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Monday, June 7, 2010

Resources! What is in Your Library?

If your novels are historical you also research. So, when you need to know an historical fact, where do you look for the information? Though I often go to the web, I also have shelves of books and some of the books I don’t think I could write without. I thought if we all listed the historical books we rely on most we could all increase our writing resources. I always love to learn about a new book out there just waiting to be read.

I will go first. Some of my favorite historical and/or writing resources are:

What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, by Daniel Pool

The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England,
From 1811-1901
, by Kristine Hughes

An Elegant Madness, High Society in Regency England, by Venetia

Everyday Life in the 1800s, A Guide for Writers, Students &
,by Marc McCutcheon

Dr. Johnson’s London, by Liza Picard.

Voices from Dickens’ London, by Michael Paterson

Fashion of the Regency Period Paper Dolls, by Tom Tierney.
I am planning to buy some of the French Revolution ones as well.

A Visual History of Dress from Ancient Times to 20th Century America,
What People Wore
by Douglas Gorsline. This book has almost 1800
detailed illustrations and was a library sale find by my sister-in-law.
Thank you, Kathy.

The Story of Civilzation by Will and Ariel Durant. There are six
volumes, I believe in this set. At least, that is how many I have and is an
excellent resource tool. The first book from the series I have is entitled
The Reformation and covers European history from 1300-1564. The
last one is The Age of Napoleon. It covers the years of 1789–1815.

English Society in the 18th Century by Roy Porter

Prince of Pleasure, The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency by Saul David.

The following three books have been beneficial in determining how far away, whether in walking or riding distances places are from one another in London. Having never had the opportunity to visit, I need to rely on their maps:

London Up Close, District to District, Street by Street by Passport Books

Frommer's Memorable Walks in London

London - A Visitor's Guid, by Godfrey Dixey

And lastly, a book I probably refre to the most as it is necessary for wherever my story is set, The Writer's Digest, Character-Naming Sourcebook

For a reference book, I love The Writer's Digest Flip Dictionary. I am surprised it isn't falling a part given how much I open it to find just the right word or phrase.

So, what is your favorite research source? And if you use any of those I have listed, did you find them helpful?


  1. I've used An Elegant Madness, too. Very helpful.

    Another one that I found fascinating and I'm dying to make use of my research from is The Regency Underworld by Donald A. Low. Great information on all the seedier aspects of life in London.

  2. Catherine,

    I have not heard of that one. Need to add it to my list.

  3. I've got several of those books, plus a couple of go-to websites. One of my favorites is the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue - lots of great fodder for insults ;)

  4. Erin, now that sounds like a really fun book to have.

  5. I don't write regency so most of my books are on medieval warfare or the wild west lol. I don't you'll benefit from those Amy =)Most of my listing are posted on my medieval weapons blog. You can find it here http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com/search/label/medieval%20weapons