee Ranch & Castle in Sedalia, CO? It's pretty cool - I've been to a few events there.

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    2. NO! But you have now added to my list. We try to hit some of this stuff when company comes. The first few years in a new locale we do all the tourist stuff with out of town family.

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  38. There used to be people who were paid for waking up people by either knocking on doors or blowing peas at people's Windows.

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    1. Hi Grace!

      Thanks for visiting, and I've never heard about the peas being blown at windows. Makes me wonder if the peas ended up attracting critters???

      Have a great day!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Welcome to Seekerville, Grace!

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    3. Grace seriously That was a JOB!??? Oh, I've got to know more about that.

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  39. I loved those tidbits. What an interesting time period! Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.

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    1. Thank you, Kate!

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope you have a great rest of the week:)

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Thanks for stopping by Seekerville, Kate!

      I think Jen brought her posse today. New faces, such fun. Must go refresh the beverage table.

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    3. Well, you definitely taught me some new things, Miss Turano. A bit traumatized right now.

      But here's an interesting piece of history I found when researching a story set in occupied China during World War II: there was a Japanese plot to send Bubonic plague infested rats by submarine and then by plane to California. Thankfully, the powers-that-be in Japan decided it was too expensive!

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    4. Oh...that's a little disturbing, Boo! Can you imagine what might have happened if that plan had gone forward? Wow.

      Thanks for sharing, but talk about traumatizing a person:)

      Thanks for visiting, and I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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    5. Thanks for hosting, and you too!

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  40. So excited about this new book!!! I love reading historical fiction, but I have a feeling that I would have great difficulty living during those times.

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    1. Thank you so much! I don't think I'd have enjoyed living in the past, what with all the hygiene issues that we don't really address in our romance novels (because they're less than romantic.) I wouldn't mind being able to go back for a short time, though, just to really get a feel for the different periods. But...I would only go back if I could experience some of those balls, and...the clothes...except for the corsets, bustles, stockings...hmmm...Maybe I wouldn't want to go back after all. :)

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  41. Great post. Fascinating history. Are the memoirs as engaging as you make them sound? I have a big respect for writers of historical fiction. I enjoy history in that format, but I don't think I could do all that research myself.

    Back when I was into caving, I knew a fair amount about the history of Mammoth Cave. Now I only remember fragments, like the fact that the cave was used to house TB patients for a period of time... and that one of the prominent cave explorers in that region, Floyd Collins, got trapped in a different cave and died (1925). There was a big cave tourism industry and he was trying to link a cave entrance on his property (Sand Cave) to a large cave system in the area (Crystal Cave).

    My memory kicks in more with a little geology lesson (and the history of exploration of the caves). Mammoth and Crystal Caves sit beneath two separate ridges, the caves forming there so extensively because of the protective sandstone cap that doesn't weather like the underlying cavernous sandstone (without which the caves would've weathered away). Connecting the two cave systems was a big goal among cavers for a while, the problem being that any passage capable of connecting them had to go under the valley, closer to the water table, and was likely often flooded. When the two cave systems were finally linked, Mammoth Cave became (and remains to this day) the longest cave in the world at over 360 miles long.

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    1. Lara - I have no idea why my response to you ended up below - but there you have it:)

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  42. I rather like to obsess over not very well known (but should be well known) historical events. For instance the Spanish Influenza of 1918 that is estimated to have killed between 50-100 million people. One of the diseases that has killed the most people, and certainly the disease that killed the most people in the shortest amount of time, and yet many history books don't even bother mentioning it.

    Another thing, is the sudden disappearance of all the inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro which was probably the most advanced (and largest) civilizations of its time, and definitely the largest and most advanced city in the Indus valley. Despite this fact, after flourishing it was suddenly abandoned and then forgotten for two thousand years. Not to mention the fact that archaeologists found skeletons lying in the streets...

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Nicki!

      I enjoy those less than well known historic events as well, although I always wonder if some of the mysteries will ever be solved - It must have been quite the disaster if skeletons were found in the streets - but what disaster - and did anyone survive - and if so, where did they go?

      Something to ponder for the rest of my day:)

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  43. Hi Lara!

    Is this the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky - because if it is, I've been there, but I only now just remembered it. My parents always put us in the car every summer and off we'd go - destination Florida from Ohio. And, we'd always stop at these interesting places, and I know we stopped at this cave. Interestingly enough, I also remember that my dad did not go with us on the cave tour, and now, after being a parent, I do believe he opted to stay behind because he'd had just about enough of our antics and needed a bit of a break from his kids:)

    How fun to remember that, so thank you!

    Have a great week!

    ~ Jen ~

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    1. Same cave, yes. I used to participate in a restoration fieldcamp there for cavers. We got to go to parts of the cave where they were no longer having tours and, for example, remove the wood from the old decaying bridges to restore it to its natural condition. I also did a little surveying with the Cave Research Foundation and met some of the people mentioned in "The Longest Cave," which is the story of the discovery of the passage that finally linked the two systems together.

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  44. JEN!! First of all, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!! I have to say that this is one of the most interesting and entertaining posts we've ever had, so thank you for sharing such fun historical stories with us.

    Since I'm not the researcher you are, I don't delve into it quite as much as you, but I did have some fun tidbits I discovered while researching a few of my books.

    The first cool thing I discovered while writing my 1902 Heart of San Francisco Series was an indoor swimming complex that could have been an eighth man-made wonder of the world during its time.

    In the late 1800s, a self-made millionaire named Adolph Sutro built Sutro Baths, San Francisco’s premiere indoor swimming facility, which boasted seven seawater and freshwater pools beneath a four-story glazed roof of 100,000 panes of stained glass. With everything from swimmers flying high on toboggan slides, swings, flying rings and trampolines, to the crash of the surf on the rocky shore outside, it was the largest and most magnificent bathhouse in the world. San Francisco’s top summer attraction, Sutro Baths was a veritable Atlantis where ten thousand bathers could experience a love affair with the sea all at one time -- each in a standard-issue bathing suit provided by Sutro Baths itself!

    The other thing I ran across during my Heart of San Francisco Series was the little tidbit that Mark Twain met a fireman named Tom Sawyer in the Montgomery Block sauna in San Francisco and later used his name for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

    Oh, and I discovered that Foster Grant invented his sunglasses in 1929 and first sold them on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

    Fun stuff!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  45. Julie!!! Thank you for having me. I adore visiting Seekerville - all of you are always so nice to me:)

    Super cool tidbits. I've never heard of that swimming complex, but how fascinating. I'm going to have to see if I can dig up some old photos of that - especially the bathing suits - I just find those so interesting, and always wonder how the ladies didn't drown wearing all that fabric.

    Didn't know that about Mark Twain - fun!

    And, Foster Grant - had no idea he'd invented those sunglasses so long ago -

    Hugs right back at ya!

    ~ Jen ~

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    1. I thought Foster Grant was a friend of Versace or one of those cool designers. hahahaha

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  46. I don't know how you get any writing done, Jen, with all those fascinating tidbits to read about. The valley I live in, Cache Valley, was so named because trappers (notably Jim Bridger) would cache their furs in caves around this area.

    Congrats on your new book! I'm excited to read it.

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    1. Winnie! Great to see you back in the Village. I'm the same way. I get lost down those research rabbit holes.

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    2. Thank you, Winnie!

      As for getting the writing done...it can be tricky at times, although I do a lot of my research reading at night. When I'm working on a first draft, I can't read fiction because I tend to mimic what I'm reading - Tried to get around that by reading thrillers. That didn't work out very well - very unusual scenes began appearing in my lighthearted romances - you know, ax-wielding fiends, a few serial killers. It's best for me to stick to non-fiction and not of the disturbing kind.

      Thanks again for visiting!

      ~ Jen ~

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  47. So many fascinating facts packed into one post...thanks, Jen! Also, thank you for the novella. The cover is fabulous. I instantly thought of Scarlett O'Hara's green curtain dress. Thanks for visiting!

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    1. Isn't that the best cover, Jill? It's one of my favorites, and yes, I thought of that exact dress when I first saw the cover:)

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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  48. JEN, this is such a fascinating post! Thank you for sharing!

    I'm excited to read your newest release!

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    1. Hi Caryl!

      Great seeing you here today! Glad you enjoyed the post - I could have gone on and on, but...well maybe another day:)

      Have a wonderful rest of the week!
      ~Jen ~

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  49. I a so excited for the new book!! Love the humor of the previous sets... :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Melissa!! There is one scene in this book that does still make me laugh - which is unusual given how many times I read it while editing before it went into print. You see, there's this quadrille - The Go As You Please Quadrille - you'll have to let know what you think of that after you read it:)

      Thank you for visiting tonight! Made me smile.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  50. Hi Jan,
    Your books always have such beautiful covers. I enjoyed your tidbits. Seems like plots to steal bodies was not as unusual as one would think in the 1800s. Even President Lincoln was subjected to such a plot and I have uncovered a number of stories, successful and not, of ransom attempts on the dearly departed. Congrats on your latest book!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lyndee! And yes, I do have some gorgeous covers - Bethany House does a wonderful job with them.

      The 1800's certainly did have some curious business going on - a lot of it rather disturbing.

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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  51. Before I forget to tell you, Jen, thanks so much for generously giving of your time today. Come back and visit ANY TIME!!

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    1. Thank you for having me, Tina. I always look forward to visiting your blog - it's just so much fun and gave me a wonderful distraction today from characters who just don't seem to want to cooperate!

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  52. I'm late stopping in today, but wanted to say this is a fascinating post, Jen - - thank you for sharing with us!
    Congratulations on your newest book - - I echo what others have said about the lovely cover.
    When I hear "Gilded Age" I also think of my beloved Jekyll Island on our Georgia coast - - so much history there and the millionaires' "cottages" still stand. I never tire of visiting and reading about all those families!
    Blessings, Patti Jo

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    1. Thank you, Patti Jo - and hmmm...Jekyll Island - now there's a setting I've not used before and one that sounds intriguing.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Have a great night:)

      ~ Jen ~

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  53. Jen, I'm a big history buff, and my daughter is now majoring in history in college. There was a mystery series set in the Gilded Era that I loved a while back. The heroine was a heiress married to a police officer. I like that time period in general and recently finished a historical non-fiction book that discussed the last days of the McKinley administration. Thanks for the look at the time period.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Tanya! And, if you get a chance, I think I suggested this before, but "The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York" was great - it also led me to other books. I also liked "Gilded - How Newport Became America's Richest Resort."

      Have a great night - tell your daughter I said good luck with college. My son is currently in college and it's a fun time!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  54. I don't have a historical tidbit to share but I did enjoy reading yours. Though it is fascinating to read about the Gilded Age, I sure wouldn't have wanted to have to put up with all the snotty nonsense to be part of high society.
    I love your books, Jen. Thanks for all the research you do to make them historically accurate.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! It was certainly a snotty period in time - and get this - one year in Newport - the snottiest of vacation spots - this one lady held a ball at her new 'cottage.' Well, the society ladies in Newport weren't ready to welcome her into their midst - so no one showed up to her ball. Because she had a vast fortune at her disposal, she abandoned her home in Newport - it then caught fire, and to get back at the snoots, she didn't bother to have it rebuilt, forcing them to deal with quite the eyesore:)

      I bet that showed them!

      Have a great night!

      Jen

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  55. I cannot wait for this book to come out! Mrs Jen you are one of my Favorite Authors and I am thrilled that you are starting a new series :) Thanks for this post, I LOVED reading about the Gilded age.

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    1. Oh, how fun are you? Thank you for that! Delighted you enjoy my books, and I'm also delighted you enjoyed the post.

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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  56. Oh, I wish I had an interesting historical tidbit. My husband is the history buff. I just enjoy reading the fictional accounts. :)

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    1. That's okay, Loraine, I'm just happy to see you here! My dad was a huge history buff, and took me, along with my little brother, on this spur-of-the moment road trip one year - we visited every Civil War battleground from Kentucky to Georgia - I must admit I did not appreciate it at the time, nor did my mom. It was hot, there were bugs, and I really just wanted to go to a mall. Now, however, I'd probably love it!

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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  57. Great post, Jen. History was not my favorite subject in school, but I read historical romances in my younger years and loved them. I still read a few...especially historical western romances.

    I wonder what that snotty lady in Newport would think if I attended her ball in blue jeans and boots!

    Marcia

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    1. Hi Marcia!

      My mom is the one who got me started on historical romances. "The Flame and the Flower" was the first one I ever read, although I found my old copy of it recently, and wow...the writing was so different back when it was written - late 70's maybe?

      Anyway, I'm sorry to say that if you'd shown up in jeans, well, it would have caused a scandal - and probably some confusion as well since I don't think those ladies were the types to disregard the fashion rules of the day and wear trousers:) It would have been fun to see their reactions, though.

      Have a great night, and thank you for sharing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  58. *with a cheesy grin, claps hands
    I love signed books!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And I love Jen turano's books!
    #winwin

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    1. Thank you, Megan!

      Have a great rest of the week!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Thank you, Megan!

      Have a great rest of the week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  59. Wow, I loved these tidbits! So glad we don't have those horrible society rules today, or the snubbing.

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    1. Hi Susan!

      Thanks for visiting, and yes, I do believe the society rules were a bit much, although isn't it interesting how many of those rules were broken by the very people who made them?

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Hi Susan!

      Thanks for visiting, and yes, I do believe the society rules were a bit much, although isn't it interesting how many of those rules were broken by the very people who made them?

      Have a great night!

      ~ Jen ~

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  60. Welcome back to Seekerville, Jen! I love your books! Please enter me in your generous drawing for one of five signed copies of Behind the Scenes. Thank you and may God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis! I've had just a riot here in Seekerville. Love all of these ladies!

      Blessings to you as well.

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Thank you, Phyllis! I've had just a riot here in Seekerville. Love all of these ladies!

      Blessings to you as well.

      ~ Jen ~

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  61. The Gilded Age is my favorite time period! I love the dresses and everything else about the period. Always said if I could go back in time, it would be to the late 1800s. Your books look sooo good, and all of your covers are gorgeous! Have yet to read one though. Maybe I'll win this one. ;)

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    1. Hey Abigail - thank you for stopping in. And, if you've not read one of my books, and if you have an e-reader, you can download two free prequel novellas - the first one I wrote was "Gentleman of Her Dreams." It introduces you to the ladies from my very first series. And then, "At Your Request" is the prequel to the series that's just now releasing.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  62. Oh my gosh! When I saw this drawing I was super excited! You are one of my favorite authors, and when I heard you were writing a new series, I was ecstatic! :-)

    My Historical tidbit is a very beautiful, but also incredibly sad story.

    During the early 1900s, George C. Boldt, self-made millionare and proprietor of the world-famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (Built by two Astor cousins, William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor IV), set out to build a Rhineland Castle on Heart Island (in the 1000 islands) for his beloved wife Louise. He spared no expense and planned a massive “six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, alster tower (children’s playhouse) and a dove cote.” However, in 1904, his wife died unexpectedly, and he sent a telegram to his workers telling them to “stop all construction.” “A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love. For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow and vandals.” In 1977 though, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority obtained the Castle and set about restoring it. There are still several unfinished places in it, but if you ever get the chance to visit the 1000 Islands area in Upstate New York, you should definitely visit Boldt Castle. Much of it has been renovated, and the Castle is incredibly beautiful!

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    1. Hi Gracie!

      Thank you so much. I'm delighted you enjoy my books - very cool.

      And, wow, interesting stuff about George C. Boldt. You know, I've not run across him in my research, but what a touching story. I have family spread throughout New York, so the next time I'm back there, I'll definitely try to plan a trip to see that castle.

      Thanks for sharing!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  63. Thanks for a very interesting post. I love the Civil War Era and also enjoy reading about WWII but I am now eager to read about The Gilded Age. Thanks for a chance to win your book.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  64. I don't have any juicy tidbits of history to share, but it was interesting reading your tidbits and learning more about the Gilded Age. What sad and pompous social pressure there was. All that money in the end didn't bring them true happiness.

    I love historical fiction! It's my favorite genre to read. "Behind the Scenes" sounds very intriguing and I look forward to reading it. Thanks so much for the opportunity of this giveaway!

    ~Alison Boss
    nj(dot)bossman(at)gmail(dot)com

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  65. I don't have anything to share, but I loved reading the article and what others have shared. It's all so interesting.

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