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As part of my research into my novel-in-progress, John Brown’s Women, I came across this delightful letter from Jason Brown, John Brown’s second son, to his sister Ruth Brown, in the Edwin Cotter Collection held by the State University of …

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Like most novels, The First Lady and the Rebel underwent revisions on its path to publication (look for it on October 1!). This is the epilogue in the first draft. It was replaced by one that I felt was more …

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I bought this 1862 letter mainly because of the patriotic letterhead, which depicts Elmer E. Ellsworth, an early casualty of the Civil War, shot while he was exiting the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria after removing a Confederate flag from …

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As long-term readers of this blog will know, I’m fond of wills, and I was pleased to find that one major character in The First Lady and the Rebel, Emily Todd Helm’s husband Benjamin Hardin Helm, left one behind. (Abraham …

A Visit to North Elba

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One of the greatest thrills for a historical novelist is being able to walk in his or her characters’ footsteps by visiting the places where they once lived. I first got this privilege while writing The Traitor’s Wife, when I …

 

A Memorial Day Tribute to Charles P. Tidd and Carrie Cutter

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This Memorial Day, I’m remembering, Sgt. Charles P. Tidd, and his friend and nurse, Carrie Cutter, both of whom died in service to their country. Tidd, one of John Brown’s raiders, evaded capture after the raid. After the Civil War …

 

What’s New?

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Recently, I added this nifty carte-de-visite to my modest collection of Lincoln memorabilia–a memorial photograph that’s a composite of photos taken during his presidency. Aside from what’s new in my collection, what’s new in my writing? While awaiting publication of …

 

Guest Post by Heather R. Darsie: When Anne Met Henry

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I’m delighted to be one of the stops on Heather R. Darsie’s blog tour for her new biography of Anne of Cleves, one of the least-studied of Henry VIII’s six wives. Over to Heather: Anna of Cleves Meets Henry VIII: …

 

Mr. Helm Goes to Washington–And Then to Montgomery

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In March 1861, one of many job-seekers arrived at the White House, looking for patronage at the hands of the new President, Abraham Lincoln. Unlike many, this one was successful. Ultimately, though, he turned down the offer–and ended up fighting, …

 

The Great Couch Dust-Up: A Letter from Phoebe Yates Pember to Emily Todd Helm

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While doing research for The First Lady and the Rebel, my forthcoming novel about Mary Lincoln and her Confederate half-sister, Emily Todd Helm, I visited the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort to look through Emily’s papers. Among the many wartime …