Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Victorian Era in america:1837-1901

After the Civil War to the turn of the century, wealth increased all across the nation. By 1870, an enormous building boom increased the number of millionaires to one hundred. With the advent of new money, the call for more of everything reigned among the wealthy. “Too much is not enough” became the mantra, as the rich constantly sought out new ways to display their prominence in society.

From New York to the West coast, a woman of means threw her heart and soul into creating a home befitting her status. This meant building a home that was as festooned as a Christmas tree—inside and out. She stuffed every room with spindly, feminine furniture, until it overflowed with excess. She decorated with abandon, creating grossly decorated rooms, filled with every knickknack and gimcrack imaginable. A person might feel stifled and claustrophobic in the room.
The ladies, young and old, dressed in the fashions of the day. The outfits were as ornate as the homes in which they lived. Pronounced bustles, unnecessary and odd-looking, was part of every well-to-do lady’s dress. One dress might contain as many as twenty yards of silk and satin, and rows and rows of lace and fringe and ruffles decorated the necklines, hems, and bustles.

A lady strived for the most extravagant hairdo she could manage. She piled it high on her head, tortured it into masses of curls and ringlets, and above all, draped it with all manner of gewgaws to frame her face. All in the name of elegance.

In my first release, All My Hopes and Dreams, a Western Historical set in the Victorian era, 1880 Texas, Miss Cynthia Harrington lives in a big, white house in Nacogdoches, Texas with her banker father. As she says in the novel, “Nacogdoches is not exactly the social and fashion center of Texas.” However, she strives to be the best-dressed young lady of the small East Texas town. With her loveliness and poise, she manages to attract the attention of visiting horse-buyer, Ricardo Romero. Of course, they marry, and she soon learns that the Romero ranch on the far Western edge of the Texas Frontier most certainly differs in all ways from her usual lifestyle—and that includes dress. By the third day, she finds herself wearing boots, split skirt, blouse, and gaucho hat.

Read about their adventures and how they fall in love. Purchase the eBook here:

Or purchase the print here:

Thank you, Celia Yeary


Mona Risk said...

Celia- I love learning new things about America and Texas through your blogs. Great post.

Celia Yeary said...

MONA--thank you so much. I love Nineteen Century Texas--or anyplace in the U.s. during those years. Celia

Cheryl said...

Hey Celia!

I'm glad I didn't live back then, really, even though I like to write about it. I just want to wear my jeans and t-shirts around, and of course, that would have been scandalous then. LOL It would have been tiresome to have to wear all that frou-frou stuff and be proper. I am afraid I would never have made it.LOL

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Celia, I could never have borne all those clothes, no indoor plumbing or no antiobiotics LOL. But I still love writing in that era. I always feel like a big spoiled baby when I realize what our foremothers went through. Whew.

I love your cover.oxoxox

LK Hunsaker said...

Like Cheryl, I'm much happier in my scaled-down, non fancy lifestyle and dress. ;-) I can't imagine why people choose to live that way even if they can.

Yes, the contrast is so marked in Hopes and Dreams. It's an interesting look at how we adapt.

Mary Ricksen said...

The Victorian era was fabulous. But the corsets would kill me.
Hi Celia!

Celia Yeary said...

CHERYL--you'd probably be one of those knickerbocker girls who shocked the entire nation. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Tanya--we are definiteley spoiled. when our electricity goes out--rarely, but when it does--it's hours and hours--we cannot do one thing. Think about it--nothing you can do--you can't even read. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Loraine--even in the fifties, we wore girdles and hose. Then, it was panty hose. I clearly remember the time when I and my women teacher friends said--no more panty hose. I never bought another pair. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Mary--corsets. ugh. Just reading about the Victorian Era makes me cringe. Celia

Tanya Hanson said...

The corset is surely a torture device akin to the iron maiden! No? Sometimes I can barely bear a bra. Whew.

I hope I had brains enough to wear a split skirt if I lived in those days.

Paty Jager said...

Interesting post, Celia.