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Puerperal Fever: A Dreadful Consequence of Childbirth

By Geri Walton | October 26, 2013

From the 1600s through the mid-1800s, puerperal fever, or childbed fever as it was more commonly called, affected women with severe and acute symptoms such as abdominal pain and fever. Puerperal was considered to be just a dreaded consequence of childbirth and motherhood. That was because beginning in the seventeenth century “lying-in” hospitals became popular…

Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter C

By Geri Walton | October 25, 2013

The following are interesting slang, euphemisms, and terms for the letter C and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811. Today a CAB is a form of transportation that takes us to and from places, but in the 1700 and 1800s it referred to a brothel. A…

Bloodletting: Its Popularity in the 1700 and 1800s

By Geri Walton | October 24, 2013

Bloodletting is the withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent illness or cure disease and could involve bloodletting performed by bloodletters or by applying leeches. Bloodletting began in ancient times to cure or prevent disease. It was based on ancient medicine and the idea “humors” — blood and other bodily fluids — needed to…

Correct Forms of Address

By Geri Walton | October 23, 2013

Writers often get confused when trying to apply the correct forms of address in their stories. It is a complex subject and can vary depending upon whether or not a person holds a title, is single, or married or widowed. It also depends on whether or not a child is older or young. Correct forms…

Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter B

By Geri Walton | October 22, 2013

The following are slang, euphemisms, and terms for the letter B and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811. BALLCOCKS referred not only to the testicles but also to a vulgar parson. BALUM RANCUM was a dance by naked prostitutes. Like amorous congress, BLANKET HORNPIPE was a…

Condoms: Its History and Use in the 1700 and 1800s

By Geri Walton | October 20, 2013

The earliest written description of condoms is from the sixteenth century, although it seems they were probably in use before that time. The name “condom” alleged was coined by Charles II when Dr. Condom or Conton gave him an oiled sheep intestines to use. However, other people believe the name came from the Latin word…

Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter A

By Geri Walton | October 19, 2013

The following are slang, euphemisms, and terms for the letter A and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811. ABBESS or LADY ABBESS referred to a mistress of a brothel or a woman who procured women for prostitution. ABEL-ACKETS referred to blow on the palm of the…

Victorian Mourning

By Geri Walton | October 18, 2013

Victorian mourning was an art form among the upper crust in nineteenth century England. There were many complex rules and mourning was expected to be exteriorized, not only by obvious sorrow but also by wearing black clothing that was sometimes worn for months and months. In addition, superstition often accompanied mourning and included such things…

The Grand Tour

By Geri Walton | October 17, 2013

The Grand Tour was a trip through Europe that began in the 1640s. It became extremely popular during the 1660s and remained so until the 1840s when large scale rail transit arrived. It was first introduced to the public by a Roman Catholic priest named Richard Lassels in his 1670 book Voyage to Italy. Designed…

Masquerade Balls

By Geri Walton | October 16, 2013

Masquerade balls began in the fifteenth century and were similar to a carnival atmosphere with dancing, drinking, and gambling. By the seventeenth century they were introduced to London. The first of these promiscuous and fashionable assemblages was organized by “Count” John James Heidegger and held at London’s Haymarket. Anyone who could afford a ticket could…