Saturday, June 14, 2008

Historical Book Resources

I've been bouncing around the first Colony in Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia this past week. I've learned a great deal about this time period. A number of story ideas have passed through my mind while touring the historical relics of America's beginning.

Writing historical fiction requires intimate knowledge of everyday life for the time period in which you're writing. For this reason, having an extensive library of resources is essential to creating realistic, authentic settings. You want your readers to see, feel, taste and smell the historical period you've set for your story.

I found a few resources that might come in handy for writing future historical novels. These books aren't available just anywhere. They are specialty resources that provide insight on unique historical necessities. There were many more I wanted to buy, but I finally settled on the following.

"Ladies' Clothing in the 1830's" by Sarah E. Mitchell.
"Children's Life in Colonial America" by George Rice
"Courting Customs in America" by George Rice
"Growing Herbs for Cold & Flu Relief" by Dorie Byers
"Making Herbal Hand Creams and Salves" by Norma Pasekoff Weinberg


  1. So interesting, Jenn! I envy your trip. It sounds wonderful!

    I chaperoned my oldest son's 5th grade trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Keeping up with the kids made it somewhat stressful, so I couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I've been dying to take my family back there someday. I hope we can do that eventually now that they're old enough to enjoy it. :)

  2. Williamsburg is a great vacation. Our kids were really little also, and we got kicked out of the Govenor's Mansion (long story---let's just say it involved my son who was 2 and a bag full of rocks.) They were very nice about kicking us out, but still.....
    We also visited Jamestown and Yorktown. We loved all the history.
    Jenn, can't wait to see what kind of story ideas you got from your trip.

  3. Great post, Jenn. I'm going to have to jot down these books. But my question on historicals is where do you start your research?

  4. I usually begin with the setting of where my book will start for that time period or I check to see if my basic plot points are applicable to my setting and time period.

    My first step is the Internet and I go from there if I don't have resources in my home library.

    I also collect brochures and information on places I've visited and keep file folders on those. That way I can easily call places that might know what I'm looking for and logon to resources that way without broad searches.